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The Summary of Salvation (Way of the Master)

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The Summary of Salvation is the title of the fourth episode from season one of Way of the Master featuring Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.

Episode walkthrough

Introduction

(00:43 - 01:14) Kirk says they have already explained their version of how they believe Jesus preached. Kirk maintains that Christian duty includes bringing, “the lost” to salvation, that includes friends and family members. Kirk maintains that the Ten Commandments can make people feel guilty and in need of forgiveness.

If there were any evidence for Hell this would make sense but there is no confirmation of hell. Indeed it is implausible that a loving God would create hell or create people foreknowing they would end up there. Ray, Kirk and others who preach about hell are upsetting people for no good reason, such preachers are misguided or evil depending on how far they personally believe what they preach.

Next follows the Introduction.

(01:44 - 03:56) Ray says he previously preached,” sin, law, righteousness, holiness, judgment, repentance and hell” in Australia with an edgy audience and scarcity of people wanting “to give their lives for Christ” though a “teenage lad” was crying so hard he couldn’t pray. Ray adds for years he had been preaching that people would find true peace and fulfilment with Jesus, Ray preached about the crucifiction and repentance as well. Ray knew statistically 80% backslide and tried to find out if those who said they wanted to give their lives to Jesus meant it. Despite this sinners weren’t truly contrite because Ray believes he had given insufficient emphasis to explaining about sin and the, “wrath to come”.

Does Ray Comfort fear the consequences of wrong acts he personally does? Why, for example did he condemn plagiarism when preaching to someone else and do it himself, see Plagiarism and lust

Neither does Ray seem to know what sin is. Does sin mean "immoral" or "unclean"? Is it forgiven through sacrifice or prayer? Can a sinner, who does not accept Jesus enter heaven? Well, Elijah sure did enter Heaven, but never heard of Jesus.

Why Should Someone Become a Christian?

Shows Ray interviewing two Christians if they talk about Day of Judgment, neither of them do (one says he does not want to put fear into other people). WOTM provides Proverbs 9:6 to argue in favor of using fear. Ray asks another Christian if he talks about Day of Judgment and Hell, to which he says no (WOTM in response posts Proverbs 16:6 to argue in favor that preaching fear in God makes people depart from evil). Ray asks another Christian if he uses the Ten Commandments when he shares his faith, to which he says no (WOTM responds with 1 Timothy 1:8 that says the law is "good" if used lawfully). Finally, Ray asks a female Christian if she ever used the Ten Commandments when sharing her faith, and she replies with no.

Note 1 Timothy 1:8 says the law is "good" not that it must be mandatory to use to reach the lost. Second of all, it should be noted that there are strong suspicions Timothy was written by a forger [1][2] - a forger is someone who consciously aims to deceive others, in this case lying for Jesus.

(04:54 - 05:59) Ray says, "Remember when Paul said in Romans 7:7 'I had not known sin but by the law...” In Ray’s opinion a man (presumably a woman as well) must understand sin before being able to repent. Ray claims King David broke all Ten Commandments during his sinning with Bathsheba but according to Ray David understood the nature of sin when he repented and understood that the sin against god mattered more than the wrongs done to fellow humans. Old Testament Joseph also understood that sin against god mattered when he resisted sexual temptation and the Prodigal son repents sin against heaven. Saint Paul preached repentance with respect to god. Ray Comfort calls regretting wrongs to fellow humans horizontal repentance and call regretting sins towards god vertical repentance. Ray claims vertical repentance is more lasting.

What did Jesus preach about repentance? If Ray and Kirk only care what Paul preached, then they are following Paul, not Jesus. Jesus gave numerous ways to repent and enter heaven, among them to hate your family, friends, loved ones, and even your own life.

Incidentally in another section of Way of the Master Ray and Kirk, especially Ray insist that our sense of right and wrong is inborn. A hypothetical case is presented of a man who grew up without human contact, without moral instruction and committed terrible wrongs. Ray asserts that this man would be responsible for his actions and Kirk does not disagree. Here Ray quotes Saint Paul saying that without the law he would not know what sin is, Ray and Kirk cannot rationally have things both ways.

(06:00 - 06:55) (06:quotes A. V. Erl, I have found by long experience that the severest threatenings to the law of God have a prominent place in leading them to Christ. They must see themselves lost before they cry for mercy. They will not escape danger until they see it. then repeats the quote in asking listeners to pay careful attention. Kirk claims long experience counts and that Erl converted 150,000.

