Television can be a beaming Buddha or a one-eyed ogre. It has become the most dominating and controversial servant of society in modern life, the most gluttonous consumer of attention ever to sit at civilization’s table. It is the popular educator of millions in and out of classrooms, the handy family counselor giving gratuitous guidance on moral values and social standards. It is the energetic and boisterous salesman to the nation’s households, now earning a three-billion-dollar salary from the public. In politics no image-maker shapes public opinion more forcefully than the TV screen.
TV is also the most expensive of the mass media. If time costs were not so absurdly high, perhaps television would be playing a much greater role as evangelist and missionary to the nation and the world. Yet, strangely enough, in overseas church endeavor, where ordinarily there is the least money, TV is doing a splendid job as proclaimer of the Gospel. Some Christian leaders commend television not only as one of the most outstanding achievements of modern science but also as God’s communications gift to his Church of the twentieth century, a gift making it possible to fulfill the goal of world-wide evangelization in this generation.
A notable demonstration of how the Church can use television came during the 1967 All-Britain Crusade of Billy Graham. In a bold and unprecedented move to reach multiplied masses of people outside London and Earl’s Court, the hub of the crusade, twenty-five other cities were linked together in a gigantic TV and landline network. Special projectors and giant screens brought Graham’s face and voice to thousands gathered in such places as theaters, converted tram-sheds, and city-hall auditoriums, all rented and prepared ...1
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