Choosing ‘The Chosen’
Loretta Dale was skeptical at first. Someone in her church…
Growing up in church is a great blessing, but it also means we know all the stories of the Bible.
The danger in knowing is that we do not always hear what we need to hear. We may overlook the nuance of a verse or the historical context of a passage because we have heard it before. There are ways to hear Scripture anew. A skilled preacher, Bible meditation or a new translation can be helpful.
We now have a new tool in our arsenal, and it is “The Chosen.”
There has been a resurgence of faith-based films and TV shows in recent years. They are not all equal in quality, and I was leery when I heard about another one in production.
But “The Chosen” is unique. It is unlike any other movie or TV show based on the life of Jesus. It is a fresh approach that should have Christians excited and talking.
“The Chosen” presents the gospel story on a screen — whether it be a phone, tablet, TV or projector. There is a cultural shift taking place in how people learn. Many receive information via screen rather than print.
The church must remember that new technology has previously been our friend. Early Christians used codices to share New Testament documents. The printing press made the Reformation possible.
Related: Choosing ‘The Chosen’
Rather than bemoan new technologies, we should seek to use them to our advantage just as our ancestors did. We now have a well-made depiction of the gospel, and we should be asking how we can use it to spread the message of Jesus.
“The Chosen” is different from other film depictions of the Gospels because it does not attempt a straightforward retelling of the story. It does not begin with the birth of Jesus or who Jesus is. Instead, we discover
Jesus through the lens of people like Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Peter, Matthew and a group of children. This approach is helpful for nonbelievers who have not made up their minds about who Jesus is. They get to figure this out along with Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus and others. It is also great for believers because we begin to look at these texts in different ways and learn things we may have missed or forgotten.
Christians are sometimes uncomfortable when a scene or storyline is added to the biblical narrative to make a movie coherent. We may wonder about the motives of those making the show. What was their intent?
We are right to be cautious, and thankfully the makers of “The Chosen” address this before the first episode. They state, “all biblical and historical context and any artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures. Viewers are encouraged to read the gospels.” The purpose of “The Chosen” is to point people to the truth and encourage people to read their Bibles.
When I watched “The Chosen,” I was amazed, surprised and moved. My faith was strengthened. I was excited to share this story with my friends, family and neighbors. This is how we are supposed to feel when we hear the gospel. We are encountering good news, and we should want to tell as many people as possible.
We are living in a time when congregations are in decline. At the same time, many people in society are asking deep questions and are looking for answers.
I hope we will take this incredible presentation of the Gospel and show it in church buildings. Open your doors and invite everyone in your community to attend. I hope that churches will encourage members to show it in their homes. Invite neighbors, share a meal and learn about Jesus. People will be intrigued. People will ask questions. We should be ready to provide answers.
SCOTT ELLIOTT is minister for the La Grange Church of Christ in Texas.
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