Big Questions

How is Christian television impacting the world?

Posted March 20, 2024

by Kairos Kobayashi

Photo by Cottonbro Studio for Pexels

In recent years, Christian media has risen in popularity due to successful shows like “The Chosen” appearing in movie theaters and receiving praise among reviewers, according to Vox. These successes are leading more Christian producers to amplify the Christian voice through television.

“The Chosen”

Many people have heard about the show, “The Chosen,” with its fourth season just recently added. The show has been viewed by over 200 million people worldwide according to The Hollywood Reporter. In comparison, the United States population is over 300 million people, according to the United States Census.

The show gained popularity because of its filmmaking direction, relatable characters and personal approach to Scripture. Looking more in-depth, the show took Christian filming in a different direction, according to Houston, We Have a Problem.

Some Christian films like “Jesus of Nazareth” portray Jesus as always holy, preaching the gospel and perfect in all things, according to the Internet Public Library. Accompanying him, the disciples are typically portrayed as morally good role models, brushing aside their many arguments as little disputes.

Other films like “Son of God” deviate from an accurate telling of the Bible, altering Jesus and the disciples’ character portrayals so that they do not align with Scripture, according to Abandoned to Christ.

Dallas Jenkins, director of “The Chosen,” took a more humble approach according to Christian Headlines. He wanted the show to fit with Scripture and history.

This approach led him to develop the 12 disciples based on what is shared about them in Scripture with some creative liberties, such as portraying the apostle Matthew with autism and Mary Magdalene suffering from PTSD, according to CBS News.

The show also takes Scripture like Matthew 8:14 and dives more in-depth with it like not just showing Peter’s mother-in-law but his wife as well. It also takes Luke 9:46-48 and Luke 22:24-30 and expands on the arguments the disciples had throughout the time Jesus was on Earth.

It does this by showing tensions between the disciples based on past and personal issues, according to Tell-Tale TV. For example, in Season 2, Episode 3, tensions flare up between the disciples over how Matthew did not have to struggle with money and keeping with Jewish Law as a tax collector.

Jenkins also portrays Jesus in a different light.

In the show, Jesus cracks jokes, laughs and interacts in various conversations with his disciples that are not in Scripture and presents himself as being human while still being God in the flesh. This portrayal of Jesus makes him more relatable, fun and someone one can look up to on a personal level.

Photo by Tim Wildsmith for Unsplash

Looking at the world today, people desire to make sense of their lives, and this show has helped provide answers and solace, according to MovieGuide. “The Chosen” encourages people to read the Bible by providing context for Scripture and relating to a modern-day audience while honoring the biblical narrative, according to Christian Headlines and Gospel Matters.

Another reason for the show’s success is that audiences see the humanity shown through the characters.

“I think the biggest thing is what I just mentioned, the humanity of it,” Jenkins said in an interview for WGN. “It’s like, ‘Wow, these people feel real.’”

Other Christian Films

While “The Chosen” is popular and world-renowned for its take on Scripture, it is not the only Christian film that has seen some form of success.

One notable example is “Passion of the Christ” released in 2004. Portraying Jesus’ crucifixion, the film does not shy away from the blood, grief and pain. It is presented to the audience in full force and brings to light the heavy reality of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The movie received praise for portraying the crucifixion powerfully and emotionally, according to Brainerd Dispatch. Those who watched the film expressed the raw emotions they experienced through their tears.

Photo by Gianna B for Unsplash

Another example is “Jesus Revolution,” which came out in 2023. The film portrays the real-life story of how The Jesus Movement came into being.

It received widespread praise among Christians not only for having the actor for Jesus in “The Chosen” as one of the main characters but also for not being too preachy, according to Variety.

“This drama is almost certain to energize and inspire the Christian crowd, but it's also likely to captivate those who tend to avoid films about religion,” according to Common Sense Media. “That's both because it's very well made and because there's an honesty and accountability here.”

Photo by Edward Cisneros for Unsplash

Christian Voices

These films and shows took different approaches not just in sharing Scripture but also in how they tell stories with Christian-based messages.

“The Chosen” shares the stories of Jesus and his disciples, making them feel more real and relatable to us. “Passion of the Christ” shows Scripture by not having filters and presents the crucifixion brutally but realistically. “Jesus Revolution” portrays a real-life story with relatable and accessible characters.

This direction in filmmaking is why more Christian producers are following their examples: making the stories' characters more relatable, inviting others into the Gospel message, letting the story speak for itself and remaining true to Scriptural values.

Through these changes in Christian television and film, the Christian voice is amplified to greater heights.

Kairos was born and raised in Hawaii as the son of a pastor. In 2023, he graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Journalism: News & Storytelling. He aims to write insightful, unbiased and truthful stories on the Body of Christ.