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How Science Aided the
Spread of the Gospel
Dr. Robert C. Frank
Professor Emeritus of Physics
at Augustana College
Christians Have Grown in Numbers
• The followers of Jesus have grown from a small number in the
middle east in the first c...
The Work of the Holy Spirit
• The spread of the gospel involved the work of the Holy
Spirit. Using a phrase from Luther’s ...
Transportation
• For a very long period the spread of the gospel depended
upon people gathering and talking person to pers...
Transportation On Water
• Sailing ships were used from ancient times until the 18th
century when steamships were developed...
Transportation on Land
• From ancient times until the 20th century humans walked or
rode animals to get from one place to ...
Rail Transportation
• Rail transportation was first introduced in England for travel
on land at the beginning of the 19th ...
Transportation by Air
• The first practical applications of air transportation began at
the beginning of the 20th century ...
How Improvements in Transportation Benefitted
the Spread of the Gospel
• Advancements in land and air transportation impro...
Communication
• Advancements in communication had the greatest effect on
the spread of the gospel because the story could ...
The Printing Press
• The printing press was invented by Johannes Guttenberg in
about 1450 CE. Copies of written material c...
Printed Copies of the Bible
• The first mechanically printed Bible was prepared by
Gutenberg in about 1455. It was in Lati...
Telephones and Radio
• The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the
1870’s and permitted the electrical tran...
Electromagnetic Waves and Radio
• It was the scientific research of Hans Christian Oersted,
Michael Faraday, and James Cle...
Evangelism by Radio and Television
• In the 1920’s and 30’s a number of preachers with unusual
speaking talent began to br...
A Major Turning Point in Science
• The development of the transistor in the late 1940’s may
be considered the most importa...
The Microchip
• Shortly after the transistor was invented scientists and
engineers began creating tiny electrical circuits...
Orbiting Satellites
• The tiny electrical circuits in microchips could be used to
control rockets that placed satellites i...
Communication Satellites
• The communication satellites in fixed orbits made it possible
to use radio and television to co...
The Internet
• A computer network called ARPANET was originally set up to
connect computers for military purposes, but as ...
eBooks
• Less than a decade ago, the availability of small computers
made electronic books available. eBook readers like t...
iPhones
• Once eBook readers were developed and small portable cell
phones were available, it was only a small step to ins...
Web Sites for Church Congregations
• Most church congregations in the US and in many foreign
countries have web sites that...
The Christianity-Science Relationship
• We have seen that for a very long time the effective spread of
the gospel has been...
Christianity, Science and Education
• The Christianity-science relationship has also had an
important role in the evolutio...
Isn’t it Time to Recognize the
Importance of the Relationship?
• Since science has had such an important role in the sprea...
The Growth of the Kingdom of God
• Jesus’ comparison of the kingdom of God with a growing
mustard plant implies that he ex...
We Can See the Promised Land
• We can see, in the distant future, a civilization in which
everyone lives in peace and ever...
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How Science Aided the Spread of the Gospel

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With the aid of science, the kingdom of God is gradually evolving and forming a mature civilization on earth. For centuries Christians have been repeating in the Lord's prayer, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” and now it is easier to see it happening.

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How Science Aided the Spread of the Gospel

