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An official social media account for “The Chosen” defended the appearance of a rainbow-colored Pride flag on the set of the crowdfunded show, claiming that the endorsement from at least one team member would not affect the theological rigor of the project.
“The Chosen,” a multi-season series based on the life of Jesus Christ, has garnered national recognition in recent years even as filmmaker Dallas Jenkins defends the decision to involve non-Christians, as well as members of restorationist movements such as Mormons. A recent promotional video about season four of “The Chosen” included a brief shot in which a small Pride flag can be seen on the set of the show as videographers capture a scene.
Turning Point USA contributor and former sports reporter Jon Root asked “The Chosen” to explain the presence of the Pride flag on set. An official social media account said on Tuesday that the initiative uses the work of those who have varying beliefs about Jesus but insisted that the project would still be able to accurately “honor” his life and ministry.
“Just like with our hundreds of cast and crew who have different beliefs (or no belief at all) than we do, we will work with anyone on our show who helps us portray or honor the authentic Jesus,” the statement said. “We ask that audiences let the show speak for itself and focus on the message, not the messenger, because we’ll always let you down.”
Root pressed “The Chosen” to answer whether “it’s God-honoring to promote a symbol that represents sexual immorality, a worldly redefinition of marriage, and the idea that we can change our biological sex,” noting that the controversy comes shortly before the start of Pride Month.
“Shouldn’t every part of this show be Biblically-based to truly honor the authentic Jesus? If you stand by having a pride flag on your set, you are not a Christian show,” Root added. “You are a production that happens to be about Jesus while catering to the sin of this fallen world.”
“The Chosen” generated controversy last year when the show’s depiction of Jesus, played by actor Jonathan Roumie, said in a trailer that he is “the law of Moses,” a quotation which never appears in the Bible but appears in the Book of Mormon. Jenkins insisted that most of the audience “went crazy and loved it,” while very few viewers saw reason for concern.
“I have never read the Book of Mormon, to be honest with you. I’ve read some of it. People will share with me,” he said in one livestream. “I read it when someone told me, ‘Hey, that’s from the Book of Mormon.’ I was like, ‘Okay,’ and I went and looked it up.”
Despite the popularity of “The Chosen” among many evangelicals, theological criticism from Protestant circles has concluded that the show arguably violates the Second Commandment by making a visual representation of Christ and functionally contradicts the sufficiency of Scripture. “Unfortunately, our current media and visual centric culture demands more than words on a page. We no longer seem to have a sense of contentment based purely on the written word,” Travis Kerns, a mission strategist at the Three Rivers Baptist Association, said in an article about the show. “When this amusement comes alongside, takes the place of, or supersedes Scripture, we have removed the Bible as the sufficient guide for the Christian life and replaced it with something else.”