Windows of Heaven Opened or Closed?

The time has come to finish giving the gospel to the world, and God has opened the windows of heaven so it can be done.

PAUL H. ELDRIDGE, Ministerial Radio-TV Secretary, Far Eastern Division

The time has come to finish giving the gospel to the world, and God has opened the windows of heaven so it can be done.

Describing those mo­ments in history when God wanted more dra­matic and adequate re­sults than could be ex­pected from the ordinary functions of natural law, the Bible has coined the intriguing expression, "Open you the windows of heaven."

Today is one of those moments. Ordinary methods of evangelism, the time-honored and effective machinery of soul winning, are simply not fast enough to cope with to­day's world. God saw that massed millions, racing a deadline of destiny, would not lis­ten or could not hear unless the gospel was given a more dramatic voice. So in the work of broadcasting the gospel on invisi­ble waves that circle the world, God has once more opened the windows of heaven.

Every time a communication satellite re­flects into your television set sharp pictures from half a world away it proves the fitness of the symbol. Sparking the genius of men to produce the means, and stimulating the faith of others to use them, God has placed in our hands the tools to fit the task.

A Worldwide Opportunity

While the tremendous influence of radio and television has long been recognized in the Americas and Europe, their current im­pact in many other areas is perhaps even more dramatic. These mass media furnish the magic carpet on which "emerging" na­tions are making their spectacular flight into the future. The ubiquitous transistor radio has brought modern communication even to areas that are still without electric power. Small nations, which in many ways might be considered underdeveloped, main­tain highly effective broadcasting installa­tions. And countries with strictly controlled political systems depend on radio, and more recently, television, for effective dissemina­tion of official information.

Then there are great nations with long histories of cultural development in which radio and television have reached high standards in both technical facilities and production. Japan is one of these. Second only to the United States in number of television broadcasting stations, Japan has to all practical purposes reached the satura­tion point in radio coverage and is ap­proaching it in distribution of television receivers.

Radio-TV in the Far Eastern Division

A quick look at the radio-TV picture in the territory served by the Far Eastern Di­vision may be useful as an illustration of the possibilities in various parts of the non­western world.

One significant factor is the amazing con­centration of population in certain areas. Japan, for instance, has more than 96 mil­lion people in an area slightly smaller than the State of California. In Tokyo a 50,000-watt radio station (of which there are sev­eral) reaches a primary service area in which 20 million people reside. And then there is the Indonesian island of Java. Sixty million people are concentrated in an area smaller than the State of North Carolina!

Such masses of population pose problems that seem almost insurmountable. They do, however, afford tremendous audiences for radio and television. Quick to recognize this, governments and businesses are using these media to get messages across.

And what about our message?

We have made a beginning. With more than 120 radio programs and six telecasts the Far Eastern Division is demonstrating its faith in these mass media as a means of evangelism. With six recording studios in operation and several more in the construc­tion or planning stages, we are producing a variety of programs in many different languages. The response has been very good, and the statistics prove the value of this approach. Compared with the poten­tial, however, our efforts seem pitifully meager. Not only do they fail to live up to the opportunity but they are much smaller in scope than the efforts of some other Christian groups.

Although not satisfied, our broadcasters are nevertheless full of courage. Our radio programs have shown considerable original­ity and skill in production. In addition to programs based on the ever-successful Voice of Prophecy format, a number of unique broadcasts have been developed. Among these might be mentioned Korea's temper­ance program, Japan's "Sunday Family Hour," Taiwan's "English Bible Audito­rium of the Air." All of our programs in Indonesia are broadcast as public-service features, and most are produced locally by the pastor and members of the church.

With only six television programs in the entire Far Eastern Division, our TV cover­age is very small. It has, however, given us a good look at the magnitude of the prob­lems that we face. Both air time and pro­duction costs for television are extremely high in most areas.

