Ray Comfort and the “Audacity” of In-Your-Face Evangelism
I’ve known Ray Comfort for a number of years, and one thing I admire him for is getting out there and interacting directly with nonbelievers. You may or may not like his methods, but the truth is, he’s not harsh, condescending, or rude – he simply tells people the truth. In fact, I’m constantly surprised at how many people he meets who actually start re-thinking their opinions about evolution, same-sex marriage, abortion, and other hot button issues. So as Ray launched his recent “Audacity” campaign, I asked him some questions. Read his answers, and let me know your thoughts:
Phil Cooke: Tell me about the campaign and what are its goals?
Ray Comfort: The goal is threefold. 1. We want homosexuals to know that we don’t hate them. Christians have been wrongly vilified by the LGBT community as being hateful, and I can understand why they feel like that. When the crazies hold up signs saying that God hates gays it makes good press, and so the media have painted us all with a dirty brush. 2. We want to teach Christians how to share the gospel with gay people, without compromise and without undue offense. 3. We want to share the gospel with a dying world.
Phil: Tell me about your new movie. What’s it about?
Ray: Audacity is a movie about a young Christian who is an aspiring stand-up comic. He meets a lesbian couple in an elevator and wants to share his faith with him, but he freaks out because he doesn’t want to come across as being a hateful. That sends him on a journey to see if it is possible to be loving, without compromising the gospel. It’s a fast-moving fascinating story, complete with twists and turns and the unique real-life street interviews.
Phil: Where do you draw the line in these types of campaigns between “effective” and “gimmick”?
Ray: That’s a very good question, and one with which I often struggle. How do you get the attention of the world who doesn’t want to hear what you have to say? Perhaps we have a precedent in the preaching of the Apostle Paul. When he stood up to preach the gospel to the Athenians, he quoted Greek poets. He was there to preach the gospel, but to do so he quoted godless poets to get their attention. A four story rainbow banner will hopefully work better in San Francisco than would the poetry of ancient Greeks.
Phil: What are you hearing out there so far? Is it working?
Ray: We are delighted with the results. Christians love it, but we have also been getting response from LGBT supporters, saying that they actually liked the film. Here are two of them:
“I won’t give a lot of details but I find the idea of having relations with men repulsive. I am a lesbian. I watched your movie Audacity on Youtube. Very powerful. Thank you not hating us. Best wishes, Jayline.”
“I have to say, as a gay woman who watched Audacity, I agree that the topic was handled with love and compassion which was refreshing to see…the message was clear (even if it was one I disagreed with as an atheist).”
Phil: Should Christians be more creative and strategic in our evangelism?
Ray: Hardly a day goes by when I don’t shake my head when I think that our YouTube channel has over 34 million views. Many years ago when we wanted to get the gospel to other nations we would send missionaries overseas who would take six weeks to travel by ship, wives would die of malaria, and it would be great sacrifice and hardship. Nowadays all it takes to reach millions with the gospel in movie format is the move of a mouse and a “click.” So we must take more advantage of this incredible thing we call “Social Media.” This is why we make movies and make them freely available on the Internet. As Christians we have to strive for excellence, and one way we tried to achieve this was by having the best actors we could find. So we chose them by their merit rather than by their worldview (the two lead actors were non-Christians). In past years we have put up with bad acting in many of our Christian films, but world won’t have it. They will tune out if there’s five seconds of cheese.
Phil: What’s the greatest challenge you see facing the Church in the next 5 years?
Ray: One great challenge for the Church has always been to carry out the irksome task of evangelism. I’m concerned when we are distracted from this great commission, by politics and other things. While it’s wonderful to have godly man in high places of political authority, I often wonder if anyone has noticed that we do the same thing every four years, and nothing much happens? We spend time and energy and a huge amount of money and abortion is worse. Adultery is worse. So is homosexuality, blasphemy, fornication, and pornography. This is because politics merely shakes the branches. The gospel takes an ax to the root of the tree. The moment I experienced the new birth, I became pro-life, one man one woman in marriage, hated adultery, murder, blasphemy and all the things that displeased God. The gospel is the only answer for our nation, and we must never forget that. It makes Hell-bound sinners Heaven-bound, and has righteousness in its train.
Phil: If there was one thing you’d change about the way people share their faith today, what would it be?
Ray: I would tell them to stop preaching the unbiblical “God has a wonderful plan for your life, and He will fix your problems” gospel. It’s been filling the Church with false converts. Imagine trying to preach that to a 1,000 doomed people on the hundredth story of the World Trade Center the night before 9/11. If it wouldn’t work there, it’s not the biblical gospel. I wrote a book on the subject. It’s freely available online at www.freeWonderfulBook.com.
God bless you Phil Cooke…
Ray, you should hang your head in shame.
Your movie, which fails before it even starts, denies the very fact that being gay is not a choice, it is not the same as adultery, and to suggest such a ridiculous idea is proof that you don’t actually KNOW any gay people. You admitted as much in a recent radio interview.
The ideology behind your movie is responsible for the destruction of families and communities across the world, and the suicides of tens of thousand of gay teens.
Shame on you.
shame on you peter to try to put deaths on a man of God who is trying to show people that its all a choice.. cuz it is a choice, just like its a choice for someone to like and love a family member in asexual manner, and same with a pedifile who likes and loves children boys or girls.. but those people think they were born that way.. but were they? no it was a choice they made cuz most likely it happened to them. so dont blame sin on, i was born that way.. in a way you are born that way, because we are born as sinners because of what Adam and eve did.. but if you chose to be a believer in God, and jesus then you should know you need to make a choice to deny yourself and selfish desires to follow christ, but if you chose not to believe then i guess this would be the end of our conversation.. yes sometimes christians forget that not all believe, so we should just treat them as such, and to show the power of God and even if people have seen the power doesnt mean they will believe anyways. so thanks for reading. and i will pray you find God and God Finds you, for we should be like God and wish that none should perish but all come to the saving knowledge of Christ.
