Evangelism: The Chosen?

There are a great many tools out there today to use for evangelism. The best tool in your toolkit is your testimony. Other tools are available as well.

There’s an online streaming series called “The Chosen” currently available. It’s an ongoing series on the life of Jesus, and his last three years of His life. It’s loosely based on scripture, but holds true to it.

The show does take some license and liberties with backstories not found in scripture using historical documents and the ways and customs of the time, but when it comes to the teachings of Christ, it holds very close to scripture.

The other day, I was challenged in an online forum as to my support – first on the “fact that it is idol worship” and the writer proceeds to give a litany of scripture references to carved idols and those made out of silver and gold, as well how it doesn’t hold true to scripture.

Then another came at me with that it was backed by the Mormon church, and that the second season was shot on a Mormon owned film studio lot.

The second point caused me to take a pause and do some research, because if it was true, that the Mormon church was indeed backing and influencing the series in any way, I would pull my support without any hesitation. Mormon doctrine flies in the face of fundamental and evangelical Christianity.

Turns out, that the distribution company, VidAngel, is owned by the Mormon Church, and the studio lot is located in Utah, which makes it entirely possible for Mormon Church involvement.

The question that needs to be asked is whether the Mormon Church has any involvement in script development or doctrinal issues. Based on the content of both seasons one and two, the answer is no. We will be watching future seasons for content that differs from scripture.

In addition, neither creator Dallas Jenkins, nor does his production company, have any relationship with the Mormon Church. That’s a good sign.

While it’s true that people of all denominations, and even no faith at all, work on this project, it’s not taking away from the message of the project.

The actor Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Jesus, for example, was raised Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic. He’s still a practicing Roman Catholic, but his testimony is more Protestant in that he’s totally surrendered to Christ. He’s had circumstances in his life that required such surrender, he had nowhere to look but up. I truly believe that he’s saved.

And you never know, those who have no faith working on the project, are having seeds planted by the producers, directors and actors, which may indeed produce fruit. This is a good thing. We were all unsaved once in our lives, and something touched us, and this could happen here.

As I’ve said in the past, there are people who may have gone to church their entire lives, but aren’t yet saved. They may surprise people be raising their hand at an altar call. There may be those who come to the church a few weeks, and respond to an altar call. The Holy Spirit can work in ways that are totally foreign to we mere mortals. Our ways are not His ways, right?

Now, to that first accusation, that the actor portraying Jesus was akin to idol worship, or portraying themselves as God to be worshipped, or teaching falsely.

There was scripture given to back up their claim. Let’s look at these scriptures.

Jeremiah 10:8, “But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.”

This verse, in itself says that a wooden idol is worthless. The character is a living depiction of Jesus, not demanding worship. Idols are worshipped – a very big difference.

Habakkuk 2:18-19, “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols? Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all.”

Again, mounded images, inanimate objects. What’s coming out of the actors mouth is accurate scripture, not false teaching – so this scripture is not valid.

Romans 10:14-17, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Now, we’re getting away from idol worship, and getting into false teaching and that only the Word of God is to be used for evangelism. As for the false teaching, there is no evidence of false teaching in The Chosen, and evangelism, although the use of the Bible must be used, God uses other tools through people. Testimonies, circumstances and teaching by other means are routinely used, and if used correctly, these can be used to lead others to Christ. The Chosen does this, and does it well.

2 Peter 1:19, And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

Why this verse was given is a mystery. It’s part of the final words of Simon Peter to show the light and love of Christ in a dark world. The Chosen does exactly this.

In an overly secular world, many people view Christ as unapproachable, distant and cold. The Chosen shatters this view, showing Christ as approachable, warm and caring.

And finally, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Scripture is used throughout The Chosen. It may not be the King James Version, which I suspect these people use and subscribe to exclusively.

There are fundamentalist churches that refer to themselves as “Baptist Churches,” and use the King James Version only. Check the sign, if you see “KJV 1611” in the corner, it’s one of these churches. Walk in with an ESV or a NKJV, you’re “using the wrong Bible”.

