If wisely conducted, the radio broadcast is one of the very best methods of securing soul-winning contacts with people, some of whom would not be reached by the evangelist in any other way. The entering wedge does not split the huge log; even so it must be remembered that the radio work in itself can hardly produce a fully developed member of the advent message. Nevertheless the part that the radio work plays is so important that in many cases nothing would be accomplished without it.
The Australia bushman knows the importance of the entering wedge when dealing with the Australia hardwoods. Without it the splitting of huge logs would be an exceedingly difficult task. Wedges other than the entering wedge are hurled back by the tough, unyielding timbers that seem to resent being disturbed after long years of growing in a certain way. Certain human beings have been educated in certain lines of thought, and it needs the radio entering wedge to turn aside their tough-grained ideas, that are so often well-seasoned in error. The radio work in the hands of a master evangelist is as the entering wedge in the hands of a master Australian bushman.
There are two problems for the evangelist that the radio work solves in a very definite way. The first is the problem of distance. Many people who are interested in Bible topics are confronted with considerable difficulty in attending a series of evangelical lectures because of distance. Gasoline rationing has accentuated this difficulty, but through the radio they have the opportunity of hearing the message right in their own homes. When these people catch the inspiration of this wonderful message that God is giving to the world, they make contact with the evangelist by sending in their names and addresses, or in some other way, and the evangelist is then able to lead them right on into the message of truth.
The second problem solved by the radio work is the reaching of a class of people who are somewhat interested, but who, because of their conservative ways of thinking and acting, will not readily attend religious lectures apart from their own church. Through the radio work, this class of people are enabled to get a true estimate of the soundness of our message in their own homes. At least some of this class will then make further progress because of their confidence in the truthfulness of the message.
Much depends on the radio evangelist himself. Like platform evangelism and colporteur evangelism, radio evangelism is a work that requires careful study, wise planning, and diligent execution. Also, like other branches of service in the advent message, radio evangelism is a distinct work in itself. Just as the man who wishes to become a master builder must learn his job, so the radio evangelist must learn how to perform his task.
From experience I have learned that it pays to give the clear-cut message of truth over the radio in such a positive way that there will be no misunderstanding. Side by side with the doctrines of the message there must be much in the way of genuine soul-winning sermons, such as those by Talmage, Chapman, Spurgeon, and Moody. Very often this kind of sermon will bring the greatest response from the public.
Much is lost if the evangelist does not concentrate on diligent visiting in his territory. He must visit, introducing himself as the radio evangelist. During the past few months I have visited house after house by the hundreds, over a considerable area, and can speak from experience. I have found people genuinely interested, with, their homes wide open for further visits as a result of the initial personal contact. People tell me how much they enjoy the talks, how happy they are to meet me, and how glad they will be for me to call again. Yet these people could never be induced to write in and tell me how they feel, though they are willing to tell me when I visit them. Only a very small percentage will write in. Therefore, in order for the radio evangelist to gather anything like one hundred per cent of the fruit that begins to ripen under the powerful radio rays, he must be a diligent personal visitor.
The radio, however, is still the opening wedge, for many a door that opens, wide to receive the radio evangelist, would be but a half-opened door were it not for the fact that the radio messages constituted the opening wedge. I have been made welcome on my first visit, because the people knew me by hearing my messages over the air.