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Vantage point

Christians and media

Media is the plural of medium. Webster’s defines it as "a channel or system of communication, information or entertainment."

Since 1455, when about 180 copies of the first Gutenberg Bible rolled off the press in Mainz, Germany, print media have been incredibly effective in conveying the message of God’s love.

We received word of one Pentecostal Evangel that had been read by 100 prison inmates. We have received salvation coupons from magazines more than 4 years old, and other letters referencing just-read magazines more than a decade old.

When my wife, Peggy, and I brought Bibles into Iron Curtain countries in the 1980s, we saw the power of the printed Word. Believers wept openly when handed their first-ever Bible or Scripture portion. One entire small village had been converted after one page of the Bible had come into someone’s possession years earlier.

A letter received in our office this May shows how the printed word may take a lengthy, circuitous route to hit its mark. A believer from Ethiopia wrote for information on getting the magazine after he saw his first copy. Our November 2, 1997, issue on spiritual warfare was recently given to him – by an unbeliever! "I read it through every page; it is an inspiration from God," he wrote. I wonder most how it affected the unbeliever who gave him the tattered, dog-eared copy (he sent a photocopy of the cover).

We have received letters from those who have plucked Evangels from such places as a prison garbage can (thank you Key Bearers and Light for the Lost) and an incinerator in a military camp in Bosnia (the issue was read in a partially singed state).

Today, the gospel goes out over more advanced media as well: radio, television and now CDs and the Internet. Though all of these have tremendous potential for evil (as does print), they are being used also to build God’s kingdom.

This issue examines how Christians have made and are making an impact through media in a variety of ways, including secular newspapers, network television and more.

Media are amoral … neither good nor bad. They are simply means to an end … ways to make one’s message available to other people. With the powerful message that Christians have to share, we should make use of every means possible. The Bible makes it clear that if God’s Word is communicated, it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

And let us also affect the world by placing Christians in influential positions in non-religious media, to be salt and light — and by praying for those who are there.

— Ken Horn

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