Dallas Jenkins of "The Chosen" Answers His Critics
The man behind the hit streaming show about the life of Jesus has faced some harsh accusations over his decision to work with people of differing faith traditions.
Dallas Jenkins, who created and directs The Chosen, is a committed Christian who describes himself as "Evangelical" and "from a strong, conservative Bible background." The first two seasons of the program attest to that, having stuck to the Gospel narrative, though they also include many extra-Biblical scenes "to add the context, to add backstory," as Jenkins has previously put it, since the show is "a historical, character drama" and "not a verse-by-verse reenactment" of Scripture.
That approach has gotten him in hot water with some and drawn accusations of his being a "heretic" and "blasphemer." Almost exactly one year ago, those sorts of epithets prompted a fiery response on social media from the 46-year-old father of three, as we reported here.
Another sore spot has been Jenkins' partnership on the show with those of "different faith traditions," in his words, primarily meaning Catholics and Mormons: lead actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays the Jesus character, is among the former, and Angel Studios, the show's distributor and primary fundraising arm, among the latter.
But while that and some of Jenkins' statements - which he states have been at times "taken way out of context" - has prompted vociferous criticism (peruse the comment section in the aforementioned article and you'll see the intensity), he says in a new social media post that it comes from a "minority" and the "vast majority of people don't feel that way." He also mentions that a recent public appearance reassured him the show is actually serving as a bridge between viewers from disparate backgrounds.
"You're seeing it all over the world, and then I got to see it firsthand: people coming together to talk and to focus on Jesus, not religion. What God does with that afterwards, and what God does in the individual hearts of each individual person and what church they go to, or what church they're part of, or what faith tradition they hold, that's not up to me and it's not my concern."
Said appearance took place at Utah State University in Logan, UT and involved students, faculty and members of the local community. Jenkins explains that he witnessed this bridging phenomenon between faith traditions playing out there most distinctly during a smaller meeting with students of differing religious backgrounds, and he credits the Bible-centered focus of "The Chosen."
"I've just had so many people sharing with me that there's been this bridge to talk about some of these differences. And it's not a watering down of the message, it's not a changing of the Gospel whatsoever. It's just a, 'We both love this show; let's talk about why.'"
In his social media post, which you can view here, Jenkins calls what is taking place because of the show "truly remarkable." He and the rest of his team, as Christian Film Blog previously reported, plan to launch production of season three in Texas on April 25th; no word yet on when it will be ready for release.