  1. 1. How Science Aided the Spread of the Gospel Dr. Robert C. Frank Professor Emeritus of Physics at Augustana College
  2. 2. Christians Have Grown in Numbers • The followers of Jesus have grown from a small number in the middle east in the first century to over two billion spread over the entire earth today.
  3. 3. The Work of the Holy Spirit • The spread of the gospel involved the work of the Holy Spirit. Using a phrase from Luther’s catechism, the work of the Holy Spirit is to “call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify the whole Christian Church on earth.” • During the long history of Christianity, science has remained a silent partner in the background in the spread of the gospel. Its role in that capacity has been rarely acknowledged.
  4. 4. Transportation • For a very long period the spread of the gospel depended upon people gathering and talking person to person. That required transportation. • Jesus and the Apostle Paul traveled mostly by walking or riding on beasts of burden. Paul occasionally traveled by boat.
  5. 5. Transportation On Water • Sailing ships were used from ancient times until the 18th century when steamships were developed. • Early missionaries from Europe came to the Americas mainly by sailing ships. Later missionaries traveled from the Americas to Africa on steamships. Steam engines involved the science of thermodynamics. • In the 20th century, diesel engines replaced steam engines on ships.
  6. 6. Transportation on Land • From ancient times until the 20th century humans walked or rode animals to get from one place to another on land. • Automobiles driven by gasoline engines were developed at the beginning of the 20th century and are the major form of land transportation today. Gasoline and diesel engines also involved the science of thermodynamics.
  7. 7. Rail Transportation • Rail transportation was first introduced in England for travel on land at the beginning of the 19th century using steam engines. • By 1890 electric power became practical for city trollies and some city to city travel. Later, in the 1940’s, diesel engines were found to be even more useful.
  8. 8. Transportation by Air • The first practical applications of air transportation began at the beginning of the 20th century with planes designed by the Wright brothers and others. Air transportation involves the science of fluid dynamics. • Charles Lindbergh made the first flight across the Atlantic in 1927 opening the way for intercontinental travel. • The advantage of air transportation was that you could go anywhere without highways or rails. Only landing strips were required.
  9. 9. How Improvements in Transportation Benefitted the Spread of the Gospel • Advancements in land and air transportation improved the ability of Christians to meet face to face either for worship services or for holding meetings to work out differences in viewpoint. • Christians could travel to meetings much easier and faster.
  10. 10. Communication • Advancements in communication had the greatest effect on the spread of the gospel because the story could be told without face to face contact. • It is also in communication that science has had its greatest influence.
  11. 11. The Printing Press • The printing press was invented by Johannes Guttenberg in about 1450 CE. Copies of written material could be shared with many more people. • The availability of printed documents facilitated the Reformation which took place in the 16th century. Information spread much more rapidly.
  12. 12. Printed Copies of the Bible • The first mechanically printed Bible was prepared by Gutenberg in about 1455. It was in Latin and printed in color. • Martin Luther’s translation of the New Testament in German was published in 1522 and the complete Bible in German was published in 1534 with the help of others. • The popular King James English version of the Bible was published in 1611. Today the Bible is easily available to all people in many versions and languages.
  13. 13. Telephones and Radio • The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the 1870’s and permitted the electrical transmission of the human voice over long distances, but it required wires. • Radio transmission became practical at the beginning of the 20th century and was a major advancement because it did not need wires.
  14. 14. Electromagnetic Waves and Radio • It was the scientific research of Hans Christian Oersted, Michael Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century that provided the knowledge of the behavior of electromagnetic waves used in radio, television and our modern wireless cell phones.
  15. 15. Evangelism by Radio and Television • In the 1920’s and 30’s a number of preachers with unusual speaking talent began to broadcast their sermons over the radio. • Among the more famous were Aimee Semple McPherson, Father Charles Coughlin, Charles E. Fuller, and Ralph Sockman. • In the 1950’s when television became available, other’s who took advantage of it to reach larger audiences were Rex Humbard, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, and Oral Roberts.
  16. 16. A Major Turning Point in Science • The development of the transistor in the late 1940’s may be considered the most important invention of the 20th century. • It focused attention on the atomic properties of solid materials.
  17. 17. The Microchip • Shortly after the transistor was invented scientists and engineers began creating tiny electrical circuits embedded in solid materials. They are called microchips. The electrical circuits created in the microchips became smaller and smaller and more reliable. • Microchips are now used in radios, TV sets, computers, cell phones, and control devices.
  18. 18. Orbiting Satellites • The tiny electrical circuits in microchips could be used to control rockets that placed satellites in orbit around the earth. • At certain distances above the earth, the satellites remained stationary over specific locations on the earth. • They could thus be used as relay stations for radio and television waves that traveled in straight lines.
  19. 19. Communication Satellites • The communication satellites in fixed orbits made it possible to use radio and television to communicate between various points on the spherical earth. • Gradually small computers with incredible memory and word and image processing capability were developed and used for communication.
  20. 20. The Internet • A computer network called ARPANET was originally set up to connect computers for military purposes, but as computers became available for home and commercial purposes networking quickly became useful for connecting any and all computers. • Eventually the Internet carrying text, voice, and images was developed in the 1990’s as a network to connect computers all over the world.
  21. 21. eBooks • Less than a decade ago, the availability of small computers made electronic books available. eBook readers like the Kindle and Nook are shaped like tablets but have faces that can display text. The pages are easily turned by hand movement. • The eBook readers can be carried in one hand while having storage capacity for a large library of books. • The availability of eBook readers makes it possible for pastors to carry four or five entire Bibles with them at all times as well as a variety of commentaries.
  22. 22. iPhones • Once eBook readers were developed and small portable cell phones were available, it was only a small step to insert an entire computer in the cell phone. • This made it possible to not only send email or text messages and pictures, but also to interact with the entire Internet and download material for research purposes. • The cell phone can then also be used as an eBook reader and entire Bibles carried on your telephone.
  23. 23. Web Sites for Church Congregations • Most church congregations in the US and in many foreign countries have web sites that keep their members as well as outsiders informed about their activities.
  24. 24. The Christianity-Science Relationship • We have seen that for a very long time the effective spread of the gospel has been aided by advancements in science and technology. • Without the improvements produced by science and technology, Christianity would be as limited as it was in the 18th century. • Scientific research, however, has also required the teamwork taught by Christianity. So the relationship is vital to both.
  25. 25. Christianity, Science and Education • The Christianity-science relationship has also had an important role in the evolution of education. • Luther and other reformers wanted everyone to learn how to read the Bible and the printing press made that possible so education increased much more rapidly. • Today television, computers, and the Internet have increased the capacity of everyone to learn new things more quickly and people are learning from each other.
  26. 26. Isn’t it Time to Recognize the Importance of the Relationship? • Since science has had such an important role in the spread of the gospel as well as in the relief of suffering, it seems natural for me to think of science as a gift from God. Perhaps it is time for Christianity as a whole to do so as well.
  27. 27. The Growth of the Kingdom of God • Jesus’ comparison of the kingdom of God with a growing mustard plant implies that he expected it to grow very large over a period of time. • For two thousand years Christians have repeated the Lord’s prayer saying, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” and now with the aid of science it is easier to see it happening.
  28. 28. We Can See the Promised Land • We can see, in the distant future, a civilization in which everyone lives in peace and every human life is able to achieve its maximum potential, but we are not there yet. • There is still much work for all of us to do! Christ’s Team needs us and we all need the benefits of science.

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