© Copyright 2012, Matt Caffeinated.
First let me say this: I think VeggieTales is cute. I don’t have a problem with my kids watching them. I do NOT think however, that they are “Christian.” There was a time when I believed that they were but I was far less discerning then…
Back then I believed that the reason I was “saved” was because I had “asked Jesus into my heart” and I had started do “good” things with my time. I had somehow bought into the notion that as long as I continued to say “No” to the wrong things and “Yes” to the right things, my salvation would be secure.
Sadly this is what a large majority of Americans have embraced as well… In a not-so-recent article (that I just saw), Phil Vischer, founder of VeggieTales has had a similar journey.
I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, ‘Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,’ or, ‘Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!’ But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality.
American Christian[s]… are drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god… We’ve completely taken this Disney notion of ‘when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true’ and melded that with faith and come up with something completely different. There’s something wrong in a culture that preaches nothing is more sacred than your dream. I mean, we walk away from marriages to follow our dreams. We abandon children to follow our dreams. We hurt people in the name of our dreams, which as a Christian is just preposterous.
[“It’s Not About the Dream,” WORLD magazine, Sep 24, 2011, 57-58]
Sola gratia sola fide. I’m thrilled that Phil had the same wake-up call that I did!
THOU GOD OF MY END,
Thou hast given me a fixed disposition to go forth and spend my life for thee; If it be thy will let me proceed in it; if not, then revoke my intentions. All I want in life is such circumstances as may best enable me to serve thee in the world; To this end I leave all my concerns in thy hand, but let me not be discouraged, for this hinders my spiritual fervency; Enable me to undertake some task for thee, for this refreshes and animates my soul, so that I could endure all hardships and labours, and willingly suffer for thy name. But, 0 what a death it is to strive and labour, to be always in a hurry and yet do nothing!
Alas, time flies and I am of little use. 0 that I could be a flame of fire in thy service, always burning out in one continual blaze. Fit me for singular usefulness in this world. Fit me to exult in distresses of every kind if they but promote the advancement of thy kingdom. Fit me to quit all hopes of the world’s friendship, and give me a deeper sense of my sinfulness. Fit me to accept as just desert from thee any trial that may befall me. Fit me to be totally resigned to the denial of pleasures I desire, and to be content to spend my time with thee. Fit me to pray with a sense of the joy of divine communion, to find all times happy seasons to my soul, to see my own nothingness, and wonder that I am allowed to serve thee. Fit me to enter the blessed world where no unclean thing is, and to know thee with me always.
It is patently absurd and totally false to say that what we don’t know can’t hurt us, especially when it comes to theology. There is no subject in existence that is more important. But what I think could be worse than not knowing is what we do know that is not actually true.