Is the chosen a good choice? That is the topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian Worldview radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. I'm David Wheaton, the host. Christian Worldview is a nonprofit, listener supported radio ministry. We're able to reach believers and non-believers with that mission through the radio station website or app on which you are listening today because of the support of listeners like you. So thank you for your prayer, encouragement and support.
You can connect with us by visiting our website, thechristianworldview.org, calling our toll-free number 1-888-646-2233 or by writing to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Just a quick update before we get to the preview for the topic today. We really had a wonderful event last week, the speaker series event with Alex Newman. He gave a really compelling presentation on the great reset that we will be making available, at least the audio of it, in the coming weeks. And we so enjoyed meeting face-to-face with listeners who came out to the event, so thank you for your participation. Alright, let's get to our preview for today's topic on The Chosen.
You have likely heard about and may have seen The Chosen television series. Tens of millions of people all over the world are watching it. It's been translated into dozens of languages. Most Christians say they just love it and call it life-changing. Even many non-Christians say how it's given them a new perspective on Jesus. The series, now in its third season, depicts the life of Jesus generally based on biblical accounts, and particularly from the perspectives of those closest to Jesus, like his disciples. Generally being the important word because what Dallas Jenkins, the lead creator of the series, has done is added all kinds of, quote, plausible fiction to the stories in the Gospels. For instance, Jesus is portrayed as doing speech prep before the Sermon on the Mount. The Apostle Matthew is portrayed as autistic. These things, Dallas Jenkins would say, are plausible.
In other words, the dictionary defines that as seemingly reasonable or probable. Now, is that a problem? I mean, don't all films and books use, quote, artistic license? Isn't the greater good here that so many millions of people are being introduced to Jesus in a, quote, fresh and relatable way? Well, this weekend on The Christian Worldview, we're going to examine The Chosen and ask the question, is the series honoring to God in His Word and therefore something you and your family should watch? So let's start out by asking the question, what is The Chosen?
Well, I went to the Got Questions website, and they have a whole page on it, and they're very favorable on it, so their take is very positive for The Chosen. They say, The Chosen is a television show about the life of Christ. Season one, released in 2019, garnered attention for several reasons. It is the first television show of its kind, presenting the life of Christ over multiple seasons. It planned seven seasons total. It was crowdfunded, bringing in more donations, over $40 million as of 2023, than any other media project ever. It is the first series to be launched in every country simultaneously via its own app, with over 108 million views so far in 180 countries, and it is being praised for its accurate and engaging storytelling.
Moving on with the article, The Chosen is free to watch, with no fee or subscription necessary. The show's creator, Dallas Jenkins, who is the son of the left-behind co-author Jerry Jenkins—remember the books and the movies he did with Tim LaHaye—has a degree in biblical studies. In creating the show, Dallas Jenkins put together a panel of expert consultants—we'll get to that more—to ensure biblical and historical accuracy in the script he was co-writing for the show. On the panel were a messianic Jewish rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest, and an evangelical professor of biblical studies. So you have to remember that every worldview has a source.
So The Chosen is projecting a worldview. And while it is based on scripture, the gospel accounts of the life of Christ and his disciples, the worldview that's going to bleed through is going to be that of Dallas Jenkins primarily, and also those that are contributing to it. So who is Dallas Jenkins? He did an interview with Sean McDowell, who is a well-known Christian apologist, and also the son of Josh McDowell, who is also a Christian apologist as well.
At the beginning of the interview, Sean McDowell asked Dallas Jenkins a very important question. I'm really curious, before we get to The Chosen, why are you a Christian? What's your story?
Oh, that's a great question. I was raised in an evangelical home. My dad is Jerry Jenkins, the author of the Left Behind books, which is what he's been writing since I was alive. And so I was raised, born into a family that took God seriously and Jesus seriously, and I was a churchgoer.
