Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort

This book is about the author's assertion of why our modern evangelism methods are generally failing. He claims that the modern methods, especially the "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" form of evangelism, not only does not work in producing what he calls "true conversion," but is positively harmful to its products when things like temptation and trials come into these converts' lives,illustrating that modern thus disproving the glowing promises that following Jesus will give us "better lives." This author provides numerous statistics as to how so many crusades of mass evangelism, plus "follow up attempts," prove that the overwhelming majority of these converts don't continue in their faith thus showing that modern evangelism has overwhelmingly not worked. He provides numerous anecdotes from his own life and the lives of others, to show that his methods work. He declares that the strong presentation of the Law, in preparing sinners' hearts for the Gospel, is the missing ingredient from modern evangelism. He includes an appendix of testimonies of those who have had success in adopting his methods of evangelism, or who believed themselves to be "false converts" who have applied the Law to their hearts and lives and have become "true converts."

I have found this book hard to digest and to process. I did not expect this book to be so in-you-face. This author seems to not make allowances for neuro-developmental disorders, much less mental illness. Assurance of my salvation has always been an issue, possibly because of a very sensitive conscience. This book has triggered that issue for me in a major way. I know that Scripture commands all followers of Christ to make our callings and election sure and that it is wise to "get it right" on something as serious as where we will spend eternity. Also, I am a product of this modern evangelism that this author soundly criticizes. Plus, I know that my recently diagnosed ASD, accompanied by social anxiety, has paralyzed me in the area of witnessing in face-to-face contexts though I readily confess and witness about Christ online and in in "real-life" writing. Ray Comfort gets very in-you-face with believers who do not share their faith, even questioning the reality of their salvation. He interprets the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in an evangelism context, likening the Rich Man to the spiritually wealthy Church, and Lazarus with the unsaved sinner who is begging for Jesus to be his lifeline. Because of the setting of this parable the Rich Man (Christians) lifting their yes up in Hell, and of Lazarus (the sinner) rests in Heaven, Ray Comfort's interpretation of this parable does not work. Yes, we are incredibly wealthy in spiritual riches and should share that wealth, but Ray Comfort's interpretation does not compute with me. There is something in this book to disturb and unsettle everyone who may read it, from "false converts" who believe they are saved because they "prayed the sinner's prayer," to Christians who are not actively witnessing, to Pastors who have watered down the Gospel, have omitted the Law and conceal the "offense" of the Cross in their preaching. I'm still digesting and processing this book!

This book is not light, easy or entertaining reading. It is well-written but its message is emotionally hard to digest and receive. I recommend this book but with disclaimers to all who read it. Pastors should read it because the Law, after all, needed to prepare the hearts of sinners for the Gospel. We cannot assume that just because people say they know God or even serve and follow Jesus, means that they are saved. This is profoundly disturbing, sad but true. Ray Comfort arms himself with statistics to show that many conversions are "false conversions." I recommend this book for every Christian, especially if you have become complacent in your faith. This book will give you much-needed strong medicine to rudely awaken you out of your complacency. If you are a person who has "asked Jesus into your heart," walked forward in a meeting, raised your hand, or "prayed a sinner's prayer," this book will jolt you to not be too quick to believe that you are safe or okay.

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