UNPOPULAR POST: The Chosen

Unpopular Post # (oh I forgot – I lost count)

I tried hard to get into and enjoy The Chosen, even attempting to turn off my theology filter in my mind. But it didn’t take long in the very first episodes of the first season to “smell” something not right. It wasnt’ the fill-in material to keep the story working on screen. It was subtle at first – ways of trying to make the “Jesus” character more human. (and no – I’m not just grinding on the suppsed “2nd Commandment violation” that some of my more confessional/Regulative Principal friends have done) – but His insecurites, and some oddly unChristlike phrases. And the growing disrespect for WHO He is continued to grow.

So I began looking in to who is behind this TV series (and now movie theatre season premier) – the son of Jerry Jenkins (Dallas Jenkins) – a failry creative guy, who has some pretty bent ideas about Christ and Christianty himself. One glaring concern – he is quite ecumenical in his beliefs – he considers not just pretty much ever “Christian” denomination to be a right faith (despite direct contradictions), but also lumps Mormons in as “saved” Christians.

The series promotion and production is done by several entities, with VidAngel (founded by two mormons) being the major player – founded by two Mormons.

The show’s soundtrack is written by Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine, a who’s deconstructed Christianity is pro-LGBTQ+, pro-abortion.

And with filming at LDS Motion Picture Studio, Goshen, Utah, USA (LDS is Latter Day Saints, for those that don’t know)

Dallas Jenkins has repeatedly stated his “brotherhood” with his “LDS Brothers”, claiming that Mormons and Christians worship the same God and the same Jesus, and that Mormons are “saved”. I submit to you an abbreviated list of beliefs mormonism has about “Jesus”. Is this the same Jesus you worship?

  • Jesus is Lucifer’s brother.
  • Jesus is a spirit child conceived through physical means between an exalted man (Heavenly Father) and the virgin Mary.
  • Jesus is not eternal and had a beginning (i.e., not part of an eternal Trinity).
  • Jesus was not always God but earned his way to godhood just as we will become gods someday.
  • The work of the Mormon Jesus was insufficient for man’s salvation, and to complete it, one has to believe in Joseph Smith that he came from God to restore the church (i.e., Smith has a role in salvation).
  • Mormon doctrine teaches that without our own righteousness, there is no forgiveness of sins (contrary to Romans 4:5 and many other Bible verses).

AS to specific content that is problematic – I could fill posts with just what I have seen with my own eyes, but will just include a few that ought to easily stick out to those who are active in studying God’s Word:

John 3’s encoutner between Jesus and Nichodemus is portrayed in the show – and in it, Jenkins decided to have Jesus say something He would never have said: “What does your heart say?” (a product of western pop theology). Compare that to the clear statement about the heart in Jeremiah 17:9 (“The heart is deceitful above all, who can know it?)

Or can you imagine Jesus saying this: If we are going to have a question and answer time every time there is something you are not used to, we will have a very annoying time for all of us.?

Did Jesus (or would He) say “I’m here to start a revolution!”

Or how about where do we have a record of Peter breaking the Sabbath by going fishing?

I might also ask the point (creative license?) of portraying the disciples with autism (Matthews) Cerebral Palsy (James). What made Jenkins feel the need to embellish and add to the biblical record and text with these phrases and “inclusive characters”?

If Dallas Jenkins believes (as he has claimed repeatedly) that the Bible is inerrant and sufficient, why did he change the scene from Luke 5:18, where two men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus, to having Mary Magdalene and “Tamar” carry the man in?

Why did The Chosen have Jesus ask Mary Magdalene to lead the group in prayer and reading of Scripture? Like it or not, this just simply wouldn’t have happened in the first Century among jewish men, and of course this doesn’t appear anywhere in Scripture.

OR take this statement by Dallas in an interview from 2021 about the show:

I felt like God was saying like [The Chosen] is going to be the definitive portrayal of my people, and this is what people are going to think of around the world when they think of my people, and I’m [God] not going to let you screw it up.
(A Candid Conversation with Dallas Jenkins, Director of The Chosen, op. cit., mm: 14:26-14:37.)

