Veggie Tales creator: “[I convinced] kids to behave Christianly without teaching them Christianity.”

When was the last time you heard a prominent name in Christian circles say something like this:

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]

(hat tip: A Twisted Crown of Thorns)

Well, those words belong to none other than Phil Vischer, one of the co-creators of the wildly popular Veggie Tales™ enterprise. And as hard as those words must have been for Mr. Vischer to say, they are rather refreshing to hear. For so long now, we (and many others) have been lamenting the fact that modern-day (what passes for) Christianity has become nothing more than fodder for itching ears and a dumbed-down, candy-coated morality–with a touch of Jesus on the side.

But Christianity–true, genuine, Christianity (or, more appropriately, the submission of one to the Lordship of Jesus Christ)–is not just “good behavior.” That is what is known as “salvation by works.” And Jesus taught that simply “good behavior” is not the same as salvation. Matthew 5:46-47“46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”

The apostle Paul encouraged the church at Ephesus that they no longer had to go about trying to earn enough gold stars and smiley faces before God would accept them–rather, they were saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone–not by piling up brownie points with God. Ephesians 2:8-98 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. And Mr. Vischer nailed this point, and sent a stinging rebuke to the watered-down, man-centered, crossless “Christianity” that is flooding the American landscape:

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.

We can only pray that the many purpose-driven churches that dot the American countryside would examine themselves as closely as Mr. Vischer, and rather than worrying about putting Christ back in Christmas, they would put more emphasis on putting Christ back in their messages.

Holy Spirit Held Hostage?

Well, so says a new petition “made at the Our Lady of All Nations Prayerday in Amsteredam [sic]” this past Sunday. It was a “world wide open petition to Pope Benedict for a new coming of the Holy Spirit.”

Apprising Ministries points you to this rather peculiar situation where, in the superstition of apostate Roman Catholicism, apparently Pope Benedict and the Virgin Mary are a bit at odds and holding up the Holy Spirit.

In the video below Dr. Mark Miravalle fills us in further concerning a petition about Mary, “the Mother of all Nations.” He reminds us that she allegedly appeared via apparitions in Amsterdam “from 1945 to 1959.”

He speculates that she chose to so grace Amsterdam because “it is the most universal city in the world” represented by “over 120 different nationalities.” He explains that the apparitions had a “universal message.”

Miravalle then tells us these apparitions, which he does believe to be the Virgin Mary, gave:

a prayer for all people to pray and ultimately seeking the proclamation of a dogma; a solid proclamation that she is, indeed, the spiritual mother of all peoples–under it’s three essential aspects of co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces, and advocate.

Below you’ll see that Miraville goes on to tell us about a very special announcement also made a week ago today concerning “the launch of a world wide open petition to Pope Benedict for a new coming of the Holy Spirit.”

Miraville tells us how important he thinks this petition is because, as he sees it, the future of the world may depend upon our receiving “the Holy Spirit anew, and it’s through Mary.” In fact, says Miraville:

Our Lady has told us, it’s only with the proclamation of this dogma, will peace enter the world. So these are her words.

Hmm, I would think that Jesus—the Prince of Peace—might take a different view. It almost sounds like a type of spiritual extortion: “Make me the fourth member of the Godhead or I’ll withhold the Holy Spirit and world peace.”

Miravalle hopes that through”intercession of Mary” Roman Catholics will continue to petition Pope Benedict, their “beloved Holy Father,” to officially proclaim this Marian dogma. He continues:

And let’s remember, it’s our Lady herself who asks for petitions; where she say on May 31, 1954, “Work and ask for this dogma; you should petition the Holy Father for this dogma”…

This is important for the good of the Church. So join in this online, world-wide, petition for a new Pentecost, through the intercession of our Lady, to the proclamation of Mary as the spiritual mother of all peoples.

“Mary” seems a bit perturbed and a tad bossy to me. One wonders why she herself just doesn’t ask God to make that proclamation. O wait; it’s not that Holy Father. She means we have to petition the pope, the other holy father.

Let’s see if we have this straight; we ask the under god to officially proclaim Mary Co-Redemptrix and Co-Mediatrix for God the Holy Father and then she’ll intercede for a second Pentecost to send God the Holy Spirit?

Well, following is the petition itself:

Aside from addressing this to “his holiness,” I don’t fault the first two paragraphs. As a former Roman Catholic, and now Christian pastor, I’m concerned about those things as well. I agree, we definately need God’s help.

However, we don’t need a second coming of the Holy Spirit; He is already here. Acts 2 describes when God the Holy Spirit came to fulfill Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer of John 17 to bring the Body of Christ into union with God.

We read in this petition that, “Mary prayed for the Holy Spirit to come at Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit came.” No, she was among the other believers in Jesus Christ who were praying. Jesus had earlier told them:

“And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Jesus said He was sending the Holy Spirit, Mary had nothing to do with it (cf. John 15:26; John 16:7). This next part is absolutely not even close to Christian theology:

Mary has said that she will intercede for a New Pentecost if you, Holy Father, would publicly proclaim her role as the Spiritual Mother of humanity. This proclamation will lead to a new descent of the Holy Spirit and an era of world peace (see Fatima, Amsterdam, Akita Apparitions, etc).

Seriously; Mary will only intercede if she gets her demand to be named “Spiritual Mother of humanity?” Does this mean Almighty God is held hostage to his creation Mary’s demands and hamstrung if His “Vicar” doesn’t comply?

In closing this, for now, notice the petition then says:

we believe in the powerful intercession of Mary as Advocate to bring the light of Holy Spirit into the world today.

Really; Mary as advocate. Have you noticed Who’s been missing in all of this nonsense? Jesus. It is written:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self,…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:5)

Posted here.