Street Preaching: One to one

(07:09 - 12:42) Onward with the numerous street interviews. The first person interviewed is asked the old are you a good person? tactic. The guy does not think that people who lie are liars, since everyone lies. Rather, he calls them humans. Apart from that, he plays along and found guilty of lying, thievery, and adultery. But the man says that he will still be innocent, because he heard that God will forgive you for everything except murder (he is not sure where he heard that from). The WOTM member then asks if he would sell one of his eyes for a million dollars or both for a hundred billion dollars, and the guy says no. The WOTM member says that peoples eyes are precious to them because they are windows for our souls, and thus their should should be of the highest value. When the man reveals he is not born again because he was raised Catholic, WOMT moves onward imagine that the guy is before God - who is looking over ever sin the guy committed - and asks him what he would say to God. The man says he would tell God he is right and he deserves what he gets. The WOTM asks if he is aware of the "fact" that it is not too late for the living, to which the man says yes. They then go into why Jesus died on the cross and pretty much end it there.

Do we need to repeat that the WOTM team are frightening people without any evidence that hell exists?

Lecture

(12:43 - 14:05)

Kirk imagines someone tells Kirk the other has sold his house to pay for a cure for an unspecified disease Kirk never heard of, the name sounds like, grown-ups disease and offers Kirk the money. Kirk assumes he’d probably take the money, say good bye and just assume the other man is, “a nut” and “weird”.

Would that very good Christian think it ethical to take advantage of a mentally unstable person who sells his house for an unspecified reason and gives him the money? Christians need to stop pretending they’re superior.

If the other could show Kirk that he had this disease which would soon be fatal, could show ten symptoms Kirk would take this seriously. Kirk would be grateful that the other had sold his house to buy a cure and would use the cure.

These 10 symptoms mentioned are the Ten Commandments, but as the article are you a good person? already explains, these symptoms are fictional.

None of these things (lying, theft, lust, etc) are examples of symptoms. They are simple human nature. The only way they can be considered symptoms is with a Christian presupposition. A Scientologist can take any human being and simply go through his/her human nature, and point out to around 100 "symptoms" that all point to depression, which can only be treated with Scientology. This is in a sense exactly with Ray and Kirk are doing. Their disease and symptoms only exist in their imaginations, all forged strictly for being human. They might as well say that it is sinful to think happy thoughts or tell the truth.

What neither Ray or Kirk can accomplish is a unbiased argument to prove their claims. They use their presupposition that sin exists to prove that sin exists. The only thing that comes out of this roller-coaster is that Ray and Kirk can use it to label people as wicked and trash.

The thing is there is there is no cure. The only thing Ray and Kirk are providing is an invisible product which created the invisible problem to begin with.

This argument is no better than a Muslim, Scientologist, etc. using the same logic without the need to prove their concepts of sin, thetans, etc.

(14:06 - 14:56)

Ray continues that in his opinion the US and the Western countries generally teach the Gospel of faith without first showing that people have transgressed the law. People who believe they have been Born again are in Ray’s opinion not really Christians because they sin continually. Ray sees this as trampling the blood of Jesus underfoot and imagines his preaching system that guilt trips sinners over transgresing the law is better.

People who have been preached to by Ray’s system also sin continually because no human being can stop doing wrong as is well known. Ray Comfort just imagines or pretends his system is superior.

(14:57 - 16:37)

Kirk says that the bible invariably breaks the heart of proud people using the law and uses the grace of god to heal hearts that are broken and humbled. Kirk adds that he believes by doing this Jesus pleased God the Father. James 4:6. "...God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble." is shown on the screen.

Kirk refers to Luke 18:18 and subsequent.


Kirk, "In Luke 18 it says that a certain ruler came running up to Jesus. This is a rich, young ruler who got down on his knees and said 'Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'"

The text of Luke 18 in the King James Version of the bible says neither that the man came running nor that the rich man got down on his knees [3] [4] though Mark 10 has the same story with the man getting onto his knees. [5] If the man got onto his knees that would seem to suggest humility.

Kirk continues that the rich man was not comforted with god’s grace, rather he was criticised. First the man was criticised for calling Jesus good rather than calling God the Father good.

Is Jesus one with the Father or are they separate beings with different attributes? [6]

Next, after the man said he had kept the commandments from his youth he was criticised for allowing his riches to become his god and breaking the first commandment.

Again the King James text of Luke 18 does not mention the first commandment, Kirk may have confused this with Matthew 6:24 which says that a man cannot serve both god and mammon. [7]

Incidentally we wonder how seriously Kirk and Ray take the text of Matthew, that one cannot serve god and money, also the text Luke 18 and Mark 10 asking rich people to give what they have to the poor. Living Waters Ministries makes a great deal of money and we wonder what happens to all that money. [8]


(16:38 - 17:15)

Ray takes over claiming grace was shown to Nicodemus in John 3, Nicodemus was a leader and teacher who already understood the law. Still Ray claims Nicodemus humbly acknowledged that Jesus was the son of god because of the miracles Jesus did.

