"Willing to Communicate"

DAVID SARNOFF, chairman of the board of RCA, predicts the time will come when a person carrying a vest-pocket transmitter-receiver will connect by radio to a nearby switchboard linked to communications satellites and be able to see and speak with any similarly equipped person any where in the world. . .

DAVID SARNOFF, chairman of the board of RCA, predicts the time will come when a person carrying a vest-pocket transmitter-receiver will connect by radio to a nearby switchboard linked to communications satellites and be able to see and speak with any similarly equipped person any where in the world.

On tomorrow's threshold is phonovision, which will become as common in the home as television.

Development of an electron beam-re cording technique will soon result in fantastic possibilities of micro-imaging.

Recent months witnessed an unprecedented phenomenon from outer space 240,000 miles away. The words "In the be ginning God . . ." were transmitted from Saturn's Apollo 8, a prelude to man's first lunar landing.

The hymn writer wrote with unerring ac curacy, "We are living, we are dwelling in a grand and awful time."

Possibly Paul was the first to introduce the term "communicate" to the Christian church: "Charge them . . . that they do good . . . , willing to communicate" (1 Tim. 6:17, 18).

Communications Static for 1900 Years

We have come a long way from the dawn of history when communications were con fined to hieroglyphics, smoke signals, preaching to immediate crowds in forums, and traveling donkeyback or on a slow boat to Cyprus. For millenniums communications were practically at a standstill.

Scriptures introduce us into time and history. We learn that from the beginning of time until the time of Christ little progress had been made in communications except perhaps for the development of a more sophisticated alphabet, papyrus, and ink. Communications failed to do much better during the next 1900 years.

Then erupted the industrial revolution at the beginning of the time of the end. In quick sequence came Eli Whitney's cotton gin; Fulton's Folly, the steamboat; Alexander Graham Bell's crude concept of the talking wire; and the railroad. Later the world became electrified by the wizardry of Thomas Edison. Today, however, most of these innovations have been outdated into the archives as new and exciting media concepts appear on the horizon.

Science has suddenly precipitated a communications revolution, resulting from an information overload. When Queen Victoria died, news of the event crept across Africa by means of the talking drums. However, when President Kennedy was assassinated, news swept across Africa like wild fire, sparked by the most sophisticated television sets in Salisbury to the simple transistor in the smallest Ugandan village.

Knowledge is doubling at the rate of every seven years. Soon the gap will narrow to five. The high school valedictorian of 1938 would have a difficult time passing the entrance exams at Harvard today.

The now generation is plugged in communications oriented. The youngster of twelve has accumulated more knowledge than the twenty-year-old of a generation ago. The preschool child has been exposed to approximately four thousand hours of television. By the time he graduates from high school his twelve thousand hours of classroom exposure will be dwarfed by fifteen thousand TV hours. Through travel and communication, today's young have experienced at home everything from on-the-spot fighting in Vietnam, to campus rioting, the assassination of political leaders to civil-rights demonstrations, the wide world of sports to moon landings. The conventional education system has lost its monopoly on communicating information.

In the United States a man of thirty stands with one leg in each generation fifteen years pre-TV and the rest post-TV. The over thirty-five's have received their childhood education mostly through the printed page with a smattering of radio. Shepherd boys outside Bethlehem, instead of whiling away the hours playing home made flutes, now listen to the transistor held close to the ear. The camel traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho keeps step to the beat of the music from the transistor held by his rider.

Telephone From Anywhere to Everywhere

This is a revved-up generation. Communication is universal. The world can't communicate fast enough, nor can it receive news quickly enough. Scientific geniuses are already predicting additional wonders in the future of communication. Within thirty years television pictures should not only be in color but in three dimension as well. The world's libraries and museums should have been catalogued electronically and their collections accessible to anyone with a television screen. It should be possible to telephone from any where to everywhere. Every home will have its information appliance and while post men and paper money will still exist, they will not be vital to commerce.

CBS is already piloting the EVR, which is an electronic video recording so compact that people will be able to play video-tape cartridges and home movies on their own television sets. Thermo printing, combined with voice writers, is being designed to bring faster typing, recording, printing, translations, and all forms of communications to the average man. Microcircuitry, solid logic circuits, monolithic integrated circuits, and miniaturized electronics promise to be the fantastic new tool in modern education, business, and entertainment. The portable attache case computer will prove an awesome boon to the researcher. Today's super Cinemascopic spectaculars on wide screen with multistereo sound, are a far cry from the first motion picture "spectacular," The Box, in 1896 a 16-footlong film production.

