The Battle for Men's Minds

The use of tv and radio.

J. 0. IVERSEN, Acting Secretary, Radio-TV Department, General Conference

Vendell Willkie was right in describing today's struggle as a "battle for men's minds." The apostle Paul ampli­fied this: "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world" (1 Cor. 14:10).

Vietnam, Laos, Indo­nesia, the Syrian-Israeli border, are but drill fields compared to the actual battleground —the mind and heart of man. Three ma­jor forces are engaged in a power struggle, each desperately trying to make inroads and to plant the flag of conquest on the fleshy field of the human heart: political, commercial, and religious.

These forces seem obsessed with the fear that time is running out and whatever they do for or to the human race they must do immediately. In the air terminal at Zurich, Switzerland, is this sign: "People in a hurry take to the air." How graphically true, not only in the field of travel but in the world of communication. Never has mass media been used so completely as today, for no other force can as effectively reach the masses. There are 487,820,000 radio sets in the world, not to mention the phenomenal increase of television sets in what might sometimes be considered the most unlikely countries of the earth. More sets are being sold behind the iron curtain than in the free world. Television sets are being shipped duty free into some countries. Shepherd boys tending their flocks in the fields near Bethlehem are no longer whil­ing away the hours playing their flutes. In­stead they are holding the transistor set to their ears. The camel in walking from Jeru­salem to Jericho is keeping step to the beat of the music of the transistor being held by the camel rider. Many of the Kanakas of New Guinea, owning practically nothing of this world's material goods, do have transistor sets, which explains why a total of 21 radio stations are being set in opera­tion in this outpost of world civilization.

Moscow, Red China, Madison Avenue, and Fleet Street are capitalizing to the full­est on this fact. Religion is making an un­precedented appeal to the masses.

In a recent schema from the second ses­sion of the Ecumenical Council, the Ro­man Catholic Church has pledged to leave no stone unturned, and go all out in the use of radio, television, motion pictures, publications, and all that has to do with mass media.

Within the past two years the Lutheran Church has installed a powerful short-wave station in Addis Ababa that can reach that area of the world.

The Far Eastern Broadcasting Company has set up for itself a goal of five short-wave stations to penetrate the various parts of the world with their concept of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thank God, Seventh-day Adventists are seizing upon these marvelous methods of communication to the extent of releasing 2,500 programs each week hearing the news of the third angel's message.

The South Pacific now has 84 programs each week, communicating in 8 languages, and operating 12 Bible schools.

There has been a recent major break­through in London where for years broad­casting was limited to the midnight hour once a week. Now the daily Voice of Proph­ecy program is being heard thirty minutes twice a day, seven days a week, plus two programs from another commercial station in London with the voice of Victor Cooper.

The Middle East is now operating five Bible correspondence schools, and during 1964 more than 18,000 were enrolled.

We have added two new languages to the Bible school in Southern Asia.

We are making television breakthroughs in the South American Division.

The forward march in the Far East is phenomenal. Faith for Today is being tele­vised in the vernacular of Korea. And so goes the story—in the Philippines, Inter-America, Central and Southern Europe, and North America. The year 1964 shows 14,978 baptisms through radio-TV Bible school evangelism, 3,811 more than 1963.

Yet there is so much to do to reach the inhabitants of the sophisticated 60's in this gigantic world community. If a pastor were to preach to 500 people in a congregation every week, it would take him forty years to reach one million. Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to 62 million on V-J Day. And yet the effectiveness of communications is many-fold more than that of twenty years ago. We are just rounding the corner of a 3 bil­lion world population mark. It has been estimated that in A.D. 2000, if time were to last, the world population will have reached 9 billion. Someone has stated that the birth rate is far exceeding the rebirth rate. The challenge of the teeming masses in the apartment homes, tenement sections, so­phisticated suburbs, in a densely populated world, poses a tremendous challenge to a people that have been commissioned, "Go ye, into all the world, and preach the gos­pel." This problem has been compounded by the shortness of time in which we have to do our work. Jesus said, "Unto whomso­ever much is given, of him shall be much required."

The greatest days of this organization are immediately before us. We have an ob­ligation to the masses. We must do every­thing within our power to use the tools that are available for us, and most impor­tant, to pray that the Holy Spirit might make these tools effective in our hands.

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J. 0. IVERSEN, Acting Secretary, Radio-TV Department, General Conference

June 1965

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