|The Way of the Master--Book with free download|
Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron
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The Way of the Master is the flagship work of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's organization. It anchors their award-winning television program as well as their radio show and website. Considered by many to be the definitive text on evangelism, this book has been updated, expanded and illustrated with photographs for this edition. It is anecdotal, loaded with commentary that is more conversational than academic. It's an easy read with a hard message that has already changed the face of sharing faith. Free Audio Download available of "Hell's Best Kept Secret."
|Why the Ten Commandments? Why not something simpler, like "Love the Lord your God/Love your neighbor as yourself", which is really a quick summation of all Ten Commandments?
Well, the name of our ministry is The Way of the Master, so we believe its important to do what Paul says and be a follower of Paul as Paul followed Christ and to imitate Christ. And if you look at Mark 10:17 when a young man came running to Jesus and knelt down and worshipped him and said, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus first reproved the man’s understanding of the word "good". He said “Why do you call me good? There is none good but God”, and then he gave him five or six of the Ten Commandments. And the reason for this is that Paul said, “By the law is the knowledge of sin”, in fact Paul said, “I had not known sin but by the law”, so it was the moral law, the Ten Commandments, that bring us a knowledge of what sin is. 1 Timothy 1:8 says “The law is good if it used lawfully for the purpose for which it was designed”, and the following verse tells us what it was designed for; it says, “The law was not made for a righteous man but for sinners”. He even lists the sinners. And so we believe it’s very important not to choose our own way of evangelizing but to do it according to the pattern, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to do what Jesus did. So when we use the Ten Commandments in witnessing what happens is that we address the sinners conscience rather than his intellect. In Romans 8:7 it says “The carnal mind is enmity against God…” So the unregenerate mind of a human being is in a state of hostility towards God and this is born out of the fact that sinners use God’s name as a cuss word, which is an evidence of the enmity between man and God. And then the scripture's specifically says, “…for it (that is, the carnal mind) is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”. So the state of hostility is directed at the moral law, the Ten Commandments. And the sinner in essence is saying “God, don't you tell me what to do. It’s my life; I'll do what I want”. So if we want to address sinners - we want to reason with them – we’ve got to find a place of harmony between the moral law (because it’s not going to change its from God’s very character and its written in stone, its eternal) and the sinners mind Well where will we find harmony? Romans 2:15 tells us "…the work of the law [is] written in their hearts, the conscience bearing witness.” So the conscience will bear witness with the moral law. Now let me be specific. You’re witnessing to a man and his name is John and he's antagonistic, he's contentious, he's arguing about the existence of God and the fallibility of Scripture, the deity of Christ - everything you say he's got an argument for.
|So you just say, “John…” He says “What?” You say, "You know its wrong to lie, don't you?” He says, “Yeah.” "You know its wrong to steal, don't you?'” "Mm-hmm." “You know its wrong to commit adultery." “Uh huh.” So now you've moved from his intellect - the place of hostility - to the place of the knowledge of right and wrong. And you've got a guy who was contentious a minute earlier now nodding in agreement with the Commandments because the work of the law is written on his heart. And so that's the power of biblical witnessing - you get to speak to the conscience rather than the intellect. And that's what Jesus did, and that's why we use the Ten Commandments in witnessing
The average person today is much more educated (or at the very least differently educated) than 200, 500, 1000, or even 2000 years ago...don't different times call for different methods of evangelism?
No, not at all. The wonderful thing about biblical evangelism is that it works cross-culturally and it works no matter what the education of the person. Because again you’re not addressing the intellect but you're addressing the conscience and it doesn't change. Not like the intellect; you can feed the intellect with knowledge. So I have actually seen this in action - I've sat next to university professors who've got an IQ so high it hits the roof and yet I've seen them, once I've swung to the conscience, react exactly the same way as someone who's not educated because you’re not addressing the intellect you’re addressing the conscience. And you can go to the deepest tribes of Africa where they've got bones through their nose and plates in their lip and you can do exactly the same thing because they know that it’s wrong to kill, to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, because the work of the law is written on their heart - because God has given light to every man. And what this does is that it takes the intimidation out of witnessing. If you'd followed me around to the last 100 people I've witnessed to you would notice the subject of evolution didn't come up. And the reason it didn’t come up is because I didn't let it, because I swung away from the intellect to the conscience. Now, I believe in apologetical argument but I know that apologetical argument is just like bait - all it does is feed the intellect. What I want to do is get the hook of the law into the jaw. I'm a fisher of men and I want to have a hook under the bait. So I swing to the conscience and bring the hook of the law into the jaw. And that's the way to do it.
|Is this style of witnessing the only right way?