In the same interview above, Jenkins also stated that “95% of the content [of The Chosen] isn’t from the Bible.”

In addition to the Mormon connections, another heavy contributor is a Roman Catholic priest as well as the star actor who portrays “Jesus” Jonathan Roumie, who is a fervent Catholic of a branch that practices all sorts of transcendental prayer and other New Age practices who claims to have had “personal interactions with a deceased Catholic saint”. Roumie promotes Russel Brand and his “Transcendental Meditation”. Roumie also promotes James Martin and his pantheistic view of God in everyone and everything. Jonathan Roumie has frequently thanked Jenkins for The Chosen as a platform to share his particular view of Roman Catholicism to a broader audience.

Jenkins himself, just a couple of years ago, published the following quote from Franciscan priest Robert Rohr to his Facebook account a quote and an explanation that the quote had “rocked his world” :

Just because you use Scripture, even in a God-affirming way, does not mean you’re using Scripture for life and love, growth and wisdom—and for the sake of God or others. Many of the worst genocides and atrocities in history have been supported by Scripture quotes in the mouths of selfish and scared people. Excessive God talk and quoting of Scripture are the best cover possible for a narcissistic personality. In fact, sometimes it seems to me that the churches that go on and on about “the greatness of God”—in both their sermons and their music—are often filled with the very groups and individuals that most want that greatness for themselves. I doubt if God needs us to be saying how great God is, as Satan does here with Jesus. Yes, religion is the best thing in the world and also the worst thing in the world—and so is Holy Scripture.

Yes – Rohr, in this quote that rocked Jenkin’s world, is an attack on Scripture.

Again – does that make this a valuable, faith-building, doctrinally-sound source for learning about Jesus?

And this was just brought to my attention – The Chosen is teaming up with an app developer to promote a kids Advent Rosary prayer activity…

But over the first two season, many even fairly conservative writers supported The Chosen, and basically hinged that on “at least he hasn’t inserted Mormon theology”. And while I would disagree with even that assessment – as it was just much more subtle in those first two seasons, Season 3 appears to be taking the face mask off. Take this scene released as a teaser for the season:

“I AM the law of Moses!” Sure sounds biblical, right? I’m afraid not. Not even close. This is a quote from The Book of Mormon, Nephi 15:9 where it supposedly quotes Jesus as saying “I am the law and the light”

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. And more is yet to come, as more and more fall for the Americanized, Pop-Jesus that Dallas Jenkins has built in a worldly mold.

For additional thoughts from others on The Chosen, See the links below:

TV’s ‘The Chosen’ Director Dallas Jenkins Doubles Down on Controversial Mormon Comments, Straight up Lies

Religious Freedom and Betrayal (Arkansas Issue 3)

The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Arkansas Constitution includes the following protections:

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship; or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship, above any other. (Article 2,  § 24)

A simple, basic reading of these two foundational sections can lead to only one conclusion: That under the existing directives of Constitutional Law, the government cannot interfere with the free practice of our faith. Period. This includes, but is not limited to, the assembly together, the worship of our God in the way we believe is appropriate, and to outwardly testify OF our faith via the freedom of speech also afforded by the First Amendment. These sections also provide needed protection from mandates and actions against our consciences. A doctor cannot be lawfully penalized for not performing abortions, for example, if the practice violates his sincerely-held beliefs. Likewise, and relevant to the reason Arkansas Issue 3, initiated by State Senator Jason Rapert, was rushed through and placed on the ballot, is the issue of vaccinations – specifically the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak (COVID), in which many employers and the Federal Government mandated that employees (and military personnel) were forced under the threat of termination (Courts-marshall in the military) to receive the experimental injections for said virus. In the process, many were denied religious exemptions, even those who had successfully been exempted for other vaccinations.

