UPDATE: 01/05/2023 – As The Chosen is in its third season now, I’ve added some additional resources, and have in the past, as well.
This is a portion from the original post: Concerns With The Series “The Chosen”. In this section, I share my main concerns.
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I’m not against anyone in The Chosen. Like the creator, Dallas, I want to focus on the true Christ. I ask for prayer for everyone involved in the show, and everyone being influenced by the show. That we focus on what is true of Jesus Christ. I think it’s important to discuss our Savior and the way He is portrayed. That doesn’t mean I think The Chosen is evil, isn’t doing any good, or can’t be used by God. All I ask if for you to hear me out. Check out the resources, some are Christian, Catholic, or Mormon. I do not think all Mormons agree on the same points of their doctrine, just like I do not think all Catholics think the same. I’m focusing on the core doctrine of their religions, and followers can certainly disagree with core beliefs. Some interviews with Dallas are not with Christians. I’m trying to help give multiple perspectives so you can critically think most about what matters.
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Problems With The Chosen
Which leads me to what I’m struggling with in The Chosen. Some issues I know others have discussed. (See below for more resources.) I originally had a point talking about how women are depicted in the show, but I think Michelle Lesley explains that much better than I can. Michelle’s post: Overview/Review Of The Chosen
While Dallas works with Mormons, I’m not concerned that the Jesus in The Chosen is the Mormon Jesus.
- Update: 01/02/2023 – There has been controversy about the trailer for season 3 referencing Mormon doctrine when Jonathan, as Jesus, says, “I am the Law of Moses.” This issue is highly debated among Christians. Ex-Mormons feel the line is right out of the Book of Mormon, while other Christians make the point the Law of Moses is all about God, and Christ is God. I’m actually neutral here. I’ve heard a great counter by Christ is the Cure. We don’t have complete evidence that the line is from the Book of Mormon. The Law is about God and Christ fulfills the Law, scripture points to this. HOWEVER, I do see strongly why Christians are concerned about the line.
- Update: 03/23/22 – I missed this connection and feel it’s important to add. In The Chosen, Jesus does say a couple of times for individuals to follow or trust what their heart is telling them. Now, there is connection to the Seeker Driven/Emergent church movement which focuses on emotionalism, but there is also a connection to Mormonism. Mormons use emotions to verify spiritual experiences, and the phrase was known as “a burning in the bosom.” This experience would be their testimony, as to how they came to believe. This experience would be connected to the teaching “follow your heart,” which many false teachings rely on. Using our emotions to discern spiritual experiences is problematic. The Bible says the heart is deceitful. While the Christian is given a new heart, we are at war with the flesh daily, and we are not to use our previous methods of the old man to discern truth. We need the word of God to discern. (See also: Be Careful Of Influencers Using Your Emotions To Manipulate You, Christian Mysticism | Are We Putting God In A Box?, The Still Small Voice | Problems With People Speaking As “Jesus”)
My concern is that the Jesus is The Chosen is watered-downed, weak, confusing, and lacks clarity to present the true Christ, which is what Dallas claims he wants to do.
1. The creator Dallas claims that the Jesus presented in the series is the “authentic Jesus.”
While listening to an interview Dallas had on the Mormon channel Saints Unscripted: Sharing the Authentic Jesus With The World ft. Dallas Jenkins Dallas explains how he looks at the word authentic. Instead of focusing on various false doctrines or different Jesus’, Dallas wants to present the true Christ. He brings up the analogy I shared a few weeks ago in Why Is It Important To Know The Basics Of Christianity?, that we study the real Jesus and by studying the real Christ we will see counterfeits.
Now, I totally agree with this perspective. It’s a GOOD perspective to have. Dallas cares deeply about others. He wants the true Christ to be presented. But there are problems, unfortunately.
Dallas, rightly, reminds his audience (almost with every episode) that this series is not a replacement for scripture. I completely agree with him, he is absolutely right. The only place to find the authentic Christ is in scripture.
This Jesus in The Chosen is a character. It’s a portrayal. This Jesus will save no one. This Jesus is created from the biases of multiple writers and their understanding of scripture. Note: We all have biases from what we understand. We all are going to get things wrong. Dallas says in this in the interview, and he’s right.
Which means the Jesus presented in The Chosen cannot be authentic.
To know the true Christ, we study scripture. Which is why people are having issues when the creator claims his series presents the authentic Christ and at the same time claims this is not scripture. Those who are looking at scripture are not seeing the same Christ in the series. They see a counterfeit.
Definition of “authentic” by Merriam Webster Dictionary is “not false or an imitation.”
The Jesus of the Bible is to be presented a specific way.
- He has 2 natures. The human nature and God nature.
- He is God and Man. (1 John 5:09-10, Mark 14:21)
- He is part of the Godhead, the Trinity. God is one God, 3 Persons. Christ is one of the three Persons. See: Mike Winger: Trinity: Can We Defend It Biblically? & Chris Rosebrough/Doreen Virtue: The Holy Trinity Clearly Explained
- He is not created. (1 Peter 1:20)
- He (God) is not the brother to Lucifer (a creation). Are Jesus and Satan brothers?
- He is sinless. (1 Peter 1:19)
- He atoned on the cross. (Colossians 1:20-21)
- He physically resurrected. (John 27:28)
- We receive salvation through faith alone, grace alone. (Ephesians 2:08)
- We cannot earn our salvation through works. (Romans 3:26-27)
- We cannot earn our salvation after death. (Luke 16:19-31)What Does The Bible Say About Praying For The Dead?
- We must believe in Jesus Christ through faith, believing the message of the Gospel. Christ came to set the sinner free. Christ came to pay off our debt with His blood, His life. Christ changes and cleanses us. (Galatians 3:22, John 8:36, 1 John 1:07-08)
- We cannot be a “good” person because we all are sinners, which is why our works are considered filthy rags. (Romans 3:10, Isaiah 64:06)
- All who put their faith in Christ are considered righteous because the righteousness of Jesus is imputed to them. (Romans 3:22-23)
- Imputation of righteousness occurs because of the atonement sacrifice that took place on the cross, for all who put their faith in Jesus. (1 John 4:10)
- For a much more in-depth breakdown of the Gospel check out: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son (Does God Hate?) , The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
With all of this being said.
The Jesus of The Chosen is false because he isn’t the real and living Jesus Christ. He’s an imitation, therefore he cannot be authentic, either.
While Dallas says the show is not a replacement for the Bible, he also states the show will open people’s eyes to Christ (The Chosen Director Strives To Give Viewers Authentic Experience Of Jesus’ story). Notice the word authentic in the article title. We cannot have an authentic experience from the show, only an imitation of Christ, and an imitation of the apostles and followers. The truth is only the Gospel message can open people’s eyes.
“If you can see Jesus through the eyes of those who actually met him, you can be changed and impacted in the same way they were.”Walker, Y., & The Oklahoman. (2021, July 3). Director of “The Chosen” strives to give viewers authentic experience of Jesus’ story. Retrieved August 16, 2021, from The Oklahoman website: https://www.oklahoman.com/story/news/religion/2021/07/03/the-chosen-director-strives-portray-jesus-authenticity/7817803002/
This is not the Gospel message. Scripture alone, the word of God, opens our eyes through the ministering Holy Spirit not watching a show. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the word of God. Often throughout The Chosen scripture isn’t fully said. The Lord’s Prayer, in season 2, most of it gets cut out, which is upsetting.
While some people are encouraged to go to scripture, and I’m glad they do, not everyone turns to scripture, or has access to a Bible. The show needs to give people the word of God, the Living Bread, more. (I know they have resources people can buy that may explain the Gospel, but the focus here is on the series.) If Dallas wants to give people an authentic experience with the authentic Christ, then he must put the word of God more fully into the show.
Resource: Dallas shares openly with Melissa how he believes he is presenting the authentic Christ. Dallas refuses to answer multiple questions about Mormonism. He believes it would be wrong to do so, but in making this decision, clarity about Jesus is hidden. – Melissa Dougherty: A Candid Conversation With Dallas Jenkins, Director of The Chosen.
