Dallas Jenkins, an evangelical Christian who oversees the show’s content, emphasized his accountability before God and family members, not casual critics.
He said many show fans have legitimate concerns (as opposed to clickbait creators). More specifically, he reiterated his personal policy about allowing business employees freedom of expression.
Jenkins did address greater concerns about cast members sharing their personal views on social media. Two actors who portray disciples charged some show fans with “phobia” and such-like.1 In response, Jenkins said that although he does not try to limit employees’ free expression, he has spoken with the actors about acting more wisely.
Twenty key points from Dallas Jenkins’ response
- The crew member fans spotted in that video is an independent contractor.
- The Chosen hasn’t promoted Pride Month or made a statement in support of this.
- Some headlines about this incident are alarmist and can be ignored. Other concerns are real.
- Our cast and crew have wildly different beliefs and always have since the show began.
- We’ve always had the policy not to police what cast and crew wear or have in their own personal workspaces or post on social media.
- Some cast members did share things on social media that Jenkins himself would not have said. “We talked about it.” Jenkins recommended practicing wisdom in online interactions.
- As showrunner of The Chosen, Jenkins can only repeat what we’ve said before.
- This is his own philosophy about personal workspaces on set, and this won’t be changing.
- The Chosen is not a church or ministry. Yes, the show has ministerial goals. Some are calling the production a “Christian production,” but what does this mean? They don’t have group prayers or a faith statement. They’re a business that makes Christian content. Believers can disagree about this approach. But they must remember The Chosen is a for-profit company. Just like Solomon built the Temple using help from “pagans” or nonbelievers.2 Even people who print Bibles may not be Christians.
- It’s fair to not want nonbelievers to push their views on set. Jenkins has a different view and again emphasizes the show’s content.
- Non-Christian employers may restrict their employees’ faith expressions or make them wear certain patches or use language they disagree with. That’s wrong in reverse. Jenkins didn’t want to do the same thing on his set.
- If The Chosen production company were a church or nonprofit or political group, then they would also have different hiring rules. Jenkins is politically libertarian and follows a a broader standard on set.
- Jenkins is not an atheist or liberal. He’s a conservative and evangelical Christian. “I don’t celebrate pride. I don’t celebrate Pride Month. I don’t celebrate the pride flag. If I wore a shirt, it would probably say Humility on it, just because pride has gotten me in trouble.”
- As a conservative evangelical, he is probably the minority in his own set. But he loves his cast and crew and they are like family, even when we disagree about beliefs and vote differently.
- “We don’t make decisions based on how people will respond. I’m not a reed shaking in the wind. You wouldn’t want that.”
- The Chosen has also lost viewers based on show elements that many fans love. He wouldn’t change anything about the show based on that. Similarly, they won’t do that this time.
- If fans are still concerned and won’t watch the show, Jenkins asks them to be clear about their choice based on what the show is actually doing, not based on alarmist headlines or false notions.
- One of Jenkins’ life verses is Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it will all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men …”
- Even more, he loves Psalm 34:5: “Those who look to Him are blameless; they shall never be ashamed.” He loves the fans and wants them to love the show, but he doesn’t answer to fans or the criticism.
- Finally, he reminded fans and critics, “I answer to God. I answer to my wife. I answer to those in authority in my own life.”
Explore more about The Chosen and biblical fiction
- Thirty Questions for Critics of ‘The Chosen’ or Other Christian Creators Who Hire Heathens, E. Stephen Burnett
- Sometimes Unbelievers Help Make Fantastic Biblical Fiction, So Let’s Thank God for Them, E. Stephen Burnett
- Why Do Some Christians Revile ‘The Chosen’? | with Josiah DeGraaf and Jenneth Dyck, Lorehaven’s Fantastical Truth podcast
- How Should Christians Discern ‘The Chosen’ and Other Biblical Fiction?, Lorehaven’s Fantastical Truth podcast
- The Chosen Succeeds Where ‘Woke’ Stories Fail, Jenneth Dyck
- Discerning Biblical Fiction, complete article series, E. Stephen Burnett
- Disclosure: This prompted a rebuke from your humble correspondent: “No thanks. We don’t need any 21st century ‘sons of thunder’ trying to call down fire from heaven on anyone who refuses to follow after this beastly sexual revolution or worship its image of ‘love.’ Stick to the script. And for Christ’s sake, don’t attack your own fans.” ↩
- Josiah DeGraaf makes this point in our podcast episode 148. Why Do Some Christians Revile ‘The Chosen’? | with Josiah DeGraaf and Jenneth Dyck. ↩