In this field of printing, publishers are offering some 40,000 paperback titles with sales running at 350 million copies a year. Unbelievable inventive developments are setting the stage for an even greater print explosion.

"Knowledge Shall Be Increased"

All this gives Daniel 32:4 a new and added meaning. "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." This prophecy has often been used as a unit marker on the prophetic clock, yet it would not be totally accurate to confine this prophecy in the identical category of Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Nor would it be accurate to say that God shaped circumstances leading to an explosion of inventions only to further Drove that the "fulness of time had come."

The Bible says: "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18). As knowledge of truth increases, so must the tools of communicating truth. With this background we might better understand that the "increase of knowledge" was God-given so that the everlasting gospel may be preached to all the world as a witness to all nations before the end shall come.

It is unique that during all but one hundred of history's six thousand years communications were virtually static. Nor is it coincidental that the industrial revolution was timed to synchronize with the beginning of the time of the end. God has endowed scientific catalysts to thrust into existence, at the precise moment, the amazing and sophisticated tools of communication. This has been done in order that the remnant church, under the power of the Holy Spirit and dedicated to the proposition of proclaiming the Great Com mission, might with a handful of adherents perform the miracle of feeding the multitudes of the earth. What an additional dimension and impact this takes on as we face up to the challenge of the world population explosion. The birth rate is currently exceeding the rebirth rate. Statistics indicate that it took the world nearly six thousand years to reach its first billion population; one hundred years the second billion. The third billion was reached within thirty-five years. It is projected that were time to last to A.D. 2001 the world population will vary between six and seven billion.

2.14 People Born Every Second

At the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin, a huge population clock was placed on the wall of the congress hall, indicating that 2.14 people were born into this world every second, 128 each minute, 7,704 an hour, 184,896 a day. Of this number born every minute only 15 will become Christians. The ratio of Christians to world population was 35 percent in 1925, dropping to 32 percent in 1950, and on down to 23 percent in 1957. It is predicted that by the turn of the millennium the ratio will dip to 16 percent.

Present figures indicate that there are at least two thousand tribes that still have no portion of God's Word in their own language, 400 million living in India totally unaware of the Christian message. One billion in Eastern Europe and Russia are unable to worship God, yet Radio Moscow broadcasts more hours and in more languages with more power than anyone else in the world, with Radio Peking second and Radio Havana fifth. Communists are spending more than $3 billion annually in communication and indoctrination, all from a meager start in 1917 by 40,000 hungry, ragged, but dedicated Marxist-Leninists.

For Such a Time as This

Into the hands of the church and for such a time as this have been placed equipment and opportunities to complete what might have otherwise been an impossible task. New areas of opportunity are opening almost daily. New and sophisticated media hardware are coming into utilization. God's church must do more than merely view these developments as indications of the times. It is imperative that the church be alert, utilizing every opportunity inventive genius can provide to further hasten the communication of truth. We might para phrase Esther 4:14: "Who knoweth but that these modern tools of communication have come to the church for such a time as this in order that we might communicate to the world." With these God-given opportunities and with a complete dependence on the complete power of God, a dedicated church can present a formidable force that can shake the world.

"If we would follow the opening providence of God, we should be quick to discern every opening, and make the most of every advantage within our reach. . . - There is a fearfulness to venture out and run risks in this great work, fearing that the expenditure of means would not bring returns. What if means are used and yet we cannot see that souls have been saved by it? What if there is a dead loss of a portion of our means? Better work and keep at work than to do nothing. You know not which shall prosper this or that." Evangelism, p. 62.

The spectrum of communications is broad. What we have talked about here are the responsibilities and possibilities the corporate church has available in utilizing the many tools at its command. But this is only part of the story and represents only a part of the Christian involvement. The basic success factor in sharing the gospel is one's concept and technique of communicating were he to possess no single technical tool but Christian grace, a sense of urgency, and an understanding of how man can communicate with man in a personal encounter.

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February 1970

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