I know people who prefer the King James, my better half is one of them. I prefer the NKJV and the ESV. She doesn’t think any less of me because of it. In these churches however, I may be seen as heretical.

The Chosen uses scripture in a conversational mode and as such, there’s no thee and thou in the dialogue. In my view, and the view of other pastors, this is still scripture, even though it doesn’t comport to the King James.

“Scripture” in these verses, to these folks, means King James scripture. This is rejected. Most pastors don’t preach in old English. A pastor may read from the King James, but he doesn’t use old English in his sermon text.

I certainly don’t know of any.

The actor, Jonathan Roumie, portraying Jesus is a very humble man and isn’t demanding worship from viewers. If any viewers are indeed giving the actors worship, this isn’t the fault of the actors.

If Jonathan Roumie is considered an idol by these people, then so is Charlton Heston as Moses in the Ten Commandments and every actor who portraying Jesus in film or television are also idols. I can’t accept this.

I consider The Chosen a valuable evangelistic tool, and until I see, or it can be shown to me, that this series has become heretical and teaches falsely, I will continue to use it.

In closing, here is the #Heb10 (Hebrews 10) Church statement on this issue:

The show itself is loosely based on scripture, and yes, there are concerns. What led me to this posting was someone telling me that the show and it’s backers and creators were Mormon. As a pastor, I found that very troubling and would be a deal breaker for me considering Mormon theology.

After extensive study on the subject, I’ve concluded that the show itself must be judged based on whether:

– that there’s any blasphemous content … as of yet, I’ve found none.

– that there’s been undue interference by the producers, writers, directors or other staff to influence content … as of yet, I’ve found none. Having worked the the radio and television industry in my prior life before ministry, I can spot interference of this nature.

– if the content agrees or departs from scripture. Thus far, although license is taken in surrounding plots, scriptural themes are kept.

– whether this can be used as a tool for evangelism. It can. Many unchurched people have a vision of Christ that He’s untouchable and unapproachable. This is totally contrary to scripture, and the show portrays a very approachable Jesus. This is important when evangelizing and trying to plant the seeds of someone confessing their sins and believing in Jesus as their savior.

My job as shepherd an evangelist and pastor is made easier by tools such as this, so long as it comports with scripture. If at any time, I see it departing from it, or becoming blasphemous, I will pull my support for it. As for now, I do support it and will use it as a tool in my evangelism toolkit, with the usual caveats included in this post.

8 Replies to “Evangelism: The Chosen?”

  1. I agree with you and this post wholeheartedly! God bless you Brother.

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  2. I am often saddened by religionists of any sect of Christianity belittling any other sect of Christianity. Didn’t the Savior say? if ye are not one, ye are not mine.

    I believe all Christians will benefit if we concentrate our faith in Jesus Christ on the points of doctrine that are most important and not ridicule others for beliefs outside the fundamental principles.

    There is no “Mormon church”, nor a “church of Mormon”, nor any other group named as “Mormon”; there is a church called: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” which is derogatorially called by other names. However doing so, would separate anyone from the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the Gospel of Love.

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    1. Yes, denominational differences do exist, and we can usually work around them.

      When doctrine becomes unbiblical or extrabiblical, a line has been crossed that cannot be crossed. God is very explicit, we don’t add to, or take away from scripture.

      I will not get into a theological discussion here regarding Mormonism on this page. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds the Book of Mormon (hence why it’s called the Mormon church”) above the Bible – which adds to scripture, and which is heretical. Doctrines from the golden plates to Moroni – is all theologically unsound based in the Bible. All of this can be found if one does a little research, even down to how we’re all gods – I’m sorry, but if I find one ounce of this, or any other CJCLDS doctrine – doctrine come out of this series, I will pull my support, as will a ton of other pastors.

