The Chosen has been a cultural phenomenon in the Christian community for several years now, with many people absolutely loving it and saying that it has helped them to deepen their faith in Jesus or lead them to start going back to church and being a better Christian. While these may be good results from the show, there are some serious concerns with the show because of several problems, errors and outright heresies that it contains. The show’s creator Dallas Jenkins is not giving people The Gospel of Christ, but instead is giving people the Gospel of Dallas Jenkins. Those are not the same thing.
Any show or movie that attempts to portray Jesus, or any story from the Bible or Christian history, must take great precautions that it does not change or corrupt the Christian faith or present a false Christ to people. The Chosen has failed in that regard. While there are many scenes in the show that accurately and astutely show some events in the three year ministry of Christ, there are enough errors and outright blasphemies that ultimately corrupt the message. It presents the Gospel of Dallas instead of the Gospel of Christ.
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Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.
This post will not detail out every problem and error in The Chosen, it will go over some of the biggest issues and show you where the Gospel of Dallas strays far away from the Gospel of Christ. Because there are so many problems with the show, this will be Part I and there will be a Part II for the sake of brevity. Here are the biggest and most dangerous error and heresies of The Chosen and the Gospel of Dallas.
Sin is a mistake instead of a willful & evil choice.
The very first issue you might notice is that The Chosen portrays sin as a mistake instead of willful actions. This is a common error and heresy of our modern culture and it entirely undermines the gospel message, because Jesus cannot be our Savior if we have nothing we need to be saved from. Mistakes are not sins. Sin is a willful rejection of God and His will. It is the sin of pride, which is the very first sin and the sin that leads to all other sin (read more here)
Our culture today rejects the idea that our sins are actually sins. They are just mistakes. Most of the characters in the show who are saved by Christ in the show are given backstories by Dallas and the writers to excuse their sins or justify them. For example Mary Magdalene is given a backstory by the writers where she was raped by a Roman soldier, which is why she started leading a sinful life, and it is implied she was a prostitute because of this. The sinful behavior was not her fault and so is excused away. Matthew is portrayed by Dallas as some type of savant or suffering from a type of autism. He decision to become a tax collector, which is a betrayal of his own people, isn’t really his fault since he has trouble understanding the world and has trouble relating to people.
Another example of the downplaying of sin in the show comes from an interaction between Jesus and John the Baptist. Jesus is correcting John the Baptist for being too extreme and rigid in his love for God and his dedication to fighting against sin. Jesus even says to John that He has come for “bigger purposes than the breaking of rules”. Sin is just “breaking rules” instead of a rejection of God. Dallas Jenkins doesn’t explicitly say that the rules are wrong, but by having Jesus downplay them, Dallas is teaching people that the rules of God are just optional guidelines instead of commandments. The commandments of God might help us to live our best life, but if we don’t obey them, well………it’s not really that big of a deal.
This heresy of excusing away sins as mistakes, instead of willful rejections of the will of the Father, means that Jesus is saving us from mistakes instead of sin. He isn’t saving us from eternity in hell because people aren’t sent to hell for mistakes. They are sent their because of their willful acts of sin and their refusal to repent of them. This also undermines the entire point about our dying and rebirth in Christ if we aren’t actually turning away from a life of sin but instead a life of mistakes. It undermines the stories of the saints who turned from the worst of sinners into the great saints they became.
Simon Peter in particular is slandered and belittled.
Peter is particularly maligned and attacked. This is not by accident, but instead is an intentional attempt to undermine the importance of Simon Peter. In the show he is shown to be a wanton gambler who drinks heavily, fights, cheats and ultimately is willing to betray his own people. He blatantly violates the Sabbath, along with James, John and their father Zebedee. Simon is also implied to be an adulterer because his wife says she doesn’t have strength to handle “it” twice. No other Apostle and indeed no other character is shown this way or shown to be this sinful.
These attacks on St. Peter are deliberate and malicious. And it is to be expected, since the unique authority of St Peter has to be challenged and rejected by Protestant theology because Protestantism rejects authority at its foundation. The St. Peter of the Bible holds the keys to the Kingdom of God, which symbolizes his unique authority as the steward of the King until the King returns. (Isaiah 22:15-25 & Matthew 16:13-20).
Isaiah 22:22 I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.
The excuse for the writers inventing all these sins for St. Peter will be in his confession to Christ in Luke 5, after the miraculous catch of fish, where St. Peter realizes that Jesus is the Messiah. St. Peter says to Jesus: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”. But this confession to Christ mirrors the confession of the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 6, when he is given a vision of Heaven and cries out “I am a man of unclean lips”. By this point the prophet Isaiah had been a holy life and working as a prophet for some time. But when shown the majesty of God, he realizes how unworthy he is to even be in the Presence of God with even venial sins on his soul. This is similar to St. Peter and many of the Apostles.
St. Peter was the brother of St. Andrew and they were partners with St. James and St. John in the fishing business. The Chosen portrays them all as failures as fishermen instead of modestly successful fishermen who own several boats. All four of them had listened to John the Baptist preaching and had been baptized by him with his baptism of repentance. St. Andrew was even a disciple of John the Baptist. They also knew St. Phillip, who was also was either a disciple of John the Baptist or at the very least had listened to him. They also very likely knew St. Nathaniel/Bartholomew as well.
The role of John the Baptist was that of the final prophet of the Old Covenant and his mission was the prepare the way of the Lord. His job was to prepare the people so that when Jesus began His public ministry, they people were ready to listen to Him and believe Him. This included preparing these six Apostles so they would already be repentant and living holy lives and they would be ready when Jesus arrived. These six had already had a baptism of repentance and were following a prophet of God. They were encouraging each other and strengthening each other in following God and listening to His prophets. They were good soil (Matthew 13) and prepared for Him.