It is not a cookie cutter approach; it’s not Ray Comfort or Kirk Cameron's approach to witnessing. What’s happened with our television program and with our book and our DVDs is that we've taken something I've been using for the last twenty years. It’s my personal way of witnessing. I've developed over the years a way of approaching people that’s inoffensive. Its based on what Jesus did in Mark 10:17, where I just say to people “How are you doing? Are you having a good day?” - whatever, talk naturally. And then I swing to the spiritual by either giving them a tract or mentioning the things of God or the movie The Passion of the Christ or whatever. And I say “Have you had a Christian background?” and they say “Yeah I was brought up as a kid” and I say “Do you consider yourself to be a good person?” and THAT gives me an idea of where they're at. Because Proverbs 20:6 says, “Most men will proclaim, every one, his own goodness”. And its true when you ask someone if they think they're a good person most people say '”Yeah, I'm a really good person.” So then I'll just say, “Well can I ask you a few questions to see if that's true?” and then we go through the Ten Commandments. And a lot of people do imitate what I've done and that's great, but they're free to do what they want and work at their own way that makes them feel comfortable. But I would say that it’s essential when someone comes to Christ they have a knowledge of sin. It’s essential that they understand they've sinned against God, or they won't realize they need a savior. And if we don't make sure they’ve got a knowledge of sin, which comes by the law, and Paul said "I have not known sin but by the law”, if they don't have that knowledge of sin then they're liable to become a false convert, a stony ground hearer or a thorny ground hearer, somebody who sits in the body of Christ until the day of judgement when God sorts them out. So God's given us a pattern and we have a choice: we can either follow the pattern of what Jesus did or we can choose our own way. And we see the fruit of choosing our own way by what we see in the contemporary church, which looks as much like the world as the world does.
|How has this been missed by so many for so long?
I'm sure there are many within the body of Christ who’ve understood the principle of the use of the Law in evangelism through these hundred years, but generally speaking the church has forsaken it. I have no idea why. The only reason I've said that for the last hundred years or it's been neglected is because if when I go back to books by Godly men in the 1880's, 1890's you can always find the use of the Law to bring the knowledge of sin. But around the turn of the 20th century it's missing, you just can't find it, they just dropped it. And Martin Luther warned, he said "Satan hates this teaching and would gladly tread it underfoot" And I think that's what's happened. As the enemy has seen this is the most powerful weapon the church has got - Charles Spurgeon called it "...our ablest auxiliary...”, that means 'the most powerful weapon - and he's blinded the churches eyes to it. So many people say 'Why wasn't I told this before? Why did I read the book of Romans again and again and not see it? But now I see it!' And I'm so thankful I've had people just get teary-eyed and start weeping because they're so grateful for this weapon that God has given the church to reach the lost.
You shine the light on many ministries' inconsistencies but without identifying them; why not name names?
I don't name names because I don't dislike the person. I think it's been done in ignorance and I don't want to be someone who names names. I just want to point out that a teaching is erroneous and the way you see it's erroneous is to compare it to Holy Scripture. I would rather not even bring it up but the eternal welfare of human beings is at stake and what we must do is say, “Look this is not biblical. Let’s go back and see what the Bible says.” And I think that if I had named names it would offend other people who just don't understand the importance of the teaching. I would cut off their nose to spite their face. But I don't want to cause them to turn their back on the teaching because they think I'm just another one of these guys that comes along and puts down other ministries. I want to look at the teaching and judge it according to Scripture.
|How do you pacify those who believe this style of evangelism is “hellfire and brimstone” preaching, or just scare tactics?
