What follows is the first of a four part guest post on the evangelism strategies of Ray Comfort. These posts are by my friend Mike Samson, someone who lived in the evangelical world before finding his home in Rome. I know this came at a great cost to Mike and I really thought this story was worth sharing. He gave me permission to repost, I haven't seen the rest of the series yet, but I thought that it would get better visibility here than as a series of Facebook notes. Hope you enjoy the series and I do hope Mike will take the time to see our comments.
Part I: Ray makes me UnComfortable
It was a bright and sunny August day in 2005. Myself, along with a whole group of "street preachers" were heading out to down town Ottawa for a day of "seed sowing" as we liked to call it. I'm sure as she began her day it would have never even entered into her mind what we were going to do to her. We started by passing out tracts and even using a microphone and amplifier to preach our peculier version of the Gospel. We liked to set up near patio restaurants because we figured people couldn't just up and leave. Whenever the owners of these establishments would "shoo" us away or call the police, we were sure it had nothing to do with our uninvited intrusion. It had nothing to do with the fact that they were simply trying to run a business and cater to their clientel. No, NO!!! It was persecution for righteousness sake aimed directly at us. We were the victims here. The devil himself was moving in and through these people to quiet our preaching. Yeah, OH YEAH!!! That was it for sure.
Late in the morning we launched our first campaign. Through a series of trivia questions with 1$ rewards for correct answers, we lured in our unsuspecting targets. Once we had a crowd, with a 20$ bill as reward, we got a volunteer to undergo the "Good Person Test." I never will forget that young lady standing there in front of everyone. Cornered...Thinking she was participating in some kind of street drama or something like that. Her face quickly changed though. It wasn't long before she began to sense that all was not on the level so to speak. She began to get very uncomfortable. It didn't stop us though. Through a despicable and deluded use of God's Holy Word and the Ten Commandments we proceeded to humiliate this young woman in front of a crowd of people in broad daylight on Sparks Street. "Have you ever lied?", "Have you ever lusted?", "Have you ever stolen?", and on and on it went. When we finally got to the part about grace, (strange grace this is indeed) it turned out that she didn't want the 20$. You see, even though you fail Ray Comfort's Good Person Test you still get the reward promised should you pass. This shows how Good God really is!! Looking back, the tears rolling down her face said it all. Her friends there with her were urging her to just "come on, let's get out of here." But in order for us to finish our little drama we needed her to take the money. Looking back, I'm glad I can say with honesty that I never administered a "Good Person Test" to anyone. I was never comfortable with the whole thing. Little did I know though that our encounter with this young woman wasn't over, at least not for me.
Later in the day, late afternoon to be exact, I saw her walking downtown. I felt terribly about what had happened that morning and wanted to let her know how sorry I was for the way we had treated her. As I approached her though, she spotted me. She stuck her arm out at me showing me her palm as if to say "stop right there." I did of course. What she said next I was not prepared for. She said,
"You stay the f#*k away from me! You people are sick in the head!"
WOW... There wasn't anything I could say. So ......I walked away. Later I recounted this turn of events to some of the team members in the group. To my surprise they seemed rather pleased!? "The Good Person Test had done it's work," I was told. "This was obviously the conviction of the Holy Spirit at work in her life." "She is on her way to 'gettin' saved'!!!" It suffices to say I wasn't convinced of that. In fact I thought we had accomplished little except to convince her that religious fanaticism was alive and well. Fanaticism of the undesirable kind. Does it make any sense to believe that she is out there now 'saved' and administering good person tests of her own to all her family and friends?
I have thought alot about that day. I have thought alot about that poor woman we abused so freely. We were so self righteousness in and through it all as well. To think that by intruding into people's lives and insulting them to no end we were doing something good for God. We were fulfilling the "Great Commission." Or were we?
This note will appear in 4 parts. Part 2 will be a brief examination of the 10 Commandments, their true application and how Ray Comfort abuses them. Part 3 will ask the question whether it is possible that Christ was punished by God His Father on the Cross, Ray Comfort's mistaken idea of the Gospel. Part 4 will be an invitation to engage in real evangelism, and all that it entails.
I won't apologize for this note. My prayer is that it will challenge the hearts and minds of those who engage in these types of practices.
As always, your comments are welcomed, whether sympathetic or critical. I will not delete any of them. :-)
To Be Continued...