THE CELL LEADER’S MANUAL
An Apologetics Primer:
GEM ’85, this rev. Aug. 2002a
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . ." (1 Peter )
3.3 The Media and Education
Issues of communication, control, credibility and clarity
are critical if the church is to speak effectively to the people of the
Unfortunately, credibility is not the same as truth — it is a perception that a particular source is believable. As well we know from the study of Rhetoric, messages and arguments can be extremely persuasive, even if they are not true or sound. So, demagogues and other misleaders have long since discovered that if one tickles itching ears with what they want to hear, self-deceived people will believe it and trust you, even in the teeth of the actual evidence. [2 Tim. 3:1 – 8, 4:1 – 5, cf. - 17.]
Moreover, unless their current belief system is manifestly failing, people generally accept what accords with what they already believe and reject whatever does not accord with what they already believe, so once a false ideology has taken root in a community, it is very hard indeed to uproot.
This brings out the critical strategic roles played by major community institutions. For, as we grow up, our core beliefs and values are accepted from and shaped by authorities such as parents, churches, schools, the media, our peers on the street, popular leaders and politicians — it is only later in life, if ever, that we critically assess them. As a direct result, the key battle in the war of ideas is always political: which authorities and agendas will dominate the media, the school and the academy. Victory or defeat in these three institutions determines the dominant ideas, perceptions and messages that spread through a given community — and, in an ever more global age, the world.
Over the past several decades in our region, the tide
of this battle has clearly been shifting to the secularists and their post-modern
fellow travellers, especially as the dominant media power of the
Consequently, if we are to counter the tide, and fulfil
our calling to be effective as Christian leaders working to disciple the nations
in our region, we must be ever alert to the various philosophies, ideologies,
agendas and underlying values and beliefs that are being communicated to our
communities, whether openly or subtly. We must also understand how the
various persuasive techniques work, and learn how to effectively respond.
Most of all, we must be willing to respond effectively, using art-forms, schools,
media-houses, books, and whatever other legitimate means are at our disposal.