A Dimming Ray of Light

I overheard my pastor and some of the other members talking this past Wednesday night about a conference Ray Comfort had gone to speak at where a bunch of heretical Word of Faith teachers were sharing the platform. I had heard how Ingrid Schleuter had contacted him and urged him to rebuke the false teachers so that the sheep gathered there might hear the real gospel message and be edified. I heard how he turned it back on her, and then yesterday I did a little searching around on my own and found out more about what had been happening from information posted on the Apprising Ministries and Strange BaptistFire web sites. Here are some links to various posts I explored yesterday:

NO, RAY COMFORT THE ISSUE IS NOT CLOSED

RAY COMFORT MUST WARN WORD FAITH WOLVES

John Avanzini and His Talking Stones

An Open Letter to Ray Comfort

After reading more about the event and what all was being taught by some of the other speakers, I was shocked and disappointed that he would attend and not take the opportunity to correct and rebuke other “shepherds” of the flock when they are teaching heretical doctrines that are so devastatingly harmful to so many people in so many ways! I posted this on the Strange BaptistFire page last night and will post it again here. It grieves me to see how little regard even most of those who would call themselves teachers seem to have for sound doctrine any more. I am not out looking for false teachers, faulty doctrine, or other things to get upset about. But more and more it seems these things just keep coming up. I am beginning to understand I think (in just a small regard) what the prophets of old must have felt as they looked around and saw the complete disregard and utter devastation (or should that be detestation) for the true faith.

Please bear with me because I know you’ll probably wonder how what I have to say ties into this conversation. I will get there, but I need to give a little background first. I think you’ll understand when I do…

I attended a charismatic church for a while about a year ago. The pastor grew up Pentecostal and his wife grew up Baptist. When we first started going, it seemed *fairly* normal. Of course, my wife and I had been out of the church for about four years, so my discernment may have been a little dull.

Over the three to four months we attended the church, it just got weirder and weirder. The pastor spoke in tongues and interpreted as if Jesus Himself was speaking through him on a couple of Wednesday night services. They were anointing people with oil and healing them from illness and ailments, and then the dreams and prophecies started coming up, accompanied with signs and wonders, and about that time my wife and I started feeling pretty uncomfortable with whatever was going on there. The last two Sundays we attended the pastor showed a video of himself at some sort of prophetic conference he’d attended and was enjoying a big ego stroke.

Another attender said he had a vision of the pastor “stepping up and filling the mantle of a 12 foot Jesus” who was standing in front of the podium. I have no idea what that even means, but that was the last service I attended. Oh yeah, they showed a video of Lou Engel and the pastor mentioned some book he was reading (I think by Mike Bickle) and I started doing some research and finding out some about the Apostolic-Prophetic movement that it turns out was sort of underpinning a lot of the “unspoken” belief system up there. I started coming across terms and phrases I’d been hearing and piecing things together.

There was also a lot of Word of Faith influence in the some of the messages… granted, it was subtle, but it was still there. Just a few weeks before we stopped going, someone form the church gave us several Jesse Duplantis videos to watch. I’d never heard of him before, but I was connecting the dots with him and Word Faith group as well. I’m sure most of the folks at this church would have been horrified to find out I was reading some books by Charles Stanley and John MacArthur at the time–-and of course my Bible–-and I was growing more and more concerned by the questionable theology (if you can even call it that) that was so central to their beliefs. And from everything I could see, they were just go farther and farther away from, well, The Way. It was sort of surreal, but I am thankful to God that He brought me to and through that experience because it gave me a lot of insight I would otherwise not have had, as well as a renewed passion and interest in His word. We are now attending a little Baptist reformed church that is built on sound doctrine and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am still thanking God daily for our church.

Now, I say all that to say this. That charismatic church we’d been attending who didn’t have any problem with Joel Osteen or any of the Word Faith guys (and actually revered many of them), embraced the “prophetic” and the “prosperity gospel”, taught the basic “name it and claim it” and “sowing seed” stuff–a member of whom just recently sent my wife a copy of the book “The Shack” with a note that she would be blessed by it (as if you can be blessed by heresy)–this church was about to start another Way of the Master study group right as we left. In fact, I was supposed to go to a WOTM conference with several of the members about the time I left.

