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.