Calvinists Go To McDonald’s, Arminians Go To Burger King

by Anthony Russo on November 29, 2010 · 40 comments

(Editor’s Note:  I saw this post at Anthony Russo’s blog, “Throw Away Everything”, and thought it was something the readers of SBC Voices might enjoy.  Things can get pretty heavy here and a little levity can relieve the tension.  Enjoy the post.  Check out Anthony’s blog.  It is well worth reading or putting in your feed.)

John MacArthur would...John Wesley would not

I was dining at the Golden Arches yesterday with the lovely Mrs. when it occurred to me that right before my eyes was a theology lesson on a brown plastic tray.“Honey,” I began, “John Calvin would eat here.”

“What?” she said, fully aware that I had been dangerously left to think on my own again.

“…John Piper would eat here too.”

“What are you talking about?” (A question and look from her with which I am very familiar.)

“Actually, so would John MacArthur…but not A.W. Tozer and certainly not John Wesley.” Then I upped the ante on my thesis: “I think those guys would go to Burger King.” With her usual blue-eyed gaze of love and pity, Mrs. Russo just looked at me, smiled, took another bite of her double-cheeseburger, and waited for my explanation. (She knows me so well!) Here’s what I told her:

McDonald’s has “Chicken Selects”. That’s right…foreordained poultry parts. No respectable Arminian worth his or her sodium would eat Chicken Selects, I mean, c’mon…”elect” is right in the name! Ronald McDonald may be a clown, but if my powers of exegesis are correct–and I’m .099% sure they are–he has Calvinist leanings. By the way…McD’s signature sandwich? …The Big (Johnny) Mac.

Burger King, on the Arminian hand, is the free-willing fast-food kingdom where you can “Have It Your Way!” You wouldn’t find that happy attitude at the land of the Happy Meal. Indeed, the Burger King himself declared that special orders don’t upset his loyal subjects working the counter or the drive-thru.

So you may be wondering where Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, and the rest fit into the fast-food theological spectrum. I haven’t quite worked that out, but feel free to share your thoughts.

1 Matt Svoboda November 29, 2010 at 11:56 am

This post is hilarious.

I am also comforted to know Im not the only guy that thinks such weird things.

2 Matt Svoboda November 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

Oh- and from here on out its McDonalds only for me. Yes- McDonalds-onlyism.

(actually i never liked Burger King so this wont be hard)

Come to think of it, maybe without knowing it this is the reason I never liked Burger King! Anthony, thanks for being so insightful that you help me understand the longings of my own heart. Spirit-led, you are.

3 Anthony Russo November 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Thanks, brother! I’m so glad you liked it and glad we think alike!

“understand the longings of my own heart” – *that’s* classic :-)

4 Dave Miller November 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Here’s my quandary: I think the best fast food sandwich available is a Whopper from the BK steakhouse.

If I eat a whopper, does that make me a heretic, Matt?

5 Matt Svoboda November 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Of course it does… When you choose a Wesleyan Whopper over a Big (Johnny) Mac you are embracing heresy of the worst kind.

6 Dave Miller November 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm


7 Joe Blackmon November 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I’m not sure about fast food, but I know the cartoon Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney is secretly about Calvinism. At the beginning of each episode, their flying robot, Toodles, brings them their Mouskatools (items they’ll need to acomplish various tasks). The items they get end up being the exact items they need including a Mystery Mousekatool and they get them before they even know what they need. Predestination for kids, I’m telling ya. :-)

8 Dave Miller November 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm

You watch the animated Mickey Mouse clubhouse?

9 Joe Blackmon November 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I have a 6 and a 3 year old. ‘Nuff said.

10 Dave Miller November 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

At least you aren’t watching Barney.

11 Anthony Russo November 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for commenting Joe & Dave!

I agree about not watching Barney. Besides being just plain annoying, I think he’s got ecumenical leanings with that whole “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family” stuff.

12 Paul November 30, 2010 at 11:05 am

Barney is definently non elect!

13 Wes November 30, 2010 at 9:25 pm

That is opposed to Diego whose backpack turns into whatever he wants it to. Diego is the Preschool Wesley.

