Several Christian bloggers have recently claimed that The Chosen, a popular TV series about the life of Jesus and the calling of the disciples, is “produced by Mormons.” Their readers have used social media to spread that rumor widely.
Pastor Dan Jarms recently reminded us from 1 John 4 of the need to use discernment in evaluating the information we read. How can we discern, in this case, whether these assertions are accurate or significant?
If we know enough about the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), we could watch the show with discernment to see if we observe any LDS doctrines being portrayed, but most of us don’t have that knowledge.
“We have access to a reliable inside source. Dr. Doug Huffman... one of the script consultants for The Chosen.”
Fortunately, in this case we have access to a reliable inside source. Dr. Doug Huffman, currently Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean of Biblical & Theological Studies at the Talbot School of Theology, part of Biola University, is a personal friend and former colleague from when we both taught at Northwestern College in Minnesota. He also happens to be one of the script consultants for The Chosen and previously had the show’s creator and director, Dallas Jenkins, as a student.
I asked Doug about the LDS claims. He responded with an informative and detailed email, the major portion of which (with some editing and minus personal references) follows:
All of the consultants are from historic Christianity; there is no LDS script consultant. —Dr. Doug Huffman
I hope this is helpful. Keep praying for The Chosen—not only for the ministry the final product has in the world but for the ministry that Dallas and the other believers involved in the program have inside the show to the unbelievers they work with.
I hope this clarifies any concerns you may have had about watching The Chosen. But remember, we still need to watch with discernment. The script consultants are scholars who help ensure historical and cultural accuracy, and the script, particularly Jesus’ words, includes a lot of direct biblical quotes, but it is still mostly “sanctified imagination.” Even Christian script writers are human, and thus, not perfect.
And do pray that this creative effort to introduce Jesus to millions of people who would otherwise never pick up a Bible will bear much fruit.
Let The Chosen push you to read more of Scripture, and beware of letting it become an interpreter or substitute for Scripture.