But the primary impetus for the bill that placed Arkansas Issue 3 on the ballot was the threat of forced church closures under lockdowns. Several states and Canadian provinces, and multiple local municipalities issued enforced lockdowns of churches, prohibiting them from assembling together at all. Even after the threat of the virus declined, the same states (or municipalities) continued to impose (and enforce) draconian mandates for churches to reopen. But of note, our own governor (Asa Hutchinson) made it clear in multiple public appearances promoting the shutdowns of businesses and activities, that he (and the government) had no authority under the law or the Constitution to mandate churches shut their doors or even restrict attendance. Further, in the months following, church lawsuits against government entities for the forced shutdowns wound their way through the judicial process, and one-by-one, have been ruled in favor of the churches. Even in the more Christian-antagonistic states, courts have found that there was no legal grounds for shuttering churches or even interfering in their assembly. Fines have been issued, and prohibitions against such actions reinforced.

Unfortunately, some religious entities and organizations have found themselves (particularly since the outbreak of COVID) on the wrong side of the religious liberty battle. The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest “protestant” denomination in America, and their EThics Religious Liberty Commission, at the time led by Dr. Russel Moore (a faithful Democrat), conflated masks (Moore even suggested believers should wear double masks, taking and eventually demanding that Christians should take the vaccine as a gospel issue – implying that believers are not loving their neighbors by refusing to mask up or take the vaccine. He also famously attacked small churches that grew during the pandemic due to their refusal to close or buy the public narrative regarding closures, masks, and vaccines.

Sadly, some entities, including the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (the state convention of the SBC) has come down in favor of Issue 3, along with other historically stalwart defenders of religious freedom: Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Family Council Action Committee. One has to ask the question: WHY? Let me present my concerns here.

Having posted the exact text of both the US Constitution and relevant section of the Arkansas Constitutional a starting point above, let us now explore the text of Arkansas Ballot Issue 3:

POPULAR NAME: A Constitutional Amendment to Create the “Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment.”

BALLOT TITLE (legal title): An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to create the “Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment”; and to provide that government may never burden a person’s freedom of religion except in the rare circumstance that the government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest. 

Feel free to open the entire text of Issue 3 and read the entire text. It relies on case law and the one whose rights have been infringed, to prove the state does NOT have a compelling interest. I have begged the question from Jerry Cox of Liberty Council, from Senator Jason Rapert, and many others with a hand in this. They all provide nearly the same boilerplate opinions and claims, yet never address the fundamental and amazingly clear facts of this: The proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution creates a brand new and dangerous doorway for state, county, or local governments to infringe on religious liberty – from prohibiting gathering together for worship, to evangelism events, community projects, protests, and yes – the elimination of “religious exemptions”, not just for experimental injections of vaccines, but literally for any matter of religious conscience, all under the guise of a “compelling government interest”.

Lest we forget, our own Federal Government, under the current godless leadership, has formally labeled Christians as one of the most risky groups as domestic terrorists (yet refuses to label proven terrorist groups like BLM and Antifa). Again – I ask why Senator Jason Rapert, a charismatic dumpster-fire of knee-jerk responses, seems to feel that adding more text and a free-swinging doorway for government interference is the appropriate path to supposedly “protecting” religious freedom. What compelling reason might these generally Conservative, Christian-supporting organizations have for jumping on the bandwagon for this ballot issue with such clear and concise language adding pathways for intrusion into the church (and all religious groups) for the government?

I can somewhat forgive the average low-information voter who doesn’t read beyond a ballot’s popular title. After all, what red-blooded American Christian would argue against an amendment with a title like A Constitutional Amendment to Create the “Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment.? My goodness – I might be a fool for opposing it, if that were all there was! But even the legal title, which is required by law to be an accurate summary of the issue’s text, is enough to send chills up any thinking person’s back. But the actual full text of the measure does not improve the legal trainwreck that Arkansas Ballot Issue 3 creates.

I implore you – do your homework, read the text of Issue 3 (and the others on the 2022 ballot) and cast an informed vote. I stand firmly against Issue 3.