Saturday, January 15, 2005

PBS Religion & Ethics -- NewsWeekly Bulletin Cover Story: God TV and China

Cover Story: God TV and China (excerpt)

Out of a population of 7 million, currently there are approximately 300,000 Christians in Hong Kong -- evidence that Christianity is growing fast in China. This growth is also reflected in the presence of churches and preachers from around the globe, including television evangelists who have visions of Hong Kong as the golden gateway to China's 1.3 billion potential converts. Also, for the first time in Hong Kong, a cable station now carries the international Christian channel known as "God TV." While "God TV" barely reaches into the mainland and broadcasts only in English, it is among an increasing number of Christian broadcasters reaching non-Christian countries throughout the world.

Lucky Severson explores the controversy -- and challenges -- facing Christian broadcast organizations hoping to spread their message and encourage conversion, particularly in China's mainland. Pastor John Snelgrove with Fellowship for Christians, which serves Hong Kong's inner city, believes that "God TV" is a great asset: "I love it. It gives me and the congregation an opportunity to look at some of the best speakers around the world. I think it's been a real benefit to me as a pastor and a real benefit to the congregation." But Pastor Dennis Balcombe of Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong, who has been has been preaching in Asia for 35 years, feels that "God TV" may leave people with the wrong impression of the church and Christianity: "Christianity spread in the first century, not by modern technology, not by printed page, but by word of mouth -- by individuals who really believed in what they believed in and I see that still as the main factor in China."

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