“THE CHOSEN” FICTION: What’s Wrong With “The Chosen” TV Series? T. A. McMahon of Bereancall.org Sums it Up in his Stellar Article (AUDIO and VIDEO INCLUDED)

FIRST I think that it’s of utmost importance for the reader to watch this video. Click on “Watch on YouTube”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I cannot tell you how many times I communicated with the people responsible for “The Chosen” series. I even got through via email to Dallas Jenkins but to no avail at all. I came to them in a “Let us reason together” attitude. Each time I was shut down. I nearly wrote an article about this a number of times, but then put it back into drafts. I’m very glad that I listened to the Lord because this article from Bereancall.org says it all!

Audio Version of Article. click to listen

From bereancall.org

“THE CHOSEN” FICTION

December 1, 2021 T. A. McMahon

At a conference not too long ago, I was asked to give a review of The Chosen TV Series. I did so, but before I began my critique, I informed the audience that I hadn’t watched even one frame of the series, and my guess was that that revelation would make more than a few people upset with my criticisms. The immediate response by those enamored with the series about the life of Christ was to scorn everything I said, saying, “He’s like those who criticize books, even the Bible, without having read them!” I can relate to that. I’ve had many discussions with some who tell me what the Bible says without having read it themselves, so I can see why my initial review and its approach would put some people off.

Since my first critique I have viewed a couple of the programs, parts of which I’ll address. However, I want to explain why I believe watching the series is not necessary for rejecting it. In doing so, my explanations will appeal to Scripture and reason in light of Isaiah’s words, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD” (Isaiah:1:18).

Why isn’t it necessary to watch The Chosen in order to criticize it, and how would that be any different than critiquing a novel without having read it? First of all, a novel is defined generally as “a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.” In other words, it’s a made-up story. Yet it must be read in order to be evaluated.

Not so with The Chosen. It professes to be true to the Bible’s teachings, as well as a faithful representation of the Bible’s stories and characters. The Bible, however, declares itself to be inerrant and infallible in all that it teaches, as well as God’s authority in all that it commands. It’s God’s Word. If it condemns any attempt to visually represent the content and characters of the Bible (which it does) then one has no need to watch The Chosen because it claims to visually represent it—in direct disobedience to the Scriptures.

All biblical movies are visual translations and interpretations of the words and narrative presented in the Bible. If a Christian was aware that the Bible condemns visual translations and interpretations of the Scriptures, there would be no need to evaluate a movie or video series based upon the Bible before rejecting them. But does the Bible denounce any such attempts to translate/interpret it through a visual medium?

It does. And it does so in many indisputable ways. But before I point out the scriptures related to the Bible’s denunciation of such productions, I need to present some of the components that are involved in the production of making a movie that must be considered when determining whether or not “biblical movies” can be truly biblical. These are things I know and have experienced while studying filmmaking in graduate school and having worked for 20th Century Fox studios for a number of years. I then moved on to a career as a screenwriter in Hollywood before being saved and spending four decades in Christian ministry with Dave Hunt.

This is how the process works. A movie begins with a screenplay. It’s either an original story or a screen adaptation from someone else’s work (such as the Bible). The screenplay or movie script, in addition to presenting the storyline or plot, the characters, and the dialogue, consists of visual descriptions of what is taking place in the movie story. For example, if a scene calls for a vehicle, a description is needed for the art director or prop man to find the right kind of car for a particular scene or purpose. If the script calls for the car to be crashed, that needs to be described in detail if the crash is going to be unique and significant to the storyline. This is just one example of the creative input that is necessary for the filmmaking process.

Although the screenwriter is the initial composer of the movie script, changes to the script always take place during filming. Such changes are usually made by the movie’s director. Reasons for the changes from the original script are seemingly endless: actors’ egos, budget cuts, weather problems, location problems, the executive producer’s ego, the cameraman’s “inspirational idea” for filming a scene, union problems, stunt failures, the director’s ego, etc. The author of the motion picture, for the most part, is the screenwriter, even though contributions of interpretation also come from the director, the actors, and a host of others creatively involved in the filming process.

All of that and much more are involved in every attempt to translate the Bible itself into a theatrical motion picture for the silver screen and/or television. The question therefore, for every Bible-believing Christian, is this: Can the Bible be presented through the filmmaking process and stay true to what God’s Word says about His Word?

