Santa the Arminian

A few weeks ago, I unmasked First Mormon Joey Smith as an Arminian. During this Christmas season, watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town (this is the lesser of two classics; the one with Meisterburger Burgermeister, not the better one with Heat Miser and Cold Miser), and was surprised to learn that Santa Claus is also an Arminian.

Coming back from Sombertown, and traveling over the Mountain of the Whispering Winds, Kris Kringle is captured by the Winter Warlock, but escapes from his clutches by giving him a present. The gift is only a toy train, and I think it would be quite a stretch to draw any analogy with the gift of faith here, but judge for yourself: here is the result of the gift on the evil Winter Warlock:

“My icy heart, it’s melting! Suddenly my whole outlook has changed from bad to good. Ah, but will it last? I really am a mean and despicable creature at heart, you know. It’s so difficult to really change!”

Wow. Is that a perfect setup fora sermon on monergism or what? Mr. Warlock, if your change of outlook is due to your own efforts, then it will not last. Yes, you are a mean and despicable creature at heart, as are we all in our natural fallen state. Indeed, it is more than difficult, it is impossible to change yourself — only God can change you! (I am reminded also of a trailer for current movie School for Scoundrel, in which Billy Bob Thornton disparages self-help books: “You can’t help yourself, because your self sucks!”)

But Kris Kringle suppresses the Warlock’s truth with laughter:

“Difficult? Why look here, changing from bad to good’s as easy as taking your first step!”

Which leads in to the song “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor…” — an anthem to man’s ability to improve himself. Which makes plenty of sense when you put it together with Santa’s attempt to sort out the naughty vs. nice children: “Awww, I guess they’re really all pretty nice.”

“But this is not theology, this is a secular TV show!” you might protest. “How can you draw any association with Arminianism? It’s just humanism, which we get on TV all the time!” The similarity is in the response to the Winter Warlock’s assertion of T is for TULIP is for Total Depravity. The Arminian may try to say they affirm total depravity, original sin, man’s fallen state, but by allowing for man to recognize the goodness of the offer of the gospel, and react in faith (or rejection), according to his own abilities, the Arminian only really believes in Mostly Depravity.

Let me break it down: the Winter Warlock despairs of being able to truly, permanently, change himself. The Calvinist agrees, but encourages him that God can change him — can regenerate, justify, adopt, and sanctify him. But the Arminian disagrees, saying “It’s not as hard as you think: God will do (has done) most of the work for you, but you still have to take the first step.”

As for the charge of humanism, that is true as well. I’ll close with this clip from the end, which reads just as well about Santa Claus as about God. A Scroogey businessman complains about Christmas: “How can they talk about Santa Claus when there’s so much unhappiness in the world?”

And Fred Astaire rejoinders: “Poor misguided folks, they missed the whole point. Lots of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t the smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a Saturday? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa, and learned to give, as only he can give? Of ourselves, our talents, our love, and our hearts. Maybe if we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson, there finally would be peace on earth, and good will toward man.”

Not much of an answer to the problem of evil. What Would Santa Do?

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. Fred Astaire sounds like Danny B: oh, if only we could just accept each other, then the church would explode! Unity through diversity and compromise! Yay!

    And “You can’t help yourself, because your self sucks!” is my new reply to Albino’s “forced love sucks” catch phrase.

    Haha! I think I’ll switch to silly…

    E

  2. Reblogged this on Covenant Nurture and commented:
    Coming back from Sombertown, and traveling over the Mountain of the Whispering Winds, Kris Kringle is captured by the Winter Warlock, but escapes from his clutches by giving him a present. The gift is only a toy train, and I think it would be quite a stretch to draw any analogy with the gift of faith here, but judge for yourself: here is the result of the gift on the evil Winter Warlock:
    “My icy heart, it’s melting! Suddenly my whole outlook has changed from bad to good. Ah, but will it last? I really am a mean and despicable creature at heart, you know. It’s so difficult to really change!”
    Wow. Is that a perfect setup fora sermon on monergism or what? Mr. Warlock, if your change of outlook is due to your own efforts, then it will not last. Yes, you are a mean and despicable creature at heart, as are we all in our natural fallen state. Indeed, it is more than difficult, it is impossible to change yourself — only God can change you! (I am reminded also of a trailer for current movie School for Scoundrel, in which Billy Bob Thornton disparages self-help books: “You can’t help yourself, because your self sucks!”)
    But Kris Kringle suppresses the Warlock’s truth with laughter:
    “Difficult? Why look here, changing from bad to good’s as easy as taking your first step!”
    Which leads in to the song “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor…” — an anthem to man’s ability to improve himself. Which makes plenty of sense when you put it together with Santa’s attempt to sort out the naughty vs. nice children: “Awww, I guess they’re really all pretty nice.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: