Friday, September 05, 2008

The "only" Biblical Way To Evangelize?

Brother Robb is reporting tonight how Ray Comfort has stepped across a line he ought not to have. I am a graduate of Mr. Comfort's training, as is Robb. The ministry I am part of was seeded out of what we learned from Mr. Comfort - though we have departed in many ways from his teaching, tone and style. I'm terribly saddened by what I have just read. Mr. Comfort has gone from leaving holes in his teaching that has allowed much error to creep in to the fellowship around his training but I can easily forgive a man for that. Who is perfect? Who can control everything everyone thinks you said? I separated from his training because I could no longer endure the errors. But I have still harbored a love for the man who introduced me to Evangelism, something that now defines my life.

Mr. Comfort's method (his followers hate it being called that) is fairly common, though he has popularized it. He calls it "The Way Of The Master" many have questioned if it actually reflects the way the Master preached at all.. many (not all) of the questioning is valid in my opinion. But I have long loved the man who loves God and who shared with me that passion of seeing lost people freed from their direct path to an Eternity in the Lake of Fire.

However, tonight I find myself reading a paragraph that shocks me. Not only is Mr. Comfort encouraging people to only use his method - which has ALMOST (but not quite) been his character until now - but tonight I read what he himself has typed that his method is the ONLY Biblical method to Evangelize.

I'm saddened. And scared for those who follow him more closely than they do the True Master.

Here is the paragraph in full so you can see the context. I am sad.
This is why I don’t spend too much time trying to convince anyone that there is a God. To do so is to waste time and energy. What sinner’s need isn’t to be convinced that God exists, but that sin exists and that they are in terrible danger. The only biblical way to do this is to go through the Moral Law and explain that God considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder, etc. It is the revelation that God is holy and just, and sees the thought-life that convinces us that we are in danger of eternal damnation. That’s what sent me to the cross for mercy and that’s what sinners need to hear. So never be discouraged from preaching the gospel, and don’t get sidetracked by the rabbit trails of issues that don’t really matter.
Here is a link to the post at his blog, Atheist Central. Beware, a script at that blog managed to crash my normally unstoppable Firefox browser.

11 comments:

Jonathan Perreault said...

Kev,

There are many methods, but only one message in evangelism. I'd like Mr. Comfort to provide some Scriptural support for his contention that Biblical evangelism must specifically incorporate the ten commandments. Yes, the lost must realize they are sinners, but someone can realize they are a sinner without being told the ten commandments.

JP

Lou Martuneac said...

Kev/JP:

For some time I have been hearing rumblings of what you have disclosed here. Am I to understand that Comfort believes the existence of God is rabbit trail in direct evangelism?

This might fit some Crossless advocates teaching that this is an acceptable "misconception."

Sad days!


Lou

Kevl said...

Mr. Comfort leans toward Lordship Salvation, though he recently denied being a Calvinist.

Familiar as I am with his teaching I'm going to add a bit that isn't in his paragraph Lou. I don't think Ray would say that discussing the existence of God is always a rabbit trail (of course I never thought he would say his is the ONLY way.. either) but from employing his method, and now the method that TCC uses it is true that the existence of God can be used as a defense from letting the conversation go forward.

No one can be saved without believing in God - as testified by the Scriptures - one must first believe that He is God and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him -

That's not the way he was going with that paragraph.. BUT as in other parts of his communication it's left SO open that that error could be promoted by people who follow him without any conflict with the actual words he has said.

Kev

Kevl said...

JP,

Yup we can be made aware of our need for sinful state and need for Salvation in many ways.

The commandment was given to make sin a transgression. Sin pre-existed the commandments. Not to mention they were given to ISRAEL not the World... but that's a different topic.

Kev

Anonymous said...

Have YOU made an attempt to contact Ray about this error? From what I know of Ray, he's not a theologian, he's an evangelist. His writings are more for encouraging the Church to evangelize and for training the Church for evangelism than stating theology/doctrine. Could it be that you have taken his comment out of context? I didn't read the whole artical but it seems to me that he is directing that comment at Atheists only (the only way to evangelize an Atheist is not to argue over the existance of God, but use the Law to bring the knowledge of sin). If you can provide him with a Biblical example of someone being convicted of sin, apart from the use of the moral law, he might just change his mind, and retract his statement. ... ... ...PK

Kevl said...

Have YOU made an attempt to contact Ray about this error?..........................Could it be that you have taken his comment out of context? I didn't read the whole artical but it seems to me that he is directing that comment at Atheists only (the only way to evangelize an Atheist is not to argue over the existance of God, but use the Law to bring the knowledge of sin).

I provided the full portion of the article. Check the context yourself.

Have YOU contacted every person on the planet who is in error?

Kev

Kevl said...

John 16:5-15

5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

pk said...

"Have YOU contacted every person on the planet who is in error?"

Certainly do, before I make a public accusation against them!!! I don't address every error - publicly. So therefore, I don't need to contact "EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET WHO IS IN ERROR".

"I provided the full portion of the article. Check the context yourself."

I went back and read the article by Ray. It seemed to me that he was answering a specific question from someone about proving the existence of God to an Atheist, as a method of evangelism. In that context, I wouldn't have used the word "only"; I think he should have used "best" instead.
I agree with you, that people can be made aware of their sin aside from the 10 commandments. Ray might think that, 'only the 10c can bring the knowledge of sin', but I'm not convinced that is what he's saying in this article. I think the point of Ray's article was that - Atheists need to know they are sinners and will be judged accordingly - that is a better way to evangelize an Atheist than proving the existance of God because they already have the knowledge of God built into them. In my opinion, he could have chosen his words better. But then again, maybe I'm giving him too much grace..........PK

Kevl said...

Hello PK,

You said,

I went back and read the article by Ray. It seemed to me that he was answering a specific question from someone about proving the existence of God to an Atheist, as a method of evangelism.

I provided the quote. I will quote him here again.

What sinner’s need isn’t to be convinced that God exists, but that sin exists and that they are in terrible danger. The only biblical way to do this is to go through the Moral Law and explain that God considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder, etc.

You went on,

In that context, I wouldn't have used the word "only"; I think he should have used "best" instead.

My argument is about what is best, I don't believe there is any one "best" way to handle this situation except to follow the Spirit's promptings. It's His work afterall not ours.... But to read into Mr. Comfort's comments what you like is to negate the purpose of Language.

I agree with you, that people can be made aware of their sin aside from the 10 commandments. Ray might think that, 'only the 10c can bring the knowledge of sin', but I'm not convinced that is what he's saying in this article.

Same comment as my last.

I think the point of Ray's article was that - Atheists need to know they are sinners and will be judged accordingly - that is a better way to evangelize an Atheist than proving the existance of God because they already have the knowledge of God built into them.

Again that's all well and good, but it's not what the man wrote. And having read much of his writing I do not believe it is what he meant.

In my opinion, he could have chosen his words better. But then again, maybe I'm giving him too much grace..........PK

Grace is unmerited favor, it is not re-interpretation. Giving him grace here is to acknowledge his error but love him still anyway. Not to make excuses for him and re-interprete what he wrote in such a broad manner as to make everyone happy with it.

Kev

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

I think both you and Robb are being tough on Ray. Ray did not say the "Good person test" was the only biblical method of Evangelism: He said using the Law, i.e. showing someone they are a sinner in need of a savior is the only way. You and Robb should both know, from your time at the school, that Ray is referring to "Jesus will make your life wonderful" evangelism. Law to the proud, grace to the humble, is indeed the only Biblical method of evangelism. Many other evangelistic "methods" use the Law> Ray is NOT saying his way (the "Good person test") is the only way. You should really contact him to clarify things."Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy..."

Jean said...

I used to be a strong follower of Ray Comfort, bought his CDs, DVDs etc. But Ray is one person who utterly shocked me, first of all, His Hell's Best Kept Secret is full of erros, to claim that we have to use the 10 commandments each time we witness is I am afraid no where in scripture. His ministry and method is void of the Spirit of God. Ray thinks its his formular thats works, which I find arrogant.

He is yet to prove that his formular is the one Christ used. Another thing I have heard Ray many a times on his TV shows tell sinners that they have to stop sinning and trust in Christ to be saved! He does teach salvation by works....

Ray Comfort really disappointed me, I had high respect for Him

And dont get me started on his blog (Atheist Central)!

Jean