And here is my concern. This church, which was not doctrinally sound by any means and which was apparently inviting and embracing all sorts of unbiblical teaching and views felt very comfortable with WOTM. To be quite honest, it was not until maybe 3 or 4 months ago that I actually started listening to them on the radio occasionally because I figured that the WOTM teaching must have been a bit off, too, since so much of the other stuff they were drawn to was questionable. It turns out, though, that after finding out more about WOTM and their ministry over the last few months and hearing them discuss some of the false teachers and movements–-I still remembering listening to Todd Friel playing the Todd Bentley clip where he “kicked a woman in the face with his biker boot”–-I actually respected and appreciated what they were about.

I definitely would not lump WOTM in with some of the clearly heretical charismatic fertilizer spreaders out there, and I think they are generally pretty good at what they do. But seeing what has happened over the last few weeks with Comfort sharing the stage with some blatantly heretical false teachers and sheepishly shrugging off any responsibility to attempt to convict THEM of THEIR sin when THAT is what HE does… WOW! It just strikes me as hypocritical, in the traditional sense of the word… one who acts in front of others.

Now I like WOTM, and my (new) pastor likes WOTM and Ray Comfort (as do many in our church), but we were talking about this yesterday and the truth is, this HAS hurt Ray’s image in the eyes of many people that respected him. And for me personally, having seen the people from the charismatic church I attended who throughly enjoyed and embraced the “doctrine of the itching ear”, it really made me think about Ray’s responsibility in this. I agree with what Ken and Ingrid (and Dustin and others) have had to say here. Ray does have a responsibility to expose the false doctrines of the so-called teachers he shared the podium with. THAT is Ray’s ministry, and he does to people who are going about “just minding their own business” all day long without a second thought. If God has put it on his heart (which He obviously has) to save people from the fires of Hell, HOW could he possibly overlook the obvious error of associating himself and his ministry with false teachers that leading the sheep down the wide road to destruction and NOT rebuke them! It would have been so encouraging to see him take a stand and preach the gospel to the blind that are leading the blind. I think someone else pointed out here that Paul Washer–-a close personal friend of our humble pastor-–would not have let that opportunity pass.

I will say this loud and clear. Several people are already thinking and saying it, but here it is. RAY COMFORT HURT HIS REPUTATION AND HIS MINISTRY BECAUSE HE COMPROMISED THE VERY PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THEY STAND. And I’m sure he knows it, just like we know it. It grieves me that he blew such a terrific opportunity because it appears that he was more interested in pleasing men than God. I pray that God will continue to use Ray and WOTM, but I also pray that the Lord will send His Spirit of conviction upon him, but even moreso to those false teachers who are living like parasites off the lost.

Sorry for the long rant. I couldn’t help it.

Pray for the elect and preach the gospel, friends. These are the days of deception…

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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11 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Doctrine, Gospel, Heresy, Rant, Testimony

11 responses to “A Dimming Ray of Light

  1. “Pray for the elect and preach the gospel, friends.”

    That’s exactly what Ray Comfort did at this WoF conference.

    He’s getting flack for what he DIDN’T say…yet very few comments on what he DID say.

    What DID he say?

    He preached the gospel.

    Apparently, that’s not enough for some.

    In Christ,

    – FriendlyCalvinist

  2. louis

    Thanks for the rant. My background is much like yours. I appreciate your humility, patience and kindness towards Ray, even while speaking the truth.
    Did Ray blow it? Yes! Is Ray human? Yes! Does his human-ness excuse his error? No! But we must remember to be kind towards him in his error.

    We must also remember what scripture says.

    “don’t put your trust in princes”

    Man will fail.
    I hope Ray repents. I really hope that he does it publicly by writing a letter of correction to those wolves with whom he shared a platform, and a letter of warning and apology for those who attended.

  3. P2

    FriendlyCalvinist (I hope I can call myself the same!), I appreciate your comments and I do appreciate that Ray presented the gospel. However, I am not so sure most of those people left that conference with a clear understanding of what the gospel really is because there was so much muddying of the Living Water that I’m sure Ray faithfully presented.

