Thousands of people, including many Christians, have tuned in to watch the series The Chosen. The series is about Jesus Christ and His disciples, both before and after their ministry began. The Chosen has been a great success and as a result another season is in the offing. In her piece The Chosen and The Shift, Ingrid McCullough warns that it’s not just a show:
Mr. Jenkins is involved in writing study guides and devotionals that go along with his portrayal of Christ and His followers. Churches and small groups will be watching episodes of The Chosen and using the accompanying materials for the sake of spiritual growth. He argues that The Chosen doesn’t replace Scripture but He does claim that God is the one behind it, wanting to use the series to bring people closer to Christ. This same line of reasoning is used by the LDS to promote the Book of Mormon...
And herein lies the problem and the reason for this article. My chief concern is that most people don't realize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a.k.a Mormonism, is involved in producing the series. And that should give Christians pause.
There are a whole host of pseudo-Christian cults around the globe. One of the most well-known cults is Mormonism. No doubt some will find my assertion that they are caught up in a cult humorous, while others may find it disturbing that I would even suggest such a thing. However, as a Christian I’m not called to be nice; I’m called to speak the truth in love; likewise, I’m called to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Anyone who claims to be a Christian but chooses to deny fundamental Christian doctrine and blatantly manipulates the scriptures to fit their own narrative is not a true follower of Jesus Christ. From the Church’s perspective, which is what really matters, a true believer will not deviate from the historic, orthodox teachings derived from Sacred Scripture and confirmed through the creeds (what Christians believe) and confessions (what Christians publicly confess). The creeds and confessions clarify what Christians believe and why they believe it. Creeds and confessions throw light on the essentials of the Christian faith, whereas pseudo-Christian cults deny the essentials of the faith.
Not surprisingly, the Mormons have had to defend their spurious beliefs ever since founding prophet, Joseph Smith, reported that an angel named Moroni visited him on several occasions beginning in 1823. According to Mark Ashurst-McGee, Smith alleged that Moroni “showed him the location of an ancient scriptural record akin to the Bible, which was inscribed on metal tablets that looked like gold. After four years, Moroni allowed Smith to recover these ‘golden plates’ and translate their characters into English. It was from Smith’s published translation—the Book of Mormon—that members of the fledgling church became known as ‘Mormons.’”
What do we know about Joseph Smith’s visitor? There are “several different accounts of the attributes of this so-called angel Moroni. Some described him to be a Spanish conquistador type of fellow, with a slit throat, and blood draining from the gaping wound. Still others, reported Smith told them Moroni was originally a toad who morphed itself into a salamander which eventually ended up as the angel of light, Moroni.” The Anti-Mormon Blog reveals that “Smith was only too eager in sharing Moroni’s message that Smith’s name would be known for both good, and evil. It’s as if he proudly wore it as a badge of honor.”
According to Mormon theology, Moroni came into existence as a human being. Nowhere does the Bible say that angels began as humans. Not surprisingly, Mormon beliefs contradict the clear teaching of Scripture on angels.
Is this information concerning Joseph Smith, the angel Moroni, and the supposed golden tablets important? You bet it is. Mormons are not and cannot be true Christians for the simple reason that their view of the essentials of the Christian faith do not reflect historic orthodox Christianity – not even close! What they believe about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the Atonement and Salvation, is not only unbiblical, it is pure fiction! And speaking of salvation, LDS Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188 states that there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. So, it is easy to understand why I labeled The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a pseudo-Christian cult.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
Dallas Jenkins And The Mormon’s Counterfeit Jesus
According to Ingrid McCullough:
Mr. Jenkins claims that he felt God speaking to him 3-4 times in his life. He claimed he felt God “laying on his heart” that “in several years The Chosen was going to be what people thought of when they pictured the disciples.”
I felt like God was saying that ‘this will 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 not going to let you screw it up.’
“I felt like God was laying on my heart…” “I felt like God was saying…” The question we need to ask ourselves is, what if he was not hearing from God but rather a demon? How could Mr. Jenkins possibly know for certain that it was Almighty God he was hearing from?
Does God speak directly to His people? Does He speak to a believer’s heart? Or…..does God speak to believers through His Word? If you wish to know what the Bible actually teaches on hearing God’s voice outside the scriptures, I invite you to watch a video of Justin Peters and Voddie Baucham teaching on what has become a very controversial subject.
Dallas Jenkins’ claim that God said that He’s not going to let him “screw it up,” was not from God. We know this because Dallas actually did screw it up and very early on at that. How? By partnering with a pseudo-Christian cult. Unbeknownst to most people, he hired VidAngel to distribute The Chosen. VidAngel is an LDS owned enterprise. The LDS religion is an enemy of the Cross. Why? Because Mormons have a different Jesus. Theirs is not the Jesus of Sacred Scripture. Most everyone knows this. So how could the man who was supposedly told by God that He wouldn’t let him “screw it up” not know that Mormons reject the Jesus of the Bible?
Dallas Jenkins is clearly confused because during an interview he remarked: “We love the same Jesus…I’ll sink or swim on that statement.'”
