Sometimes I allow staff meeting to veer off into tangents. Well, most of the time. A few weeks ago we talked about The Chosen, a television show about the life of Christ. I had not watched any of it. I am a little picky regarding biblical movies. Pastors have been marketing tools in the past and the Bible makes a terrible screen play. But Christie and I took the plunge.
The show’s creator, Dallas Jenkins (son of Left Behind co-author Jerry Jenkins), has a degree in Biblical Studies. In creating the show, he put together a panel of expert consultants to ensure biblical and historical accuracy. On the panel were a Messianic Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and an evangelical professor of biblical studies.
Jenkins’ goal in creating the show was to help people know Jesus better and love the Bible more. To reach that goal, he and the other scriptwriters took the gospel accounts and added plausible details about the lives of the biblical figures. They added backstories to well-known characters and fleshed out other characters who receive only a passing mention. The intended result is that viewers see the people in the Bible as real people who dealt with the same issues we all face. In The Chosen, the disciples have families and friends, they have a reputation, they have a sense of humor, and they struggle with finances and other concerns.
So some artistic license is evident. OK, very evident. But the final product tells a story that seems very grounded in real life. You discover first century culture, which is huge. I mean no one knows for sure if Matthew was on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, but maybe. And I just love him. Just remember that what you are watching is art, not real life.
Some have been concerned that members of the Mormon Church are involved in the production, so I have my eye out for any of that influence. I’m just into season one, and have found that the finished product is not Mormon. And it does honor Christ (so far, at least).
The show’s evangelical creators still retain full control over the content of the show. As long as that doesn’t change and The Chosen keeps producing a faithful retelling of the life of Christ, all is well. If elements of errant theology begin creeping into the show itself, then the creators will have betrayed their viewers and the truth of the gospel. Until that time, watching The Chosen is a matter of conscience. Each person is to prayerfully discern whether watching the show will be a benefit or a hindrance to his/her walk with the Lord: “Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” Romans 14:5. Right now? I am really enjoying it. A lot.