So yeah, I think that's why I got started. Now as to why I'm still a believer 47 years into my life, it's that my experience with God, my experience as a believer has—this may sound weird, but it's lived up to the promise that a childlike conversion experience as it were, accepting Jesus into your heart and committing your life to Him has not made necessarily life easy, but it's made life joyous, as your dad has written. Your dad has written extraordinary books. But when the promises of faith come alive, even here on earth, even before you get to the ultimate promises of faith, which is eternity, you go, yeah, I've just seen too much. I've seen too much to where I can't not believe. So yeah, I think since I was probably five years old when I first prayed the prayer, I believe God has been proven faithful. So that was Dallas Jenkins' answer as to why he is a Christian, that he accepted Jesus into his heart when he was younger, and now he's seen too much to not believe, and that his childlike conversion experience has made life joyous.
There wasn't a word about sin, repentance, or even about Christ and what his work was on the cross. And that's remarkable because the question wasn't just, are you a Christian? Lots of people will answer, oh, of course, yes, I've gone to church and I was baptized as a child or something like that. But why you are a Christian? And the answer as to why someone becomes a Christian has everything to do with the fact that we are sinners and we need to be reconciled and forgiven by a holy God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. And so when that's not communicated at all, it always leaves me to question whether someone actually understands what the gospel is and what they're actually believing in. God doesn't save us to make our lives just more joyous. The primary reason why anyone becomes a Christian should be that we are sinners and under threat of God's judgment unless we receive by faith God's terms of reconciliation, that we repent of our sin and put our faith in God's provision for our sin, the person and work of his Son on the cross and his resurrection.
Sure, there's other benefits to salvation like a joyous life and peace and so forth, but why we are a Christian primarily is because we're sinners against a holy God, and we need to become right with him. So getting back to the article from Got Questions on the Chosen, it says, Dallas Jenkins' goal in creating the show was to help people know Jesus better and love Scripture more. To reach that goal, he and the other script writers took the gospel accounts and added plausible—and that's a very key word that Dallas Jenkins uses over and over—plausible. Again, it means seemingly reasonable or probable details about the lives of the biblical figures found there in the gospel accounts. The intended result, Got Questions said, is that viewers see the people in the Bible as real people who dealt with the same types of issues we all have to deal with.
In The Chosen, the disciples have families and friends, they have reputations to uphold, they have a sense of humor, and they struggle with finances and other concerns. As with all storytelling based on historical events, some artistic license is evident—I would say more than just some. In retelling the gospel accounts, the writers have inserted or modified some characters, storylines, and details of the inspired original. One example of these artistic choices is that the disciple Matthew is depicted as a young man on the Asperger's autism spectrum.
There is no direct biblical evidence that Matthew had this disorder, but it's a, quote, plausible detail. So the writers felt comfortable using artistic license to insert this additional trait to Matthew's character. Since no one is claiming that the show is God's word or that it is on par with the Bible, such license, Got Questions says, is acceptable, and even expected in a medium such as television. As long as viewers remember that what they are seeing is art and not real life, and they compare what they view with Scripture, there is no danger of confusion.
And that is a major stretch to me. I mean, do we really think that most viewers of The Chosen are going to be like the Bereans, watching the program with the Bible in one hand? He uses the word plausible over and over again as they fill in the blanks of what could have happened surrounding the life of Jesus. Got Questions goes on to say, dramatizations of biblical events such as are presented in The Chosen provide an opportunity for sharing the gospel with those who otherwise might not be exposed to the Bible. For believers, such dramatizations can promote spiritual growth, reminding us that the Bible is more than just a story. It relates actual events in the lives of real people who had emotions, relationships, and concerns similar to ours. And my response to that is, is the Bible somehow unrelatable as God inspired it to be? I mean, it shows all kinds of imperfections and sin of its main characters.
Why is a film series necessary to make it more authentic and relatable to us? Last paragraph, there is some concern that members of the Mormon Church are involved in the production of The Chosen and that resources owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are used to film the show. In fact, the distributor of the show, VidAngel, was founded by two Mormons. Also of concern are some statements made by Dallas Jenkins that seem to embrace Mormons as his brothers and sisters in Christ. And I'll just add, it's much more than seem to embrace, it's that he does embrace Mormons as his brothers and sisters in Christ.