The King James bible text says Nicodemus maintained that Jesus ‘came from god’ not that Jesus was the son of god. Jesus says later that he is the son of god. Nicodemus is not clearly more humble than the man who (at least according to Mark) fell on his knees. Further it is not clear that Nicodemus received grace, rather Nicodemus was told riddles that he couldn’t understand, Ray and Kirk interpret the text as fits their agenda.

An alternative explanation is that Jesus was an ordinary human being and knew better than to lecture about the law to someone who knew the law better than Jesus did. Instead Jesus kept the upper hand by telling puzzling riddles. Incidentally there is no reliable independent evidence for the so-called Miracles of the gospels.

(17:16 - 18:04)

Kirk mentions Nathanael given grace by Jesus because he was humble. Also Peter on or after Pentecost gave others grace who according to Kirk’s view of the bible were humble.

It appears Kirk is referring to The Acts 2. By no means all in the audience were humble, some mocked and accused the apostles of taking too much new wine. [9] Peter didn’t lecture even the less humble about the law. Why? Because he feared some in the audience understood the law better than he did?

(18:05 - 18:38)

Ray refers to 1 Timothy 1:8-10 provided it is used to bring sinners to repent, a list of sinners is given including homosexuals. Ray advises preachers to avoid arguing about a gay person’s lifestyle but rather convince him he is damned if he continues his present lifestyle.

More interviews

(18:39 - 20:05)

Scene switches to Ray talking to a black man, both have microphones. Ray takes him down the are you a good person? routine. Ray finds the man guilty, the other agrees, but the scene is suddenly cut there. There were several cuts prior to that so we can’t know either if any material was taken out. The black man is clearly an experienced entertainer and is professional about things.

(20:06 - 23:02)

Ray says, "If you were to bring a Jew to Christ, are you going to law the law upon him?" Scene switches to Ray talking to a Jewish man (possibly named Molty, not sure, was unable to catch it correctly), repeating the old are you a good person? tactic. The guy is found guilty, but it does not appear to have any effect on him. He says only God can judge him. Ray says no liars shall enter heaven, nor thief, nor adulterer, no blasphemer, etc. But it still does not concern him, after all that appears to be the New Testament which Jews don’t accept.

Judaism has differing beliefs about what happens after death but only extremely wicked souls would face eternal punishment, most get to god eventually. [10] [11] Ray Comfort’s system that puts people in danger of hell due to minor sins doesn’t apply in Judaism.

Ray asks him "Don't you want to live!? You love life, you don't want to die." Ray explains standard Christian beliefs about Jesus dying for our salvation and asks if that is not good news. The man says "of course, for some people (presumably he means good news for Christians)." Ray asks about Passover and later asks for him to explain what happened on Passover. When he explains that God passed over when the Jews painted the blood of the lamb on their doors, Ray says Jesus was the perfect, sinless lamb sacrificed to God to forgive man for their sins (Ray mentions Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53). Ray says that "Jesus was the Jewish messiah. I am Jewish." The man admits he is too." The man appears slightly concerned about hell but does not accept that Christianity would reduce the risk of him going there.

? It's unlikely this preaching had any lasting effect on someone who doesn't accept Ray's religious premises.

Further lecture

(23:03 - 23:12)

Ray says, "If you want to bring a Muslim to Christ, lay the way to the law upon him. Why? Because the law brings knowledge of sin and acts as a school master to bring us to Christ."

The thing is, a Muslim can easily turn the tables around on Ray and Kirk. Have they ever made a pilgrimage to Mecca or given to charity? If not, then Mohammad provides a way of salvation. It is the same deal, and neither of them can prove their case.

(23:13 - 23:35)

Kirk says that to bring our children to Christ don’t try to convince them that Jesus is cool, but rather show them they have broken the commandments and angered god. Then they cling to Jesus “for dear life.”

Many would argue that this approach is not just indoctrination, but also child abuse. The Ten Commandments, as known to many, are forms of control - for instance, demanding to honor your parents when that kind of respect should rather be earned based on a parent's performance and behavior.

It’s easy to see how sadistic parents can give their kids nightmares about hell and imagine or pretend it’s done to save their souls. In the brilliant words of the late George Carlin: "Some parents deserve respect. Most of them don't. Period."

