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The television series, “The Chosen,” has been getting a lot of press, pro and con. Is it something Christians should watch?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #143 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.


“The Chosen” is a multi-season television drama, presenting the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples, with imaginative character backstories and interpersonal conflicts.

In my first podcast on “The Chosen” we considered how Christians have historically portrayed Bible stories and teachings in various forms of artistic expression, like paintings and sculpture. This is the second of three podcasts on “The Chosen.”

Fast forward to our time and we have available to us multiple ways to portray biblical stories and teaching via films, video, literature, and more.

Do you remember these examples?

  1. The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston, 1956, a beloved film wherein bleached-blonde-hair, blue-eyed Heston comes to embody Moses for most of this generation.
  2. Jesus Christ, Superstar,” a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, 1971, a still-popular musical that Billy Graham once said bordered on blasphemy.
  3. The JesusFilm,” 1979, described as the most-watched motion picture of all time. The film has been viewed over 10 billion times by over 4 billion people, making it overwhelmingly the most watched movie of all time. 

It is officially accredited by The Guinness Book of World Records as the "Most Translated Film" in history. The power of the film is its biblical dialogue - encompasses 70% of the Gospel of Luke – and its ability to be dubbed in now 2,000+ languages. The film has been credited with more than 600 million professions of faith in Christ. 

The Jesus Film has been broadcast on SAT-7 and this and other Christian movies are among viewers most-loved programs. Right now, for example, Gospel of Mark is being shown on SAT-7 PARS, the Farsi-language channel broadcast into Iran and Afghanistan. The Jesus Film Project offers several other similar, biblically based films.

  1. The Passion of the Christ” with Jim Caviezel, 2004, the highest-grossing (inflation unadjusted) Christian filmof all time, as well as being the highest-grossing independent film of all time. The film was widely praised and panned, depending upon one’s predilections. 
  2. The Shack by William P. Young, 2007, a novel that made the best-seller list after the author began selling copies out of his trunk. The main character, Mack, enters the shack and encounters manifestations of the three persons of the TrinityGod the Father takes the form of an African American woman who calls herself Elousia and Papa; God the SonJesus, is a Middle Eastern carpenter; and the Holy Spirit physically manifests as an Asian woman. The book was called heretical by a number of prominent evangelical pastors and theologians.

At that time, I was asked to be part of a panel discussing the book at Baker Book House. I read the book, said I did not like it, but then also said this is an allegory, a fictional account, and that the book is no threat to the Word of God or his Church. I finished by saying I wouldn’t recommend the book to non-Christian acquaintances as a way to learn more about biblical Christianity.

So, in one sense, “The Chosen” is nothing new, but another cinematic attempt to tell the story of Jesus.

Controversies, Criticisms

Now, viewers bring to “The Chosen” differing theological convictions and church traditions, differing perspectives on artistic portrayal of Bible stories and teachings, and differing comfort zones with creative and artistic license. Consequently, there are and will be inevitable controversies and criticisms of “The Chosen.”

Here are a few controversies and criticisms developed during the first three seasons:

        1.     "The Chosen" says more than Scripture does.

Mary Magdalene’s spiritual relapse, S2, E5, an extra-biblical story of Mary Magdalene experiencing doubts and fears, falling back on old sinful patterns, and eventually needing spiritual rescue once again.

In Scripture, Mary Magdalene is shown to be faithful and strong, dedicated, wise, and an unwavering supporter, so some feel the producers went too far showing a backslidden Mary. While this story is not in the Bible, it certainly portrays how weak, sinful hearts can revert to wrong choices, and it demonstrated the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.

Some viewers have criticized the married couple romantic interplay between Simon Peter and his wife Eden, S3, E1, when Simon first returns home after a long absence, they flirt a bit, and then are interrupted by an unexpected visit from Nathaniel who needs lodging, then later offers to put a pillow over his ears as he sleeps on the roof. Some considered this inappropriate for family viewing, even saying this dialogue amounted to sexual overtones and inuendos. But I think it was pretty tame, normal, and not offensive.

Another extra-biblical story features Simon Peter’s wife, Eden, struggling emotionally with a miscarriage, becoming upset with Peter because he is gone and does not even detect that she is pregnant, and once he is informed, Peter becomes angry with Jesus for allowing this to happen to Peter and his wife, S3, E5. I thought this was one of the most powerful stories in the series, not only highly plausible and exactly how human beings would react, but the story made several important points about humility, the sovereignty of God, and faith.

  1. The disciple Matthew is cast as evidencing some expression of Autistic Spectrum Disordermeaning he is a man of considerable talent with numbers, yet does not like to be touched and is socially awkward.

Here again people have gotten worked up over this. In Scripture, not much is given to us about Matthew except he is a despised tax collector. Adding this color to his personality, in my view, did no damage to the Gospel account.

  1. In a similar vein, Jesus is portrayed with a sense of humor, and people have asked questions about divine inspiration regarding the Sermon on the Mount, S2, E8, a segment featuring Jesus talking with Matthew about how to begin the Sermon on the Mount, what to say, and how to say it. I liked Jesus’ sense of humor, something not seen before, and I liked how he responded to those around him, always with concern and caring.
  1. Jesus saying, “I am the law of Moses.”S3, E3, a comment some took to be an expression of Mormon theology. But it should be noted that “Jesus therefore has the authority to interpret the Old Testament and its laws, which is just what he goes on to do in Matthew 5:21–48.”
  2. A pride flag was visible on a camera that appeared in a promotional video that “The Chosen” released.This created a firestorm with people accusing “The Chosen” producers for going woke. But producer Jenkins later responded, reminding people that a) the production hires non-Christian professionals, b) they do not police everything these people do off camera, c) no LGBTQ+ values are represented in the show, and d) Jenkins is himself a conservative Evangelical who does not celebrate pride month.
  1. The show’s creator has questionable partnerships.

“The Chosen’s” original distribution partner, Angel Studios, employs Mormons among its staff and leadership. It’s also true that some early filming took place in the LDS-stronghold of Utah.

“The LDS Issue” mostly stems from a statement Jenkins made with a Mormon interviewer in 2020, where Jenkins referred to his Mormon “brothers and sisters” and noted that “we love the same Jesus.” In a 2022 video, he offered a clarification: “Mormons are not our brothers and sisters in Christ, and through the doctrine they’ve added to the Bible, they very clearly do not worship the same Jesus.”

The question we need to ask is, “Is this a Mormon show?” That is, “Does this show teach Mormon theology?” The answer is “no,” at least so far. Nothing in the series is promoting uniquely Mormon doctrine, or Catholic, or that of any other group.”

Now, no cinematic portrayal of biblical stories will ever be accurate in every detail. 

We should therefore watch with awareness. Is the production presenting a false portrayal to mislead viewers about the Scripture? Or is the production using some creative license, without contradicting or undermining Scripture, to help non-Christians understand and attract them to the Lord and the Gospel? Often this is difficult to assess.

Whatever the case, whenever we watch any media production, we should do so with our transformed, renewed minds turned on, spiritually discerning what is best.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s  

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024   

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