NCW 17, March 1995
Q. What is your view of TV evangelists and TV evangelism? Do you think it's right that one religious TV program has a higher budget than many denominations which have hundreds of missionaries? Is this the best way to spend Christians' money?
This is a very difficult question. Much of the money goes to the TV networks to pay for their staff and energy outlays and I know many Churches feel that this money would be better spent going to dedicated men and women serving on the mission field. Arguably more good is done with living, visible, holy people preaching the Gospel and reaching the lost.
The trouble with the TV evangelists is that they imitate the world so much in their method of "selling" -- free offers of salvation, 57 different varieties, etc.. The whole approach is the "get saved quick" method with little follow-up. Is it right, for example, to give a $100 receipt to someone who gets a $25 Bible, tapes, or books? If pastors tried that sort of gimmick in their churches their congregations would rightly throw them out!
No doubt some people do genuinely get saved watching the TV evangelists and many of them follow up by going on to spiritual maturity. But as New Covenant Christians we honestly feel that if the $500,000,000 and more spent on religious programs would be put into missionaries and pastors, much more would be done for Christ.
If TV evangelism is right then I do not believe that it should be the salesman, gimmicky type we so often see. We must also not forget that electronic communication is playing an increasingly important rôle in the modern world. As a backup to existing Church missions there may be something to be said for TV evangelism; as a "mission" all on its own, we do not believe it to be right.
A small Church like the New Covenant Church of God (at present) relies a great deal on communicating the Word through printed media and thus publishing is heavily emphasised by us. As we grow more emphasis will be put on missionaries and traveling evangelists. Perhaps we will even use TV. We must respond to the needs of the time.
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