Providential Programming for Christian Radio Broadcasting | The Institute for Creation Research
Providential Programming for Christian Radio Broadcasting
Sometimes providential programming includes a disastrous interruption with our plans which God directs toward His plan.

Many Christian ministries, including ICR, are now challenged and stretched to serve God in today’s fast-moving and ever-changing circumstances.1

Many actions that ICR staff previously performed on campus must now be suspended—or else achieved via distance technology. But God’s people have always needed God, and always will. Nothing that we accomplish will be worth anything unless it has God’s blessing.2

And that includes the telecommunications technology that ICR customarily employs to provide God’s truth and showcase God’s glory—to reach podcast listeners (who have ears to hear it) and to reach ICR.org readers (who have eyes to see it).

Daily, we depend upon smooth-running, high-speed, internet services, as well as many other forms of telecommunication technology.1 When our website is down—or sluggish—we know it. And so do you!

Even though humans are very much involved in installing, maintaining, and fixing that amazing technology—and we should prize those who are called to work with those modern marvels of technology—ultimately God gets the highest credit for how such telecommunications bless and help us.2

To help us appreciate earlier forms of telecommunications (which many of us used for years), recall the old landline telephones, transistor radios, and telegraph systems. Even those telecommunications needed God’s blessing to operate, so that God was honored and humans were benefited unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Even today, ICR still employs radio-based ministry.1

To appreciate a larger perspective on telecommunications-based Christian ministry, consider the early challenge of Christian radio broadcasting. These included the global ministry of Trans World Radio that broadcasted Christian music, Bible teaching (such as Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Radio programs), and evangelism into nations that were originally reachable only by radio.3

The early days of harnessing radio technology for Christ is remembered by Trans World Radio’s president, Dr. Paul Freed.

"It seemed that radio could move across all boundaries, over the walls, through the ‘curtains,’ like nothing else,” Freed said. "I thought of the world’s masses of people as ‘one world,’ with the same basic needs of the heart. I knew that every individual had the right to be reached. I was sure that in God’s perspective all people were beloved by him, that with him there were no barriers, no differences. The issue had emerged clearly. Our goal as believers comprising the church of Jesus Christ was to reach people everywhere, without exception...3

Many of the nations reached by Trans World Radio were ruled by oppressive governments that denied basic religious freedoms, so face-to-face Christian ministry was usually impossible.4 Radio could reach many diverse peoples, speaking different languages, living at great distance.3,4

In one such situation, Trans World Radio was operating “The Voice of Tangier” from a broadcasting station in Tangier (northwestern Morocco) during 1959.

Meanwhile, French and Spanish colonial governances of Morocco had recently ended, followed by growing Islamization of Morocco’s cultural and political institutions under King Mohammed V. It was only a matter of time before Christian radio ministry operations in Morocco would be shut down.4

Trans World Radio’s president, Dr. Paul Freed, recalls the adventurous crisis.

Suddenly Morocco became independent and the political picture began to shift rapidly. An announcement from the government [came, peremptorily] … all radio in the country was to be nationalized [i.e., confiscated without compensation] by the end of 1959. It was then April [1959]. It seemed black as midnight when the news first came to the staff in Tangier. … we felt as though the bottom had dropped out of everything.4

How would Trans World Radio be able to reach the 80 million radio sets that waited for Christian programming reaching Mediterranean Sea region nations? How would they reach nations farther north within the Soviet Union’s “Iron Curtain” bloc of countries, as well as other European nations, like Norway, which barred evangelical religious broadcasting?

While considering many other options, and eliminating them as technologically unsatisfactory or unavailable due to money or politics, one possibility continued to be looked at: an unusual place at Monte Carlo.

Finding a place in Europe where we could build a transmitter for full-time Christian broadcasting had seemed the most difficult thing in the radio field. Many other Christian leaders had also found this very definitely to be the case. All the other [inhabited] continents had such transmitters, but Europe—with the largest concentration of radio sets outside the U.S.—had none. We had looked into many places on the [European] continent for a new station site, but as far as I was concerned, Monte Carlo was the only real possibility.4

The details that follow were nothing short of providential. There was “coincidental” timing of the right people meeting other right people (including Norwegian Lutherans and British Plymouth Brethren), in places where they did not originally intend to be. Meetings included discussions of financial requirements, matching the need for a great antenna system and a 100,000 watt transmitter. All of it cost money (and financing) that did not seem humanly possible at the time.3,4

But it happened—and Trans World Radio never missed a day of international broadcasting to their target region of radio audiences.4

But there’s more.

Radio Monte Carlo was developed from a previously undertaken project, that had failed before completion, but the radio station base was originally intended to broadcast all over the Mediterranean Sea region and beyond into northern Europe—even up to Norway.4

But what was the original plan for the site that now was “Radio Monte Carlo”?

The morning the Radio Monte Carlo Board met [to close the deal, with the down-payment money paid], my father, Mr. [Stanley] Clark [of England], and Leif Haanes [of Norway] gathered together for prayer. Later they went up on the mountain to look at the facilities. The station had been built during the Nazi regime as a propaganda station.

It was a great, beautiful, massive, stone structure—just about completed, but without any [radio broadcasting] equipment installed at war’s end when the Germans went back to their own country. It literally made chills run up and down my spine when I thought about how the Gospel going forth every day from the same structure Adolph Hitler had designed to spread Nazi propaganda.4

Adolph Hitler built (without finishing) his radio broadcasting base in Monte Carlo for evil, but God providentially re-tooled that Monte Carlo broadcasting base for good to continuously benefit many people in many lands.5

May we use our opportunities, even if they were not in our original plans, to honor Him.2,5

References
1. Morris III, H. M. 2013. Reaching the Millennials: A Crucial Connection. Acts & Facts. 42(11).
2. Revelation 4:11; 1 Corinthians 10:31.
3. Staff writer. 2020. Trans World Radio: The TWR Story. Posted on twr.org, accessed May 12, 2020. Dr. Freed is quoted as describing Trans World Radio’s decades of Christian service as follows: “In 1954, what was then known as the Voice of Tangier broadcast the first program from Morocco into Spain. And the rest is history, as they say. From there, God began opening other opportunities to broadcast from strategic locations into some of the least-reached areas of the world. Today, we engage millions of people in 190 countries with biblical truth in their heart language. For more than 65 years, God has used our content and vast network of on-the-ground partnerships to lead people from doubt to decision to discipleship.” See also Romans 10:17.
4. Freed, P. E. 1979. Towers to Eternity. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 70-79, 88-120, with quotations from pages 90-91, 98.
5. Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28.

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.
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