Theologically Sound. Culturally Relevant.

Dallas Jenkins

Inside The Chosen’s Prosperity Gospel Sermons

The Chosen has had a troublesome year, despite being the most profitable TV show marketed to Christians. Earlier this year, The Chosen showcased the pride flag in their behind the scenes promotional content. The Chosen had since doubled down on that. Dallas Jenkins would claim that The Chosen is not a ministry. This, in actuality, is a lie. The Chosen, in an effort to escape from Angel Studios, launched the Come and See Foundation which is a 501c3 in order to collect donations to pay for the production and marketing of the show. All this occurs while The Chosen is a for-profit company. Dallas Jenkins has claimed that The Chosen only makes money through “gift sales and commercial licensing.” The former is its merch shop which includes devotional materials. The latter would likely include DVD sales, ad revenue from YouTube, a share of theatrical releases, and a cut from its distributors. So long story short, The Chosen is a ministry as it is a company with a non-profit arm, and together, they put out ministry materials including sermons which will be exposed here.

Evangelical Dark Web has uncovered actual sermon outlines produced by both The Chosen and the Come and See Foundation. There are six sermons based on clips from the show. A couple fun facts about the sermons. Only two of the sermons mention sin. Only one sermon references the Resurrection; none uses the word cross. So, in other words, none of the sermons present the gospel or point to the gospel. And one of the sermons has a fourth point.

5+2=5,000

You only need to bring what you have and
yourself – and watch God multiply it all, many times over.

This is the sermon that references the Resurrection. Yet that is its most orthodox point. This sermon is the most overtly Prosperity Gospel, in that it focuses on God multiplying what we give him. The third point “You only need to bring what you have and yourself – and watch God multiply it all, many times over.” incorporates the preceding two points.

The scene from The Chosen hints at this prevailing mindset in a fun way: As Jesus starts to set the miracle into motion, one of the disciples says, “This feels familiar.” In Season One of The Chosen, this particular disciple – Thomas – was a first-hand witness of the moment Jesus turned water into wine. Tucked away in all of this is a simple truth for the little boy, for the disciples, for the sea of people, and for us: “You only need to bring what you have and yourself – and watch God multiply it all, many times over.” And yet this simple truth isn’t a new truth for God’s people. It “feels familiar” indeed! The story of Scripture is filled with stories that say to us, “You only need to bring what you have and yourself – and watch God multiply it all, many times over.” Moses brings hiccuped speech and a gnarled staff to stare down Pharaoh – and before even that, himself. And the people of Israel were delivered. David brings a slingshot and five stones to lay low Goliath – but before that, himself. And the giant tumbles. A pinch of flour and a splash of oil is brought to God – and before that, the widow, her son, and Elijah themselves. And there is bread for days on end. It’s the truth of the story we’ve watched and read today, and it’s the truth of the Story overall: You only need to bring what you have and yourself – and watch God multiply it all, many times over. Or, to put it a bit differently, here’s something from behind-the-scenes at The Chosen. In light of this very miracle, the creators, cast, and crew often remind one another that what seems like sketchy math is good math nonetheless: 5+2=5,000. You bring the loaves and fish. You bring yourselves. And God will multiply it all in ways you never could have imagined.

The self-serving nature of this sermon is a continued pattern in the others.

Just At The Edges

Those who are living desperately just at the edges of the world are always front and center for God – and they should be for us, too.

  1. There are more people than we could possibly imagine who are living desperately just at the edges of the world.
  2. Those living desperately at the edges are always front
    and center for God.
  3. Those desperately living at the edges should always be front
    and center for us.

Pastoral Prompt: While it’s true that those who are living desperately just at the edges of the world are front and center for God, it has to be hard for them to see. What is the evidence of their being front and center for God, even in the midst of physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual suffering? What is the evidence of each person living desperately just at the edges of the world being no mere “person,” but a “daughter” or a “son”?

This premise is assumed based on the Luke 8:40-48. But it’s clear how the marginalized is expanded to placate modern audiences who are accustomed to seeker sensitive messaging. This sermon has the most potential to go in a more woke direction, as many Prosperity Gospel churches are woke themselves.

Given the missional nature of the final movement, the congregation could be led into a time of evangelistic or justice-oriented commitment.

Do You See Me

We see the goodness of the one who sees us– and we want him to be seen by others.

We are surrounded by people who are gathered under fig trees, clutching to dreams that are burning to ash. Who have you seen in your life who is crying out to be seen by God? How can you help them see that they are seen? How can you help them see God?