That soundbite coming up. For instance, on the website LDS, Latter-day Saints Living dot com, it says, Darryl Eaves, one of the two Latter-day Saint executive producers of the hit show The Chosen, knows the show's creator, Dallas Jenkins, has received pushback for choosing to work with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. In fact, Eaves became emotional when talking about that opposition in a recent podcast interview.
Quote, but this is what I love about Dallas, Eaves said. He was able to see my heart and he's been the biggest defender of me and my family and my faith background. And he's literally had to endure stuff that no one should endure because of our relationship. Honestly, I'll always be eternally indebted to him because of how he has defended me and my beliefs, his Mormon beliefs. And on the flip side, he'll say other things of how we've helped him. And it's just been a very synergistic project.
Eaves added that the show has historical and biblical consultants, as well as representatives from different religions who aid their writers. And here's a very troubling clip of Dallas Jenkins doing an interview about The Chosen with a Mormon interviewer. What's funny about the LDS folks is you guys seem to be, even though you're the most controversial, you seem to be the least confrontational. It's just like, hey, we're all, we all love Jesus. Let's just, I just want to let you know we love the show. And when people start going, hey, you're a Mormon, you're going to hell, you just like, hey, whatever. It's like you just kind of seems to roll off your back.
Maybe it's because you're used to being on the outside sometimes. But yeah, it's been so fascinating because even my family members, when we first started this relationship with that angel, part of it was, well, be careful because of the common misconceptions about our different belief systems, but also just protecting the show. Like, will the audience be bothered by the fact that there are LDS people involved? Personally, I didn't really care because I've worked with people of all different traditions or, I mean, I've worked with atheists. I've partnered with people who've distributed my movies who had zero desire to, you know, or connection to Christ and couldn't have cared less about it. So even if I had significant disagreements with the LDS community, which I've learned I have fewer than I thought I did, but even with that, I was okay.
I was comfortable with that because as long as they're treating the show properly, that's all that matters. So it's been, I can honestly say it's been one of the top three most fascinating and beautiful things about this project has been my growing brother and sisterhood with people of the LDS community that I never would have known otherwise, and learning so much about your faith tradition, and realizing, gosh, for all the stuff that maybe we don't see eye to eye on, that all happened, that's all based on stuff that happened after Jesus was here. The stories of Jesus we do agree on, and we love the same Jesus.
That's not something that you often hear. Sometimes it's like, they believe in a different Jesus than we do. No, it's the same, I mean, I'll sink or swim on that statement, and it's controversial, and I don't mind getting criticized at all for the show, and I don't mind being called a blasphemer.
I don't like it when my friends are, and I've made it very clear that if I go down, I'm going down swinging, protecting my friends and my brothers and sisters, and so I don't deny we have a lot of theological differences, but we love the same Jesus. That was Dallas Jenkins saying that Mormons and evangelicals love the same Jesus. You mean the same Jesus that Mormonism believes in, who was a brother of Satan that was founded by Joseph Smith, who has a completely different revelation called the Book of Mormon, the book that's claimed to be greater than the Bible, a religion based on, yes, some things of Christianity, but works-based religion.
Just go to the mormon.org website, and you can read all about it. That's what Paul described as a different gospel in Galatians chapter one. Dallas Jenkins just equated the biblical gospel with a false gospel, and that's exactly what Paul wrote about in Galatians chapter one, where he says, I'm amazed that you are so quickly deserting him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel, which is really not another, only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed, or anathema. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed. Dallas Jenkins is affirming that the way of salvation that the Mormon Church teaches is equivalent to the biblical gospel. So should we trust any professing Christian who would make this statement that we love the same Jesus with a false religious way? Would you be skeptical of the content that this man produces?
You should be. And when we come back after these ministry announcements, we'll talk more about the chosen and get into the concept of plausibility that Dallas Jenkins and the contributors talk about over and over again. You are listening to the Christian Real View.
