Is the Pulpit More Influential than the Press?

Louis Berkhof

1. Affirmative:
The pulpit comes to man with the Word of God, clothed with divine authority. This Word is binding on the conscience and cannot be set aside at will.

The pulpit is more influential than the press in so far as the spoken word is more effective than the written word. The facial expression of the speaker, his tone of voice, his gestures, etc., all help to drive the message home.

Moreover, the pulpit comes to man with a word that is God's agency for the conversion of sinners. It transforms the entire life of man and makes him the salt of the earth and the light of the world.


2. Negative:
While the pulpit is limited to the discussion of religious subjects, the press is not so restricted. It touches the entire life of man in all its relations and discusses this from every possible angle.

The message of the press is not as evanescent as that of the pulpit. Man can read and reread it. He can turn to an article that was written months or even years ago and study it, while he possibly cannot recall as much as the text of the previous Sunday.

The press reaches a much larger public than the pulpit does.