It’s not a choice.
You don’t have any gay friends or family either do you.
Word of advice, work on your punctuation and grammar if you want to be taken seriously in a debate.
Interesting. I will have to give Audacity a listen.
Here it is, ready to roll, http://youtu.be/tbPu2rtmDbY
I would be interested to hear your opinion after watching the movie Bill.
Love Ray’s ministry and love his movies. We have been very inspired by him. Thumbs up.
Jacob! I hope you are well.
Yes, we are well- seeing the Lord raise up open-air proclaimers thrills me. Bless you as you trumpet the message of the Law and the Cross!
Sometimes I feel like I would be completely in the dark if it were not for this medium. I had no idea what Ashley Madison was or Ray Comfort until reading about them here! Ha. Thanks Phil.
My question is why do so many “evangelistic” Christians believe in the so-called Great Commission? I have heard that many of them believe that until practically ever man, woman, or child hears the gospel, Christ cannot return. In other words, His Return is dependent upon our actions. Do you (or anyone else who comments here) believe something like this?
I would also like to point out that no one in the Book of Acts took that single verse seriously and never was it repeated in the Pauline epistles.
Awesome! The homofascist agenda is antagonisticly “in our face” every single day… Evangelizing the homosexual back to Christ should be just as much in their faces, and more! The only way #LoveWins is through redemption in Jesus Christ.
In your face? Really?
Love has already won. That’s why Kim Davis is now enjoying her martyrdom from the comfort of a jail cell.
Eric Weiner wrote in the Op-Ed page of The New York Times in December, 2011: “We need a Steve Jobs of religion.” Ray Comfort is doing that . . . https://stevesimms.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/a-steve-jobs-of-religion-come-on-church-innovate/
Ray Comfort is nothing but a buffoon. He’s made a fool of himself lying about science, history and now homosexuality. Do a little research on why he’s known as the “banana man.”
Michos Salabi. I will save them from having to do research. Watch scientists flounder as they try and think of evidence for evolution (Dawkins tweeted about this movie five times): http://www.EvolutionVsGod.com
The only floundering I see is them trying to work out what Ray Comfort is actually asking them. He is a buffoon who won’t shut his mouth long enough to ever learn anything.
There is no debate. Evolution is a fact taught in every university on the planet.
Ray, Research is always a good idea. All you’ve done is posted a link to one of Ray’s heavily edited, dishonest films. Sorry you can’t see through the nonsense in it.
Churches contribute to gay
suicides, most Americans believe
The Lies and Dangers of Efforts to
Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is
Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids
links religion to gay enmity, suicides
STUDY: Religion Increases Likelihood Of
Suicide Attempts For LGBT
Americans say religion contributes to
homophobia and gay suicide
Survey links gay suicides to religious
Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by
Peter. These are bogus studies. If you read them carefully you will see that there’s no relationship between the two. It’s bullying from classmates that’s the culprit. How about using your own handsome face for your profile picture?
No Ray, you are wrong.
The bullying by classmates is due to the homophobic bigotry instilled into the bullies by their parents, teachers, and peers.
Peter. Listen to this atheist speaking about the bigotry among gays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIkE975P81E
Ray, you could learn a whole lot about tolerance and respectful debate by watching Australia.
Your brand of intolerance and bigotry would have you mocked and ridiculed mercilessly.
Your utter refusal to accept the FACT that being gay is not a choice means you will ALWAYS be wrong. Always. And your children and particularly grandchildren will grow to be ashamed of you. You are no better tan Fred Phelps or George Wallace, and you will be remembered accordingly.
The audacity of a man who has no gay friends comparing their sexuality to adultery? Really?
“How about using your own handsome face for your profile picture?”
It’s time for all this nonsense to stop.
In 1967 the supreme court legalized interracial marriage.
Christians fought against this law for a further twenty years, using the exact same arguments Kim Davis used before being jailed for contempt this morning.
It was not until the year 2000 that Alabama finally removed it’s last statute banning interracial marriage.
Ray and his ilk have lost the battle. The supreme court has spoken.
Those who want to align themselves with groups like Ray Comfort or the Westboro Baptist Church, or Kim Davis, had better understand what side of history they are going to be remembered for.
Please see the following article on Homosexuality from the Living Truth Fellowship. Like I said earlier, until now I’d never heard of Ray Comfort and can’t judge anything about him. What I do know is that no one is born gay, no mater what anyone believes. ANE believers believed the world was flat, but that did not make it so.
A Ray Comfort shill.
I know nothing about Ray Comfort and have not seen the movie. But what I find interesting on this board is that Mr. Comfort’s posts have been non-confrontational and inoffensive. The repeated posts from Peter Rowney and Michos Salabi have mostly been angry, accusatory, mean-spirited, and have often resorted to name calling. Ironically, this approach is one of the things Mr. Rowney seems to be upset about related to the behavior of the Christian community.
Things that make you go “Hmmmm…”
Excellent point Ron…
“but the truth is, he’s not harsh, condescending, or rude ”
Christians share the Gospel because they want people to find forgiveness for their sins in Jesus and be saved from eternal damnation.