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Our topic today is, Is the Chosen a Good Choice? And James 3.1 says, Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. And so when you are writing a Christian book, speaking to an audience about the faith or about doctrine, or making TV programs as Dallas Jenkins is doing, depicting the life of Christ, you are a teacher whether you want to admit it or not. You're not necessarily a pastor, that's different, but you're teaching. And so there's a greater responsibility, there's a stricter judgment for teachers of those who are presenting things in Scripture. There's a duty to be accurate, to accurately represent God and His Word, to be faithful to it, to honor Him.
That is the primary calling of a teacher. And that's where this issue of plausible comes in. Dallas Jenkins mentions that word often as the operating principle of the chosen. Yes, they generally follow the narratives of the life of Christ from within the Gospels, but they add a lot of fiction in. In other words, they make stuff up that they consider to be plausible.
Here's more from Sean McDowell's interview with Dallas Jenkins. You guys are creating this imaginative, creative look at the life of Jesus through the eyes of many of His followers. I imagine with as big as this is, people have asked questions like, how do we know the Bible is actually true?
How do we know Jesus rose from the grave? Does your ministry deal in any way with those apologetic questions? Or you just punt and say, that's not our lane, read these books, check out these folks. Yeah, no, that's a really important distinction. And I want to clarify too, and I hope this comes out the right way.
We're not a ministry. And I think the reason that I want to say that is because to your question, you're right. Some of these questions are for people like your dad to have explored. We're making a show under a couple of assumptions. Number one, we're portraying the stories that the Bible tells.
We're adding to some of those stories, obviously cultural context, historical context, some artistic imagination, of course. And our operating principle is we believe that our portrayal is plausible as to whether or not the truth of what we're portraying has changed your life as the viewer or not. If you are someone who's a believer, if you're not a believer, that is actually not for me to try to impact. I'm not, when you come to watch my show, I'm not saying, now, before you watch my show, you need to have come to a faith in Jesus. I mean, look, that's true of our cast and crew. I mean, the majority of our cast and crew aren't traditionally evangelical believers. So we don't have a religious litmus test for who is going to be involved in our show or who is actually going to watch our show. Now, to be clear, my hope is that after watching our show, you know and love Jesus more. My hope is that you consider that these stories might have actually been real, but even if you don't when you're watching it, that doesn't mean you can't still appreciate the show or glean something from it.
But ultimately, the endgame of the show is hopefully to hand the baton off to people like yourself. I am not a pastor. I do believe that the show can be pastoral. And I've heard from pastors and thought leaders and authors who have said the show has been a great tool in their toolbox in order to disciple people. But the show in and of itself, I don't want to put on the show or on me the job that I believe only God can do, that only the Holy Spirit can do. If that makes sense. Again, I'm not resisting the call to evangelism.
In fact, that's a call we all have. But the show itself, I think if we're trying to in a 50-minute episode, not only portray a show and make it something that people actually want to watch, but also trying to give the four steps of salvation and the gospel tract, I don't think the show is going to be nearly as effective at that as someone like you can be in a personal relationship with a listener or a congregant or a friend. Okay, so that was Dallas Jenkins really talking out of two sides of his mouth. It's sort of a plausible deniability. When you insert things into these programs that are plausible—in other words, they think they could happen, maybe they didn't happen—it really gives you a license to add whatever you want.
Maybe it happened. We want people to consider that they're real, he said. And then he mentioned that he's not a pastor. That's true, but he is a teacher.
And so he's trying to absolve himself from responsibility. We're not a ministry, we're just producing a TV show, it's part entertainment. But again, the show is influencing tens of millions of people, it's shaping their perspective on who Christ and his apostles were. So it goes from being not only just the operating principle of, they put in what they think is plausible, but he also has a deniability to it too, that it kind of gives him some distance that, well, we thought it was plausible, it may not have happened, you don't have to believe that. And then, I'm not really a teacher, I'm just putting this out there.
This isn't meant to be part of the Great Commission, that's someone else's job. But that's not really what's taking place when you create a television show with this kind of impact around the world. Here's a clip from an interview he did with Ed Stetzer, who is a popular Christian influencer.
He's been a big advocate of the He Gets Us campaign, where he talks more about this plausible deniability. You know, as you know, I come from a conservative Bible-believing background. I'm a strong evangelical who believes that the Bible is God's word. So we start with that as our primary source of truth and inspiration. We don't change it, but again, we do give some of these, what we believe is plausible. That's our operating principle, our operating word.
