The author of the bestselling Left Behind book series says he is a fan of the television series The Chosen and believes it helps the Bible "come to life" for viewers.
The author, Jerry Jenkins, is the father of The Chosen director, Dallas Jenkins – although he says he would be a fan of the series even if his son wasn't involved.
Jerry Jenkins co-wrote the Left Behind series with the late Tim LaHaye. All total, about 63 million copies have been sold. The Chosen has also been a hit, with 400 million streams worldwide.
"I can't imagine the odds of lightning striking like this twice in the same family in a quarter-century," Jerry Jenkins said Sunday during a Facebook Live interview on The Chosen's Facebook page. Dallas Jenkins interviewed him.
The two men discussed the similarities between Left Behind and The Chosen. The former was based on a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation view of Revelation and the End Times, while the latter tells the story of Jesus and his disciples. Both series use creative license.
"I have always wanted to imagine what scriptural truth looks like, for real people," Jerry Jenkins said. "... I'm having this experience myself with The Chosen whereas I read the Bible now, I'm picturing these characters – these actors who play these characters – and I can see them, and they're no longer statues on pedestals or paintings of men with big gray beards who march everywhere. It just brings it alive to me."
The author of the Left Behind series said he and Tim LaHaye said, "Let's put people, real people, in the way of these events and see how it might turn out." It was necessary, he said, that readers "gave us that literary license" just like "they're giving it to" The Chosen.
Jerry Jenkins is the author of the novels based on The Chosen.
"We realize this isn't exactly what the Bible said happened," Jerry Jenkins said, referencing the creative license used in both series – what writers often call "filling in the blanks." Still, he said it's essential to remain faithful to what Scripture says.
"You're true to that," he said of the text of Scripture.
When writers "fill in the blanks" and create a scene not in the Bible, they're saying, "This is what it could have looked like this. This is credible and plausible," Jerry Jenkins said.
"And for some reason, that just really makes it come to life for people," he said.
"I couldn't be more thrilled" with the popularity of The Chosen, Jerry Jenkins said.
Dallas Jenkins said he's "always been proud to say I'm the son of the Left Behind guy."
"It's never been a distraction or burden. It's always been a joy and an honor," he said. "I'm so glad we get to work together actually on this and hopefully continue to have an opportunity to impact people."
Season 3 of The Chosen began filming on April 25.
Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.