14 Lydia November 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I would rather dine with AW Tozer than Calvin, anyway. Calvin’s Geneva regulated how many courses they could have at meals! Talk about ‘select’. :o)

15 Anthony Russo November 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Well said, Lydia! Thanks for adding to the Monday fun! :-)

16 Doug Hibbard November 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm

This settles the whole argument,though, as true Christians eat at Wendy’s, for their “Fresh, never frozen beef” which indicates a belief that it is appointed unto man once to die, then judgment, with no intermediate cooling off period…

17 Anthony Russo November 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I laughed out loud at that one, Doug! Thanks!

18 Gloria Parker November 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Steak N Shake’s slogan: “Insight it must be right!” …That is your “insight” about the word on the brown plastic tray!

19 Anthony Russo November 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Spoken like the true Steak & Shake fan that you are! By the way, for a couple of years there was a S&S manager in Brandon, FL who’s name was (and I’m not making this up!) “Charles Spurgeon”!

20 MarieP November 29, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Chick-fil-a is the New Jerusalem, the City where righteousness dwells!

And I’m with Lydia….I don’t think Calvin would have wanted to eat with a Baptist, sadly!

21 Anthony Russo November 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

“Chick-fil-a is the New Jerusalem” Oh my…That is a riot! Thanks, Maria!

22 Daniel November 30, 2010 at 1:04 am

This post is Awesome! I hope all of my friends are either predestined or would exercise their free will to read this! Thanks again. … I’m going to post a link on my site to this blog post.

23 Smuschany November 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I dont know about McD’s or BK…but I do know that Jesus would come to St Louis Mo. to eat some Roast Beef…Why? Because we have a chain called “Lion’s Choice”…Where else would the Lion of Judah go?

24 Doc B December 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I lived in St. Louis for 10 years, and boy do I miss Lion’s Choice.
BTW, doesn’t that name imply that lions are Arminian in nature? Of course, they are countered by Darth Vader, who was a Calvinist (‘Luke, it’s your destiny!’)

25 Dave Miller December 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Oh, no he didn’t!

26 Smuschany December 5, 2010 at 1:07 am

Actually since it is “Lion’s” Choice…that is fully in line with Calvin, as it is God who “chooses” us! :D

27 Andrew November 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I’m a Burger King fan (and ironically not a Calvinist), but there are few Burger Kings around where I go to seminary (TEDS). There are plenty of McDonald’s, however. I guess it was predestined for me to eat at McDonald’s, (although I choose not to be a Calvinist). Or maybe I should just go where they don’t cut corners in their theology and eat at Wendy’s.

28 Dave Miller November 30, 2010 at 11:15 pm

That’s funny.

29 Joe Blackmon November 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

And McD’s has to be God’s favorite–one word: McRib.

There, I said it.

30 Ron Hale November 30, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Has a “Diet of Worms” been mentioned for the Calvinists … since it is connected to Luther? :)

31 Dave Miller November 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I’ve often wondered if a diet of worms would help me lose weight.

32 Greg Buchanan December 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Diet of Worms… I think there is a book on that from the early ’70s: “How to Eat Fried Worms.” It was great reading in 4th grade :)

33 Anthony Russo December 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm

So many excellent comments, you all are very funny! Thank you for enjoying my article and sharing in the fun!

34 Dr. James Willingham January 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Hilarious! Calvin who apparently did not like Anabaptists married one…a widow at that. I guess he must have secretly thought, if you can beat ‘em then marry ‘em. Of course, some of them Lollards in England had Baptist leanings and a predestined outlook before John was even born. I read where one said, “we have free will and the papacy out of the universities.” As to all fast foods, they drive you to unbelief, if you do not have a God-given faith. Augustine kind of leaned that way. My favorite was Shoney’s, when they use to make their big chocolate shakes. Long, long ago and far, far away.

35 Jeremy Parks February 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm

And what of the unwashed heathen who live in foriegn parts, places to which the gospel of fast food has yet to arrive?

36 Dave Miller February 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Is there any place in this world where fast food has not arrived?

37 Jeremy Parks February 23, 2011 at 1:11 am

There are numerous towns down here without fast food Americana. The largest cities possess U.S. fast food joints, but not in quantity. Neither are they highly trafficked. I saw a Subway yesterday; nobody was there. I visited 7 towns and cities in 6 days last week – not a single American fast food establishment. Does this leave local evangelicals out of the theological-gastronomical debate?

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