Man, look at many of the TV evangelists out there now. Like Robert Schuler of the Crystal Cathedral. He wrote a book stating that it is not necessary to confront people with their sin- you might push them away from the Gospel.
What gospel is that that is designed for inherently "good" people, like he dreams of? If you don't understand you sin and your condemnation, how can you understand the Christ?
Grace and Peace...
| 2005/10/24 9:28||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Fitting it seems|
[i]But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)[/i]
We preach to men as if they were conscious they were dying sinners, they are not; they are having a good time, and our talk about being born from above (rv mg) is in a domain they know nothing of. We do not need the Holy Spirit to reveal that immorality is wrong, but we do need the Holy Spirit to reveal that the complacency of the natural life has Satan at its basis. Nowadays we have come to the conclusion that a man must be a down-and-out sinner before he needs Jesus Christ to do anything for him; consequently we debase Jesus Christs salvation to mean merely that He can save the vile and sensual man and lift him into a better life. We quote our Lords statement that the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost (rv) and misinterpret His meaning by limiting the lost to those who are lost in our eyes.
The natural man does not want to be born again. If a mans morality is well within his own grasp and he has enough religion to give the right tone to his natural life, to talk about being born again seems utterly needless. The natural man is not in distress, he is not conscious of conviction of sin, or of any disharmony, he is quite contented and at peace. Conviction of sin is the realisation that my natural life is based on a disposition that will not have Jesus Christ. The Gospel does not present what the natural man wants but what he needs, and the Gospel awakens an intense resentment as well as an intense craving. We will take Gods blessings and loving-kindnesses and prosperities, but when it comes to the need of having our disposition altered, there is opposition at once. When we come down to close quarters and Gods Spirit tells us we must give up the right to ourselves to Jesus Christ and let Him rule, then we understand what Paul meant when he said that the carnal mind, which resides in the heart, is enmity against God.
No man can have his state of mind altered without suffering for it in his body, and that is why men do anything to avoid conviction of sin. When a worldly man who is happy, moral and upright, comes in contact with Jesus Christ, his beauty, i.e., the perfectly ordered completeness of his nature, is destroyed and that man must be persuaded that Jesus Christ has a better kind of life for him otherwise he feels he had better not have come across Him. If I knew nothing about sin before the Holy Spirit came, then why did He come? If I am peaceful and happy and contented and living my life with my morality well within my own grasp, why does the Holy Spirit need to come in and upset the balance and make me miserable and unfit for anything? It is time we asked ourselves these questions. Gods Book gives us the answer. Thank God, we are coming to the end of the shallow presentation of Christianity that makes out that Jesus Christ came only to give us peace. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world, but that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level. Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself. He came to put us right with God that His own peace might reign.
| 2005/10/24 9:41||Profile|
The type of evangelism Ray does is important because if you notice, most of the people he is talking to do not consider themselves to be sinners. So recollection does need to happen... and calling sin "sin" needs to happen. Notice most people will admit to lying, but do not like to call themselves what they are... liars.
What Ray does is bring their sin to the fore front, and then shows them what the Law says, and explains why breaking the Law needs to be punished.
Then he explains why they dont have to be eternally punished because Christ took the punishment for us.
Once someone understands that yes, they are a sinner... yes there is a Holy Law... and what Christ did for them... repentence will follow in most cases.
Repentance means turning from something. I think you're confusing feeling guilty with repentence. Not that someone will not feel guilty, but feeling guilty is the motivation behind repenting for the sinner.
But how can someone feel guilt over their sin if their sin is not brought to the top?
I think Ray's style of evangelism is the best one. Too many styles of evangelism only lead to "easy-believism", which is a plague on the church. It's basically salvation without repentence. There is no such thing... it's a false conversion.
| 2005/10/24 11:31|
| Re: Some Questions concerning Ray Comfort's Evangelistic Methods|
He says that being convicted of sin is to not only admit that you are guilty of sin, but to also realize the enormity of the crime of sin and to have a sense of the punishment it deserves.
This can only happen if God is utterly exalted in the eyes of the people. I believe that when we lift God up in our biblical discription of Him, and in the lives we live, the Holy Spirit will come when we minister and with Him a great revelation of the majesty of God. God must be exalted in our eyes as we minister and in the eyes of the hearers.
This requires that we walk with God in holiness and in a close relationship. It requires that we be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. There are no formulas for soul winning. There are basic objectives, etc., but there are no real set formulas. What works for one- will not work in another case. Why? Because God is taking a different angle in leading each one to repentance. Each one must be made known that they are sinners and come under true conviction- but there are no set measures as for how this is to come about. Even God's goodness will lead to repentance, etc.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2005/10/24 12:15||Profile|
Thanks for all of the responses.
Again, please understand that I do not mean to attack Ray Comfort personally; Im questioning his method. He really seems to love the Lord and I definitely admire the mans courage to get out on the streets and confront sinners.