St. Peter had real faults and committed real sins. Those are shown clearly in the Gospels, especially his greatest sin of denying Our Lord three times during the Passion. St. Peter has to repent of this great sin and Jesus offers St. Peter a threefold opportunity to tell Christ that he loves Him. Jesus then gives authority to St. Peter to feed and tend His sheep. Dallas Jenkins and the writers of the show aren’t doing that though. They are instead attacking St. Peter with sins they have made up for him to undermine him and his authority.
John the Baptist is “creepy”
Protestant theology cannot handle the concept that there are holy people who dedicate their entire lives to God. So they make every attempt to slander the reputation of the saints as often as they can, because if there are people who dedicate themselves entirely to God, it means that person is holier than we are. This simply isn’t acceptable to Protestants, so they must demean and belittle the saints when possible.
The show goes out of its way to malign and insult John the Baptist by ridiculing him and repeatedly calling him “Creepy John”. The show almost totally avoids him in the first season and chooses not to show him working to make the path of Our Lord straight. They don’t show him preaching to the people about repenting of their sins and turning to God. The show invents a scene of Jesus and John talking together, and in that scene it claims that John the Baptist would confront Herod, not because Herod was living a ghastly and reprobate life of sin, but because his followers would love it. That’s ridiculous. John the Baptist was fanatical in his love for God, and commensurate with that love for God, he had a staunch hatred of sin. He opposed and fought against sin at every turn. That’s why he was unafraid to confront Herod and why he was unafraid call out the Pharisees as a brood of vipers. In that same invented scene between Jesus and John, Jesus chides John for calling the Pharisees that name. This is laughably ridiculous since Jesus Himself calls them similar names and heaps even worse condemnations on them.
The show also tries to portray John the Baptist as having communist leanings and has him teaching that money is something John doesn’t believe in. The Apostles ridicule him and say he needs an accountant. This is utterly ridiculous. The show has John chastising Nicodemus about how expensive some of his religious garb is worth and how it could feed starving children. This same type of thinking is eerily similar to when Judas Iscariot complains about the expensive nard that Mary anoints Jesus with, just before Jesus makes His entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. This particular attack on the actual gospels is common among Protestants who complain about Catholics building beautiful churches and cathedrals. They complain that God should not get our best, but instead we must give Him only what is left over after we have fed the poor. This is exactly the opposite of the hierarchy of the Gospel of Christ. God is given our best because He is first in all things, and the first commandment is to love Him with all our strength. Our neighbor is always second to this. John the Baptist lived a life of poverty in the wilderness as a prophet of God, but that didn’t mean he was a communist or hated money.
Feminism is woven into the DNA of the show
Feminism is present and subtle throughout The Chosen and the Gospel of Dallas. The women are constantly instructing and rebuking the men. Women are inherently wiser and holier than the men. The women in the show are preternaturally good and none of them are shown as simply fallen or evil.
There are no sinful or bad women. Mary Magdalene was raped by a Roman, which is why she sinned. The Samaritan Woman at the well is shown to be a victim of a mean and cruel husband, instead of the actual promiscuous and adulterous woman she truly was. As noted above, no one actually sins, but only makes mistakes. For the women on the show, none of their sins are actually their fault.
It’s not just that the women on the show are holy already and wiser than all the men, but the show also implies that they should be leading everyone in Christian worship. We actually see Mary Magdalene leading the prayers during a Sabbath meal that she is hosting. This is utterly ridiculous, especially when you consider that God Himself is literally present at the meal! Women in both the Old and New Covenant have their unique and special roles to fill, but in neither covenant do they lead the people in worship. God Himself set a hierarchy in worship in His covenants. It is blasphemous for The Chosen to show Mary Magdalene leading the prayers in a Sabbath dinner instead of God Himself!
This is not a simple mistake or oversight. Nothing is done or written into the script by accident. This is really exposed when you consider that Mary Magdalene is shown to have another name, Lilith, and her name change is changed to Mary by Christ. When God changes a name of someone, it signifies that they are taking on a new identity and role, but also that God is making a covenant with that person. The Chosen is subtly trying to raise Mary Magdalene to the levels of the Apostles and implying she has the same authority they do.
Doubly concerning in this is that the name Lilith is not just any name. It just so happens to be the name of an apocryphal and false tradition of a character claimed to be the actual first wife of Adam. Lilith, it is claimed, was Adam’s first wife and she was sent away when she refused to submit to him as the authority and husband. That’s why this made up tradition of Lilith is used as a symbol of the feminist movement (and why the feminist music festival was called the Lilith Fair). The Chosen is implying that Jesus is making a covenant with Lilith and bringing her back to Him because she was Adam’s first wife. The New Adam is bringing the first wife of Adam back into a covenant with Him. The feminism in The Chosen is contrary to the actual Gospel of Christ and the feminism isn’t there by accident.
As you can see there are many outright errors, problems and heresies in The Chosen. This post has dealt with some of them but there are many more to detail. Here is Part II
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Very good points. Insidious visions that poisons the truth, so be anathema!
Excellent article. I remember hearing that Jewish scribes wouldn’t use the same writing tool when writing God’s name, simply because He is so holy and we are not. Now we have no problem with a show using the guise of “creative freedom” to unashamedly commit heresy. If only any real or thoughtful pains had been taking to revere the One true God, how powerful this show could have been at pointing people to the true Christ.