Awarding Institution

Andrews University (Avondale)

Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Theology) MA(Theol)


Arts & Theology


Ministry and Theology

First Advisor

John V. Oaklands


Problem: During the past two and a half decades dramatic changes have taken place in Western culture. There has been a collapse of traditional moral values and the rise of a humanistic world view. How much has this affected the church? Surveys indicate that the church too, is experiencing a decline in lifestyle values.What part does television play in this process? The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects of prime-time television on viewers with a view to motivating church members to become more discerning in their use of television.

Method: After researching the cultural trends and establishing a Biblical base for discernment and discrimination, the literature on the effects of television and advertising was studied. The church was surveyed and analysis of the church members' viewing habits in relation to prime-time advertising and values was undertaken. Seminars were conducted, presenting the findings from research and the results of the survey, and the seminar group was assessed for their reaction.

Results: The analysis of the survey revealed that the viewing habits of the church were not greatly different from the general population. The correlations shown between advertising expenditure, subjects' awareness of the frequency of commercials, and consumer habits were remarkably high, indicating that TV advertising is probably having a strong impact on viewers. A strong relationship was shown between the decline in traditional Adventist lifestyle values and the amount of time spent watching television. Response to the seminars was good, but it is felt that more time needs to be spent on this aspect.

Conclusions: The research into the effects of television revealed some disturbing facts about how the predominantly visual stimuli cause a reduction in analytical cognitive thinking. The impact of television is revealed by the strong correlation results. The most important area which needs to be pursued in future is in educating and motivating members to become more discerning and discriminating in relation to both television and general culture. It is strongly recommended that more study be done in this area and that a media education curriculum be established in our church schools.


Project Report (M.A.)

Andrews University, School of Graduate Studies, Avondale Campus, 1985.

Published with permission from Andrews University.

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