In December of 2021, Lighthouse Trails posted a YouTube video by an outside source that documented numerous unbiblical aspects of the highly popular series, The Chosen. In January of 2022, Lighthouse Trails released its own documentation in a booklet titled The Chosen Series: 10 Critical Concerns. Prior to and after the release of our booklet, Lighthouse Trails received many phone calls, letters, comments, and e-mails (some from ex-Mormons) expressing concern that Christian leaders like Jack Hibbs, Greg Laurie, and Kirk Cameron were heartily promoting The Chosen. Sometime in April, Lighthouse Trails learned that Jack Hibbs’ ministry was issuing a response regarding their support of the series to those who contacted them with concerns.
Shortly after one of our readers posted the Hibbs response on our blog comments section, we received a comment by another reader, stating that the response coming from Hibbs’ ministry was taken, almost word for word, from a website called gotquestions.org. We confirmed with gotquestions.org that the response given by Hibbs’ ministry did originate with gotquestions.org though no mention of the source was given in the Hibbs response. Nevertheless, our primary concern from our standpoint was the content of the response. Gotquestions.org did accept our offer to receive one of our booklets, and we also had it confirmed with Hibbs’ ministry team that they did receive a copy of our booklet, which we had sent at an earlier date. One of our own writers also did inform Hibbs’ ministry that the response they were issuing was indeed lifted from gotquestions.org, but we did not receive a response back from them at that point.
The purpose of this article is to examine the statement given by Jack Hibbs’ ministry (and either inadvertently or advertently, by gotquestions.org).
Below is the response Hibbs’ ministry has issued regarding The Chosen. (To see the gotquestions.org response, click here). Because this response by the Hibbs’ team was sent directly to one of our own writers, it is within copyright law for us to post this (we have posted it exactly as it was sent and have included our own comments in brackets [ ]) and italicized.
Response from Jack Hibbs’ ministry team regarding Hibbs’ promotion of The Chosen (largely lifted from gotquestions.org):
The Chosen is television show about the life of Christ. Season 1, released in 2019 (with a pilot episode on the birth of Christ released in 2017), garnered attention for several reasons: it is the first TV show of its kind, presenting the life of Christ over multiple seasons (it plans seven seasons total); it was crowd-funded, bringing in more donations (over $11 million).
The show’s creator, Dallas Jenkins (son of Left Behind co-author Jerry Jenkins), has a degree” in Biblical Studies. In creating the show, Jenkins put together a panel of “expert consultants” to ensure biblical and historical accuracy in the script he was co-writing for the show. On the panel were a Messianic Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and an evangelical professor of biblical studies. This is part of the problem with the series! [LT Note: The response gives no explanation as to what they are referring to that is the problem. We assume they are saying this because of the three consultants’ various religious backgrounds. We will be discussing the three consultants in a second booklet on The Chosen in the future.]
Jenkins’ goal in creating the show was to help people know Jesus better and love Scripture more. To reach that goal, he and the other scriptwriters took the gospel accounts and added plausible [*] details about the lives of the biblical figures found there. They added backstories to well-known characters and fleshed out other characters who might receive only a passing mention in Scripture. [LT Note: These “backstories” are pure fabrications and in several cases even slanderous such as: 1) saying that Mary Magdelene backslid into sexual promiscuity after her repentance and conversion; 2) calling John the Baptist “creepy John”; 3) saying that Peter went fishing on the Sabbath to pay off a gambling debt; 4) having Jesus and John the Baptist get into a disagreement about whether John should confront Herod over his adultery; and 5) having Jesus rehearse his sermon on the mount and even get suggestions from others on how to present it.]
As with all storytelling based on historical events. some artistic license is evident and when it comes to the word it needs to be spot on 100% In telling the gospel accounts, remember a little levin [sic], leavins [sic] the whole lump as the writers have inserted or modified some characters, storylines, and details of the inspired original. No one is claiming that the show is God’s Word and that too is a problem! The Bible, is the Bible they have stated license is acceptable which is unacceptable especially for believers who know the truth and those who don’t are lured in. [Bold added by LT: The section in bold was added in by Hibbs’ team and was not in the gotquestions.org response. While this statement issues a generic caution, the last paragraph of the response basically gives a contradictory pass to The Chosen.]
