Televangelism Case Essay Sample

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Evangelism is derived from a Greek word with its literal meaning “good news.” It is commonly related to the missionary work. It is the duty of every evangelical to spread the message of Jesus Christ to the whole ministry. Evangelism can be analyzed in four different stages: missionary operations, the time of Christ, the modern era, and the late 20th century to the present. Evangelism has a global mission in increasing faith in Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, Christ tells his adherents to “go make disciples of all nations.” After the death of Christ, some rendered this passage literally, and evangelism became a Christian mission enterprise soon. (Lakeou, 2005)

Tele means something at a distance and evangelism as already mentioned above refers to the preaching’s of the Christ. Combing the two words means spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ throughout the globe. An evangelical preacher marked the first television outreach in the year 1954. Televangelism, as it became, led to the existence of an “electronic church” that allowed religious devotes and it allowed curious viewers to receive sermons while sitting in their living rooms. Popular televangelists include Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, (founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network), and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (Fore, 1981). Dedicated to the conversion of non evangelist’s televangelists Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart used their airtime to warn viewers of the evils of American society. There are a number of issues that are covered with the Televangelism in the American society. Issue related to Homosexuality, divorce, financial responsibility and interracial marriage, are all common topics in evangelist programs—as is finances. With regard to funds, viewers are content more often to pay money (Fore, 1984).

Televangelism initially started as an American development from a largely broad media who allowed access of television to people who could afford it, combined with the number of Christians who funded the project. With the increase in globalization, the televangelists have spread far across as from where they originally started. Televangelism is gaining popularity with the passage of time in South American countries such as Brazil and Republic of Chile. Some countries have a more regulated media where there are restrictions on the access of such TV programs. In such cases religious viewership are broad casted via TV companies. (Epstein, 1975) History

The Communications Act was broadcasted by the U.S. Congress in the year 1934, which authenticated the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that allowed access for broadcasting relative license. The Congress affirmed that the spectrum allocated was not in favor of any individual or for that matter any company. In response for this monopoly, the station was compelled to broadcast “in the public interest.” From the very beginning, religious broadcasting was reckoned one of the ways of accomplishing a station’s “public interest” obligation. (Clark, 1985) These groups contained the national Council of Catholic Bishops, the Federal Council of Churches (Protestant), and a coalition of three interior Jewish systems. (Bagdikian, 1971)

This system performed reasonably throughout the late 1930s and 1940s. When television came in about 1950, each of these “religious belief groups” were given time each Sunday to view TV programs — programs which were generally representative of the religious and cultural variety of the country as a whole. Although the Southern Baptists, Mormons and others were given a modest measure of air time, and some televangelists were able to buy time, generally on radio and non-electronic network TV stations. (Armstrong, 1979) Evangelical groups all of a sudden lined up to buy commercial time on radio, TV, and local stations that had previously agreed not to sell airtime for religious broadcasting with the network policy, This policy began to provide profit to those elite companies that had the wealth to buy airtime. (Altheide, 1976) There was devastating policy programs by the FCC to those programmed that carried free major (main line) groups. Without taking any decision the FCC ruling offered just 53 percent of the total religious broadcasting in paid time. (Epstein, 1993).

Growth and Broadcast Cost
In the United States there were 60 religious groups who were operating their own radio stations and hundreds of other secular broadcasting services which meant that frequency collision affected and there was much interference. This ultimately led to chaos and the emergence broadcast however, the Radio Commission in 1934 made it compulsory for the radio stations to donate a certain airtime to public service programs and religious leaders were given access to free airtime. The matter thus was resolved peacefully (Butler, 2007). Despite this brief encroachment on the practice of selling airtime, there was no period of fragmentation in the early day’s standardization, and only later, with the arrival of cable and satellite television, did religious broadcasting become slightly more eligible in terms of who could broadcast a message (Lakeou, 2005).


Lakeou, Lula 2005. “Evangelism.” Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development. SAGE Publications. 28 Jan. 2011. . Butler, A. (2007). Women in the Church of God in Christ: The making of a sanctified world. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Epstein, D. M. (1993). Sister Aimee: The life of Aimee Semple McPherson. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. Altheide, David L., 1976, Creating Reality: How TV News Distorts Events. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Armstrong, Ben, 1979, the Electronic Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. Bagdikian, Ben H., 1971, the Information Machines. New York: Harper & Row Publishers. Clark, David W. and Virts, Paul H., « Religious Television Audience: A New Development in Measuring Audience Size. » Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, October, 1985, Savannah, GA. Epstein, Edward Jay, 1975, Between
Fact and Fiction: The Problem of Journalism New York: Vintage Books. Fore, William E., 1984, « Religion and Television: Report on the Research », Christian Century. July 18: 711. Fore, William E., 1981, « A Critical Eye on Televangelism, » Christian Century. September 23: 940.

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