Is this plausible? Does this fit within the character of Jesus in the Gospels? And if so, we believe that we have the opportunity to fill in some gaps, to give some context that has, for many people, for literally millions of people who've shared this with us, has made the Bible come alive for them and has caused them to search the scriptures and read the Bible even more. So you started out by saying that he's a conservative evangelical. Well, there shouldn't be any conservative evangelical that states very plainly and clearly that Mormons and evangelical Christians believe in the same Jesus.
I'm going to play what Dallas Jenkins said about Mormons that we aired in the first segment, just a brief portion of it in case you missed it. I don't deny we have a lot of theological differences, but we love the same Jesus. So if someone thinks that's a statement that could be made by a conservative evangelical, I would just say we have a very different definition of what it means to be a conservative theological evangelical.
To me, that is a complete compromise of the most important issue in life. What is the gospel? How can we be right with God? You're affirming a false religion. But then he went on to talk about how the operating principle is we insert what is plausible. In other words, that's not in scripture, but we think it could have happened. Well, the reality is that God inspired everything in the Bible that he wanted in the Bible.
He put just what he wanted us to know and no more and no less. So there are things he didn't want us to know or focus on, and so he didn't put them in the Bible. For instance, is it plausible that Jesus had acne and that he was self-conscious about it? Could be, but God didn't include that in the Bible for a reason. Did Peter have a lustful eye for other women that weren't his wife? Well, it's plausible, but God doesn't say that. But should we put that in a book or a program just to make him more relatable to us? God put exactly what he wanted us to know about Peter—that he was impulsive, that he denied Christ, that he repented of it, that he compromised later in the book of Acts with the Judaizers. But the canon is closed now, so when you're putting things in that are plausible, just guessing fiction, you're going beyond what God has decreed in his Word. So here's an example of how Dallas Jenkins inserts what could be plausible into the chosen. This is a conversation between Jesus and John the Baptist, never portrayed in Scripture—certainly the dialogue you're going to hear is never portrayed in Scripture—but just loosely based on when John the Baptist sent some of his own disciples to question whether Jesus was the expected Messiah or should we expect someone else.
But the chosen portrays it as John the Baptist came himself to talk to Jesus. Because I'm beginning to wonder why you're taking this so slow, why you're always running away after performing miracles. Tell me, why do you always go off to these desolate places?
I need solitude. I'm working on something, a sermon, a big one. Oh, you're the planning type.
I always say the first thing that comes to my mind in preaching and in life. Yes, I remember from the time you started talking. And I heard about that brood of vipers comment. That was classy. Do you know how the poets say vipers are born?
Yes, they hatch inside their mothers and eat their way out, killing their mothers in the process. I thought it was a pretty good line. Yes, but no one wants to be accused of killing their ima. Yeah, well, I'm not here to make friends with religious leaders. And judging by that stunt you pulled on the Sabbath, neither are you.
Are you really going to be nice to these people? I suppose not. Just be careful.
Now is not the time to be careful. Thirty years you've been here. David was a shepherd and in the wilderness and on the run for thirty years before he became king. Yes, and then he ruled for forty years. He killed a bunch of people, made horrible mistakes, and then he died in bed with a teenager. He was not married to.
Maybe not the best analogy, but also she was there to keep him warm. I know. Everyone knows. I know.
I know what you mean. But what I'm saying is taking all this time, telling all these stories, I must confess I'm eager for you to get to the point. Look, I'm going to tell stories that make sense to some people, but not to others.
And that's just how it's going to be. All right, that was From the Chosen and an example of how they insert just pure fiction and call it plausible. John the Baptist is conversing with Jesus in person. Again, no basis in scripture that this ever happened, and certainly how they were talking to one another. John the Baptist calls him, oh, so you're the planning type. And Jesus said, I heard about your brood of vipers comment.