According to Mormon Doctrine subtitled “A Compendium of the Gospel” page 163, Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both. To identify the Lord Jesus Christ and Satan as “spirit brothers” is blasphemy.
One Mormon leader said the following when asked what he believes about Jesus:
In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ.’ ‘No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak'” (LDS Church News, week ending June 20, 1998, p.7)
Saying that he would “sink or swim on that statement” was a rather bold assertion for Dallas Jenkins to make. One can only conclude that he believes Christians and Mormons love the same Jesus. Even Mormons don’t believe that for a moment. As referenced above, Mormons absolutely do not believe in the same Jesus as biblical Christians do. By making that statement, any credibility Jenkins had sank like the Titanic.
In her article, Ingrid McCullough revealed that, "Many Christians have expressed concern with Mr. Jenkins partnership with the LDS church. Yet, he brushes off these concerns as irrelevant. Partnering with a cult that endeavors to be seen as Christian is dangerous.”
Dallas Locks Horns With Dissenters
Bible teacher, author and blogger Michelle Lesley wrote a review of The Chosen that’s published on her site. At the end of the review are several comments. As I scrolled down the page, I noticed that Michelle replied to some of these comments but what caught my eye was a commenter by the name of “Dallas Jenkins.” Seeing that name was a surprise! The Chosen producer read Michelle’s review and stayed to respond to comments. One commenter, Susan Raborn, expressed concern over his decision to use VidAngel to distribute his film. Following is his reply:
- VidAngel is not a “Mormon company” any more than Disney is a “Jewish company.” The fact that their owner happens to be a Mormon is immaterial to the content on their service.
- They are the distributors of The Chosen. Unlike with Netflix or NBC or Amazon or whatever (all owned by non-believers, by the way), who would have control of the content if they financed it, VidAngel does not have control over the content of The Chosen. The Kendrick Brothers’ movies are financed and distributed by Sony, a company owned by non-believers/atheists, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What matters is the content of the show and those writing it.
- This video addresses the issue of who is involved with The Chosen and is essentially our “statement of faith”: (Video on the site)
Susan Raborn: To partner with a Catholic priest who teaches and professes a false religion that damns its adherents to hell with a false gospel of works righteousness is the continued dangerous ecumenical blindness that has watered down the gospel and weakened the church. It’s the sort of thing that leads to Catholics believing that a false gospel is the same as the true gospel. It’s the kind of thing that makes the ministry more difficult and much harder for those of us contending for truth, for the gospel, sharing truth with Catholics. While we get hammered, thrown out of families, and persecuted, our names and character maligned and destroyed, those holding that Catholicism is a valid Christian religion are walking arm in arm into the one world religion easing into the apostate church.
Dallas Jenkins: Except we didn’t “partner” with a Catholic priest. Shouldn’t the show speak for itself?
Susan Raborn: Depends on your definition of partnering. This from CBN: “Very early in the production process, Jenkins saw the critical need and value of having an ecumenical group of pastors, professors, and theologians to dissect and analyze each episode of the series for theological accuracy and cultural relevance. Among that group are Rabbi Sobel, Father David Guffey, a Catholic priest, and Dr. Doug Huffman, an evangelical college professor who specializes in Old and New Testament.
At this point Michelle asked them to finish their conversation via email and they complied.
On 7/12/20 Michelle added an update to her review to thank a reader who brought to her attention a troubling interview on a Mormon YouTube channel where he remarked that he believes Mormonism and Catholicism are Christianity. A concerned Michelle commented:
Dallas seems to believe that Mormonism and Catholicism are both Christianity.” [I’ll address this issue below.] It is one thing to use the products and services of a non-Christian [Mormon owned] company. It is another matter to personally believe, as a Christian, that false religions are Christianity and that adherents of those religions are brothers and sisters in Christ. If these revelations of Dallas’ beliefs prevent you from watching The Chosen, that is certainly understandable, and I would encourage you not to sin against your conscience by watching it.
Is Uniting With Wolves A Beautiful Thing?
On a recent podcast, Pastor Gabriel Hughes of When We Understand The Text (WWUTT), mentioned that a few years ago he wrote a review of a film directed by Dallas Jenkins, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. (See the podcast link below) Jenkins was upset by Hughes’ negative review and contacted him to let him know he was deeply offended. Hughes discussed what happened during their email exchange and went on to say that in his view, Jenkins “didn’t understand the Church let alone the gospel...he clearly didn’t understand the gospel at all.” As such “No one’s going to be changed by seeing this flick.” Even though Hughes pointed to Scripture to make his case, Jenkins’ mind was not changed. Hughes then moved to his topic, The Chosen. He played portions of an interview Jenkins did with David Snell, a Mormon, and interrupted to correct Jenkins’ theology. Here’s an excerpt from that clip:
One of the most interesting things about this whole project has been my relationship with different denominational or faith traditions that I didn’t have before. I’ve learned so much more about the LDS community than I thought I knew. That goes for the Catholic community.”
