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1 Thessalonians 1:8
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4 Obstacles for Christian Media
"You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
We live in an unprecedented era in history. The ability to communicate with others, even those in the remotest countries, has never been easier. Nearly every person today can engage in mass communication (i.e., media) and send their messages across the world with the potential to impact millions of lives. But it has not always been this way.
We can look back to men like George Whitefield who preached to massive crowds, exercising remarkable influence without the assistance of electronic technology. He had no microphones or audio equipment; he had no livestreams or YouTube, yet he and others succeeded in communicating their messages on a mass scale. Yet, the messages of even the most influential in times past reached smaller audiences than the messages of the moderately influential today.
Communication began to change through the industrial revolution, and technological advances rapidly increased the development of media. For decades, media production was an expensive enterprise and typically required a sizeable staff with the skills to operate technical equipment. The average person could not make their views widely known to the same extent that a broadcaster or columnist could. But this has all changed. Through the inventions of the personal computer, the internet, and user-friendly interfaces, media has exploded to the extent that some individuals have more influence than major media companies. The sphere of influence a person can have today was previously unthinkable. This opens doors for churches that they've never had before. It certainly is a tremendous time for Christ's church to proclaim the Gospel and bring His written Word to every nation.
Yet, some drawbacks exist:
1. Information Overload
The limitless ability to communicate is an exceptional phenomenon, but with billions of people possessing this ability, finding truth has become a cumbersome ordeal. With every person offering content into the marketplace of ideas, we have reached a needle-in-the-haystack scenario. There is no shortage of chaff; whether it's deceptive opportunists, misguided ramblers, or cultists, the internet is overflowing with lies and falsehoods. We've had to create complex tools (i.e., search engines) to help us cope with the impossible task of sifting through it all. Even with these, however, it can be quite difficult to find truth among the error. Thankfully, we have the Bible and can always trust it to provide objective truth.
2. Resistance to Unsolicited Information
In the past, people relied on content producers to offer them information. This generally meant that people were more open to unsolicited information. This all has changed since the advent of the information age. With such an abundance of resources available, few people are starved for information. In fact, for most people, the presence of information they have not searched out is an annoyance. This creates an incredibly difficult obstacle in advancing the Gospel, especially in affluent countries where information access is nearly limitless. When offering the Gospel of Jesus Christ, people often view religious information as superfluous.
3. Information Bias
Another result of information overload is extreme bias. One would think that the availability of so many different views would make people more familiar with and open to divergent views, yet it has done just the opposite. In an attempt to gain some footing in the deluge of information, people anchor down and put up walls. If we consider the reality that no one will run out of media to consume for their given worldview, we can see that isolating oneself from opposing viewpoints is easily accomplished. People create communities of like-minded individuals and rarely interact with those outside. Inevitably, their view of reality becomes narrow and untested. Practically every group has done this, and it makes it extremely difficult to reach those who are lost, even when they're in our own backyards!
4. Media Opposition
Like all technological advances, the internet and social media have become tools for evil more than for good. It doesn't matter if it's the printing press or a computer; Satan and his world system will adapt everything to their evil purposes. Between the hedonistic worldview our culture promotes and the censorship of Christian views, Satan has repurposed mankind's tools to advance his purposes. If we didn't know the end of the story, it would seem hopeless—but it isn't.
The good news is that we have a God Who will win in the end. He does not depend on our feeble efforts to carry His plan forward. We are thankful that He privileges us with the task of bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth. Regardless of how the world responds to technological advancements, we still have a responsibility and opportunity to see people saved and to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. We can use the media resources we have to accomplish this.
This is the reason our website exists. We want to use the tools God has made available to reach the world with the Gospel and to offer believers resources for personal growth.
We pray that you would be blessed by this content and would use it to mature "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).