Christianity Today reports that pastors' messages continue through TV, radio, and the Internet, even as some listeners probably don't even know they're gone.
On the Sunday after Easter, famed Southern Baptist preacher Adrian Rogers appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network, asking his congregation in suburban Memphis to turn to a passage of the Gospel of John.
"A Christian with a witness in his heart is never at the mercy of a man with an argument in his mouth," he said in the trademark deep voice that has been heard on TV and radio for 22 years. "Learn that, my friend."
Within hours, the Rev. D. James Kennedy was on Ion Television, comparing Americans who have drifted away from God to secular humanism to the New Testament's prodigal son.
Both evangelical preachers, along with radio broadcaster J. Vernon McGee, all have something in common. They all died years — and in McGee's case, decades — ago.
Yet their messages continue via TV, radio, and the Internet, even as some listeners probably don't even know they're long gone.
Quentin Schultze, a Calvin College communication professor and editor of Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication, said the Internet, especially, has given religious broadcasters a second lease on life, even as the first lease expired.
"In the age of the Internet, such ministers will not likely survive on pricey broadcast media," he said, "but they will continue to be available online and through computer downloads to iPods and other personal players."