To be clear, this article is not to convince you that this show is evil. I know plenty of people who love this show and are good Catholics. I am simply responding to a post on their Facebook page.
Here is a link to the picture and the caption. The caption says: “Here’s the bad news: your religion, your church, the law, your efforts to be righteous won’t save you. Here’s the good news: you don’t need your religion, your church, the law, or your efforts to be righteous to be saved.” March 19, 2023 The Chosen on Facebook.
I have no problem with the image, or many elements of the show. I have not watched the show. I was made aware of this Facebook post by Brian Holdsworth, a very good Catholic man I follow. In a post on March 20th, 2023 he said, “As many people know, I haven’t watched this show, but if this is the caliber of thought being promoted, I would have seriously grave concerns about the agenda here.” Brian Holdsworth on Facebook.
So, what is my issue with the message?
A little background: I am a convert. I grew up Protestant, with lots of charismatic worship. Thankfully, I grew up with very sound and good doctrine mostly thanks to my parents. This helped to lay the foundation for what would be a huge steppingstone to the Catholic Church. All that to say, that I’ve been in the Protestant circles that have one faith, and that faith is, “It’s just ME and JESUS and I don’t need anyone else!” And thanks to many Evangelical, Non-Denominational churches who push a very contradictory message of “You need us, and you don’t need us!” this is a very prominent way of thinking. There are “Christians” out there who claim that they are not religious, because religion is not what Jesus came to bring to the world.
Even when I was an Evangelical I cringed at this message.
This philosophy, this trend, this heretical attitude is why there is so much division and so much bad doctrine and bad interpretations of the Bible. This message that says you don’t need religion and your church is a very dangerous message. A lot of people with this mindset look to the book of Acts and see how the Apostles would go out and preach and see themselves in the same light; they want to go out and preach, just them and their Bible. And I know people like this personally. What they fail to see, is that this was the church, it wasn’t just the Apostles scattering around the world on their own. There was a hierarchy, a collective ideology, a goal. To grow the church. This self-focused, I don’t need a church, I don’t need a law or religion philosophy, is the result of the rebellion against the authority of the Catholic Church – something many people, including myself, have fallen prey to because of Protestantism.
Now, since I have some background on this, I understand the message they are going for in that Facebook Post. The message is that ultimately Christ saves us, and we have to repent and look to Christ for our salvation. This is something that divides a lot of Catholics from Protestants – Protestants believe that Catholics are under this assumption that Christ’s blood isn’t enough. That is far from the truth. Catholics do believe that Christ saves us, we do believe that Jesus is the King, and we do not put all of our faith in man, and all of our faith and hope is in God – but, we have the authority of the Church, and authority proven in history and the Bible to be Apostolic Succession and the Church. Protestants have very, very different and divided ideas of what the church is…hence, their authority is God and only God, in most cases.
So, that is why I understand the message that says, no matter who your pastor is or what your church looks like, that won’t get you to Heaven, Christ will. Well, that message can have an element of truth, but it also likes to ignore a lot of other truths. Such as, if you say you are a Christian and yet you live a sinful lifestyle and don’t repent, where are you heading? Can you honestly say you’re heading towards Heaven?
Mark Chapter 4 13 – 20
13 He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?
14 What the sower is sowing is the word.
15 Those on the edge of the path where the word is sown are people who have no sooner heard it than Satan at once comes and carries away the word that was sown in them.
16 Similarly, those who are sown on patches of rock are people who, when first they hear the word, welcome it at once with joy.
17 But they have no root deep down and do not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, at once they fall away.
18 Then there are others who are sown in thorns. These have heard the word,
19 but the worries of the world, the lure of riches and all the other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing.
20 And there are those who have been sown in rich soil; they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’
Evangelicals love to talk about the Word of God. They love the Bible. Nothing wrong with that of course…but here’s what so many people don’t address. Are you honestly, whole-heartedly willing to bet, to say with absolute certainty, that you can go to Heaven based on your understanding of the Bible, and yours alone? Now there are a lot of other elements to add to this, but what this Facebook post on The Chosen page is saying, is that you don’t need religion, the law, your church, you just need…what, exactly? Their answer I’m sure is Christ. And yet in this Gospel passage, what are we talking about? They yield a harvest, and those who are lured by the world produce nothing. Some had no deep root and it doesn’t last, so they fall away. Do you honestly and whole-heartedly believe that your roots are deep, with no religion or church in your life? Are you really, truly certain that no “religion” and no church in your life at all is a sure way to be in Heaven when you die?
Philippians 2: 12 – 20
12 So, my dear friends, you have always been obedient; your obedience must not be limited to times when I am present. Now that I am absent it must be more in evidence, so work out your salvation in fear and trembling.
13 It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act.
14 Let your behaviour be free of murmuring and complaining
15 so that you remain faultless and pure, unspoilt children of God surrounded by a deceitful and underhand brood, shining out among them like bright stars in the world,
16 proffering to it the Word of life. Then I shall have reason to be proud on the Day of Christ, for it will not be for nothing that I have run the race and toiled so hard.
17 Indeed, even if my blood has to be poured as a libation over your sacrifice and the offering of your faith, then I shall be glad and join in your rejoicing-
18 and in the same way, you must be glad and join in my rejoicing.
19 I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you soon, so that my mind may be set at rest when I hear how you are.
20 There is nobody else that I can send who is like him and cares as sincerely for your well-being;
Something tells me that the Protestant will go right to verse 13. “See, we just need God, He’s the ultimate authority!” Yes, God is the ultimate authority. Here’s the things you are ignoring. 1. This scripture is in the Bible. Who decided that this is Sacred Scripture and not just man’s word? 2. St. Paul is writing to a church with a clear voice of authority. 3. He’s sending Timothy there for them, who will be over them and care for them. 4. In his absence he tells them to work out salvation in fear and trembling. His absence is not ideal. They need a leader, authority.
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling is a lot different than the sort of Evangelical mindset we see today…if you are sure of your salvation, there’s no need to be afraid.
Again, there is a lot that can be said. The reason I am pointing out this Catholic topic of authority is because that topic is precisely what that Facebook post is about. “You don’t need anyone’s authority! You won’t get to Heaven with that!”
Here’s my question, who are they to decide what gets someone to Heaven?