Today, no doubt, there is hardly a Christian home that is not furnished with a radio. Many of the modern inventions of our age have become practically a necessity rather than a luxury. And why should not the Christian too make use of these inventions.Is it not his calling to use the things of this world to the praise and honor of his God? It surely is.
However, as with everything the Christian does, so, too, the use of the radio may be a means whereby the Christian, who has yet but a small beginning of the new life of Christ within him, involves himself in sin against the Lord his God. Consequently, lie must know how to use the radio in such way that with it fulfills the calling whereby he has been called, namely, to the glory of God.
Speaking of the radio and the Christian home, we are immediately aware of the fact that the Christian home of which we speak exists in the modern era. Some thirty or thirty-five years ago the radio was not to be found in any home, except for a few rare exceptions. In the home of that day, one’s, means of home entertainment were very limited. Perhaps the most popular instrument by which one might be entertained was the well-known phonograph. The piano and other musical instruments of course also had their place.
Since that time, things have radically changed! The old-time phonograph is considered a quite useless instrument in the home, and in its place has come the up-to-date radio. And that radio has also made its way into the Christian home!
Much need, of course, not be said in respect to what a Christian home is. It is understood, that the term refers to the family life of covenant parents with their covenant children. In that home the parents walk as examples before their children which the Lord has entrusted to their care. There the children are instructed in the principles of the fear of God. There the children, in turn, respect and obey the authority of their parents.
God is honored and revered in that home. Christ is the head of that house.
Now into that Christian home all manner of songs and music and speech can be poured by means of the radio.
Programs of every imaginable type are available.
There are religious programs. Here one meets a variety of religions on the one hand. On the other, generally speaking, one meets chiefly but one religion, and that the kind in which the free-will of man stands upon the foreground, and the sovereignty of God is placed completely to the background, if not entirely omitted.
Programs of the educational and informative type may also be selected, although it must be admitted that this kind of programs usually are not to be obtained in abundance. An exception to this is, of course, the many newscasts which are frequent in this present time of war.
Over the radio one can also listen to dramatics. Closely connected with this kind of program is the well- known “serial story”. Much can be said in connection with this type of program. Most of the serial stories heard over the radio today are corrupt to the core. Let it not escape our attention that in them one of the subjects frequently treated is that of marriage: of marriage not as it is a symbol of Christ and His Church, but as the bond of matrimony as it often and usually exists in the world, of ungodly men and women. Silly love stories are generally treated in which jealousy and envy play an important, role with the ending being climaxed by murder or divorce or unreal “love”. Many of the serials are very detrimental especially to children since in them children are described as going their own way and robbing the parent of every bit of authority over his family.
Finally, mention might be made of the type of program which is considered as plain entertainment. In this type the music and song of the world stands on the foreground. I know there is music, written by genius musicians, which is truly wonderful and which the Christian may enjoy listening to and be inspired. But, generally speaking, the music and song coming “over the air” is characterized by the vain hope and longing of this evil world which sees no way out of its present death and tries by means of music and song to choke the voice of the wrath of God out of its life.
With this kind of programs you have often sandwiched between the music and song the silly jokes and suggestive statements made by men whose glory is in their shame and who mind earthly things. Often the weather, marriage, crime, and even this war, among other things, is most foolishly and vainly joked a- bout.
To all these different types of programs, not only the American family, but the population of practically the entire world can listen. And the Christian too is able to hear these things if he so desires. For in his home he has a radio. And his radio, as I said before, may be a means whereby he involves himself in sin. Thus, the radio is a very dangerous instrument to the Christian, if he is not carefully on his guard at all times.
We are happy to admit there are many Christian families where the parents are very careful in selecting the kind of programs they or their children listen to, since they have sensed the dangers involved. But, alas, there is also many a Christian family which has become very lax in its watchfulness in respect to what enters the home “over the air.”
There is, for instance, the family, the “Christian” family, which has the radio turned on from the early morning to late at night. And, strangely enough, the father and mother of that family know how to find all kinds of weighty (?) reasons why they should have their radio going throughout the entire day. The one mentions the fact that it is not quite so quiet and lonesome in the house when the radio is being played. Especially the wife whose husband is gone six days out of every week to his work, or the one whose husband is in the armed forces, makes this claim.
Another gives as his or her reason for having the radio turned, on the entire day, that he or she doesn’t actually hear what is being played or said anyway, but just likes to have it going for some unknown reason.
Still another claims one must continually keep the radio going to be sure to receive all the news reports from the different theaters of war.
Whatever one’s, excuse may be, however, one forgets many an important danger resulting from such continual radio entertainment. One forgets that it gives very little opportunity for thought and meditation and speaking with the children of the family when and if the radio is continually blasting with its voice. Do not the children of the family become used to the songs and speech of the world, and become quite enthused about such things as they become older? Doesn’t that which they daily hear sink into their very heart? Of course, we know it does.
Does not the housewife, who is perhaps not used to the quietness of her home, make a bad mistake when she permits herself to lose her loneliness by means of the radio? Well might one suggest to such an one that she rather engage in singing some well-known Psalter numbers, or some good hymns, or to herself or to her children speak of spiritual matters at times when loneliness overtakes her. She may even select fitting radio programs, of course. But let her not continually have the radio going.
There is also the “Christian” family, which, besides having the regular family radio, has one or more others besides. Sometimes especially the older children are permitted to own such an extra radio. Then they individually tune in to programs which father and mother do not care about, or even perhaps do not exactly approve of. This, too, is a great evil in the Christian home. A program which is worth hearing at all, should certainly be heard by the entire family, and should also surely stand the approval of father and mother.
We finally come to the question, what then is the calling of the Christian in respect to the radio and his home?
The answer is certainly not that he may not have a radio. Of course our Christian homes may be furnished with a radio! But then we must see our positive calling and duty in respect to that particular instrument. For sin is not in the radio. The radio is in itself a good gift of God, invented with the talents God has supplied, and is run by the energies and frees God Himself has placed in the universe. But sin is in the heart! It is in the old nature of the new-born Christian.
The Christian, and especially the Christian parent, with his radio, must live the antithesis! The principle of the fear and love of God must control his hand when he selects programs on the radio. And to the programs which can stand the approval of the Lord God, the Christian must say yes, while at that very moment he shouts no to the corruptions of the world. Over his radio will be heard programs which are proper for the Christian to hear, through which he can be sure he can glorify his God.
In this all the father, as head of the family, especially must exercise control, but also the mother must do so. Doing this the parents will be examples to their children, and when the children come to years of discretion, they, too, as motivated by the principle of the love of God, through grace will also select proper programs over the radio.
But with this all has not been said. The Christian family must also see to it that at the other end, namely, at the broadcasting stations, programs of good quality, and especially good religious programs, are supported. No, I do not mean we should endeavor to have a Christian Broadcasting System. This is not only impossible, but it is not our calling either. But, this is our calling, we must support the programs which are of value for the Christian. And in connection with this especially our own broadcasts should enjoy our full support. The Christian must contribute liberal financial gifts to this kind of programs, to be sure. But, let the Christian parent himself too listen with interest and zeal to these our programs especially, and see to it his children listen also.
Let it be the motto not only, but also the desire of the Christian to walk in accordance with the determination of a Joshua of old, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”—also with the radio.