Well, what does it say? Proverbs:30:5-6
:“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (italics added). God’s words are His words, written down by men, His prophets (2 Peter:1:20-21
). “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts:17:29
, emphasis added).

 “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation:22:18-19).

Read rest of article HERE

For further insights into the problems with visually translating the Bible, we recommend Showtime for the Sheep and “The Bible According to Hollywood.” For materials related to the cult of Mormonism we recommend The God Makers and “Mormon Fiction” [see TBC article August 2

MARANATHA!

25 thoughts on ““THE CHOSEN” FICTION: What’s Wrong With “The Chosen” TV Series? T. A. McMahon of Bereancall.org Sums it Up in his Stellar Article (AUDIO and VIDEO INCLUDED)

  1. rlinaz

    Interesting.

    First of all, I have directly communicated with Dallas Jenkins multiple times and he does not claim that they are representing The Chosen as ‘being true to the Bible’s teachings, as well as a faithful representation of the Bible’s stories and characters.’ That is a completely false statement, in fact he often emphatically says this is their dramatic interpretation of biblical stories. It is not to act as a substitute for scripture. So when criticizing The Chosen we must be honest in stating our disagreements.

    Also, I have no problem with theatrical presentations of Bible stories, because where do we draw the line?! Church programs that aren’t perfect adaptations of the narratives they portray?! Film interpretations of Jesus, even those that are flawed, draw people to Christ, because His word will never return void. Seriously, becoming like the Pharisees isn’t the intent of the gift of discernment. I enjoyed the movie ‘Paul the Apostle of Christ’ and ‘Risen’, but don’t for a moment believe they are a substitute for scripture!

    That being said, The Chosen has drifted into outright heresy on a number of fronts, and while I was initially enthusiastic about the program, I am very disappointed with the direction it has taken. Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in a very compelling way, is a devout Catholic. And he recently was invited to meet with the pope, and Dallas Jenkins was also included. Dallas claimed after their meeting that he found the pope to be a very kind and humble man, and has incorporated both unbiblical portrayals of Jesus in Season 2, along with allusions to the veneration of Mary, which is an overt nod to Catholicism. I assume this is to increase viewership and revenues. Many true Christians are abandoning The Chosen as a result.

    I no longer watch The Chosen and am quite saddened that almost no one is able to withstand the temptations of the world, even when they seemingly are in Christ and move forward with the best of intentions.

  2. Dale Vernon

    I heartily recommend the reader subscribe to The Berean Call. I have for years & have saved them for future reference. They come in handy for avoiding false “gospels” & other spurious “teachings”. U can get back issues from them as well. Also they have a “bookstore” stocked with Godly books. Dave Hunt’s past books are also available & still appropriate today although he’s with the Lord . It’s helped me alot. Here’s their address.
    The Berean Call
    PO Box 7019
    Bend Oregon
    97708-7020
    Ph #800 937 6638

    PS They wont “bug” you for money..they depend on the Lord by faith alone in Christ alone.

  3. Joy D'Andrea

    Now I know why I didn’t want to watch this film even though others have wanted me to follow it. Thank you for bringing this truth out.

    1. Donna Johnson

      I am sharing this article also. Wonderful and timely. Wake up church and discern between a cheap imitation and the real thing: The word of God.

  4. Deborah K Thornton

    and he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought: Saying unto them, It is written My house is the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. Luke 19:45-46 I wish Dallas had made his movie without merchandizing the gospel by selling t-shirts, caps, mugs, etc. So many ministers of the gospel have gone the way of the world by profitting financially. The gospel was never intended for profit. Jeus tipped the money changers tables over with a whip. Do we expect he will be any different with us?

  5. Dana Poff

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Hunt at a friend’s house not long after I first got saved almost 34 years ago. My friend and I are both Jewish believers. It was easy to see Brother Dave’s love for the Jewish people. I love The Berean Call, and I get their emails daily. I watched the first season of The Chosen, but when I started to watch the second season I did not get very far. I was glad when I received the above article from TBC confirming what I had already discerned. I shared it with others, but of course many people refused to read it. They think The Chosen is wonderful. It is still hard to understand at times why some Christians would rather not know the truth, but I have always asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to all truth. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You are so very welcome. I’m so glad that I waiting and did not write the piece myself. When I saw it on TBC, I praised God that they had written this. My husband and I started having very bad feelings during the 2nd season too.

  6. I’ve watched both seasons of The Chosen, while I agree that no one should attempt to add to or take away from Scripture, I disagree with this assessment of what Dallas Jenkins is doing with The Chosen. He is up front in stating that these are fictional representations mostly of side stories that are not included in Scripture. What were Jesus and His disciples doing in the blank spaces in the Gospels? They were real people doing real people things, and I think that is what Jenkins is attempting to do — give us a peek into the real human side of Jesus and His disciples. I don’t think we need to be too critical of this; preachers do this from the pulpit all the time to give a little “insight” to the listeners. Have you not heard any descriptions lately of what the wise men experienced on their journey to Bethlehem? Matthew doesn’t say, but that doesn’t keep some preachers from making things up. The question is, does it to harm to the Scripture? It does, if it contradicts Scripture or biblical doctrine. I will say this about the last episode of Season Two with which I disagreed. Jenkins portrays Jesus struggling to compose, (with Matthew as his “sounding board”) the Sermon on the Mountain. I don’t think Jesus ever struggled to say what He had to say. Jenkins, in this case, attempted to make Jesus a little too human. That said, I don’t see much wrong with the series. It’s fiction, and it should be seen as such, nothing more, nothing less.

      1. dana poff

        Geri, I agree with you. Also, my husband (who is a pastor) and I objected to the way Jesus was portrayed at times as not being omniscient

    1. If we can’t “add” to Scriptures in the sense that the author of this article is following, then all we could do would be to quote them. Pastors couldn’t preach sermons about them. We couldn’t receive Rhema words from the Holy Spirit because they aren’t printed in the Bible. I have never seen any of this series, so can’t speak about it, but I have seen other Biblical movies and series, some good, some less than desirable. I have always found fiction, when as true to biblical truths as possible, often captures the minds and hearts especially of non-Christians, better than a sermon. Paul said that we are all letters open to be read by those we come in contact with. So when we portray Jesus through our actions and words to others, are we adding to Scripture? I don’t think so. John said that the world couldn’t hold all the books that could be written about Jesus and what He did, so there is much we can’t read in the word that we can read in people’s lives. I believe adding to the word means adding wrong interpretations and human doctrines, not adding background to help us understand what has been written. Just my opinion for what it’s worth. 🙂

      1. It’s strange to me that those who defend The Chosen have no problem with Mormonism permeating the production of it. I hope that you watched the video at the bottom of the article. I knew that Mormons were involved, but I was told by Dallas Jenkins that the ONLY way they were involved was that he chose the filming sight to be in Utah because it was cheaper. Now we see that there was so much more to it than that. And Jenkins even eluded to beginning to believe that we ALL worship the same Jesus. NOT TRUE.

  7. Stephan

    Wow! I watched season 1 and liked it. Especially scenes with Jesus. However, I know it’s only a matter of time before it becomes full blown heresy. Satan is the prince and power of the air, Meaning he controls the air waves. Television is exactly what it means, ‘to tell a story or a vision from ones Own imagination”. Imagery is what the enemy uses to deceive us. I doubt this will stop or slow down the masses from watching or purchasing it. Hopefully God will use it to arouse people to read His word. One thing that we believers are all guilty of is crucifying the messenger and not listening to the actual message. Anytime a person says something about Gods Word everybody is quick to google that person to find their history, resume and dirt from their past. We always seem to reject the message due to how we feel bad the messenger. In reality the only difference between the hardcore felon in prison and us who have never seen the inside of a court room is that they got caught and we didn’t…. This article is very Good and whoever wrote it definitely has wisdom. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Mark V

    I read this article Nov.25 in Rapture Forum and I immediately felt convicted to pull out of my investment with Angel Studios for David. I had seen only the first two of Chosen and was disappointed but still invested in David out of human emotion. “…but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? Declares the LORD.” Praise God He is faithful and merciful.

  9. LV McGraw

    For some strange reason, I just could not get into it. Some of my friends watch it and exclaimed how good they thought it was. So I watch a show and just plain did not like it,. I tried to watch it again and felt the same way. I couldn’t “get into” it and actually did not like it. to me it was boring. Never watched again.

  10. Dana Poff

    This is from The Berean Call January 2022 Newsletter

    A Response about “The Chosen”
    We received this response from the organization that produced The Chosen (TC) television series and what follows is our response (TBC) to the organization’s complaints.

    TC: We don’t mind criticism, but we do expect it to be accurate, particularly when it comes from organizations dedicated to the truth.

