Winnie-the-Pooh Theology


From James K.A. Smith, Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition, p.24.

A distinguishing mark of Calvinism—in worship, theology, and practice—is a decidedly theocentric perspective that sees the whole drama of creation, fall, and redemption as ultimately about God, and more specifically, God’s glory. Contemporary evangelicalism, dominated by a kind of Arminian consensus, has become so thoroughly anthropocentric that it ends up making God into a servant responsible for taking care of our wants and needs. (Rodney Clapp calls this ‘Winnie-the-Pooh- theology, drawing on Pooh’s logic: ‘I hear a bee buzzing; where there are bees, there is honey; and where there is honey, it must be for me.’) But Calvinism offers a radically different worldview and requires a paradigm shift in our thinking, from a focus on our wants and needs to focus on God’s glory. ‘What is the chief end of man?’ the Westminster Catechism asks. ‘To glorify God and enjoy him forever.’ However, the Prayer of Jabez-minded evangelicalism we’re coming from (where preachers are more akin to Tony Robbins-like hucksters than to Puritan preachers) seems to say the opposite: ‘What is the chief task of God? To make me happy and give me what I want.’