      Denominational differences – yes, that can be dealt with as we’re all believing in the fundamental truths of our faith, specifically, the blood atonement of sin through the Son, Jesus Christ, the one and only way to Heaven – and Him crucified as our Savior. But when one goes awry of the Canon of Scripture, the line is drawn.

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      1. Twice in Deuteronomy there is direction not to add to nor take away from the word of God given to His prophets. (Deut 4:2; 12:32)
        Does this mean that nothing after the Books of Moses is valid scripture?
        Many scholars believe that the Book of Revelation was John’s first writings, do we thus set aside all his other writings?

        I firmly believe that anything that brings you closer to Jesus Christ is good for you, regardless of the source.

        There are many who write that watching “The Chosen” has kindled a fire of inquisition, investigation, or research. This is a great thing, that people are searching the scriptures for understanding. No one should hinder that inquisitive mind.

        Dallas Jenkins writer, director, producer and driving force behind “The Chosen”, his father is coauthor of the Left Behind series. I know Dallas is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however Dallas was given free access to the anceint Jerusalem stage that was created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to film “The Chosen”. That is all the involvement Dallas has mentioned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they didn’t charge him to use a production stage.

        What will Christians of every faith do when those 2 prophets – are not of their preferred sect – announce the day of the Lord is nigh? Shall Christians then cast those 2 out? If those are the servant of God that will restore all things, will the restoration also be rejected because of one verse?

        The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about Love, the Atonement is the only way to the Eternal Father. All of the extra distractions are divisive and ought to be set aside, while all Christians concentrate on the core beliefs we share.

        Thank you, each of you for guiding others to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
        All Glory to Him whose Right it is.

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      2. …and once in Revelation 22:18. We believe that all scripture is God breathed and written by man as inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, believe all the 66 books of the canon of scripture and anything else is extrabiblical and not part of scripture. If God said through Moses and through John not to take away or add to it, then we just don’t do it.

        I’m extremely happy that the show was given access to the studio lot and Jerusalem sites without charge. I would expect nothing less, however, I would expect that there would be no quid-pro-quo in terms of script development or theological direction, that’s all that I’m saying in the post.

        As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which given your position, I believe you are, you should know full well of your Church’s teachings versus those of traditional, fundamental Christianity.

        As I said in my prior answer, differences between denominations can be dealt with – and there are many, Episcopal and Baptist have major differences, would it keep me out of their church? Probably not – unless it was pastored by an openly gay man, or a woman, which the Episcopalian church ordains – major differences are a problem, but differences that don’t affect the fundamental truth of the gospels, we can work around.

        The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as I’ve said, and has yet to disputed, holds the Book of Mormon above the inerrant Word of God – the Bible itself. That’s *adding* to scripture, my friend, and that’s not something that can be overlooked.

        Finally, Jesus Christ *is* about love, but there’s a judgement side to him. He will be the sole prosecutor, judge and jury come Judgement Day, and there will be many a soul destined to Hell. Jesus said in his sermon on the mount, (Matthew 7:13-14):

        “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

        It’s a warning – that wide is the gate to destruction, and narrow is the gate to Heaven, which few will find. Present day counts, out of 8 billion people in the world, and the countless of souls who have departed this earthly life, how many do you think have found that narrow gate? A lot fewer than people think, unfortunately.

        Jesus judged while here on this earth. The woman at the well, when He told the woman that she had five husbands and that she was shacking up with potential number six, wasn’t that judgement? It sure was, enough to make her repent and become the first recorded evangelist.

        So, as for our “preferred sect” – ours is biblical, and doesn’t require the use of other, outside texts as the basis and foundation of our faith. The Bible is faithful and true. It’s all you need my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until those directing the organization turned over the Sunday service to the local government dictates and polluted the House of the Lord by wearing pagan covidian cult talismans, ritualistic cleansings, and casting out those that were seeking to be taught in the Word of the Lord. Although, these pagan covidian cult talismans and rituals polluted many places where believers gathered to fellowship, praise, and worship the Lord, in many Houses built unto the Lord.