That was classy. And then John the Baptist talks about this stunt you pulled on the Sabbath, apparently a miracle that Christ had done on the Sabbath. And then Jesus said to just be careful. And then John the Baptist says, well, now is not the time to be careful. And then Jesus gives the example of King David and his patients. And then John the Baptist comes back and says, well, David ended up dying in bed with a teenager who wasn't his wife. And then Jesus says, well, maybe that's not the best analogy. I mean, so it's like, John the Baptist is reproving Jesus. Lots of people just pass this off as, well, it's artistic license, it's entertainment value, it could have happened.
I disagree. I think when you're dealing with depicting the life of Christ, accounts from scripture, you have a duty to be faithful and accurate to scripture. Here's another example from the same episode about how they insert in what they consider to be plausible of Jesus working on or preparing, doing sermon prep for his Sermon on the Mount. Salt preserves from corruption.
If it loses its saltiness, it doesn't do what it, if salt has lost its flavor, it's salty taste, it's… Rabbi, I'm sorry to interrupt. Mary's gone missing. Rhema checked the forest, but she thinks Mary was affected by the demonic.
She said Mary wasn't feeling right all day. So there you have Jesus struggling with what to say in the Sermon on the Mount before he gets interrupted by one of his disciples saying that Mary, assuming that's Mary Magdalene, has gone missing. Again, none of this is in the Bible. And so what does portraying Jesus as having to rehearse the Sermon on the Mount do to one's view of Jesus? Does that give you a higher view of his divinity, or does it make you focus on more of his humanity, that he's just like us, he has to prepare, he has to struggle with what to say when he's going to make a speech? Is it possible that Jesus did some sermon prep before the Sermon came out? I suppose, but the Bible is silent on that, and so we should be too.
So back to the interview that Sean McDowell did with Dallas Jenkins, Sean asked him, what are the safeguards you put in place for all these things you're putting in The Chosen? Because it's going to affect the way people think about Jesus and the disciples. The reality is a lot of people will watch this and filter the Bible through the show rather than the show through the Bible. That's just the reality and communicate in any fashion.
Let me just jump in for a second and say that is exactly right. People are going to watch The Chosen, and that's going to be their Bible. It shouldn't be, but the reality is, it's going to be. That is why the responsibility is greater when you are a teacher. Now you said you're a TV show creator, not a pastor. One of the passages that always gives me pause in the Scriptures is James 3 when it says, like, woe to anybody who wants to be a teacher. Now you're not a teacher in that sense, but you're portraying the life of Jesus in a fashion many people interpret through that lens. What safeguards do you put in place to just make sure you're dealing with the weight of telling a TV show about Jesus that many biblically illiterate people might take as gospel, so to speak?
Oh, yeah, that's such a great and very important question. So here's the bad news. I can't control our entire audience. There will be people.
It's just true. There will be people who watch the show, perhaps in the wrong way. I think Christians and non-Christians. There are some people who will, in a positive way, idolize the show and see it as something more than it is. I think it's entirely possible also that the opposite is true, that they might reject the show and miss out on some of the truths and the I don't want to say enlightenment because that sounds a little too New Agey, but miss out on what's happened to a lot of our viewers, which is that reading the stories on the page has been, in fact, horrible, but seeing it played out has caused them to go, oh wow, these weren't just people in stained glass windows or in black and white words on a page.
They were human beings. Now I see those Bible stories with even more clarity, and they're going back to their Bibles more than ever. So again, he's really trying to have it both ways. He's saying, I'm not a teacher, but our series The Chosen is making people go back to their Bibles more than ever.
Well, first of all, that's just anecdotal. We really don't even know that. But one of the important things he said there is that seeing these stories played out in film is changing people's lives more than just black and white on paper. Do you see how that's a subtle undermining of the Word of God? If God had intended for His Word to be presented to us in video, He would have, but He didn't. His Word was intended by Him to be communicated to us in words, both written words and then also through the spoken word of having it accurately preached. And so this gets into an issue that's also incredibly important about this.
