But the challenges of content and prophetic presentation still lie head
Religious broadcasting has influenced profoundly the Christian community and the secular public during the past 25 years.
It trumpeted the gospel literally to the ends of the earth. It caused directly or proximately the rise of parachurch ministries. It thrust evangelical doctrine and practice into the mainstream of American social, political, and religious life.
For the first time in history, the gospel has been presented for all the world to hear and see. That achievement is undoubtedly the fait accompli of religious broadcasting. But that is not all. Religious broadcasting also served as a kind of closed-circuit communications system by which evangelicals came to a sense of national self-realization.
In essence, a vast parish of the air was formed, a fellowship without membership. Through this electronic church, the body of Christ perceived its fundamental oneness despite secondary differences in doctrine and polity. The medium and the message were the same: we are one in the Lord and we are strong in the power of his might.
The Past Achievement Of Pioneers
Religious broadcasting in the modern sense did not take shape until the late fifties and sixties. But visionary pioneers of an earlier day already had grasped the significance of radio for evangelism and teaching. Stalwarts like Walter Maier, Paul Rader, Donald Grey Barnhouse, Charles E. Fuller, M. R. DeHaan, and others built national radio ministries from small beginnings in the 1930s and 1940s.
Others, like Percy Crawford, Rex Humbard, and Oral Roberts, launched television ministries in the early fifties. So did the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Seventh-day Adventists, and Bishop Fulton Sheen.1
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