    “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Matthew 17:11

    Jesus Christ, who knows the end from the beginning, tells us that the Bible does not have everything that our Eternal Father wants us to know.

    What is the sealed book that will come out of the ground, that is recorded in Isaiah 29? Is it possible that this is a prophecy about the Book of Mormon?

    What are the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph, that will be joined together to be one Testament of Jesus Christ, that is recorded in Ezekiel 37? Is it possible that this is a prophecy about the Book of Mormon?

    I think that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, actually sets the Book of Mormon as a complimentary book of scripture. This would be evident by their most recent study supplements. In 2018, they introduced the Come Follow Me study guide for families and individuals, the New Testament was the first year of study (2019), the Book of Mormon was the second year study (2020). By application this would put the New Testament record of Christ’s life and ministry, before the record of our Eternal Father’s dealings with His children on the American continent by direction of the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    I read the Old Testament (twice a year), the New Testament (4 times a year), and the Book of Mormon (4 times a year); I am not aware of any actual conflict, I think they are congruent.

    I believe there are people with strong faith of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in many different sects. Those strong in their faith help others that seek the Lord by their Christ like behavior, thus all Christians can be brought toward Christ in a manner they believe. The Supreme Judge of the world will ultimately correct each of His followers to the True Gospel.

    Jesus told us that the King will separate the sheep from the goats. (Matt 25) Not by religious affiliation, but by how they treated the “least of these”.

    Where are the books that are mentioned in the text of the Bible that are not actually in the Holy Writ? Jasher, Iddo, etc.

    We do not have all of His Truth now, if we did there would be no need for all things to be restored. Or if we have all of His Truth, we are not living up to it sufficiently in any group; there would be no need for restoration.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as listening to mine, we can all grow closer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ through philia and forgiveness.

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    1. I’m sorry I haven’t answered sooner, David… but here goes.

      On your question on Isaiah 29, what’s being discussed is not a future gospel, but the difference between one who studies he scriptures and one who does not, and merely pays lip service to the Bible.

      It’s easy to take specific verses, well known ones, and toss them out and make what one wills of them. There’s many a pastor out there today who are actually learned in the scripture, but will parrot a narrative and try to make themselves look like they know what they’re talking about and then there are those pastors who take the time to study – really study and dig into what the scriptures are saying.

      The “sealed book” is an example of the scriptures not being studied (see verses 11-12 on all of this)…

      11. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”

      Is the learned one who refuses to study, and …

      12. Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please. And he says, “I am not literate.”

      Is the one who is unlearned, who doesn’t know how to study and needs to be taught.

      As for your reference to Ezekiel 37, specifically vv. 18-20, the stick of Joseph refers to the tribe of Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom of Israel) and the stick of Judah, the tribe of Judah (the Southern Kingdom of Judah). This is a prophecy of reunification of these two kingdoms under one King – one Kingdom, One King.

      Neither has to do with a prophecy of a new gospel. All contemporary commentaries agree on these points.

      Actually, if you really dig into LDS church (I’m using a tablet, so I’m using shorthand, I know there’s a big difference between the LDS cult and the denomination)… the church teaching is to consult the Book of Mormon before the Bible. This makes it superior to scripture, which should be soundly rejected. Even as a “complimentary book of scripture” is even blasphemous as it’s not scripture. Pastors use commentaries in sermon prep – it’s research material, not scripture.

      As for truth, we have a whole book of it, it’s called the Bible. If it’s need, it’s in there, and if it’s not, it’s not.

      I’m not saying that Mormons are not good people, David. Given our conversation here, you’re probably a wonderful person and we’d probably have great conversations about faith. Our respective faiths however, differ so much, that there would be reconciliation between them unless the extrabiblical issues of yours were dropped, or were accepted by us, which would be a very tough, if not impossible thing to do.

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  4. Thank you again for the opportunity to share, I truly look forward to the time Isaiah saw were we all see eye to eye. Then we shall have the eternal understanding.

    May the Grace of God be with and watch over you and your family.

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