Westminster Seminary California
Eat Your Vegetables
Eat Your Vegetables

I was recently reading my son a book that featured popular talking vegetables. I’m not sure where the book came from, but my son asked me to read it to him. The book was supposed to be about Easter. I thought to myself, “Well, I’m not sure how this will turn out but I’ll give it a read.”

As we read the book together the story begins with what I suppose is a squash (I’m not a big fan of squash myself, though I’ll eat it if it’s placed before me) that was very concerned about making sure all of the details for her Easter celebration were ready. The squash was quickly disappointed and things were not working out. Long story short, the squash realized what the real meaning of Easter was all about: “This is the reason for Easter, she thought, not flowers or trumpets or the hat that I bought! But to worship our Savior who was raised on this day to give us all hope and to show us the way!”

It immediately struck me that there was no mention of who the Savior was. No mention of Jesus. There was no mention as to why this unnamed Savior was raised on “this day.” No mention of what day he was raised on, namely Sunday. No mention of sin, death, the curse of the law. And then the unnamed Savior’s work was characterized as one that was supposed to “give us hope and show us the way.” While I suspect the author and publisher had every intention of writing a theologically sound book for children, this is not the message of the gospel. Yes, the gospel does impart hope, but that is not its chief purpose. And what is especially misleading is that Jesus did not come to show us the way—this is a typical way that heretics such as Pelagius or Faustus Socinius have described Jesus—as a moral example, not as Savior. Jesus does not show us the way but rather he saves us. There is a difference between showing someone the way out of a burning building and picking him up and carrying him out of the building.

In the end, it seems best that we leave instruction in the gospel to Scripture and to catechisms—teach your children the Scriptures and catechize them. Use the Heidelberg Catechism or the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Both were originally written with this very purpose in mind—training children in the knowledge of Scripture and good doctrine. Don’t listen to vegetables for instruction in truth--eat your vegetables.