VeggieTales is an interesting presentation of Biblical truths in a way that is supposed to communicate with a younger audience. Phil Vischer talks about how he takes very seriously the fact that he is entrusted with communicating to children in their innocence Bible truths and thinks that others, while perhaps teaching good lessons, abuse the trust parents place in them.
MInTheGap talked this week on our stand for Christ and whether we receive persecution for it. VeggieTales is in a unique place in that they’ve only had one Video that’s flat out talked about Jesus and salvation, but they boil down every story to a “nugget” and they focus on that and add jokes.
Is this a cause for concern? Some sites seem to think so, and I think they have a point. VeggieTales takes liberties with stories. They introduce the fact that the Ninevites were slapping people with fishes– definitely not a sin that was big at the time that Jonah was trying to rebuke. Jonah, played by Archibald Asparagus, went out on a pirate ship away from Joppa, was greeted by angels in the belly of the whale a la Pinocchio, and then ends up meeting up with the pirates for Mr. Twisty’s Twisted Cheese Curls.
But is this adding to the Biblical account? Can we say that the VeggieTales crew is actually trying to add to the Scripture? They did go about quoting it, but I think there’s a less serious thing going on here. In the context of what is going on, these are vegetables telling a story in their own way. Now, I don’t think that even if they had gone word for word with the Biblical text you would still get me to believe that Jonah was a vegetable. In fact, I think that I’ve even told a few Bible stories with a child-type explanation for a big term. Does that me not faithful to the text?
In fact, this is probably one of the few tellings of the Jonah tale that sticks to the whole story– where it doesn’t end with Ninevah repenting, but with Jonah arguing with God about not finishing them off.
I’m undecided about where VeggieTales is going– I think that they are trying to become more appealing to the general culture, and may therefore water down the Biblical messages. At the same time, they continue to be faithful to the “nugget” and my kids aren’t having troubles differentiating the real stories from those on VeggieTales.