Well, it's not “hellfire preaching”. I personally believe that “hellfire preaching” does great damage to the cause of the Gospel. Let me give an illustration about “hellfire preaching”: if I burst into your office and said, “You're under arrest! I'm an officer of the law and you're going away for a long time!” and I grabbed you and threw you in prison, what I'm doing is unreasonable. It's unfair and you've got a right to be angry at me and say “What are you doing, throwing me into prison for a long time?” But if instead I came into your office and said “You're in big trouble! We have found those 3,000 marijuana plants growing at the back of your yard. You've violated the law, you're going to prison for a long time!” What I'm doing now is reasonable. You may not like it but now you can understand it because I took the time to read the law to you. I said you've violated the law, the evidence is in, your going to prison for a long time. Now “hellfire preaching” says, “You're going to hell if you don't accept Jesus! I'm a representative of God; God's going to send you to hell!” That makes no sense, it's unreasonable, and people have got a right to be angry. But instead if I say “God has given a law; this is his law. If you've looked with lust you've committed adultery, if you hate someone you're a murderer, if you've lied you're a liar, if you've stolen one thing you're a thief. You have violated God's Law. And His punishment is a place called hell. You need a Savior.” Now what I'm doing is reasonable - I've read the Law to you. You may not like it, but at least you can understand it when you see God's standards are infinitely higher than ours. And this is why, in Acts, Felix trembled (and it was legitimate for him to fear), because he realized he had sinned against God because Paul reasoned with him about righteousness, temperance and judgement. And so judgement became reasonable to him and that's why Felix trembled. So those who think it's “hellfire preaching” just misunderstand what the term actually means.
|What if someone says they never broke any Commandments, or does not believe it their authority?
You take no notice of them because you've got God's Word that His law is written on their heart - they have a conscience and so they know right from wrong. I've had a man say "I don't believe in right and wrong" (I was open-air preaching) and a pastor in the crowd stepped out of the crowd, grabbed something from the man's backpack - because he was wearing a backpack - and ran off with it. And I said to the man, “You can't be upset with that guy stealing from you because you don't know right from wrong”. And then the pastor brought it back to him and gave it back to him, and the point was made that every one of us knows it's wrong to steal, we know it's wrong to lie. And the other thing, too, is that if someone doesn't believe in the Ten Commandments, don't take any notice of them, think of this analogy: If you put a very sharp two-edged sword to my throat, so sharp that blood spilled from my flesh, a drop of blood, it was so sharp that just touching my flesh caused it to bleed, and you said to me, “I'm going to cut your head off” and I said, “Ha! I don't believe in swords!”, it's not going to change reality. One wrong move and it's all over. And God's Word is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword, and just because a sinner says he doesn't believe it, it doesn't change reality, it goes right through to the marrow of the bones. So it’s not in vain when you labor in the Lord and when you plant the seed of God’s Word in a sinners heart. So never be tempted to be discouraged because a sinner says, “I don't believe that.”
Many verses are quoted in your book to support your position. What do you say to someone who believes you might have taken verses out of context?
I had a wonderful e-mail the other day from a guy who said he picked up my book and began reading it. He read it for two weeks and he was angry with me and began saying, “This is not biblical! This is not biblical!” So he opened up the Scriptures and studied it and now he says, “It is biblical! It is biblical!” and he absolutely changed because he checked out the Scriptures. And so what people need to do when they read the book is just be as the Bereans and search the Scripture and if they find even one Scripture that’s out of context or erroneous let me know and I'll rip it out. But I've never had anyone do that.
|You quote many negative statistics for 'grace' conversions; do you keep statistics for 'law' conversions for comparison?
No. That's a good question, and the answer is this, and it's a twofold answer: One - I don't keep statistics, God does. I don't know whose name is written in heaven. I'm amazed at how modern evangelists can rejoice because they have access to the Book of Life. Jesus said we don't know the wheat from the tares. If we looked at Judas as he is with the disciples - he gave money to the poor, he looked after the bag, he was the treasurer - we would have said, “There's twelve people that are saved”, and yet Judas was a demon - Jesus said, "One of you is a devil". And so we look at the body of Christ and we can't see the wheat from the tares, the goats from the sheep, and the good fish from the bad, so when someone makes a decision for Christ I don't know if they're saved, God only truly knows. That's number one, God keeps a record. And number two is that we shouldn't judge this teaching on perceived results but upon whether or not it's biblical. You can look at some churches that are overflowing at the doors and we would say, "Whoa, that's success!", and yet we don't know how many people are genuinely saved whether they're preaching the truth in that church or not. We tend to be impressed by numbers when we should be impressed with whether or not something is biblical.
Why such graphic scenarios (murder, etc., of a spouse) to illustrate points?