What about that? The written and spoken word versus moving pictures, because the Bible is compelling to portray on film because it has everything—miracles and drama and narratives and dialogue and action and emotion and the uniqueness of the person and work of Christ. And there have been many movies over the years that have portrayed parts of Scripture, like The Ten Commandments or Ben-Hur or The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson's movie or the Nativity Story, the Jesus film project by Campus Crusade. One position on this is that depicting or teaching Scripture in video is questionable just from the start. Some would say it's a violation of the second of the Ten Commandments, that you shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. The Jews were extremely strict about drawings or depictions of God.
They didn't allow them, or even saying His name. Because when you produce video of something, it provides a much greater room for error, because film communicates so much more—the expressions, the mannerisms, the reactions, the emotions—far more than you would get with words on a page. Video is communicating something far beyond what words on a page can do. That's why we have the expression, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a video worth?
A million words. So setting aside that prohibition that some may have about depicting things of the Bible in video, if you do, your one purpose needs to be accuracy and faithfulness to what God has revealed in His Word. And I heard a podcast by the men at G3, Josh Byce, Virgil Walker, and Scott Annual, talk about the chosen and this element of it. And so we're going to take a quick break and come back after these ministry announcements to hear that soundbite and talk more about the chosen and whether it's a good choice for you to watch.
I'm David Wheaton, and you're listening to the Christian World View Radio program. Here's Christian journalist Alex Newman on why some of our fellow citizens are destroying our historic values to enact a great reset to globalism. They have no loyalty to the United States. In fact, I think many of these people at the highest levels absolutely despise the United States, partly because it has been a historically Christian nation. It has taken the gospel to every corner of this planet, like no other nation in all of human history. As I mentioned earlier, it's founded on these biblical principles.
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I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is, is the Chosen television series a good choice to watch?
And I mentioned at the end of the last segment that I heard a podcast by the G3 ministry, Josh Byce, Virgil Walker, and Scott Annual talking about the Chosen, and we have it linked at our website, thechristianworldview.org, that podcast. But they had some very interesting things to say that I think are helpful when considering the Chosen. The pastor who wishes to see affections properly shaped in his people must think carefully about such matters as the poetry and the lyrics of our songs, the music used in worship, the religious artwork we use, and he says in our Sunny School material, for example, the themes and motives adopted in our children's discipleship, the motives we give people young and old to serve Christ, down to how we design our place for corporate worship. This is not merely decorative, stylistic matters. They provide precisely the kind of analogies of who God is.
And he's talking about exactly what you mentioned a moment ago, Josh. These images form and shape our conception of who God is. And this is really, I think, the third issue of concern that I have about the Chosen, and that is a lack of understanding about what media is doing, what art is doing, because guys like Jenkins and even people who watch the show will say, well, I'm not getting my theology from that. I'm getting my theology from Scripture. I'm not worshiping that Jesus.
Or they might say Mormon theology is not shaping. Failing to recognize that art embodies meaning and values and theology. So you've got this actor portraying Jesus, even if he were just reciting the words of the Bible. Acting is art, and it's embodying an interpretation of what he's saying. So even if he's just saying, you know, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, the way that the actor is portraying that text has meaning, and it's meaning that goes beyond the words of Scripture. Your theology is being shaped by more than you recognize, especially as it pertains to images and people who are portraying biblical characters and figures. And those are things we have to think about. So we've got all that. And then Scripture gives us even more revelation of who God is. And then someone is going to pull from that and then add to that and then put images on a screen with characters that your heart over time begin to be tied to.
That is incredibly dangerous. Let me dig into this a little more, because one of the things you see out there by both Jenkins and other defenders is they'll say, well, this is similar to preaching, right? Preaching is not just the Bible. It's further explanation of the Bible.
This is just a teaching tool. Well, there again, people fail to recognize the difference between words, whether printed and spoken, that medium of communication and the visual media. Visual does something different than words. Paul could have advocated for drama in the New Testament as a wonderful, powerful means of communicating biblical truth, but he didn't. In fact, we find him avoiding that sort of means of communication because God wants his truth communicated through words.
Words on the printed page and yes, absolutely, words from the spoken mouth through preaching and teaching. That's different from the visual media. Visual media, I know I'm not a Luddite. I watch movies.
I watch TV shows. I'm not saying it's sin, but it does do something different to us. It's far more visceral.
