Babylon Bee Calvinistic Santa Claus
Critique of the Babylon Bee: Calvinist Santa Puts Everyone On Naughty List
Over the last 5 years, the purpose of my site has been to teach from the Word of God on several topics as well as to challenge that which purports to be “Christian” but actually is not. Nearly all of the latter work is the review and critique of written works; rarely, I review YouTube videos.
Today I add a recent YouTube video to my critiques, namely, one from the Babylon Bee which is nothing less than the ridicule of the Sovereignty of God by those who profess to know better.
The About text for the Bee is:
“The official YouTube channel of The Babylon Bee, your trusted source for Christian news satire.”
The video concerning which I comment below is:
I comment only on this video, and my comment should not be construed to apply to the site generally. That said, I have to wonder about the soundness of the "Christian" theology of those who would write and produce a video of this nature. At best, it indicates a theological immaturity and shallowness carelessly hidden behind a cheap attempt at the ridicule of the Almighty (euphemistically termed “satire” and self-deprecation). At worst, it indicates the reality of yet another professing “Christian” site which vastly "misses the mark".
If you go to the video, you’ll see my comment (under my true name). Nearly all the comments to the video were positive (though at least one commenter also was concerned with that same shallowness that I perceived).
I have many times on this site offered critical commentary regarding those “theologians” who appear to denigrate the Word of God for a living. Moreover, any site which has the name “Christian” in its About text should be very careful about what it produces and publishes. And any site with "Christian" in its name should bear the full brunt of criticism for its/their public display of theological carelessness.
As I thought about how to challenge this, I finally decided to add this critique (originally on my landing page, then moved to Quick Thoughts). I then settled on Matthew 11.20-30 as the text of choice to powerfully refute (and embarrass, hopefully!) those who profess to understand “Calvinism”, but in reality remain ignorant of its elegant truths.
[I think that it if important to note that my defense and exposition here is not to defend Calvinism. My work is to teach the Word of God, not some “ism”. The video mocks the sovereignty of God; that it happens to associate that activity with “Calvinism” is understandable, but mostly irrelevant when compared to the real offense.]
[There was also the (positive?) mention of the heresy of Molinism in the video This is yet another testimony of the theological immaturity of the author(s) and participants of the video, especially to place a mention of this heresy into the mouth of an innocent child. What parent would allow their child to be used this way? I assure you the LORD is not laughing at the video, nor overlooking it just because it was expressed by a child.]
Below, I open Matthew 11.20-30 and briefly expound it specifically for those who authored, performed and enabled the production of the video as well as those who were generally supportive of the video (in their comments). This was “Christian” immaturity on global display (as is this rebuttal).
The context of this great passage is found in the leading verse:
Then [the Lord Christ] began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.
The cities of which the Lord spoke were Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. The Lord Christ had performed many miracles in those cities, yet they persisted in their obstinance. What He said next is extraordinary:
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
The Lord Christ said, in His omniscience, that the cities of Sodom, Tyre and Sidon would have been spared if the same miracles that He just performed in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had also been performed in those ancient cities!
The Lord Christ is not speculating! He is not expressing His theological “opinion” or expressing a “hope” that they would have been spared. For a brief moment He pulled back the curtain of Sovereignty and gave us a glimpse into the Divine Mind. The Great God, the Almighty, the Lord Christ has just told us that He chose to let Sodom, Tyre and Sidon perish instead of sending one or more of His prophets to perform the miracles that would have led to their being spared in belief. This is election in action! But there is yet more!
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
“No one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
To those who left positive comments on this video (I hope that you are reading this!), I ask these simple questions,
- Do you still think that the election of grace is a laughing matter?
- Do you really think that it is appropriate to have a fictional character (Santa!) expressing the true fallen nature of people (including children) interspersed with ‘ho, ho, ho’?
- What part of the beauty and power of the election of grace should be presented for satire?
- Do you not fear for your carelessness?
If you need to be told that there are certain truths that may never be ridiculed or presented satirically, then your minds are truly dark.
What the Lord Christ told us in Mat 11 is repeated by the Apostle Paul in Rom 9 (which repeats what the LORD told Moses in Exo 33):
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
Those of you who found humor in the video, why don't you post a video of yourself laughing at this:
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Continuing the questions above:
- One of the purposes of the election of grace is to proclaim the power of the LORD throughout the earth. Tell me, please, how laughing at that great truth in this video would do so?
- Did you miss the part of the text which speaks of the divine hardening? What part of that great truth should be in a video satire? What part of it is worthy of humor and/or laughing?
There is, however, another major part of this great text: Mat 11.28-30:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The great beauty of the gospel is that the sinner doesn't need to know advanced theology in order to believe. Even after one of the most direct statements of the election of Grace and the pure power of the LORD in the NT, the Lord Christ simply said "Come" to those disobedient cities. He made no attempt at "resolving" the truth of the election of grace with the calling of the sinner; that is not ours, as mere people, to understand and certainly not to resolve. As evangelists, it is ours to present to the sinner the simple call to repent and believe. If the LORD is pleased to turn that heart, then it will be turned. Moreover, the great truth of the gospel is that the heart won't be turned without the clear and simple presentation of the Gospel, either by the spoken or written word.
How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Bee, if you are going to persist in your stated purpose of “Christian satire”, then you have a long way to go to learn what is sacred. You need to return to the Book for Theology 101.