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Ice Breakers—Gospel Tracts is the title of the eleventh episode from season two of Way of the Master featuring Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.

Unrepentant deceit

Despite the title this does not deal with gospel tracts. The fear of God (Way of the Master) deals with Gospel tracts. This video says very many frightening things about God but as far as this author has been able to find out does not mention gospel tracts once. Giving a misleading title is deceitful in the same way as lying is deceitful. It does not appear that Ray Comfort has repented for this deceit since the misleading titles have not been altered.

Episode walkthrough

The video starts with Ray and Kirk in a casino pretending they have been caught out gambling but they explain that they are there to show that advertising promotion methods common in Las Vegas are also used to promote evangelism. Ray Comfort maintains that many modern Christians are more interested in making people happy than in frightening them about Hell, he shows an example.

Kirk tells a metaphor imagining that a blind man is walking towards a steep cliff. Someone pretending to help gives the blind man a CD player with wonderful Christian music instead of warning him about the cliff. The blind man continues towards the cliff unable to hear any warnings. Then Ray and Kirk claim that much modern preaching is similar since in their opinion modern preaching does not warn expressly about hell, judgement and penitence or guilt trip people over sin.

The video shows an example of a pastor preferring euphemisms. Then Kirk admits he understands far less theology than a pastor but begs pastors to frighten their flock and not to limit themselves to providing inspiring music and giving good advice.


Ray and Kirk are frightening people and reducing their happiness, possibly even making people unhappy without any evidence that Hell is real. It is not plausible that a loving God would create the world foreknowing that mankind would fall and that the overwhelming majority of people would suffer eternal torment. It is not plausible that a loving God would create individual human beings foreknowing that they would end up in hell.

Imagine if a new religion came up with frightening and unreasonable concepts like Ray and Kirk’s version of Christianity. That would be called an irrational and harmful religious cult. Christianity arose in the Roman Empire, well before the scientific method and critical thinking were developed, so for rational people there is even less reason to be credulous about Christian claims. Instead for too many people Christianity is honoured by tradition and should not be questioned.

Ray Comfort then criticises what he calls, “hellfire preaching”. Comfort’s definition of hellfire preaching is lecturing people about Hell without first guilt tripping them over their own sins. Comfort argues that frightening people over Hell without first explaining their sins is very harmful while his personal style of preaching is in his opinion not harmful.

Ray Comfort’s definition of hellfire preaching is as far as this author knows peculiar to him. We all know that we do wrong continually and can’t stop ourselves. Some hellfire preachers spell out to their listeners what sins the hearers have done as Ray Comfort does. Others simply talk about Hell and assume those who hear the preaching know they have done wrong. The preaching of Ray and Kirk fits most people’s definition of hellfire preaching.

Upsetting a middle-aged man

Next a middle-aged man named Daniel is interviewed who, to put things politely does not appear spectacularly intelligent.

Christians who are kinder and less judgemental than Ray Comfort’s team might try and establish whether Daniel has enough understanding to be capable of serious sin before telling him he is hell-bent. This author feels sorry for Daniel who does not appear to have the intellectual resources for defending himself against the manipulation or possibly emotional abuse that happens to him. At the start Daniel is cheerful.

The interviewer first asks what you have to do to get to Heaven and Daniel with apparent limited understanding replies that you just have to be yourself. When the interviewer asks further Daniel understands Christianity sufficiently well to guess that the bad people go to Hell. When asked if he is good or bad Daniel replies smiling, “I’m good” The interviewer goes through, Are you a good person? and Daniel admits that that he once told a white lie, with prompting Daniel agrees that he is a liar.

The interviewer does not even try and find out what type of white lie Daniel told. If Daniel had not told that white lie he might be judged and condemned for upsetting someone unnecessarily with unpleasant truth. Daniel admits to one unspecified, probably small white lie, by contrast the misleading title of this video likely deceives fresh people weekly and Ray Comfort acts as though he is sure that deceit is justified.

There is one rule for Ray Comfort and another rule for a simple minded person.

After further questioning Daniel states that he has, “taken God’s name in vane”.

Does Daniel understand what that means?

Daniel has also looked at a woman with lust. The interviewer then frightens Daniel by asking what he will do when he stands alone before God on judgement day and where he will go. Daniel replies smiling that he is “dead in the water” and that he will “accept his fate”. The interviewer scolds Daniel for smiling and Daniel remains miserable for the rest of the interview. Daniel is told that he doesn’t have to go to Hell, that Jesus can save him, this cheers Daniel up very slightly. When asked Daniel says he must accept Jesus with his heart and soul, the interviewer says he must do more, he must repent, turn from sin and trust Jesus.

Is this simple minded man capable of making a resolution and keeping it? Does he understand clearly in any case what the interviewer wants him to do?

