Christians Must Tell Converts the Whole Story, Evangelist Says
by Allie Martin
August 3, 2004
(AgapePress) - A California-based street preacher says many of the methods found in modern evangelism can often produce false converts.
Ray Comfort is founder of Living Waters Ministries, which trains and equips believers in methods of biblical evangelism. The minister, who often takes his scripture-based message literally to the streets, says many courses in modern evangelism neglect or diminish God's judgment.
All too often, Christian witnesses want to tell the good news of the gospel, but they may try to soft-pedal or leave out the bad news -- about sin, judgment and hell -- entirely. Comfort warns that this kind of evangelizing may add bodies to the Church, but not necessarily souls.
"When we tell anyone that God has a wonderful plan for their life, that sounds nice," Comfort says, "until you use this scenario: Imagine that you're speaking to a thousand people in the World Trade Center, Tower One, the day before the attack. You look at the vast sea of faces in front of you and you think, 'Boy, these people are going to die within 24 hours, and they're going to die a horrific death.' What are you going to say to them? -- 'God has a wonderful plan for your life?' You can't say that."
People in danger need to be told they are in danger, Comfort points out. But what the "modern gospel" often does, he says, is "it leaves out the Ten Commandments, which bring the knowledge of sin, it leaves out judgment day, the very reason that men are commanded to repent, and it holds up Jesus as the 'life improver' rather than the one that gives righteousness to save us from God's wrath."
Comfort teaches that before people can come to appreciate the cross, they must first be made to understand that they have broken God's laws and are facing harsh judgment and eternal punishment for their sins. But the evangelist says many modern Christians' theology omits these less pleasant aspects of the gospel.
"The modern message really needs a reformation," Comfort says, "to see that there are certain ingredients that you must put in for someone to be soundly saved; because if you water down the medicine because you think it's too bitter, you may make it sweet to the palate, but it's going to lose its curative properties. There's a reason the Bible speaks of repentance and judgment and righteousness, and that's because without those ingredients someone won't get saved."
The biblical evangelist says people who are led to Christ with such an incomplete understanding of the gospel can become false converts. "They'll be sorted out on Judgment Day," he says, "and be a mess of people who cry to Jesus, 'Lord, Lord.' And he'll say, 'Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.' So it's very important that we evangelize biblically."
Comfort and his ministry partner, actor Kirk Cameron, have a weekly television ministry and an interactive website ministry called "The Way of the Master."