The Broadcast in Jeopardy

Radio Evangelism in Action

By DONALD F. HAYNES, Announcer, Bible Auditorium of the Air, New York City

Radio presentation of the historic gospel of a'". salvation from sin and the imminent return of Jesus is being placed in increasing jeopardy by the opposition of modernists. Determined efforts are being made by religious modernists who take offense at references to the "blood atonement" to drive the evangelistic presentation of the gospel off the air. Among recent protests is that con­tained in an article by Charles M. Crowe in the Christian Century of August 23, 1044. By way of introducing his article, "Religion on the Air," he refers to "the recent action of the Mutual Broadcasting System, prohibiting solicitation of funds over the air on religious programs, and ban­ning all paid religious programs on Sunday after­noons and evenings, after the middle of Septem­ber."

Mr. Crowe's criticism is leveled chiefly at ap­peals for money and the promoting of various name-getting devices on religious programs. The gospel broadcast is thus attacked at what may be, and often is, considered its weakest point—its ef­fort to support itself with the gifts of the radio public. In this matter, as in so many other things, -some have given more offense than others. And it is the most offensive which are cited as flagrant examples of the trend of all evangelical broadcast­ing. Mr. Crowe suggests: "The network religious radio program racket; capitalized by independent superfundamentalist revivalists, will not be elimi­nated nationally until Mutual goes the whole way and bans paid religious programs altogether, as the other networks have done." One of his spe­cific targets, named with others, is the Voice of Prophecy.

Not content with proposing policy for the Mu­tual Broadcasting System, Mr. Crowe takes a step further by saying : "Perhaps the only way such programs can be eliminated is by a ruling from the Federal Communications Commission against the sale of time for religious broadcasting." Here is a frank statement of purpose to ban all "rack­ets," that is, all "paid religious programs."

Thus when we add to the preaching of the gos­pel, appeals for funds, enrollments, offers of free souvenirs, sermons, and so forth, we should keep in mind that we thereby lay ourselves open on an ever-widening front to the charge of commercial­izing gospel broadcasting. The theological enemies of "blood atonement" religion have shown their hand. We know the lines along which the cam­paign is to be waged. Will these things eventually force us off the air?

Mr. Crowe also comes forward with a substitute for gospel broadcasting. It is a devitalized, inof­fensive, bloodless religion, concocted and purveyed by the radio industry itself. Listen to his descrip­tion:

"The message of faith for our time should be presented in appealing programs under the direction of skilled radio technicians using professional radio talent, making use of such forms as dramatized stories of religious experience, dramatic readings from sacred literature, dram­atized sketches of the place of religion in the history and life of the nation, interviews with great laymen and re­ligious leaders, religious quiz programs and other such proved radio formulas. . . . Programs of this type should be produced by the networks or stations themselves, with the counsel of an advisory interfaith committee, rather than by any denominational or federated church group!"

Notice carefully this appeal by a mouthpiece for religion that religious programs be staged by "pro­fessional radio talent," not Heaven-called spokes­men for God. Strange partners !

In closing his article the writer gives us one statement with which we can heartily agree, "Re­ligion deserves a more favorable presentation to the radio public."

Let us bestir ourselves, discern with alertness the signs of times, and prepare to launch out for God in ways and means that will produce forceful, dynamic preaching of His Word.


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By DONALD F. HAYNES, Announcer, Bible Auditorium of the Air, New York City

December 1944

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