The interviewer asks what would happen if Daniel’s heart just went pup pup and stopped, then Daniel becomes as miserable as he was before being told about Jesus and agrees that he would go to Hell. The interviewer asks Daniel if he is ready to pray and to “stop fighting God” and to accept Jesus. The interview ends with Daniel saying he is ready.

There is no evidence that Daniel was actively fighting God, rather it appears to this author that Daniel is too simple minded to understand what he should or should not do, by Ray Comfort’s standard and too simple minded to do much except agree with the interviewer.

A lady’s suicide

Kirk tells about an email that he received from a construction worker employed at Park Avenue. The construction worker tried to “share his faith” with a lady working in the same building but was interrupted three times, he decided to leave it till the next day. The following day when he was going to work a lady jumped off the fifteenth floor and landed about ten feet from him, it was the lady he had tried to share his faith with the day before.

We have to take Kirk’s word for things and we have to take the word of the person who wrote the email about what happened.
Speculation
Did the construction worker try to share his faith the Ray Comfort way? Had he got as far as convincing the lady that she was a miserable sinner before the interruption that stopped him preaching?

If the above happened as described it is possible that the preacher helped convince the unfortunate lady that she was worthless and might as well die.

Importance of eternal salvation

Ray and Kirk give us more of the general message that we should insist on sharing our faith even if people don’t want to listen, even at risk of offending people. As they have told us many times before they think nothing is more important than eternal salvation. The idea of people dying without Christ should be horrifying to us but too often it isn’t.

If Christianity is true the idea of people dying without Christ isn’t horrifying to God either. After all God supposedly created the world foreknowing that the majority of people would die without Christ.

There follows a street interview with a Christian called, “Matt” who “shares his faith” with people he knows but only shares with strangers if they bring the subject up. Matt tried to share his faith by telling people they would be happier as Christians and Ray Comfort tells Matt he should frighten them about hell instead. Matt is told further that he must "be born agian to enter the kingdom of God.

As so often happens the Bible is contradictory as to whether one needs to "be born again" in order to be saved. [1] As so often happens Ray Comfort tells only one side of the debate and ignores the other.

Plagiarism and lust

Later Matt is taken through Are you a good person?, this is done mostly in the standard Comfort way but two points stand out.

  1. Matt is told that he can’t even look at his own woman “with lust” before Matt says he isn’t married so apparently Ray Comfort teaches that a man can’t even look at his own wife in a sexual way.
  2. Matt is asked if he has ever “stolen an answer in a test", stealing an answer in a test is plagiarism. This indicates that at the time he did the interview Ray Comfort understood that stealing intellectual property is equivalent to stealing physical property.

Ray Comfort plagiarised work by University of Tennessee professor Stan Guffey when Comfort partially wrote a biography of Charles Darwin and gave the impression he wrote it all.
See Accusations of Plagiarism where everything is set out.
See also a Google search, Ray Comfort and plagiarism.
Comfort is so good at giving moral advice to everyone else, perhaps he should answer the question, “What is hypocrisy?”

Repetition

Ray Comfort repeats the analogy of the blind man and the cliff and repeats with different world his notion that we must frighten people over the Ten Commandments and over hell. He tells a dramatic and -as far as we know- unsupported story about surviving when a bath robe that had previously been soaked in petrol caught fire.

Do we need to repeat what we’ve already written about how Ray himself isn’t frightened enough to stop doing what he condemns in other people?

Kirk tells us to think of people we know who aren’t saved and talk to them today. The video ends with promotion for free material and materials that can be bought from Comfort’s organisation.

The Way of the Master
Season One Episodes:

1. The Firefighter   2. The Mirror of the Ten Commandments   3. The Motive of the Sinner   4. The Summary of Salvation   5. Practice What You Preach   6. Idolatry—The Darling Sin of Humanity   7. The Beauty of a Broken Spirit—Atheism   8. WDJD?   9. Blasphemy, Sabbath, Parents   10. Murder   11. Adultery   12. Theft   13. Lie and Covet

Season Two Episodes:

1. God's Wonderful Plan   2. Conscience   3. Alcatraz, Al Capone, Alcohol   4. True and False Conversion   5. When Things Go Wrong   6. The Satanic Influence   7. How to Witness to Someone Who's Homosexual/Gay   8. Evolution   9. How to Witness to a Loved One   10. The Fear of God   11. Ice Breakers—Gospel Tracts   12. The Greatest Gamble  13. How to Get on Fire for God

Season Three Episodes:

1. Battle for the Lost   2. Where Has the Passion Gone?   3. Joe Average   4. Caught in a Lie   5. The Divine Butler   6. Why Christianity?   7. Jehovah's Witness   8. Mormonism   9. Are You A Genius?   10. Last Words of the Rich and Famous   11. How to Find God's Will   12. What Scares You   13. Hollywood Be Thy Name

Cast
Ray Comfort — Kirk Cameron

External links

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