I think passive anecdotes and illustrations don't tend to leave an impression on the heart. When I talk to someone and they say, "Well, people are basically good, and God is good and He would never send anyone to hell", what I like to do is take a scenario that leaves them with their mouth wide open and say something like, "Okay, if someone took your mother and raped her incessantly, slit her throat, cut her body up into pieces, put it down the drain with acid and the body was never found, therefore the person was never brought to justice, do you think God should punish that person?” Because it's a personal thing and it’s so heinous almost everyone says, "Yeah, that person should be punished; a good judge should bring that person to justice." So how much more should God judge murderers? In one ten-year period between 1990 and 2000 there were two hundred thousand murders just in the U.S. A hundred thousand were never brought to justice. 50% success rate in homicide investigation, so that means of the two hundred thousand, a hundred thousand murderers got away with the perfect murder. Is God going to bring them to justice? Of course he should. And so then we say, "What about rapists?" and people say, "Yeah, they should be punished", Well, God is so good he is going to punish thieves and liars. So I think illustrations that widen the eyes and stop the mouth are very relevant, especially in today's society.
|The Way of the Master could be an excellent resource book if it were to be reorganized as such...any plans for that?
We've already done that. We have a book called The School of Biblical Evangelism. It's 750 pages with over 100 lessons based on the teaching and it's published by Bridge-Logos. We also have an online Bible School with over 4000 students, and that's based on the same teaching, and people have got instant resources, just through the Internet.
The book briefly describes an offer from Dr. Kent Hovind of $250,000 to “anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution.” National Geographic magazine recently published an issue with a cover story backing up evolution with science. Why can't I send that issue to Mr. Hovind and collect my $250,000?
Because if you listen to evolutionists they speak a special language, and its very consistent. It's called the language of speculation. They have their sentences thoroughly laced with words like this: perhaps, probably, maybe, could've, might have. They don't have concrete evidence. There's not an ounce of concrete evidence for the theory of evolution. It's all speculation, and all you've got to do is dig a little to find out if it's true. So, we have a program coming out for our television program, Kirk [Cameron, co-writer of The Way of the Master and The School of Biblical Evangelism] and I did it on evolution and we show evolutionists doing that. One after the other, and they start off sounding like experts with big words, but when you say, "Could you tell me what piece of scientific evidence actually convinced you that evolution was a fact?” they can't come up with a thing. They say statements like, "Well, I'm not an expert...” and then we can't find any experts anywhere! Every time we say we'd like a university professor we'd like to interview on our television program, we get a reply like, "Oh, no. So-and-so will do that", and then So-and-so can't do that, he just hands it off to someone else, because it's a speculative belief, it's just a belief system and it's unethical for them to call it scientific, because it doesn't have a scientific basis whatsoever. And I'm a backslidden evolutionist, by the way.
Can you point to any one book or teacher?
...that made me an evolutionist or made me backslide?
How about both?
What made me an evolutionist was that I had great faith in long haired, long-worded, scientists who picked up a bone and said it was billions of years old and I nodded like some sort of sheep. When I became a Christian I just said, "Well, where's the evidence?" And I've been looking for evidence for over thirty-three years and it's still missing. We rented an orangutan for the day for our television program and we took him to lunch and we discussed the theory of evolution, Kirk and I, over lunch. I even called eight airlines, and I'd say, "Hi. This is being recorded for quality control. I hope you don't mind. Is that okay?" and they'd say, “Yeah, fine." I'd say, "I've got a friend that would like to fly with us to Las Vegas but he's got problems with his feet - he'll need a wheelchair. Is that okay?" and they'd say, "Yeah, sure, no problem!" Then I'd say, "He's actually an orangutan, is that okay?" and they'd say, "...No!" Then I'd say, "hang on, he's a relative!" "NO ORANGUTANS ON THE PLANE!" "But I said he's a relative! We're taught that!" And they'd say, "Nope! No primates on the plane!" One after the other saying that, and it's just really hilarious. And they know intuitively that apes aren't ancestors of human beings, they're beasts, and if we let an orangutan on the plane it could go ape.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
I'd just like people to read the book The Way of the Master, because it lays it out very clearly and quite simply because were not talking about a political issue or some sort of interpretation of prophecy in the Bible, were talking about the eternal salvation of human beings. And so this is something we need to get right, and we need to do it properly and do it quickly because we are at the closing hours of time.