Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ghetto Radio

Internet radio is an under appreciated wonder of the twenty first century.  You can do breakfast in Brisbane, lunch in London and Dinner in Dublin.  But not everything that streams on the web is up to the quality of Australia's ABC, the BBC or RTE. 

Any number of slightly strange Christian groups have leaped on the technology to launch their particular variety of "good news" into the ether.  Programming tends to be prerecorded and put on a spin cycle.  So in order of weirdness, smallest to greatest, here are three nominations for pointless ghetto-hugging radio.

Lutheran Radio UK.  There are two Lutheran bodies in the UK, the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB), which represents the mainstream, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE) which is connected to the fundamentalist Missouri Synod.  No prizes for guessing which runs this radio station.  Definitely an acquired taste. Available on Tune In.

Radio 4 Living.  The "24/7 radio station on the Internet serving the Church of God."  John Jewell, a former member of the United Church of God's Council of Elders, is the moving force behind this ministry.  Presenters manage to occasionally sound as if they actually know what they're talkin about - but don't bet on it!  Available on Live 365.

COG-FFHerbert W Armstrong. Cool name, huh?!  Wall to wall Herb from Don Billingsley's miniscule Church of God - Faithful Flock, also on Live 365.  The voice of Herbert W. Armstrong from old World Tomorrow broadcasts.  It just never stops.  Don't try sending for those long out-of-print booklets though.  Otherwise - well, fill your boots... but stay away from sharp objects!


  1. Wow - very interesting! Didn't know about those last two channels.

    It's tempting to ask what took COG's so long to develop their own "radio networks," even on this small web scale. The Adventists have had 24-hour networks for decades, such as 3ABN and Radio 74 -- both with a lot more variety than the channels you mention.

    Even the Assemblies of Yahweh group had shortwave frequencies for several hours a day (perhaps it still does), airing the "Sacred Name Broadcast" and sacred music.

  2. Don Billingsley... Don Billingsley... let me see... where have I heard that name before. Seems familiar.

    Oh yeah! Now I remember. He was also known as Alton Billingsley and he used to be a chauffer for Herbert Armstrong. Yeah! And one day, he was driving Richard David Armstrong, Herbert Armstrong's son up the freeway. Now it turns out that it was a divided freeway with multiple lanes, but there was construction and one side was closed, so the traffic was diverted on to the other side of the divided highway, so it had be set to be just a two lane highway at that point.

    But Alton B. Billingsley paid no attention and was driving in the left lane where he wasn't supposed to, came to the top of the hill and... boom: A head on collision.

    So, Richard David Armstrong was in the passenger's side, very critically injured when the paramedics arrived wanted to give him a shot to prevent him from complications from shock, but Billingsley said, "No!" because of some religious deal against medicine and when the authorities contacted Herbert Armstrong, Herbert said no as well.

    Some time after that Richard David Armstrong died from the accident caused by Don Billingsley and aggravated by Herbert Armstrong through a lack of medical treatment that could have saved his life.

    But the thing is... and this is has always been a secret mystery -- before this incident, Richard David Armstrong had been warning his father, Herbert Armstrong, to straighten up his life. Richard David Armstrong knew the evil his father was doing and insisted that he stop.

    So the question is, did dear old dad let his son die from sincere belief, or was there another reason?

    What ever the answer, Herbert Armstrong did not change, and plunged on with his evils. There is much to tell about what Herbert Armstrong actually knew and you can find quite a lot of it in "Daughter of Babylon" by Bruce Renehan in Flipping Book format over at

    In fact, they all knew -- those illustrious champions of the cult of Armstrong knew that the doctrines were fraud -- but they, like Herbert Armstrong, continued to wallow in them until this day -- including, but not restricted to Don Billingsley.

  3. Yes, these people are misguided, but so are their critics!

  4. I'm still waiting for someone to decide to upgrade Herbert's "Radio" Church of God by starting a group called the "Internet Church of God". They could have virtual sabbath services, virtual Passover, virtual end-time prophecy, electronic tithing, all modified by heavy legalism. Oops, forgot. Due to the freedoms promoted, most in the ACOGs believe the internet is a cesspool!


  5. Hi, Gavin. All publicity is good publicity, so thanks for plugging Lutheran Radio UK.

    As one of the latest crop of presenters (Sunday Cantata, on at 3am, 11am, 3pm and 9pm GMT), who is also a pastor in the ELCE, I would like to offer a slight corrective to your under-selling of both the church and the station.

    Lutheranism in the UK is a very small pool indeed - about as small as in New Zealand, but in a much greater population, so proportionately tiny. I think we fit comfortably into the margin of error of any national statistics! However, in the battle of the midges, I'm afraid we are the mainstream while our brothers in the LCiGB are much smaller still. It may not fit your definition of the mainstream as a North-Western/Antipodean theological current, but that's something different altogether.

    And besides the fact that your publicity for LRUK is free publicity, you do under-sell the station. It's interesting that you give no indication of the content whatsoever, but simply chuck an institutional ad hominem at us, with the added slur of an undefined 'fundamentalism' — a rather blunt and unhelpful description at the best of times. So let me help your readers:

    LRUK mainly plays what could be termed contemporary Christian music, together with a good splashing of more traditional Christian music such as hymns. It broadcasts the daily office every day, morning, late afternoon and night (GMT). There are magazine programmes, concise teaching programmes, regular interviews, and of course my own little offering, Sunday Cantata. Your readers can visit the website for a detailed schedule. Not so radical. The station's output is simple, and it is pre-recorded, because we are operating on a tiny budget and a staff of one. But hardly worthy of your frankly patronising brush-off.

    And are we a ghetto? Let me define ghetto as a little bubble of people who aren't connected to anyone outside and who are irrelevant to the outside. Does that define the ELCE sociologically? Being connected to several dozen churches worldwide, probably not. All of our congregations are very active in our local communities. Theologically, we are just another Lutheran Church, just like your former church home, with a continuous history stretching back to the Reformation (or the apostles, if you want to play that game...) and with a growing fellowship today, especially in the Global South. This, while the mainstream churches, such as the ELCA, PCUSA, CofE, etc., are shrinking and becoming ghettoes for a form of Christian liberalism which, in the words of Hermann Sasse, is fine to live with, but no good to die with.

    But don't take my word for it. Visit the websites, listen to the online sermons, tune in to LRUK. It might be that we don't belong in the same review with Herb, after all. Who knows?

    Rev. Tapani Simojoki
    Our Saviour Lutheran Church
    Fareham, UK