ERIC Number: ED197399
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Electronic Church Debate in Historical Perspective: An Analysis of the Split between Ecumenical and Evangelical/Independent Religious Broadcasters.
Virts, Paul H.
The majority of critics of religious broadcasting, the so-called "electronic church," are members of the "liberal" or ecumenical Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish groups. In a historical context, however, these critics, along with the major radio and television networks, are as responsible for the electronic church as are the conservative churches most often accused of forming this kind of broadcasting. The break between ecumenical and evangelical religious broadcasting can be attributed to a failure of the evangelical churches to present a united front in the early days of radio until long after the ecumenical churches, united in the Federal Council of Churches of Christ (FCCC), had begun cooperating with commercial radio networks. These individual churches were forced to raise funds on the air with which to purchase air time. The ecumenical groups were also to blame by ensuring that the evangelicals received no free air time. They also tended to stereotype the evangelicals as racketeers, an image still deeply ingrained. Ultimately, the split between ecumenical and evangelical broadcasting was caused by each group's different view of the nature and purpose of the church--spiritual versus social. In view of the history of religious broadcasting, it is easy to see why the electronic church has evolved. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Religious Broadcasting
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (66th, New York, NY, November 13-16, 1980).