Theologically Sound. Culturally Relevant.

The Chosen Season 1

The False Teaching of The Chosen Ep. 4 The Rock On Which It Is Built

The Chosen’s 4th episode, “The Rock On Which It Is Built” may be the worst episode yet, not from an entertainment standpoint but from a biblical standard for sure. After episode 3 which appears to be the high water mark of the series, depicting a noncanonical event in what I saw as a faithful attempt, the next episode strays into the realm of false teaching being depicted by their version of Jesus.

The episode follows two main plots: Simon the failed fisherman and investigator Nicodemus. Simon the snitch fails to deliver on his previous promises to the Romans and then attempts to extort Zebedee. He then confesses his financial situation to his wife. Matthew is appointed by Quintus to spy on Simon but is obvious in doing so. He tries to convince Simon to turn himself in, but Simon insists he has one more day.

It’s worth noting that this entire plotline of a massive tax debt is made to make the show seem relatable as the Roman taxation system was far less of an encumbrance than what we pay in taxes today. Income tax which Simon owed would have ranged from 1-3%, less than Social Security, which can hardly accumulate to a boat repo and a home foreclosure, especially as the show did not establish Matthew as a Zacchaeus like thief.

The plot climaxes after Simon goes fishing all nigh and catches nothing, with Andrew, James, and John joining Simon midnight to fish. Jesus is teaching a crowd on the shore in the morning in parables and insists that Simon partake in the parable by lending his boat.

The parable that Jesus teaches then contains false teaching. The Chosen’s Jesus speaks of a fisherman who casts his net and gathers. He then states that the fisherman with gather his net and sort out the good fish from the bad fish. Jesus explains the parable as that in the day of judgement the “angels will come and separate the evil from the righteous.”

The Chosen tries to fabricate a parable using Matthew 13:37-43, only The Chosen conflates the God character of the parable with the angel characters of the parable. Moreover, it ignores the grand plan and spiritual warfare of the parable they were attempting to emulate. The message that the viewer easily could have gotten for the The Chosen’s parable is that good people go to Heaven. This stands in contrast to the sower in the Bible who plants wheat in which tares are sown by Satan. This may be a Mormon influence on the show.

After Jesus calls Simon, the other new disciples are treated as tagalongs. He says that they will be catchers of men and that this means they will catch the men and Jesus will sort them out. This is a megachurch mentality of putting butts in seats and letting Jesus sort them out when they die. The church is not called to gather men and let God do the sorting. We have a Great Commission. We are called to preach the gospel and disciple new believers. We are called to enact church discipline on the unrepentant not simply let God do the sorting after death.

The Nicodemus plot with John the Baptist is a glaring missed opportunity for the show. John the Baptist would be an interesting character to depict in television given his lifestyle and preaching. But the show chooses not to depict him until he is in a jail cell after the baptism of Jesus. This is a bad writing decision, as John the Baptist was a major figure at the time.

Overall, from a television standpoint, the writing and historical errors are glaring. The miracle with the fish was depicted in knee-deep water, undermining previously lofty production value. Most importantly, this was not a faithful depiction of Jesus in Luke 5. They portray Jesus teaching error as it relates to angels and setting up a false mission for the church.

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6 Responses

  1. I would never think of defending anything related to Mormon teaching. The Mormon influence on the show concerns me immensely and I think we are wise to criticize the Chosen in many respects. One can even make an argument that one should not even try to tell ones own narrative story about Jesus simply because Jesus is perfect and we will inevitably portray a Jesus less than perfect.

    I say all this however to let you know that as far as I can tell the parable that the Chosen’s Jesus tells is in the Bible. I was unfamiliar with it at the time and looked it up to see if it was there. It appears to be in Matthew 13:47-50, nearly word for word. Though their inclusion of the parable may have ulterior motives, if we’re going to criticize the Chosen we should not criticize them on false information. The parable is in the Bible. It just might have a different meaning than they were wanting to portray.

    Best regards and thanks for your ministry! I find it very helpful in sorting fact from fiction.

    1. I address Matthew 13 and believe the two parables to be irreconcilable in their context and portrayal. This is where there is danger between right and almost right.

      1. Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but you addressed verses 37-43. Was that a mis-citation? That’s the parable of the wheat and the tares. In verses 47 – 50 you see the parable the Chosen’s Jesus uses. ““Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered all kinds of fish. When it was full, they drew it to shore, sat down, and gathered the good into baskets, but threw the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

        It’s been a while since I watched the episode, but I remember looking up this parable when he said it because I was unfamiliar with it, and couldn’t find any differences in the quotes on the video vs the text itself.

        I am only mentioning this because you used the word “fabricate” implying that the parable is nonexistent in the text, which it is. I am trying to be iron sharpening iron here.

        1. At a minimum The Chosen sanitizes verses 47-50, but the story preceding the explanation is fabricated in that they took various elements to estimate a parable that Jesus may have told.

          I should have cited the entirity of the parable and the explanation from Matthew 13 which is about wheat and tares not good and bad fish. Because I do not think the Chosen paid attention to the precision of detail of the original parable, I think a non Christian could easily get a wrong impression about how salvation works from that scene in The Chosen.

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