Hughes stops the interview and says reproachfully, “He defends an entire religion that adds to the Bible. This is another gospel.” He then quotes Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” He then points out that “[Mormons] believe in another Jesus. A literal offspring of heavenly father and heavenly mother. An exalted man, a created being. Jenkins defends this!” Hughes plays another clip where we hear Jenkins say, “It’s a beautiful thing to see that we can agree on the stories of Christ. You’ve got Catholics and Jews and Mormons and Evangelicals – we’re all loving the same show and this show is about Jesus. Maybe, just maybe we love the same Jesus.”
Hughes stops the interview and laments “I don’t know if he’s ever known the gospel.” Later he reminds us that “There is no possible way to portray in film and TV, or anywhere else, the holiness of Christ in his humanity. The perfection that Christ was, even in His incarnation, there would be no way to depict that…. Jesus was not just like us. No film will ever be able to capture the perfection of Christ.”
Amen to that.
Should You Watch The Chosen?
There is no harm in asking valid questions before investing your time watching eight episodes of The Chosen, starting with: Who is Dallas Jenkins and why should I believe the picture he is painting of the Lord Jesus and his disciples is biblical?
If you recall, Dallas Jenkins stated that he believes Christians and Mormons love the same Jesus. Clearly he’s confused….or something. What is true, and provably so, is that the Jesus of the Bible is not the fictitious Jesus Mormon founder Joseph Smith hatched in his fertile imagination.
For professing Christians this is an issue of discernment. Bible believers must become Bereans (Acts 17:11). What this means is that before you watch a “Bible” movie, go to a play, or read a book, consider checking out the writer/producer’s “credentials.” Where did he/she attend seminary or Bible college? Is the writer conservative or liberal? Along these lines Ingrid McCullough has some relevant thoughts that are worthy of consideration:
In Video 1, Mr. Jenkins peddles his evangelical street creds….He explains that he has been part of a conservative bible-believing background his whole life and was a Bible major in college. But does the fact that he was raised in Christian culture and was a Bible major in college make him more reliable when it comes to rightly dividing the Word of God? No. It does not. Mr. Jenkins repeatedly says in interviews and social media posts that he holds to orthodox Christian teaching. However, nowhere does he post a clear statement of faith, confessional statement, or guiding creed. We have to take him at his word. Video 1 is labeled as his statement of faith, but, in no way was it a typical statement of faith. After watching it, we know nothing of his actual stance on the primary doctrines of the faith. We do, however, have an understanding of the show’s values.
Mr. Jenkins and his wife have positioned themselves as Bible teachers. Through collaboration with other people, they now write and sell several devotionals, Bible study guides, and other material that correspond to the show. As such, their theology matters. Their ability to rightly handle the Word of God matters. Yet, in one sponsored ad, Mr. Jenkins promoted his Bible study guide [link added] as a tool to “explore the scriptural context that augments your viewing experience.” (emphasis added)
This is completely backward! If, as Mr. Jenkins has claimed, Scripture, not The Chosen, is our authority, why is it that it is Scripture that augments the show and not the other way around? Not that it is much better the other way around, theologically speaking. But Mr. Jenkins has shown in this statement his true view of Scripture and that it is there to augment his show, his vision, his Jesus. (Source)
Recently I watched a video of R.C. Sproul teaching on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:13-14 where the Lord Jesus says the following:
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 eternal life, and those who find it are few.
There is a gate to life (heaven), which is narrow and a gate to destruction (hell) which is wide. The gate for sinners is wide and stands open. The gate to eternal life is narrow.
During his teaching, R.C. emphasized that followers of Jesus Christ must stive to enter through the narrow gate. “The gate is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter are doomed. This is not my opinion,” he stresses. “It is the teaching of the Lord Jesus.” He went on to say, and I’m paraphrasing, that those who go through the narrow gate are few and that the vast majority of human beings are on their way to hell and if they died tonight they’d arrive in hell and cry out, “Lord, Lord didn’t we do these things in your name…?” And Jesus would say to them “Leave, you workers of inequity! You are not known by me in a redemptive way, so I don’t hear you knocking at my door.” Then R.C. makes his final point: “What if you’re deceiving yourself about the state of your soul?” Some people will be devastated, he says. They will be sobbing, “Oh no please, have mercy on me.” Others will not be weeping, they’ll be gnashing their teeth, complaining “How dare you put me here!” With a serious expression on the timeworn face of a man who had severe breathing difficulties, R.C. stated; “I wouldn’t believe in hell if Jesus hadn’t taught on it.”
In the closing words of his lecture, R.C addressed his audience with urgency (From my notes):
True Christians are sons and daughters of the King. We don’t have to worry about how strong the world is. All we have to know is who the King is. Jesus Christ will determine the destiny of people….are you numbered among the few or the many?
I’ll close with a verse all Bible believing Christians should be familiar with:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God. 1 Cor 614-15
WWUTT 1420 Q&A James Coates, N.T. Wright, The Chosen, Ephesians 4:8, Colossians 1:24 Slide bar to 18:00 – Gabriel Hughes’ podcast
Cults & Heretical Teaching – Research Paper
A Chosen Review – Todd Friel
F4F | Hearing the Voice of God Part 1 – YouTube
The Chosen’s Jesus Jonathan Roumie on Being a Born Again Catholic
Join Marsha West on MeWe© Marsha West
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.