The Reformed Pubcast consists of two guys who host a podcast on Reformed theology and beer. I love Reformed theology and I like beer too. The podcast begins with the two hosts discussing the beer they’re drinking while recording the podcast and then it moves onto theology afterwards. The Reformed Pubcast grew in it’s scope very fast, gained a large audience, even making the top podcast list on iTunes, and has a Facebook group which is currently about 5,000 strong.
I used to listen to this podcast. I used to be in the Facebook group – I am no longer.
Why? Let me explain.
Being reformed theologically puts one a very strange position as a pastor. I pastor just outside of North Tampa Bay, Florida and it is NOT a reformed culture at all. It is very charismatic, arminian, man-centered, and seeker sensitive. Naturally I am one of the few reformed guys in my area and if I meet another pastor/theologian near me who is reformed I become very excited because there seems to be so few near me. So as you can imagine when I first heard of this podcast from a close friend I became very excited. I began listening to it weekly, and became a member of the Facebook group too. From my vantage point it looked like I had found like-minded community, something pastors don’t always have.
But as I continued listening to the podcast and interacting with the Facebook group one thing became increasingly apparent to me. It seemed that these guys really do love Christ, that they love theology, and that they love the historic reformed heritage – but two things kept popping into my mind that put me off a bit.
First, an over-emphasis on alcohol. I know Les and Tanner (the hosts) begin the show with discussing beer, how it is made, good beer, bad beer, and overall beer 101 but it became to be a central topic on the show and in the Facebook group. This bothered me, so I stopped listening to the podcast and only participated in the Facebook group. Now, those of you who know me know that I am not against beer. I like beer, I drink beer. BUT I am very against Christians celebrating alcohol in any sense, the abuse of alcohol in drunkenness, the insane amount of money people spend to buy it, and the horrendous impact it has had on many lives. The Pubcast’s emphasis on beer is too much for my liking. I don’t think it takes the consequences of alcohol seriously, or the struggle certain people have with it. It borders on sin, and has crossed the line at times by celebrating/flaunting our Christian liberty before God and others.
Second, immaturity. This is really the main issue at stake for me. After listening to a few of the podcasts I noticed that there was immature coarse joking in it and when you over-emphasize the use of alcohol while cracking jokes and acting like adolescent boy you’ve simply gone too far to be helpful to anyone in the long term. In my opinion, and it’s just that, the Pubcast is full of people who fall into the category of “Young, Restless, and Reformed.” This is the “New Calvinism” of my generation, of which I am a part of. This group is largely reformed in soteriology, but not in practice. What I mean by that is they resemble their heroes like Mark Driscoll: reformed in doctrine while entrenched in modern day hip culture.
I once was proud to call myself part of the YRR (Young, Restless, & Reformed) group and interestingly enough during the days I was proud to use and promote that label I also was very keen in flaunting my use of Christian liberty before both the Church and the World. Of course I didn’t think I was doing this at the time (hindsight is always 20/20 right?) but that is exactly what I was doing. I was in my mid 20’s, I thought we YRR’s were the cutting edge of Christianity, the right ones, who not only had right doctrine but trendy living and solid reformed rap as well. Why couldn’t everyone else see that this was the way to live the Christian life? Why couldn’t they see that this is the way to reach the lost, to show them that they could be cool AND have Jesus as well? During this time in my life I slowly began to think that we YRR’s had arrived. We hadn’t,
Please don’t hear me saying 100% of the Reformed Pubcast Members fall into this category, they don’t. I was squarely in the YRR at one time in my life and I can now spot those who are in similar trajectories easier because of my mistakes. Not all that I did during those days was bad, but what I couldn’t see then and what I can see clearly now is that I wasn’t really trying to reach the lost around me, or impact the world, or even show the Church and the World how to live the Christian life. What I was doing was being very selfish and masking it like it was the godly thing to do. That was sin, and I have repented for such non-sense.
Now back to the Pubcast. The self absorption and flaunting of my Christian liberty I got caught up with during my mid-20’s is by and large what I see plaguing the members of the ‘Reformed Pubcast.’ For this reason I have left the group. Why? Because though I am solidly within the reformed camp, I am no longer young or restless. Should the other members of the pub cast leave as well? Sure maybe, that’s for each of them to decide. What they should do is grow up from boys to men and that is the point of why I’m writing this.
The point of writing this post is that the reformed young people of today (who are represented in the Pubcast) need to be called out to not only reform their doctrine in line with Scripture, but reform their lives as well. What does this look like? Simple. It looks like boys growing into men, and owning the call to sacrificially give up ourselves in Christ-like obedience to others. When we come to the end of ourselves, we find the beginning of life in Christ.
I leave you with John MacArthur’s words of advice to the YRR crowd: “Grow up, settle down, keep reforming.”