The Forerunner, in cooperation with Eric Holmberg and The Apologetics Group, has helped to launch PAX, a Roku-based video-on-demand television channel. PAX offers seven sub-channels featuring solid teaching on issues ranging from revival to rap music, science to sex.
PAX is accessible through a small Roku box that connects to the Internet through cable or wireless. The device is affordable to all and the different models range in price from around $49 to $95. PAX will also soon be available through iTunes, Apple TV, Google TV and several other Internet and smart phone services.
The name PAX is Latin for “peace.” PAX is also a play on the similar looking Greek letters Chi Rho, which is a nearly 2000-year-old Christian symbol derived from the first two letters of ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ. Chi Rho is the abbreviation for Christ in many early biblical manuscripts. The Chi Rho symbol also invokes the crucifixion of Jesus, as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ – the anointed One or Messiah.
Our tag-line, “The beginning of wisdom” is an allusion to Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
PAX is evangelism, discipleship and worldview training for the 21st century. Each video is presented in a series that is comprehensive and epic in scope, not glossing over controversy, yet broken down into “Sunday-school-sized” parts to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
These presentations are mind-bending for the believer and skeptic alike – using popular culture as a foil to present God’s law to convict hearts and then the Gospel that sets people free from the condemnation of sin. A wide variety of cultural issues are addressed: music, popular entertainment, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, developing a rigorously biblical worldview, biblical courtship, sexual and emotional purity, epistemology, the Ten Commandments, challenging popular “end-times” presuppositions and more.
Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
What is Roku?
If you don’t own a Roku box, you may want to consider picking one up via this link to our affiliate program at Amazon.com or at a local retail store such as Walmart or Best Buy. You can access thousands of premium and free channels, including hundreds of Christian and family-oriented channels.
Over the past few years, Roku has become the most popular and fastest growing device for streaming video. While there are other set-top-boxes and SmartTV devices available, Roku has out-smarted most other platforms with its open Channel Store and broadcast-friendliness. This has led to Roku becoming the market leader among the trend-setters of the new SmartTV devices.
While for the most part of 2011 and the first half of 2012 Roku was still underestimated and undervalued by many broadcasters, the second half of 2012 has seen a dramatic surge of new channels and content being published to Roku – especially in the Religion & Spirituality category. This has also led to the increase of sales numbers, thus the increase of viewership which is now well into the millions. Each Roku box is used by an average of 10 or more people per household, family, circle of friends or in office environments.
Currently there is no streaming media publishing platform which rivals the viewership numbers of ROKU and no broadcast opportunity which rivals cost/value ratio in general. It simply gives the “biggest bang for the buck.” – Lightcast.com
Life After Television
The launch of PAX represents a major step in the odyssey of The Forerunner. This evangelistic outreach began in 1981 as a student-led and published newspaper with the vision of impacting a new generation of leaders on college campuses. Foreign language versions were published the world over in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Indonesian.
In 1992, a few years after I became the managing editor of The Forerunner newspaper, I read a short book called Life After Television by George Gilder. This 1990 book described the coming Internet revolution before “www” became part of our popular vernacular. The premise of the book by the Christian libertarian author was that democracy, the free market and freedom in general would soon be bolstered by what Gilder called, the “Teleputer,” a combination of digital media in which the computer, television and telephone would merge into one device.
The book knocked me for a loop. I was floored by what the author described and promptly sat down to write an article called, The Fiber Optics Revolution, in which I described the day when large screen TVs, computers, modems and fiber optics networks could be utilized by individuals who would bypass the large television networks to get the Gospel and a biblically-based worldview out to the nations. The article was republished in evangelist James Robison’s magazine alerting Christians to the soon-coming paradigm shift in media and how it could be used to change the way the Gospel is spread throughout the world.
By 1995, The Forerunner newspaper had a working website and by March 1996, we bought the URL www.Forerunner.com. Since then published a growing website of thousands of articles from issues of The Forerunner and related projects. According to our logs, we have had at least one million unique page views each year.
In 1998, I began working with longtime friend Eric Holmberg learning the new technology of non-linear digital video editing. In the next few years, we had produced several presentations together. By 2006, we began to integrate The Forerunner TV YouTube channel in many of the blog posts.
Eric’s ministry, Real2Real Ministries, now called The Apologetics Group, has also been in existence since the 1980s and has produced over 30 video presentations also used in evangelism. Several more are in production and will be seen first on the PAX channel.
While many people still buy and use DVDs, it is apparent that the digital age the George Gilder envisioned back in 1990 is coming on us with a vengeance. We live in a truly transformative time and it is important that Christians make full use of “what God hath wrought.”
For the past thirty years, we have been exposing and wrestling with the serpents of chaos, confusion, lust, brokenness and narcissism. These are the spiritual powers and principalities operating in the shadows that could ultimately doom our civilization. But if it does, it will not be because the serpent and its offspring are so strong. It will be because we have refused the call to wrestle with the serpents of spiritual wickedness. – Eric Holmberg
I see this shift nothing less than the providence of God and a tool to be used to disciple and transform the nations with the Gospel.
In the coming months, we will be publishing most of the videos of Reel2Real, The Apologetics Group and The Forerunner on PAX. All these presentations will be offered to viewers with Roku boxes absolutely free. This shift in the method of delivery represents a risk as well. While we supported the production of video for the past years through DVDs and fundraising, we are looking for new ways to monetize our videos.
I expect that for a long time, people will still buy our DVDs. However, it is obvious that streaming video is becoming more and more popular as each month goes on. Streaming will soon replace the digital video disc. Realizing this, we decided to make the shift sooner than later.
If you don’t own a Roku box, I highly recommend this as both a way of saving money on premium cable channels and opening up a vast educational resource for you family. If you order Roku through this link, you can help support the work of The Forerunner.