What got this whole thing started was that as I was listening to Reidheads sermon (The Right use of the Law http://22.214.171.124/sermons/SID0116.mp3.), he told a story of his early efforts in Africa that reminded of me Rays evangelistic method. He said that when he first went to Africa, his method was to go into a village and inquire what the peoples knowledge of God entailed. He then would inquire about their knowledge of sin. To do this, he would ask them if they had ever lied, stolen, or murdered (like Ray does). Then he would explain to them that one day they would stand before God and give an account for the wrong that they had done and they would be punished for breaking His law. Then he would tell them about Jesus dying for them and lead them in a prayer for forgiveness and salvation.
But, he went on to say that when he would come back at a later time to check on these new converts, he would find that, though they called themselves Christians (actually, they called themselves the Jesus boys), their lives would still be the same as everyone elses in the village who had not prayed to accept Christ. Reidheads explanation for their lack of Christian character was that it was due to a lack of conviction at their so-called conversion. In other words, they had only a recollection of their sin, but no conviction. They only saw Christ as One who could get them out of trouble, rather than the One who could also get trouble (sin) out of them.
Reidhead goes on to say that through this experience, he learned that sinners not only need to be reminded of their past sins, but that they also must come to the realization of what sin really is, that it is to put ones own will in the place of Gods. The sinner must be brought to the place of not only desiring deliverance from the punishment of sin, but also desiring to be delivered from sin itself, because the Holy Spirit has convicted them concerning the evil of it.
Its not enough just to use the Ten Commandments to get a person to recollect their sins, but they must also, through the power of the Holy Ghost, be made to see the evilness of their sin. The Holy Ghost must convince them that they have offended and grieved the Holy Sovereign of the universe.
Also, if a person accepts Christ only because he is afraid of what will happen (the coming wrath) if he doesnt, then he will only continue to accept Christ as long as he can be made to fear the coming wrath. God may use the fear of punishment to get the sinners attention, but it is only the kindness of the Lord that can lead to true repentance. For true repentance is nothing less than turning from supreme love to self to supreme love to God, and that is only possible through a revelation of Gods love, not His wrath. Wrath may wake us up, but only love can convert us.
As for what method of evangelism I use (as I was asked in an earlier post on this thread), I do not ascribe to any particular method. I try to be led by the Holy Spirit in each individual situation. Personally, I try to witness from a basis of Gods right on our life, rather than from a basis of mans need for salvation. It doesnt really matter whether a person realizes they need Jesus or not, the real issue is that God deserves to be honored as God in each and every one of our lives.
| 2005/10/24 22:34||Profile|
Yes. I heard Bro. Clendennon say (in a sermon) that men see themselves when they see God. Isaiah 6 is a good example of this. Isaiah was likely a pretty righteous man, but when he saw himself against the backdrop of God's majesty he cried out "Woe is me for I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips and walk among a people of unclean lips..." (para) We need to exalt Him! Keep lifting Him up... lifting and lifting Him up by the declaration of the Word of God and the unction of His Spirit. And when we have exalted Him- sinners cannot help by cry out in some way or another. The fear of the Lord will come upon a people when he is exalted.
So often we talk about the people sins and they have no idea who they are dealing with. We have to exalt their maker in their eyes! And when they see Him in contrast to who they are...
Robert Wurtz II
| 2005/10/25 12:03||Profile|
Its not enough [b]just[/b] to use the Ten Commandments to get a person to recollect their sins, but they must also, [b]through the power of the Holy Ghost, be made to see the evilness of their sin.[/b] The Holy Ghost must convince them that they have offended and grieved the Holy Sovereign of the universe.
I think Ray Comfort would probably agree with that statement.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: [b]for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.[/b]
Rom 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another
I belive a sinner needs to see his sinfulness and rebellion to God. This is done, I believe, through the Law and the Holy Spirit. You need both.
Jhn 16:8 And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove the world of [b]sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:[/b]
This is interesting:
Sin: Rom 3:20 (see above)
Righteousness: Rom 8:4 That the [b]righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us[/b], who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Judgement: Jam 2:10-12 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
| 2005/10/25 12:22||Profile|
I think that the issue that is leading people astray is not so much the individual words in evangelism, as 1) preaching around doctinres, and 2) how we react to people who profess faith. While I am an advocate of using the law in evangelism, I am not in opposition to those who don't, provided that they do not preach around repentance and other obvious Biblical teachings.
I think where the greater error is, is in the plucking of unripe sinners. I personally think that we should wait on people, whether they have gone forward, raised a hand, or professed faith, to see if they bring forth fruits of repentance. If they don't, we do them a disservice by telling them and others that they are now a Christian.
So I don't think Comfort's methods are wrong for not emphasizing the holiness of God above the law in evangelism, any more than I think that someone else is a heretic for emphasizing the holiness of God, His judgment, or hell, over the law, or any other Biblical doctrine. Someone who is attempting to preach a complete, Biblical gospel will emphasize what they see as effective. I think the error is in preaching around subjects (hell, sin, judgement, etc), and in accepting the stony-ground hearer as converted.
We should wait, and as Comfort puts it, 'look for fruit.'
| 2005/10/25 20:03||Profile|