    I am including a snippet here from an article written by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon entitled “Thoughts on Rebuking”. You can find the entire article on the website “A Puritan’s Mind”. Here’s the link and it is well worth the read.

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/ChristianWalk/McMahonRebuke.htm

    “What does it mean to rebuke? The Old Testament word for rebuke is xky yakach which means to “judge, rebuke, or correct.” It also has connotations in various forms such as “demonstrating to be right” or to “to correct and be chastened through reason.” The Greek use is somewhat similar. The word evle,gcw elegcho means “to convict, generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted.” It also has the subtext of “exposing something” or “to find fault with something”. Overall it means that by some outward speech or correcting verbiage to reprehend someone severely and admonish them by calling them to account for their sin. It is not hard to imagine, then, that those who rebuke another are often seen in a negative light by the world. Live and let live is the banner of the human race, and it is often the banner of the Christian church. When people sin, they want to sin, and they do not want to be rebuked for it because they would rather sin at that moment than follow the Holy Scriptures. But this is where the rebuke is necessary – men must be confronted with their sin if they are ever to be delivered from it.

    Though the world might hate rebuke, and though Christians may not be comfortable with being rebuked, Christ believes the rebuke is an essential part of the Christian’s walk. The Psalmist says in 141:5, “Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it.” Now this is an interesting thought overall. Here the psalmist is trying to convince himself that a rebuke is good. It is something he needs. Those who are righteous should bring reproof and correction to those who need a rebuke. They do not do this to boast or become arrogant, but to genuinely see a change in the temper of the Christian from loving darkness to loving the light of truth and righteousness. In this way righteous men “strike” (halam) those who need rebuking, and this striking means to “come down like a hammer” upon the psalmist (who in this case is David). If the righteousness hammer of purity and holiness smites the psalmist, it shall be “as excellent oil”, and oil in the Old Testament is used for anointing. This has some very clear implications in terms of the high desire that the Christian should have to be rebuked – he should desire to be anointed with excellence, and should not refuse it.”

    Peace & Blessings,
    Simple Mann

  4. ffpm

    It grieves my heart greatly to see these things said about Ray Comfort, and I wish that Ray would take the time to address this issue more thoroughly. But having come to “know” Ray through his books and radio program, I know that he doesn’t believe in wasting time on these arguments when people are perishing and going to Hell. Ray never argues doctrine. He tries to show people thier sin and the highness of God so that they will repent and put thier trust in Jesus. His message brought me, through the Holy Spirit’s conviction, to salvation. I had no idea what sin was and how I was under God’s wrath without repentance and a life living for Jesus, until hearing his message, “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”. And this was after spending my entire life in a Baptist church. My wife came to repentance by hearing another of his messages. In Ray’s encounters he never argues doctrine, denominationalism, etc. because he knows that God’s word will correct errors. If he can bring about the knowledge of sin, have someone repent, then he knows they will thirst after the Word and God will correct all errors they may have held before thier salvation. After he witnesses he always says read your Bible everyday. That includes the me centerd, not God/Jesus centered, word of faith doctrines. Who would have listened to his message, if the first thing he did was get up and start telling the people that the “truths” they hold most dear, were heresies and that thier teachers were false prophets. He delivers the message of God’s righteousness, our sinfulness, and repentance, and then leaves the rest to the power of God. I think that is what most people are leaving out of thier postings: God will correct the sin and errors in our lives if we humbly come before him and give our lives to him.

  5. P2

    ffpm – Brother, I was grieved as well. But I must humbly disagree with you based solely on my own personal experience. It was only when someone actually directly confronted the false teachings that I believed and told me flat-out that the things I had put my faith in were going to send me straight to hell that the message of the gospel actually reached my heart. I think it is vitally important that people who hold to damning doctrines of demons (kind of like the “Jesus AND” argument, right?) be set straight. There is a quote from Charles Spurgeon that my pastor puts on every email he sends out. It says, “If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you to hell.”

    And I will point out one more time that Ray Comfort’s entire ministry and presentation of the gospel (at least every time I hear him talk to someone on the street when I listen to his radio show) is to bring up the lies that they are trusting in, exposing them for what they are, and THEN preaching the gospel to them. He normally doesn’t just preach the gospel and let them figure out the rest. In fact, I have NEVER heard him take that approach whenever I hear him talk one on one with someone. He ALWAYS confronts their WRONG beliefs so that he can preach the truth. That is where I feel he fell extremely short at this conference.