In Korea, Pastor George Munson and his associates have been carrying on a year­long experiment in broadcasting the Faith for Today program with the Korean lan­guage dubbed in. This has been a major undertaking. They have used professional Korean TV perfoimers to lip-sync the dia­log, and these people have been very coop­erative, and have manifested a high degree of skill. Translating the script into the Ko­rean language, timing it to match the lips of the American film, and then dubbing it in so skillfully that Pastor Fagal and his associates seem to be speaking in Korean is no small task. The program has been suc­cessful, however, and they hope to be able to continue it.

In Indonesia, Pastor J. T. Manullang, assisted by members of the Djakarta churches, has been producing a live tele­vision program which the government sta­tion has broadcast once a month as a public feature. Pastor Manullang's relationship with the officials in charge of religious broadcasts has been such that he has been given far more than a proportionate share of the available time. This is because the station officials have recognized five big re­ligions for telecasting purposes: Islam, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu-Bali, and Adventist!

Does Broadcasting Pay?

While it is always difficult to assess the actual impact of radio and television broad­casting, many immediate results have con­vinced us that we must continue to make

Dimensions of Broadcasting

Total World Radio Sets (1963 statistics)









South America


North America (excluding U.S.)




United States


Total Radio Sets



United States Profile

584 Total commercial TV stations

114 Noncommercial, educational stations

698 Total TV stations

3,995 AM radio stations

1,232 FM radio stations

5,925 Total broadcasting stations

U.S. Radio-TV Audiences

52,600,000 U.S. TV homes 54,000,000 U.S. radio homes

6 hrs., 48 min. total TV viewing per home per day.

use of these mass media in our evangelistic program. Bible correspondence school en­rollments, increased attendance at evange­listic campaigns, easier access to homes and increased sales by literature evangelists, friendlier welcome at Ingathering time, are among the direct results in many areas where we have regular broadcasts.

Bible correspondence schools, a necessary corollary to a broadcasting program, pro­vide us with tangible statistics. In the Far Eastern Division our fourteen Bible corre­spondence schools have a unique record of soul-winning success. This is especially true in some areas where ordinary methods of evangelism have met with limited success. In Japan, for instance, about 75 per cent of all baptisms since the work was reopened following the war have been from students of the Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspond­ence School.

The Challenge

Both the problems and the possibilities of broadcasting present us a tremendous challenge for the future.

Government restrictions on religious broadcasting, high cost of air time, produc­tion difficulties arising from lack of facili­ties and professionally trained personnel, and meager budget are among the challeng­ing problems.

By contrast, however, the possibilities are stimulating. We must continue to develop new program formats. Many unique oppor­tunities for public-service broadcasts will be discovered. Greater use of local stations will result as pastors and churches catch the vision. As results are demonstrated, com­mittees will vote larger budgets for broad­casting. There is even the possibility of broadcasting stations owned and operated by Seventh-day Adventists.

Radio and television offer us the greatest opportunity we have ever had to finish the work.

Here are five reasons why:

1.   Mass media means maximum audi­ence potential. There is no other way to reach so many so quickly.
2.   Broadcasting is the top method for getting attention. The eyes and ears of the world are focused and tuned to television and radio. People expect to get the most important information sooner from these sources.
3.   Participation in radio-TV gives status to the broadcaster and his project. This is just as true of religion as it is of soap flakes, folk songs, and politics. Much of the credit for the improved public image of our church must be given to the Voice of Prophecy, Faith for Today, and other Sev­enth-day Adventist broadcasts.
4.   Radio-TV offers a wide variety in ap­proach. Time of release, program length, format, content, talent—each of these can be varied to appeal to the target audience. 'hat a challenge to the imaginative Ad­ventist broadcaster!
5.   Broadcasting has unlimited reach. No political, religious, or social barriers can eliminate the probing power of radio. Prop­aganda's sharpest battles are fought on this field. It will also give the gospel its greatest penetration.

By allowing man's genius to develop these marvelous mass media, God has opened for us the windows of heaven so that the work of giving the gospel can be finished and finished soon. What are we doing with this opportunity?

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PAUL H. ELDRIDGE, Ministerial Radio-TV Secretary, Far Eastern Division

June 1965

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