Television and Evangelism: A Cautionary Tale

  • Author(s): Angela Tilby
  • When: 1991-06
  • Where: Opportunities and Limitations in Religious Broadcasting
  • How effective is television as an evangelistic medium? And what are its limits? The pros and cons of television evangelism have been put elsewhere. What concerns me is the assumption that those on both sides of the argument make about the medium itself. Both sides regard television as a one-way system of communication with devastating power to intrude on our lives and determine them. This puts programme makers in a position of enormous power. They are the senders of messages which end up inside the heads of the viewers. Such a picture appeals to those who believe that television is a powerful tool in preaching the gospel. They are awed by its ability to reach into people's homes and believe that it has unique powers to persuade and convert. They believe, without irony, that Jesus would have used television to reach ordinary people just as he preached to vast crowds in Galilee.

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