    Please understand, I am not saying Ray is a bad person, a false teacher, a bad evangelist, or anything of the sort. I do think that he had an opportunity to do WHAT HE DOES BEST and to possibly turn a LOT of people away from error, and he dropped the ball. But like Louis said, we’re all human. I am certain Ray Comfort has done a lot more for the Kingdom than I have, and it is not my goal here to drag him through the mud. Unfortunately, I think he’s already done that on his own. But just like everyone else who respects and appreciates what the guys at Way of the Master do and are about, I am eager to see both Ray and WoTM restored.

    Peace & Blessings,
    Simple Mann

  6. cls

    Justin Peters ( http://www.justinpeters.org) is an expert in refuting WoF teachings and has been on WOTM twice – once on WoF in general and once regarding Lakeland, I believe. He was also interviewed on air about it for their tv show. So, they do have a heart to expose these wolves.

    I also don’t understand Ray’s choice here, but I wonder, bc so many followers of these false teachers have fallen for a “different gospel” (and a different gospel does not save), if he could have been there for for sole purpose of sharing the true gospel with those who believe they are saved and are not.

    I don’t know, but I also wish he would clarify it.

  7. “I also wish he would clarify it.”

    I think we all do. However, instead Ray says the matter is closed after he tried to shift to the emphasis back upon my friend Ingrid. But it’s like she said, Ray had the microphone.

    This has a bad odor as Ray appears to be seeking sympathy by crying “friendly fire.” As a pastor I have treated him with kid gloves. And my thanks for this is WOTM tried to paint me as some heresy hunter who was after him and then Ray attempts to confuse the issue by blaming Ingrid because she didn’t speak up.

    Maybe he ought to check her report which she told him she was doing. Despite this being Ray’s third time preaching for Word Faith wolf Robb Thompson still he says he didn’t know about the other speakers. Well, check the PM service video for yourself as Thompson introduces, “My friend, Ray Comfort.”

  8. P2

    cls – Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think the problem–as a few people have pointed out–is that most of the people who were there made no distinction between what Ray had to say and what the Word of Faith folks came to teach. I seem to be unable to find the post right now, but someone who attended the conference commented that they had spoken with another attendee and asked what she’d thought about Ray Comfort. The response was basically that Ray was great, and be sure to come early tomorrow night (or whenever) because Jesse Duplantis would be speaking and people would be lined up for miles.

    I’ve seen a few references to that effect, and I used to attend a church that was mired in damaged doctrine that had no problems putting Ray Comfort right alongside Duplantis, Copeland, Osteen, and THAT (I think) is the problem. Even though Ray may be presenting the true gospel message, no clear distinction is being made between the doctrine WOTM is founded upon and the doctrines of heresy these Word of Faith guys are spewing.

    And the critical issue here is that the folks who aren’t being set straight and are buying rubbing stones and buying into all the heretical teachings are not really *getting* Ray’s message. They’re still on their way to hell, which is NOT “the Way of the Master”.

    Peace & Blessings

  9. Pingback: Ray Comfort: A Dimming Ray of Light - Reformata

  10. Amy

    Yes, Ray presented the true gospel message. That’s what his intention always is, and he has stated that. Making the “clear distinction” would be the Holy Spirit’s job (whether it be with conviction or comdemnation), and the listener’s. If the listeners are professing believers, they would know enough to “examine the Sciptures” like the Bereans and “test the spirits” to know if they are from God. Since WOF is a false doctrine, then they only “think” they are believers, and Ray was right to go and preach repentence. If these folks are foolish enough to fall for this, Ray Comfort telling them it is a false doctrine would not be enough. Repentence would be, and he can’t make them repent, he can only tell them they need to.

  11. P2

    Amy,

    I started to respond to you here, but decided to post my response as a new post here:
    http://simplemann.net/?p=79 (A Comfort-Able Silence)

    I won’t waste the space here since everything I wanted to say is pretty well contained there.

    Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your comments and concerns.

    Yours In Christ,
    Simple Mann

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