Dallas Jenkins appears to have done a media tour at BlazeTV and his interview with Allie Stuckey is one of the rare instances where I believe she was out of her depths on the subject at hand. Having never seen The Chosen, Allie Stuckey, the host of Relatable, interviewed Dallas Jenkins, who showcased his excuse for the liberal creative license he takes with the show that is centered around Jesus and his followers.
Dallas Jenkins explains that where the Bible is not clear, they take creative license based on what is biblically plausible. Evangelical Dark Web’s critique of The Chosen has largely been that the creative license they take is largely contradicted in Scripture or history or is too banal for an entertainment medium. The Chosen gets figures fundamentally wrong.
Stuckey points to Matthew who they acknowledge as depicted as on the spectrum. Is Math Autist Matthew biblically plausible? To Jenkins the answer is yes, because Matthew would have had to have been good with math in order to be a tax collector. And making him a tax collector would have made him an outcast. So two stereotypes about autistic people are used to argue the plausibility of Matthew being autistic. This is the logic of a Dave Chappelle skit. But Matthew wasn’t the loner depicted in The Chosen. He had tax collector friends who came to his spontaneous party when Jesus called him. It’s also worth noting that we do not know for certain what causes autism. The case for biblical plausibility is weak.
Dallas Jenkins insists that they do not take creative license solely to be relatable, but there are numerous other deviations that are purely for relatability of television tropes.
Mary Magdalene is chosen prior to the 12 disciples, an out of order event. This is likely done so that the show has a prominent female lead character, which in turn makes it more relatable.
John The Baptist is depicted as an eat the rich kind of liberal.
The Chosen has Jesus ask Nicodemus to follow him and be one of his disciples. Nicodemus, reluctantly rejects Jesus. This is not a biblically plausible event.
On the Mormon issue
Dallas Jenkins consistently maintains that The Chosen is not the Bible. He makes it exceedingly clear that his TV show is not literally the God-breathed Scriptures.
Allie Stuckey raises the Mormon question surrounding the show, a topic much covered here. Dallas Jenkins gave an answer similar to the past where he wants to level and refuse to characterize groups as being defined for their beliefs. To Stuckey’s credit she remains firm that Mormons are not Christians while Jenkins meanders.
Undermining his stated disclaimer, Jenkins states that he knows Mormons that love the Jesus of the show and love the Jesus of the Bible. He effectively equates the two when examining the love of Jesus among Mormons that he knows.
“When we’re talking about the Jesus of Nazareth, particularly the Jesus of the Gospels, it is the same Jesus. They love the show, the Jesus I’m portraying in the show, the Jesus that we read about in the Scriptures. I firmly believe that when… we’re talking about Jesus of Nazareth, we’re talking about the same one.” Dallas Jenkins [Note: stammering removed from direct quote.]
It’s not all that surprising that the Mormons who love The Chosen, Dallas Jenkins would also believe love Jesus. Stuckey immediately follows up with John 1, and Dallas Jenkins weasels out of giving a definitive answer.
Stuckey’s casual knowledge of the show and controversy surrounding it had her unequipped to assess the validity of the creative license. But on the Mormon topic, her pushback on Jenkins was solid. Given that an interview is not a debate, it will be up to the audience on whether to believe Jenkins or not. But may we practice discernment first.