It affects us in an immediate sense, often bypassing our intellect and our mind. And again, I think there's a place for that. You want to watch something for entertainment sake. That's one thing, but here are people saying this is supposed to be increasing our knowledge and love for Christ. Visual media does that in a very different way. Again, that God has forbidden for a specific reason because communicating truth about Christ through spoken and written words is communicating to our minds, which then shapes our heart and our inner conception of who God is in an appropriate way that God has ordained through his word.
Again, that was the G3 podcast with Josh Byce, Virgil Walker, and Scott Annual. We have that full podcast linked at our website, thechristianworldofyou.org, and they bring up several really important points there that when you are doing something in film, it may be a prohibition of the second commandment, but if not, at minimum is a very risky endeavor because God intended his word to be read on the page and preached through the spoken word, and film goes way beyond that, communicating things that God didn't put in Scripture. The Chosen is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with evangelicalism in the West. First of all, there's not a confidence that Scripture alone is sufficient to do God's work, so we need to make it more compelling. We need to make it more relatable.
It has to be made into a film. Number two, then you have expectations of what this film can do. It can do things beyond what the local church and the great commission and missionaries can do. It can set the world on fire beyond what God has prescribed in his word. Number three, speaking of the local church, this isn't local church-based, this is parachurch-based, and we've talked about that many times in the program, how God promises to bless the local church, but the parachurch is always fraught with going into error and heresy.
Number four, this series is ecumenical. It brings in people who have different doctrinal beliefs and false doctrinal beliefs. You have evangelicals involved, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Charismatics—in fact, they have a roundtable after some of the programs where Dallas Jenkins and a Roman Catholic and a Jew and an evangelical give different perspectives on the topics. And number five, why this is a perfect example of what's wrong with evangelicalism, is that the metric for success is the viewership.
If hundreds of millions of people are watching it and it's being translated into many different languages, well, therefore, it's successful because it's making an impact. Really, the only metric for success in anything to do with our faith is whether we are being faithful, accurate, according to what God has said in his word. So you have to ask the question, why would a true believer watch a fictionalizing of the life of Christ when God has already given us the absolute truth and all we needed to know about him, and also prescribe the method, the written word and the preached word, for how we should understand him? 2 Peter 1 says, We have the prophetic word, the Bible, made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
And this is where Dallas Jenkins errors. He goes beyond Scripture, putting what he calls plausible or fictional things in it, and this teaches, this communicates something, and it undermines the word of God. Instead, we're called in Scripture in 2 Timothy 2 to be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. So as we answer the question of the day, is the chosen a good choice to watch, the answer to that is, is the program faithful in the way it represents God in his word? We shouldn't watch or take in what is not faithful or doesn't honor God in his word. If you want to watch just enough of it to be able to warn someone else the problems with it, then I think that's fine. But in my view, the chosen is akin to the shack, that heretical book of many years ago which led so many people away, and people loved it because it gave different perspectives on God and the rest of the Trinity.
But I want to close today with what Josh Byce of G3 said to close that podcast they did on the chosen. When we actually give in to the need for this sort of graphical portrayal of Jesus, we are actually telling our family that the word of God is really not enough. It's sort of boring.
We need something to spice it up a bit. That's a tragic mistake. That is a move away from the prescriptions of God's word. It is a move away from orthodox Christianity.
And I'll just say it like this. The chosen is not biblical, orthodox Christianity. It's something that's dangerous. It's a threat to the true, pure theology of God's word.
It should be a move. And we at the Christian Real View completely concur with that. Thank you for joining us today on the Christian Real View.
In just a moment there will be all kinds of information on this nonprofit radio ministry. Let's anchor our faith in what God has revealed in His word, not in what's plausible or fictional. The Bible says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
He ought not be depicted differently or anything added to what's been revealed about Him in the word. So we exhort you, think biblically, live accordingly and stand firm. The mission of the Christian Real View is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript, or find out What Must I Do to be Saved, go to thechristianrealview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Real View is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Real View partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianrealview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian Real View.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-27 08:18:12 / 2023-05-27 08:37:42 / 20