    And this video [the audio of TBC’s article posted on YouTube] starts right off with a blatant deception when it says we “profess to be true to the Bible’s teachings, as well as a faithful representation of the Bible and its characters,” and “it claims to visually represent the Bible.”

    TBC: The opening statement of season 1 episode 1 of The Chosen declares:

    “The Chosen is based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ. Some locations and timelines have been combined or condensed. Backstories and some characters or dialogue have been added.”

    That statement seems to indicate that the intention of The Chosen programs is “to be true to the Bible’s teachings, as well as a faithful representation of the Bible and its characters.”

    When a movie company films biblical stories of “the gospels of Jesus Christ,” isn’t it “visually represent[ing] the Bible”?

    TC: That is simply false. We have said EXPLICITLY from day one that we are not a re-enactment of the Bible…

    TBC: Evidently, those who wrote this TC response haven’t watched their series. Most of the scenes are attempts to “re-enact” stories from the Bible.

    The exceptions are the numerous “backstories” which feature biblical characters in scenes not found in the Bible but are from the minds of the creative movie production people, and that would include the “dialogue” of the many actors that “have been added.”

    TC: …that the show is INSPIRED by the Bible, not based on it verse by verse, and from the first frame of the show, we encourage people to read the Scriptures.

    TBC: The use of the phrase “INSPIRED by” (upper case emphasis is TC’s) is used in theatrical movie productions to imply to the audience that historical accuracy is involved. Accuracy is rarely if ever a concern in theatrical dramas. “Inspired by” is simply a religious cover for The Chosen’s artistic license which constitutes blasphemy.

    The encouragement to people who watch The Chosen to read the Scriptures sounds good, but is fraught with confusion and delusion. The backstories as well as the numerous scene additions and character details of the actors are nowhere found in Scripture. What then of the person who takes The Chosen’s advice to “read the Scriptures” and can’t find what was presented in the TV series? Which is he to believe: The Bible, or the fiction created by the screenwriter and his production associates?

    TC: We’re not God’s Word, the Bible is God’s Word, and it is perfect. And as to the silly mention of the Bible verse about “adding to scripture,” fear not, we’re not adding to Scripture because we’re not Scripture.

    TBC: Let’s consider how silly is the “silly mention of the Bible verse about ‘adding to scripture’.” “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6) “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18) Silly?

    TC: Your Bible hasn’t changed since the show was created. Just like any movie or show about any historical period of time or characters, we’re a show about the people of 1st Century Galilee, with the Bible as our primary source of truth and inspiration.

    TBC: The primary historic person presented throughout The Chosen is a fictitious Jesus Christ. The characterization of him whom the Bible declares is God manifested in the flesh is as far removed from “the primary source of truth” as heaven is from hell.

    TC: This video [TBC’s article] also adds other shockingly false assertions, such as the ridiculous notion that we’re introducing the “Jesus of different faiths.” Never said.

    TBC: We suggest that you review the many interviews with Dallas Jenkins, especially those with Mormon apologist David Snell. They both agree that they believe in the same Jesus—that would be the LDS Jesus and the evangelical Jesus that Mr. Jenkins professes to believe in.

    TC: Or the laughable assertions about the beliefs some of the producers supposedly have about Jesus having multiple wives. Patently false.

    TBC: I rather doubt that the committed Mormon producers consider the polygamy of “Jesus” a “laughable assertion.” That would be to reject the teachings of Mormon Apostles Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde (“Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children” Journal of Discourses 2:210) as well as polygamists 4th Mormon President/Prophet Wilford Woodruff and 10th President/Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith. Furthermore, an unmarried and childless Jesus would disqualify him from working his way to become a god.

    TC: Not to mention that the creator of the show, the one who has total control of the content, is an evangelical, and the show has zero “Mormon” influence. At least try to be accurate.

    TBC: Your reference to professing evangelical Dallas Jenkins as “one who has total control of [The Chosen’s] content” tells us that you are ignorant of Mr. Jenkins contract which is a “Work for Hire Agreement.” That means that The Chosen Mormon Production Company is ultimately in control.

    In consideration of the many biblically compromising interviews given by ecumenist Dallas Jenkins, no one should look with confidence regarding his alleged “control of [The Chosen’s] content.”

    What was stated in our article was that the introduction of the multitude of unbiblical scenes added to The Chosen series opens the door for the acceptance of any beliefs about the Bible, including the bizarre doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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