The director of “The Chosen,” Dallas Jenkins, has addressed recent criticism of the show’s Season 3 trailer, in which Jesus delivers a line that some believed was a paraphrase of a verse from the Book of Mormon.
The show is distributed by Angel Studios, which was co-founded by brothers Neal and Jeffery Harmon, who both belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, leading to accusations earlier this year that the show is produced by Mormons.
This caused a social media uproar among fans, prompting “The Chosen” to clear up the misconception, assuring viewers that “we’re not produced by Mormons.”
On Tuesday, Jenkins said that despite the controversy surrounding Jesus saying, “I am the law of Moses,” responses to the Season 3 trailer had been “over the moon,” with some calling the much maligned moment “one of the best lines in the whole trailer.”
“99% of people who’ve seen it went crazy and loved it. There’s just 1 percent—well, less than that, actually—who pointed out or said, ‘Hey, in the Book of Mormon, there’s a phrase where Jesus says I am the law and the light [3 Nephi 15:9],” Jenkins said.
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“Very quickly, because I don’t want to take this too seriously,” Jenkins continued, “number one, it’s not a direct quote from the Book of Mormon, and it wasn’t referring to the law of Moses in that quote, and the quote is, ‘I am the law and the light.’”
Jenkins stated that he has never read the Book of Mormon apart from people sharing it with him, such as in this instance.
“I went, looked it up,” Jenkins explained. “I’m like, ‘Okay, no, it isn’t. But okay, it’s a cool line.’”
“I believe it’s a really great line, and I believe it’s also theologically plausible. I am the Way the Truth and the Life. I am the word. I am the light. I am the light of the world. I am the Creator,” Jenkins said. “So when someone is saying like, ‘We’re gonna follow the law of Moses,’ and Jesus is like, man, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath [Mark 2:27].’ God is over these things. Jesus is over these things. He is these things. He owns these things. They came from Him. And so Jesus makes many I am statements. He’s called the great I AM.”
“So no,” Jenkins affirmed, “I didn’t pull this quote from anywhere else. I just think it’s a theologically plausible line and it’s, I believe, a cool Jesus as King moment.”
‘The Chosen’ Hits Theaters This November
The series received a GMA Dove Award for “Inspirational Film/Series of the Year” last Tuesday (Oct. 18) and is set to release the first two episodes of its new season in theaters on November 18. Jenkins anticipates that episodes 1 and 2 will remain in theaters for at least a week but shared they will run for as long as they do well.
The episodes won’t air for free on their app until some time in December, Jenkins revealed—a decision the director said caused some criticism.
Addressing the complaint that the series is completely crowdfunded yet is charging for viewers to watch the first two episodes on the big screen, Jenkins said, “Instead of complaining about that, I think a thank you is an order.”
Jenkins went on to explain that ticket sales will allow actors, crew, writers, and directors to financially benefit from their work. Jenkins also stated that less than five percent of “The Chosen’s” viewers fund the show.
“When the show is free, it’s a little harder to generate income for future seasons,” he said. Although it’s not the primary reason for the series’ theatrical release, Jenkins shared with viewers that “people who buy tickets are actually helping the show and helping us in a way that we don’t always get helped.”
“I’m just saying you should say thank you. Thank you for buying tickets, because that’s helping the show and that’s allowing this show to be free. If people didn’t pay for the show, whether they choose to or not, there wouldn’t be a show,” Jenkins explained.
This article originally appeared at ChurchLeaders.
Jesse T. Jackson is the Content Editor for ChurchLeaders. Raising four children with his wife, Jackson also serves as a deacon, a growth group leader, and is a member of University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, Ohio.