“THE CHOSEN” FICTION, The Berean Call
December 1, 2021
T. A. McMahon
The question 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.
Character descriptions are limited, at best, and must be added in order for a casting director to select the actors. Along that line, how does one cast the sinless God/Man, Jesus Christ? The perfect attributes and righteous characteristics of the Son of God could never be displayed by an actor on the screen. When such an idea is incorporated into the script, the end result is a counterfeit Christ at best. In fact, such an attempt fits the very definition of blasphemy as one strives to apply human characteristics to Jesus that undermine His divine character. I hope you’re getting the picture here (pun intended) that any effort to translate the Bible into a visual medium must result in a veritable distortion of God’s Word which is why such attempts are condemned.
Every believer in Jesus Christ must come to a true biblical belief in His Word. If what a person is taught about Jesus is not true to the Person revealed in the Scriptures, that character is “another Jesus,” a “false Christ,” no matter how endearing and engaging the actor may be. (2 Corinthians:11:4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (Matthew:24:24) For there shall arise
false Christs, and false prophets and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The same is true regarding all the actors representing biblical characters.
Movies are perhaps the most seductive of all media the world over. I learned as a screenwriter that manipulating an audience’s emotions was the key to a box-office success: make them laugh, make them weep, frighten them, make them cheer, arouse their passions. In other words, control their emotions. That power of persuasion through the film medium seduces believers who normally would recognize that they are being snared by a fictional screen character. The comment most often given by those who enjoy the TV series is “I really like a lot of the human qualities displayed by The Chosen’s Jesus. It’s so easy to relate to him.” Others have said similar things about their favorite “disciples.”
Even so, The Chosen series is condemned by the Bible first and foremost because it adds man’s ideas (his beliefs, concepts, viewpoints, conceptions, images, perceptions, his religions, and especially his feelings, etc.) to what God alone has communicated. It makes no difference how far afield the additions are—even the smallest contribution would not be of God, but of man.
For those who are still not seeing the problem with this, let’s consider a program that makes the highly publicized claim that it’s helping people get to know Jesus better and to recognize similarities with the “Jesus of different faiths.” What if the Jesus we are being introduced to is not the biblical Jesus, but rather a spirit that was produced in heaven? Suppose he was the spirit brother of Lucifer, and his earthly birth was not by a virgin but came about through sexual intercourse with Mary by his father god who resides on a planet near a star called Kolob? What if this “Jesus” worked toward becoming a god by taking Mary, her sister Martha, and Mary Magdalene as wives, and thereby producing children necessary for him to become a god? And the godhood that this Jesus achieved enabled him to become the god of this world, taking his place among the multitude of gods ruling over numerous other worlds?
Hopefully you’re thinking, “That’s not the Jesus I know from God’s Word!” However, it is the “Jesus” that the executive producer of The Chosen, Derral Eves, believes in, as do most of the other series’ producers such as Ricky Ray Butler and Jeffrey and Neil Harmon. Neil Harmon, as co-founder with his brother Jeffrey of VidAngel (now ironically titled Angel Studios—see Galatians:1:8),
the Utah-based distributor of The Chosen, declared that he and his brother Jeffrey are “faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We love Jesus and we love our faith in Christ.”
If that were the Jesus that The Chosen series is introducing us to, would that be a concern? As some may have surmised, the Jesus described above is not the biblical Jesus but rather the Jesus of Mormonism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the faith to which many of the series producers belong. But is that the Jesus of The Chosen? Thus far in the series the fundamental doctrines of Mormonism have not been plainly presented. Could they be? Yes—but perhaps not yet.
Yes, because The Chosen’s audience has been conditioned to accept whatever the screenwriter, director, and other creative personnel contribute, with no apparent concern for biblical accuracy. The program that launched the series, for example, was the background story of Mary Magdalene that included the death of her father when she was young, her being raped by a Roman soldier, and the failure of Nicodemus as he attempted to exorcise demons from her. Those details came not from Scripture but from the imagination of those who contributed to the script. Yet for the greater number of viewers, few of whom have read the Bible, the images they watched were received as though they are actually in the Bible.
Below is a list of some of the “attributes” of the Mormon Jesus:
. 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. is 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.
I’ve been told biblical movies are great motivators for people to check the Bible out. Really? What happens when they can’t find the movie scenes such as the gritty backstory of Mary Magdalene? Furthermore, most people would rather watch a highly dramatized Bible story with little concern that it’s fiction than read the actual words of Scripture. “Based on a true story” is good enough, even though the “based” part is a movie fabrication.
I have interviewed numerous believers who viewed so-called biblical movies, and although most of these Christians knew the Bible pretty well, I was dismayed to find that they actually believed that many of the unbiblical scenes in those productions were found in the Bible! Difficulty in distinguishing between what one may have read in the Bible and what one saw on screen in an alleged biblical movie is one of the damaging effects of presenting biblical content visually. That notwithstanding, why would a believer in God’s Word fill his or her head with things that are made to appear biblical by a film company—but are not?
(Dallas Jenkins’) ecumenism is made clear in his own words: “I said that many LDS folks and I love the same Jesus. I still believe that. It’s gotten me in a lot of trouble but I still believe that.” Sound doctrine is the full and absolute counsel of what God has communicated in His Word. Anything added to that by man in his attempt to visually portray God’s word is a counterfeit—a fictitious deception.
For those who nevertheless are enamored with The Chosen yet claim they know and love the Scriptures, The Chosen television series begins with background information about Mary Magdalene nowhere found in the Bible, as noted, but is produced out of the imagination of all the creative movie people, from the screenwriters to the director, and on down the production line. What then of additions to the final episode of season two (although examples are found throughout the entire series)? We’re shown that the disciples are in charge of producing the speaking events of Jesus (e.g., crowd control, distributing flyers for his events, setting up a stage complete with curtains for his presentation of the Sermon on the Mount). Do the Scriptures tell us that the wardrobe of Jesus for his stage appearance was decided upon by four women? Did Jesus, along with his mother, pine for his stepfather Joseph before his preaching on the Mount…or anywhere else in Scripture? Was Matthew, as seen throughout the series, the continual script advisor regarding the content of the sermons and teachings of Jesus? Did Jesus anxiously have to rehearse his preaching before delivering his teachings to the crowd? All those things are found in The Chosen. They are not only missing from God’s Word, their inclusion amounts to blasphemy—that is, a blatant mischaracterization of God manifested in the flesh.
Those who are drawn to the Jesus of The Chosen have been seduced into believing in a character who is not the perfect God/Man presented in God’s Word, but rather a man-made counterfeit Christ whose ministry had to be enabled through the input of his disciples. That’s not the Jesus Christ of God’s inerrant, infallible, and all-sufficient God-breathed Word.
Those who claim to believe the Scriptures but are drawn to The Chosen need to heed the Bible’s far-reaching warning: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew:24:24-25
 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.
(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 2003].
THE WORD LIKE FIRE
In the book, The God Makers, Ed Decker and Dave Hunt state:
Mormon missionaries claim to be bringing true Christianity to the world…When questioned, Mormons insist that their gospel comes from the Bible and that they have the same God and the same Jesus as Christians. In actual fact, they have a completely different God from what the Bible presents, a different Jesus and a different gospel. These differences are denied or glossed over by the missionaries, who are evasive and unwilling to tell the whole truth to a prospective convert for fear of losing him. Ed Decker/Dave Hunt, The God Makers (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1984, Kindle edition), chapter 1, Kindle location : 125-129.