1. MC says:

    Great piece Stephen. I think the ironic thing is that Piper couldn’t be more wrong. Not only is Santa so prevalent in America and increasingly world-wide, but other versions of St. Nicholas are revered (and have been historically) almost in more and more parts of the globe as time goes on.

    Other than Mary the mother of Our Lord, St. Nicholas is probably the most revered human in history. Obviously Christ should be revered above Mary, the Bishop of Myra or anyone else, so though Human too, I didn’t include Him in that group. Infinitely so. Basically, it goes for most of the believing world: Christ, FAR lower than He, Mary, and then Nicholas. Seriously. I don’t know what Heaven will be like, but I can’t see God taking away good things like our appreciation of heroes, but they St. Nicholas, CS Lewis, Tolkien, Spurgeon, Sergeant York, or others. I don’t think Him doing so is biblical. I mean, Paul made a point of appealing to Heroes of the faith.

  2. dmdutcher says:

    Has a year passed by already? The last post was one year ago to the day.

    Not much about my opinion has changed, I think. I don’t think i’d debate you so vociferously on it this year though.


  3. One of the weaknesses of the Puritan wing of my beloved Reformed tradition is how it can encourage Reformed believers to deny, or keep at arm’s length, art and imagination, which, as Lewis masterfully teaches us, are means of nourishing the Faith in our children.

    As for the pop-culture Santa story-lines, any family properly catechizing their children regularly shouldn’t fear their exposure to amusing and fantastical notions not based exclusively on Christian ideas. Christians well-grounded in their faith can enjoy and laugh this off without it threatening their faith. Just lighten up and enjoy the season!

    That said, Piper doesn’t really represent the Puritan wing of the Reformed tradition, but being a disciple and popularizer of Jonathan Edwards’s “Religious Affections,” etc., represents the influence of hyper-revivalistic and pietistic moralism. This can produce a similar unnecessary rejection of good temporal gifts, like the Americanized Santa Claus element of the modern Christmas tradition.

    • Paul Lee says:

      I’ve found myself surrounded by the differences in Reformed tradition without ever really intending to. But the descent of Christian traditions has always been interesting to me, so your comment about Puritanism as one wing of Reformed tradition is interesting to me–and Jonathan Edwards not really being a Puritan. Obviously he wasn’t a literal English Puritan, and obviously the English Reformed tradition was bigger than Puritanism and probably bled into Anglicanism, which was also always a little bit Reformed…. not to mention the Continental Reformed….

What do you think?