The seeker sensitive drivel continues. It also showcases an episode where The Chosen carelessly contradicts Scripture, the introduction of Nathaniel which The Chosen evidently does in the second season, well after Simon and Andrew despite John 1:43-45 depicting a quick recruitment of Nathaniel and Phillip.

Come To The Well

For all who thirst – and for whatever reason – there’s “living water” to be had.

What we do know is that she’s socially ostracized. (And the fact that she’s a woman only adds to her social rejection. While today there’s a long way to go with regard to gender equality, there have been great strides since the days of the Old and New Testaments, which saw women residing somewhere near the Samaritans on the social spectrum.) But here’s Jesus, by way of a compassionate meet-up at a well during the noon hour, crossing the hard lines drawn up between the socially acceptable and the socially rejectionable – the men and the women.

This sermon includes a call for more feminism. It also treats social ostracizing as a bad thing when it’s an effective method to enforce biblical morality. It wasn’t bad that the woman at the well was ostracized. It was good and glorious that Jesus called her.

You can see it in the scene from The Chosen. You can see her joy at the end of the scene from The Chosen. Jesus was the one who asked for a drink of water – but knowing full well that she was the one who needed one.

This is also a good example of how the sermon outline treats The Chosen as the Bible.

Worthy To Follow

Even the seemingly unworthy are worthy to follow Jesus.

If you were thinking that this sermon misses the point that none of us are worthy to follow Christ, yet God loves us anyway, congratulations, your theology is better than that of Dallas Jenkins.

  1. The one who is exhausted is worthy to follow Jesus. (Luke 5:5, 8-10)
  2. The one who has even a little faith is worthy to follow Jesus. (Luke 5:5)
  3. The one who is far from perfect is worthy to follow Jesus. (Luke 5:8-11)

This sermon serves to boost people’s self-esteem.

And as you probably well know if you’ve read the Gospels, this isn’t the only time Jesus has to reassure an imperfect Simon Peter that he is worthy to follow him. This is the first time of many times to come. We tend to assume Jesus calls only the spiritual giants to follow him, when he is quite happy for those who are far from perfect to fall in behind him. Why? Because the imperfect know they need the saving work of the only perfect one who can provide it.

Pastoral Prompt: This isn’t a case where some of us could admit we are far from perfect. This is a moment for all of us to admit we are far from perfect. And we all struggle to believe that the one who is perfect would make room for such imperfect followers. But he does make room. He does. Where do you see the imperfection most pronounced in your life these days? How has it limited you in following Jesus? Have you asked him to “go away”? Hear the words of Jesus: “Do not be afraid.” Hear the words of Jesus: “Follow me.

Though this sermon does reference sin because of the Bible verses involved, yet the sermon outline uses imperfections which is a much broader category. This is often done in Prosperity style megachurches who do not preach on sin and this sermon outline is tailor made for them.

Pool’s Closed

There’s only one in whom healing is found for
the one who is hurting.

This sermon is most made for word of faith churches that do healings.

Our first inclination can still be to look to some “pool” for healing. How do we keep our eyes locked on Jesus alone as the source of our hope and healing? How do we push away the voices that promise healing – and never deliver – so that they might not drown out his voice with the promise of healing that does deliver? And in light of where the story goes, let’s think more particularly about this. It appears that the man who was physically healed still placed his ultimate hope for healing – for spiritual healing – in the Law. We might think there are miles between us and this man, but it’s quite easy one moment to believe we are saved by the life and work of Jesus, and then in the very next moment, to fret over what we must do to remain saved. That’s nothing more than another “pool.” In what ways do we struggle to believe we are saved? Are there things we’re doing to try to maintain our salvation? How do we keep our eyes locked on Jesus alone as the source of our salvation?

Ironically the meatiest part of this sermon outline comes at the end and no clear answer is presented. Obviously, John 5:1-15 might not be the best passage for the topic of eternal security.

Conclusions

Evangelical Dark Web has not uncovered any churches actually using these sermon outlines. This could be because the material is not up to snuff for the average seeker sensitive church or that the material is rather new, a definite possibility.

In any case, The Chosen views itself as something that can be preached from, and it’s clear that The Chosen is meant to placate a seeker-friendly audience rather than adhere to the biblical accounts.

Powered by RedCircle

Receive the Evangelical Dark Web Newsletter

Bypass Big Tech censorship, and get Christian news in your inbox directly.

Support the Evangelical Dark Web

By becoming a member of Evangelical Dark Web, you get access to more content, help drive the direction of our research, and support the operations of the ministry.
Facebook
Twitter
Telegram
Reddit
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply