Author: Rev. Anatoliy Glukhovskyy
Category: Proclamation Evangelism
To facilitate a truly global conversation, we ask Christian leaders from around the world to respond to the Global Conversation’s lead articles. These points of view do not necessarily represent the Lausanne Movement. They are designed to stimulate discussion from all points of the compass and from different segments of the Christian community. Please add your perspective by posting a comment so that we can learn and grow together in the unity of the Spirit.
A response to our lead articles this month:
Nothing Rhymes with Orange. False. Nothing and Orange do not Rhyme - Rev Richards Gibbons
Preach The Gospel Wherever You Go - Use Words if You Have to - Rev Derek Simpson
Toward a Biblical Approach to Understanding Proclamation Evangelism - Thomas Johnston
Recently, we have seen the appearance of many new means of communication, which have provided creative ways of preaching the Gospel. Even pulpit ministry is challenged, because more and more pastors are learning how to preach from a TV screen much faster than in a seminary setting. And yet, though there is a ‘war’ between a book and eBook, newspaper and Internet, TV or cinema, it is not that dramatic! Why? Perhaps it is similar to the use of photography. People want to take pictures and so they use every possible means to preserve the memory of special moments and places in life. But for them the most important thing is not the means they use, but the story of their life they want to preserve.
Proclamation or preaching is important as a tool, but the most essential thing is the story of Jesus – what He has done and what He continues to do in the life of His creation by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament is full of prophetic stories with the New Testament message of the Great Commission. Jeremiah was asked/called to “broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem” and “go from town to town throughout the land” (Jer. 11:6, NLT). While most translations use the word “proclamation,” NLT interprets public announcement as “broadcasting.” We know that broadcasting is a very effective tool in spreading the Gospel using the following simple steps: receive, go, and tell in Old Testament and New Testament.
According to Billy Graham, 1 John 1:1 is “a clear biblical definition of witnessing”[i] and “the Christians of the first century ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6, KJV) because they had a sense of urgency about the message of Christ.”[ii] Their natural life became supernatural because of what the Lord was doing in them and through them. This call for faith is to be “manifested in three ways: in doctrine, worship, and fellowship” [iii]—it is the same now as it was in the 1st century.
To broadcast His message on the streets of our cities is the mission of the church. The Eurasian region (former Soviet Union) was blessed to have the ‘Jesus’ film available in Russian. Mission Emmanuel (CBN) has done so much in broadcasting to proclaim the Gospel in last twenty years and ‘The Superbook’ is still on demand, even on secular channels. In some of the most creative ways, Christian Vision ministry is using the Internet to reach the younger generation. Their projects like ‘yesHEis’, ‘Nagrani’, ‘OneHope’ and several others are used to reach Russian-speaking youth wherever they live. New ways of broadcasting can always be found by those who are eager to receive and ready to go.
Our story of salvation can be told to one person during a private conversation or to thousands from the pulpit or on television. There are so many stories of how people received Jesus as their personal Savior while they were listening to the message of Billy Graham while alone in their room. No one may have heard their prayer, but their confession was a public announcement that brought much heavenly joy!
Seminary training in the area of using mass media becomes crucial in preparing students for ministry in local churches and society, as well as on the mission field. More collaboration is needed, not only with local churches, but with national media ministries—and particularly with those who are strong in the proclamation of the Gospel and disciple making. With this collaboration, theology could be more creatively presented and mass media would become more theologically accurate. Lack of partnership will push seminaries to develop their own media resources. It could be done, but time would be lost and stewardship of human resources and finances would be hard to justify.
What is needed is for the church and society to have some kind of ‘fear of media’ like it was during the hearing of the biblical prophetic message. The Ten Commandments need to be broadcasted while at the same time sharing the message of love, hope and faith—not only for the church, but for those who are dying without hope. Godless cities and nations are waiting for their prophets and evangelists. Wladinir Soloviev, in his writing, was begging “Holy Russ” to become a “Bride of Christ”[iv] because he did not see how the church could be holy while the nation is so ungodly. It is hard not to agree with him, because the destiny of the Tabernacle and of the Temple was always connected to the spiritual conditions of the Jewish nation.
Mass media is a very powerful way of communication. Sadly, it is being misused more than it is being used for the right reasons. One of the chapters in a book written by John Piper has a following title: “Brothers, save the saints.”[v] The time has come to save the saints from ungodly prophets (Jer. 23:35-37) or prosperity preachers. Less counseling would need to be done if the church and state do a better job in protecting saints from the power of sin.
Broadcasting of His message is helping people from all nations to meet Christ and give to the Lord all the glory He deserves! The Cape Town Commitment is calling for unity between the truth and globalized media, and wants the latter one to be “gospel friendly … in the context of a holistic biblical worldview.”[vi] It is possible to build a bridge between pulpit and media preaching and teaching because they are united by the same prophetic call. What a blessed passion it is to see the truth of His message broadcasted in our lives, churches, cities, regions and nations!
Rev. Anatoliy Glukhovskyy, D.Min. President, Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, Kiev, UA
[i] Charles G. Ward, The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook (WorldWide Publication, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1984), 249.
[ii] Ibid., 249.
[iii] Ibid., 95.
[iv] Wladimir Soloviev, Spiritual Fundaments of Life (Foyer Oriental Chretien, Bruxelles, 1082), 8-9.
[v] John Piper, Brothers, we are not Professionals (Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 2002), 105.
[vi] The Cape Town Commitment, 36-37.