Friday, June 1, 2012

The Mike Goes Silent

Baptist Press is reporting today that the board of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has reprimanded Dr. Richard Land and has terminated the Richard Land Live! radio program. I know some of the ERLC trustees, I know and love Dr. Richard Piles who is the new chair of that board, and I know and love Dr. Richard Land. Clearly, the board has not succumbed to enormous pressure to terminate Dr. Land, instead of just terminating his radio program, and for that I am thankful. Also, one can understand why, in this situation, the trustees might conclude that the radio program, which is not a core task of the ERLC, has generated controversy in a way that might imperil the commission's ability to accomplish those things which are its core tasks.

I write tonight to express a hope. I hope that this move does not represent yet another retreat by Southern Baptists from electronic media in our long line of such retreats. It is not the mission of the ERLC to use electronic media to advance the gospel causes of the SBC, but unfortunately, it's not anybody else's mission, either. We mothballed our Radio & TV Commission years ago. Religious radio and television is absolutely dominated by faith-healing charlatans and their ilk. For two decades, after having fumbled our opportunity to take advantage of the emerging media of radio and television, Southern Baptists have been beating a hasty retreat from the airwaves.

I hope that Richard Land Live! will not, by its departure, merely leave an empty hole. I hope that Southern Baptists will endeavor to replace it and to multiply the strategic use of electronic media as an avenue for the gospel. Media is powerful. It needs to be redeemed, not ignored.

No comments: