Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, basically recanted the entirety of the Veggie Tales series a few months ago in an interview with World Magazine. His insight into the issue sheds a great deal of light on the subtle difference between morality and Gospel:
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.
["It's Not About the Dream," WORLD magazine, Sep 24, 2011, 57-58]
That’s a statement that takes a lot of humility to make. Veggie Tales in its heyday generated millions of dollars in revenue with the moralism that it peddled. Now, its creator humbly admits that the entire empire missed the most crucial component of Christianity, the Gospel.
So now what? What do parents who have brought their kids up on Veggie Tales do now? In fact, what do adults who have been brought up on Veggie Tales do now? How do we bring ourselves back to biblical reality? Simple. Just remind ourselves that in our depravity, no matter how much we clean ourselves up, we will never even be as brave or as faithful as Larry the Cucumber, nor as loving or as forgiving as Bob the Tomato. In fact, if we were vegetables, even our best efforts would leave us deserving of being blended into V8 (Rom 3:23; 6:23).
Discarding our Veggie Tales collection may or may not be important. I will leave that up to moms and dads to decide. But discarding any effort or striving that aims to make ourselves clean enough to stand before a holy God is not negotiable. We must remind ourselves that our righteousness is found outside of ourselves in a crucified and risen Christ. Neither Bob nor Larry– nor Petunia Rhubarb for that matter–will ever lead us there. Mr. Vischer’s recantation is a reminder that perfect obedience can only be found in a man who is now seated at the right hand of God.