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Series Review--Choosing "The Chosen"

Actor Jonathan Roumie portrays Jesus in "The Chosen." (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

By Patrick Trent--Eagle Staff Writer

There is a new TV show that has taken the world by storm, garnering more than 490 million views, and remarkably it's about Jesus. The Chosen is a complex and interlinked series which takes modern-day people back in time to the days when Christ and his disciples walked the Earth.

Some have stated that they went into the show thinking it was about the life of the apostles while others thought it was just about the life of Christ. The Chosen is all of these things and more, beginning with the life of the early Christians and Christ up to the crucifixion.

One peculiar thing about it was that it was originally streamed on its own platform but just recently in 2022 Netflix put it on their platform. Despite this change, views have steadily increased.

Off the underperformance of The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, Dallas Jenkins, creator and producer of The Chosen, started binge-watching a multitude of different TV shows and movies and subsequently realized that there was no multi-season TV show about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Inspired by a short film The Shepherd that he wrote for a Christmas Eve service at his church, Harvest Bible Chapel, he started the process of creating The Chosen.

The first season was following the backstory of the apostles and the early life and ministry of Jesus Christ, while the second and third were following his rising fame and leading toward the crucifixion.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the show, as some have stated that it breaks the 2nd commandment, “You shall not make any graven images.” I believe that it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the commandment because it does not violate the first commandment, which states that “You shall have no other gods before me.” It requires worship of the images. The first two commandments were in response to the religious practices of the ancient world when many images would worship the Earth and depict the "gods" in images.

Micah Lang from Gospel Matters stated that it takes too much creative liberty with Scripture, saying that, "The Chosen fights this (following scripture closely) by taking creative liberties to more fully expand on conversations, relationships, and individuals in the Gospels."

While the show may not try to replace Scripture, some viewers may use it for that purpose. Since it is dramatized, it is not entirely from the Bible so for a viewer to watch as if it could/would lead to non-biblical conceptions of Jesus or the early Christians. The dramatization of the show is not entirely a bad thing since they want to keep people watching and it has led to people reading Scripture.

In spite of the controversy with the show, I also believe it is a net positive for Christianity. The show brings conversations about God into homes instead of in churches where some people may never even hear about him. The show makes God more relatable instead of like this unreachable, unknowable, and sometimes outright deistic God.

Another strength is that the show depicts a biblical Jesus that understands our struggle and it does the same for the apostles instead of how some movies and tv shows have portrayed the apostles as better than an average Christian.

It also depicts the apostles more like "normal" humans than what previous Christian entertainment has. I believe that the show is very scriptural in that the apostles deal with issues that we still deal with like anger and depression.

The show will primarily appeal to Christians; non-religious audiences should tune in, especially if they like historical dramas. The show can be streamed on Netflix or through The Chosen app.

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