We have great concern that members of the Mormon Church are involved in the production of The Chosen and that resources owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are used to film the show. In fact, the distributer of the show, VidAngel, was founded by two Mormons. Also of concern are some statements made by Dallas Jenkins that seem to embrace Mormons as his brothers and sisters in Christ. [LT Note: That “seem to”? Jenkins absolutely did this publicly.] Are these concerns enough to keep us from viewing The Chosen? We need to really ask; “Is this a Mormon show?” Anything unique to Mormon doctrine, or Catholic, is suspect. [LT Note: This is a very misleading statement. In other words, as long as this isn’t a “Mormon show” per se or as long as it isn’t “unique” to Mormonism or Catholicism, then it’s ok. But as Harry Ironside has pointed out, the mixture of truth and error is perhaps the most dangerous of all.]
The show’s evangelical creators still retain full control over the content of the show. [LT Note: This is insinuating that since the “evangelical creators” are in control, we can rest assured. However, given that Dallas Jenkins and at least one of his co-creators are influenced by emergent ideologies, that isn’t reassuring; one of the three writers for The Chosen, Tyler Thompson, is described by Jenkins as a “Cathelical” (part evangelical/part Catholic, Jenkins says); have Christian leaders like Hibbs, Laurie, and Cameron even considered that?] As long as that doesn’t change, and The Chosen keeps producing a faithful retelling of the life of Christ, all is well. [LT Note: A “faithful retelling”? This statement is so ridiculous, it would be funny if it weren’t so indicting. Jenkins himself admits that 95% of the series isn’t even in the Bible. That’s not “retelling”; that’s fabricating!]
If elements of Mormon (or Catholic) theology begin creeping into the show itself, then they will have betrayed their viewers and the truth of the gospel. Until that time, watching The Chosen is a matter of conscience. Some Christians will appreciate the retelling of Jesus’ life. Others will balk at the involvement of Mormons, even if Mormon theology is not promoted on the show. “Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). If it betrays any portion of the true word of God, it should be label as such. Anything else is deceptive. We know the author of deception.
Trusting in Him,
Your Real Life Ministry Team
There are so many problems and loopholes with the response above that the entire thing should be thrown out, and Hibbs’ ministry should reconsider what they are telling people. Not only is the response obscure, it also concludes with a multi-faceted faulty premise: which is 1) that The Chosen is a “faithful retelling of the life of Christ,” which it is not (as Jenkins even admitted in saying 95% isn’t from the Bible) ; and 2) that it’s OK to watch The Chosen (if our consciences allow it) as long as Mormon or Catholic doctrine doesn’t become predominant (which, by saying, completely negates and ignores other false doctrines and influences that are evident in The Chosen and its creators.
Hibbs’ team ends by saying, “We know the author of deception.” Maybe they do, but they act like they don’t know how he operates.
Some people reading our article here may feel we are being unkind or too picky by challenging Hibbs’ promotion and defense of The Chosen (and that this isn’t a big deal), but we find it quite troubling that a ministry that is respected and trusted by so many Christians is 1) promoting such an unbiblical production in the first place; 2) issuing a weak, misleading, and erroneous response to defend themselves; 3) appearing to be completely disregarding legitimate documentation showing the serious errors of The Chosen; and 4) does not consider that The Chosen’s “Jesus” is a reimagined (thus false) christ (something the Bible warns about frequently) and that the series could be leading people away from the true Gospel and God’s Word. We find it irresponsible for Jack Hibbs and his team to lift a feebly written response from another website without taking the time to investigate this matter properly (even though they have been contacted by numerous followers of theirs who are concerned, which shows a disregard for those who support and trust their ministry).
Sadly, this is just another example of how lackadaisical today’s Christian leaders and many pastors are when it comes to guarding and protecting the saints from spiritual deception in these last days. This is tragically reminiscent of what the prophet Jeremiah said regarding the children of Israel:
My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. (Jeremiah 50: 6)
We hope that Lighthouse Trails readers who also follow Jack Hibbs’ ministry will call that ministry and beseech them to reconsider their stance on The Chosen. If Hibbs and other Christian pastors and leaders who have supported The Chosen realize they were in error in their initial promotions of the series, a Christian believer can never go wrong by humbling himself and correcting his ways.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. (Micah 6:8)
*According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word plausible means “superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious (i.e., having a “false look of truth or genuineness” and “having deceptive attraction or allure”). This is something we address in our booklet.