2. Mother Mary is getting a bit of screen time
It’s awkward. Mary is not given much reference in scripture. Yet, in season 2, especially, she is making quite a few appearances. Some have questioned if the screen time relates to catering to the Catholic audience.
From the first season, at the end of each episode, there is an option to view a discussion called “The Round Table.” In which Dallas speaks to 3 other men, one man being a Catholic priest. The round table discussions are what started to get me concerned, actually, and this was for season 1.
Catholicism views Mary as an intercessor. To explain this viewpoint much better than I can, check out this post written by a Catholic. Why We Must Ask For Mary’s Intercession For All Souls, Even Those Who Appear To Die In A State Of Mortal Sin.
The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the High Priest. He intercedes on our behalf. We are also told that one of the names for the Holy Spirit is Advocate. He advocates all things of Jesus Christ. He also intercedes on our behalf with groanings that cannot be heard because we do not know what we should pray. (Hebrews 6:20, John 14:26)
There are no direct scriptures that say Mary intercedes on our behalf. (To say the wedding feast means we should ask for her to intercede is a prescription of scripture. The wedding scene is describing what happened, it is not about us. If it was, then Mary should be talked about more in scripture. If Mary is an important intercessor, she should be discussed more in canon scripture and more directly explained.) No scripture says we are to ask for her help. None of the apostles opened and closed their letters mentioning Mary, as the intercessor for their prayers.
I know Catholics say they do not pray to her, but if you are requesting help, to someone viewed as a spiritual being, that is a petition, a prayer. Part of prayer and worship is petitioning, asking for help. Mary is not God, and therefore, we do not need to ask her for help. Mary is not said to be our advocate, the Holy Spirit has the title. Mary can not help us with our salvation in any way.
You might notice if Christ and Mary are together, Christ is always mentioned first. He is Who we need to go to. He is enough. There are a few scriptures in which we see this regarding Christ and Mary, and I wonder if The Chosen will cover the scriptures to show the difference or avoid them. (Matthew 2:11, especially Matthew 12:46-49)
3. The Jesus of The Chosen Seems Very Uncertain
This becomes more apparent in season 2. It has been a criticism many share that seems to be dismissed, like a wave of the hand. Again, I understand this is not a replacement for scripture, and I agree.
However, if you are presenting the “authentic Christ,” can you show me in scripture where He seemed uncertain as much as He seems uncertain in the show? Particularly to the point He needed the advice of the disciples in how He preached to the multitudes?
My husband, actually, was the one who pointed this out to me. His question was, “Isn’t Christ always in submission to the Father? So, why would Christ be so uncertain about the Sermon of the Mount? Christ says He only does what the Father tells Him, so He wouldn’t need to plan what He says. He would just speak what needs to be said.” This point my husband made has had me chew on scripture.
Now, Dallas makes the point that what the writers decide on is largely based on the question if it is within the means of the culture, scripture, etc. This choice has led The Chosen to have the apostles influence Jesus in the series. However, students do not teach the teacher. Christ is not like any other man. Scripture doesn’t give us any room to think this. In fact, Christ says in the Gospels that the Holy Spirit, Who points to Jesus Christ, and His teachings, will remind the apostles everything they didn’t understand before. And, even as The Chosen points out, the apostles had a lot of questions. (John 16:08-14)
Based on scripture, and what the true Jesus has shared, I don’t believe this direction of uncertainty is possible. Jesus was in submission to the will of the Father. Yes, His humanity did not always know things, but He also had the Holy Spirit upon Him, as well. The Holy Spirit Who points to sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. The Holy Spirit Who would instruct the apostles when they were persecuted so that they need not plan what they would say. Why wouldn’t Christ also be instructed through other Members of the Trinity? (Mark 3:11, Matthew 10:19-20)
Christ’s devotion to prayer, worship, and obedience to God far excels any pastor that ever walked this earth or will walk this earth. What mattered the absolute most is what Christ did, and He walked in the way of the Spirit. (ESV) Proverbs 3:05-06 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We know Jesus followed through with this example to the T. Christ was prepared, no doubt. Christ was different than any other man, and it is important to remind and show the audience this, too. Jesus didn’t need the advice of the disciples on how He should preach. Christ was turning to the One who would instruct Him best.
We can’t have a Jesus that is so relatable that we merely compare Him to everyone else. He wasn’t like everyone else, and that is a glorious and amazing blessing! We need HIM to be different before anyone else can be different.
4. The Series Encourages People To Rely On What They Feel, To Seek Christ In Mystical Ways
Let me explain what I mean before the pitchforks come out.
Go to the Facebook page, and often the show shares comments of their followers. Many, and I mean many, people have talked about how they have a “spiritual experience” while watching the show.
Remember, the authentic Jesus is not being presented in the show. So, what kind of experiences with this Emotional Jesus are people having? Feeling a particular way, or even a spiritual high of feeling loved does not mean we are experiencing the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ. Which is why this is so concerning.
Here is the brutal and tragic truth. Satan does not care how close to God you feel, as long as it is to a fake Jesus Christ.
Scripture says we are to test everything, and my friends, I know it’s hard. I know, and I understand from my own past experiences, the desire to “feel a connection” with God. But friends, feelings are so fleeting. Jesus Christ is not fleeting. He is NOT a feeling. The REAL Christ is real no matter HOW we feel. My use of caps is to emphasize (not shout) because we often fall for deceiving lies because of…wait for it….HOW we feel.
This world is about feelings. This world is about seeking spiritual experiences, but only using our emotions to test if something is “good because it feels nice” or not. This is not the Biblical way to discern, friends. This is not how we experience Christ because as soon as the show is done so is our experience, and what then is left?
People who desire more emotional connection with a show than they do with spiritual connection to scripture will never be filled this way. I’m not saying Dallas or other creators are encouraging people to “experience” Christ in this manner, but they are not correcting people or encouraging them to only seek Him in scripture. The show promotes this experience, it’s promoted on their social media. There is no way to test if the “Jesus” people are experiencing by watching the show is the authentic Christ. These experiences could very well be demonic because there is no testing of the spirits.
Please check out these posts I’ve done regarding Christian Mysticism:
Should We Use Our Emotions As Truth? (What Is Emotionalism)
Contemplative Prayer/Spirituality | What You Need To Know About That “Still, Small Voice”
The Still Small Voice | Problems With People Speaking As “Jesus”
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If you would like to view the full post check out: Concerns With The Series “The Chosen”
Resources to check out:
A Word Fitly Spoken (Podcast by Michelle Lesley & Amy Spreeman) Review Of The Chosen (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)
Michelle Lesley: Overview/Review Of The Chosen
Melissa Dougherty: A Candid Conversation With Dallas Jenkins, Director of The Chosen. – Because of the interview Dallas did with Saints Unscripted, Melissa tries to ask Dallas how Mormons view Jesus.
Saints Unscripted: Interview With A Mormon & An Evangelical – Dallas claims Mormons love the same Jesus as an Evangelical. This is the interview that first sparked concern.
– Update: 01/02/2023 – In a more recent interview with Allie Beth Stuckey, Dallas admits some of his previous interviews were sloppy. He has since clarified that he does believe that Mormons believe in a different Jesus based on their core doctrine. – see Allie’s interview – Is the Chosen Biblical?
Saints Unscripted: Sharing the Authentic Jesus With The World ft. Dallas Jenkins – Dallas even talks about studying the real Jesus instead of counterfeits, but as the post makes the point of, the show is not showing the true Jesus.
Churchwatcher and Ingrid McCullough– The Chosen & The Shift– EXTREMELY well done and helpful to critically make you think.
Fighting 4 Faith – A Brief Reality Check On The Chosen
See Also: Interview With Former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron by Justin Peters to understand why it is not ok to accept Catholicism, and why people like Dallas need to show love and speak up against it.
Scripture To Memorize/Meditate On – (ESV) Romans 5:08, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
*To learn more about what Jesus did on the cross and why His atonement sacrifice is so needed please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
*If you do not know the Gospel, do not turn away. If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
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