Monday, March 22, 2010

what's in the Bible (review and giveaway)

tate took advantage of having the place to himself (without the girls) to watch a favorite veggie tales video. now that the girls are getting older, they have less interest in veggie tales and more interest in videos geared for older kids.

thankfully phil vischer, creator of veggie tales, has taken the needs of my girls into consideration. he has a new project, released by tyndale this month, called "what's in the Bible?"  the idea is that veggie tales worked to raise kids' interest in the Bible, but didn't really teach them about what is in the Bible.  mr. vischer wanted to rectify this problem so he came up with the idea of a series of videos that would teach kids more in-depth information from the Bible.

what i learned while watching the first two videos in this series with the kids is that the videos don't just teach the stories of the Bible, they teach a combination of church history, doctrine, theology and practices for Christian living.  somehow they manage to carry this off with a cast of puppets who are engaging, entertaining, informative and captivating.  this series promises to answer questions like "who wrote the Bible?" "how do we know we can trust it" and "how do all all these stories fit together to tell one story?"

i have been reading more and more about the lack of doctrine and theology being taught in our churches.  i grew up having catechism as well as sunday school classes; now my girls don't have either.  i think the what's in the Bible? series addresses a serious need for our kids today.  i was absolutely amazed at the amount of information that was packed in (think sardines) to such a short amount of time.  even more amazing was how much the girls were able to remember about what they had been taught when the video was done.  i'm glad to have an option for the girls to learn about church history and doctrine that is fun and entertaining for them.

i did experience a few disappointments with the videos we watched.  to be honest, i thought there was too much information packed into a short space of time.  the first video didn't even seem to get to the content that was promised because there was so much background information to be gone through first.  i'm not sure that the kids need to know everything that mr. vischer included; i myself experienced information overload, and i already knew a lot of that stuff from seminary days.

while a lot of comic relief is provided by the characters, i thought that everything was so fast-paced it contributed to feeling overwhelmed by the videos.  one of the characters, a little boy riding in the car with his mom, is hilarious, but i found his attitude to his mom disappointingly disrespectful.  i surely don't want my kids to talk to me that way or have that perspective of my abilities.

finally, i was disappointed that on some divisive theological issues, a strong position was taken, one that i personally disagree with.  i thought the videos could have accomplished mr. vischer's objectives without taking such a strong stand on issues where there are good arguments to be made on both sides.  namely, the videos were a little more fundamentalist and anti-reformed theology than i would have preferred them to be.

that being said, my kids thoroughly enjoyed watching the videos together.  even tate, who is more at a veggie tales level, has asked to watch them again.

if you would like to find out more, you can check out the video below.  and if you are interested in having a test drive like i did, i have an opportunity for you to win either the first or the second video.  just leave a comment below telling me about your favorite sunday school teacher (or some other memory from sunday school) and i will randomly pick a winner from the qualifying comments on april 1 (united states residents only). 

tyndale provided me with a review copy of the first two videos in the series free of charge. the opinions expressed here are purely my own, and i am in no other way compensated for this review.


  1. Interesting. Our church just had a viewing of the newest Veggie Tales movie a couple of weeks ago, and I was very disappointed in the obvious lack of explicit Bible teaching that was included. The lesson kids were supposed to take away was "listen to your parents, they know what's best for you." Huh?

    I'm glad to hear that the company is interested in going deeper in their programming, but it seems like older Veggie Tales were a lot more "meaty." I would be interested in seeing the new videos, but, like you, I would be concerned about the anti-reformed theology...

    As far as a favorite Sunday School teacher, I always liked "Miss Judi." I had her in fourth or fifth grade and learned the books of the Bible in order that year. She ended up becoming a missionary in Australia and I was pen pals with one of her students there :)

  2. I'm glad to see your review of these videos. A friend of mine came across them last week, and we had a discussion about whether they seemed like a worthy purchase or not. I would be concerned with content too, but I would love to check it out! Thanks for the review, Mel!

    I loved my Training Union teacher, Mrs. Alexander. She is a soft-spoken, older lady who always brought us treats. These were not the typical candy bar or cookie treats. She liked to bring us Big Macs. That's right. No wonder I remember her! I have seen her more recently as the receptionist at our dentist's office. She has continued to be extremely kind and to always point us to trust the Lord.

  3. I didn't start going to sunday school until I started attending Brookside (Faith E Free then) in high school. One sunday, John, the youth pastor had someone video tape the first part when people were mingling...then he showed it to the leadership team to show how unwelcoming we all were. That's a lesson I won't forget!

  4. I can't wait to get my hands on these videos!!! They look wonderful.

    My favorite Sunday School teachers were a married couple that led our High School Sunday School group. I have to say that w/o them, I would have most likely quit attending Sunday school in high school. They weren't afraid to tackle tough subjects. They had 9 kids and so when we wanted to talk about sex, they found a Bible-based study on the subject. And the big takeaway was, "If you have to have it dark to do what you're doing, then you need to stop. If you can't do the same thing in the light, then it's probably not right." Wise words.

    They also took on some tough questions about death and really helped us see the truth without preaching to us. We were fed and led to the place where we knew on our own. Bill and Anna Mae are still two of my heros!

  5. No childhood Sunday school teachers stand out in my mind, but we really love our teacher nowadays. He's an OT professor who speaks 12 languages and has the most puzzling, fascinating life story. He comes to Sunday school with absolutely no notes and says interesting and edifying things about the minor prophets...or he goes off on delightful tangents that may or may not be related to the topic at hand.

  6. I had a great Sunday school teacher when I was growing up. She really made the stories hit home.




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