Even parents, who aren’t sadistic, after hearing Ray and Kirk, might think they must frighten their children to protect them.

(23:36 - 24:07)

Ray draws attention to a woman about to be stoned to death for adultery. She had broken the 7th Commandment God’s law functioned to condemn her and she could only beg for mercy. Sinners are in Ray’s opinion already condemned.

Barbaric law from Mythology of the Bronze Age and Iron Age that is the Old Testament required that she suffer a horrific and painful death for giving in to a natural human weakness affecting many people. Incidentally if she was caught in the act why was the woman treated worse than the man? This type of bible based nastiness is one reason for not following Bible based morality in the 21st Century.

Also of course moral monsters, can easily escape and live in paradise just by dropping to the feet of Jesus while ordinary weakness is condemned just because the weak person doesn’t follow the Comfort supposed way to salvation.

And for the record, this tale that an adulteress was about to be stoned before Jesus saved her was never included in the gospel until 30 years after Jesus died - this means it could have been written by a forger who never witnesses the event or Jesus.

(24:08 - 25:00)

Kirk gives an analogy how allowing light into a room can reveal dust that wasn’t seen before. Then Kirk repeats their standard message that their system of preaching merely reveals to sinners how sinful they are. Paul is quoted 'By law is the knowledge of sin.

Do we need to repeat our standard comment that a god who would make us so we can’t avoid sinning, then punish us eternally for being the way he made us would not be just, merciful or loving.

(25:01 - 26:04)

Ray says that 18th Century evangelist, John Wesley advised preaching 90% law and 10% grace. Ray imagines a doctor spending ten minutes telling a patient in detail that he has a terminal illness and only a short time explaining the cure. Ray believes spending so long describing the illness makes the patient value the cure.

Quoting dead evangelists could be convenient for Ray and Kirk because dead evangelists can’t get up and say they disagree with Ray and Kirk in any way.

(26:05 - 27:42)

Kirk says yet more about how we are all dirty sinners, claims that he personally was shown his sin and his need for forgiveness. Kirk finishes with, “We want you to understand that this program is not primarily for your entertainment, but for your instruction. We want to teach you how to seek and save the lost effectively with your family, with your friends, on your campuses, at your work place. We want you to learn how to evangelize the way Jesus did. It is so important, there is nothing more important than people's eternal salvation. It is not a method that we made up, it is a method that Jesus used, that is why we call it Way of the Master."

No, the videos are not for our entertainment, this author certainly does not find them entertaining. There is just more and more of the same type of stuff making people frightened and miserable in this world to conform to Mythology of the Bronze Age and Iron Age without giving any reasons why that mythology should be taken seriously.

Incidentally many Christians deny that Ray and Kirk system is the way Jesus preached, perhaps that is why Ray prefers to quote dead evangelists who can’t answer back.

Final Remarks

There are at least four ideas of salvation suggested by the creeds, the Gospels, and Paul's letters.

  1. The first is believing in Christianity.
  2. The second, presented in the synoptic Gospels, is that one is saved by following a strict ethical code that goes beyond the Jewish laws.
  3. According to the third, which was also presented in the Synoptic Gospels, one is saved by making great sacrifices in following Jesus. Paul seems to suppose that this is sufficient and necessary only for those people who lived after Jesus came.
  4. The fourth, suggested in Paul's letters, is that one could be saved before Christ came by following the Jewish laws.

The first is the one most commonly associated with Christianity. However, it is unclear exactly what besides belief it involves. Even when one concentrates only on the cognitive dimension of faith there are problems. The creeds seem to demand belief that define Orthodox Christianity, everything from the Virgin Birth to the Second Coming, from the Resurrection to the Incarnation. On the other hand, John seems to demand only belief in the Incarnation, while Paul seems to demand only belief in the Resurrection. Neither John nor Paul, unlike the creeds, demands belief in the Virgin Birth or the Trinity. It is important to see that to reject the four routes to salvation outlined above is compatible with belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God. Indeed, there is good reason to suppose that salvation by these routes is incompatible with such belief.

  1. Would in an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God make salvation so difficult?
  2. Would a just and loving God save only those who follow the complicated system of Ray and Kirk?
  3. Would a just and loving God bury texts vital for salvation so finding them in the bible is like finding a needle in a haystack.
  4. Would a just and loving God invent a system whereby many/most sincere, committed Christians who spend a lifetime trying to do God’s will never find the correct way of salvation?

External links

  • YouTube Video This one is private.
  • YouTube Video As of January 22nd 2012 this one was still public, but by the end of 2012 it had been made private.
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

Adapted from Iron Chariots

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