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My Great Evangelism Adventure, Part 7: Open-Air Preaching with Ray Comfort

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Over the last two Saturdays the evangelism team has gone down to Huntington Beach to experience Ray Comfort and his seven-foot gorilla named Link. He stands on a box and proclaims the Gospel to all who would stand around and listen to him preaching in the open-air like the evangelists of old: Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon—all those fearless godly men who cared only about what God thought. (Click here to start at Part 1 of “My Great Evangelism Adventure.”)
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How does he gather the crowd? He askes trivia questions like: “What is the only fish that can blink with both eyes?” The crowd gathers around and shouts out various answers:

“A goldfish!”

“No!”

“Snapper!”

“No!”

Ray baits them. “Someone say halibut!”

“Halibut!”

“Good answer. No!” Everyone laughs and more gather around, curious as to what this funny little man with the mustache has to say. And he rewards the crowd handsomely by offering quality “TY” stuffed animals to those who get the answers right—and wrong!
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Ray keeps asking questions (“What is the most common food that people choke on in American restaurants? What kills more American drivers than anything else in the U.S.?”), until a crowd of about fifty or so gathers, then he asks for a volunteer to take The Good Person Test. null

If the volunteer can answer all four questions posed to him correctly, then he really is a good person and will receive the cool stuffed toy. Scottie his sound man from the T.V. show, “The Way of the Master” videotapes the action for future use.
null Before all this happens though, Ray draws a half circle about 10 feet out from the preacher’s box for crowd control, then he draws an “X” in the middle to place the person who takes up the challenge (this is also a great spot to place an obnoxious heckler). Then he booms out the Gospel message, asks if anyone can pass the good person test… and someone always takes him up on the challenge… and loses!
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Why? Because no one is good. He asks if they have ever lied, stolen, blasphemed God, or lusted; of course everyone has, which makes them lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterers-at-heart, and when judged by the 10 commandments and found guilty, will have pay for their sin in Hell. I saw one girl put on her sunglasses in shame, and another woman reduced to tears.

Ray gives the “good person” a stuffed “TY” bear anyway as a demonstration of God’s grace—they don’t deserve the stuffed bear and they don’t deserve the gift of God’s grace and forgiveness—but everyone gets it free when they repent of their sins and trust in Jesus who paid the price.

After his ten minute stint, he steps off the box; then its Scottie’s turn.
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…and Ray video-tapes the action…
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After he’s done, Anita, a worker from Living Waters Ministry gets up. It’s equal opportunity preaching for all!

We also tape the action for future use as teaching videos for our church and for postings on websites and YouTube! null

Suddenly, something incredible happened ( incredible to me anyway)…

After Anita stepped down from the box, Ray turned to me and asked, “Would you like to give it a try, Steve?”

I didn’t have time to think; I just said, “Yes!”

What an honor! It’s kind of like Billy Graham sharing his pulpit, or something—

I stepped up, asked a few questions, and because Ray gave me a few of the high quality “TY” bears to hand out, people stayed to listen. I even had the pleasure of an angry heckler deride me a little to draw— and he drew a few more people in. But I forgot one thing: I forgot to give my camera to a friend to document everything; it was still in my pocket!

Oh well… after Ray and his team packed up and left, we ran over to my car to get a milk crate—and we continued to preach! Without the novelty of a seven-foot gorilla though, it was a little harder to attract a crowd.
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Still, the 5-foot-eleven monkey had the able assistance of his two daughters—who think he’s the greatest preacher who ever lived.

(Nearly all posts prior to June 2013 on this blog are evangelism related.  I have been actively sharing my faith since that fateful day, January 1, 2004. If you have any questions about evangelism, leave a comment and I will get back to you.)

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18 Comments

  1. Your poor daughters. It is criminal child abuse that you have indoctrinated them into your bronze age faith. Watching them innocently handing out propaganda they don’t understand in the shadow of their disturbed father is heart breaking. My children will be given the choice to make up there own mind when the time is right. I wish for them to use critical thinking and reason when faced with the origins of our existence. They will be shown all sides of the debate and allowed to make there own decisions. It’s amazing to me that no one raises a brow when you mention “My child is Christian”, but if you were to proclaim “My child is a Marxist, my child is a Naturalist, even my child is an Atheist” you would be scowled at and ridiculed. You disgust me. (forgot the ‘s’ in disgust)

  2. Brother Steve, take to heart, Matthew 5:11& 12. We love you and may God bless you and keep you and yours well as we continue to reach out to the lost. Great looking pics!

  3. Chris, I can not see you giving your kids the choice to be a Christian, and if they make that choice, they’ll receive the same criticism as the preacher. Critical thinking and reasoning lead smarter men than you to Christ. There are many with clear reason, very brilliant people who are believers in Creation from every background in life, Rocket Scientists, Physist, Molecular Biologist, Astrologist and ever other kind of Science and Philosophy Scholar. In the Science community as a whole, 90% believe in the divine creator. It’s seems very shallow to take a shot at a man’s children without knowing the man or the children. It takes a brave man to stand for what he believe and is willing to take comments like yours about his kids. You on the other hand only watched to criticize, stand up for what you believe, challenge the thoughts with your (critical thinking skills) and prepare to give an answer. As I see it, you’re a Coward until you do, if you can not take criticism as a believing naturalist or Aethist or Marxist that makes you a coward. Stand up and tell the world you’re all those things and be prepared to defend it. You scowled at the Christian, but you know your critical thinking is on life support without any foundation to prove your thoughts.
    Next time come out and preach your critical thinking, give your facts and face the critics and your Creator. You probably read every book except the Bible, and so the other side of your critical thought is blank. One-sided arguments is ridicules, don’t you agree? If you only have 1/2 the information, you have no critical thought other than, huh?
    Chris, in the science community and as a owner of a BioTechnology company, you don’t have a clue what science truly knows. It’s all about Grants and money in the scientific world, so consider yourself duped. What’s disgusting is your critical thinking, a one-sided thought process that is paranoid you are wrong. Critical thinkers will never insult a man and his children for their belief, first they would think and be very critical to say something offensive.

  4. Patrick, you could not be more wrong, but thank you for that long diatribe which you based entirely on a lie. You stated “In the Science community as a whole, 90% believe in the divine creator.”

    Where exactly did you get that information? I can see that Steve’s lack of research into any subject that contradicts his mythic beliefs has infected you as well. Here is the study I believe that you were referring to but somehow (I wonder how?) got the information 100% backwards

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

    Now I know its painful, but only 7% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences believe in a personal God. This means that 93% of the most intelligent, best educated, and successful scientists that the world has to offer are Agnostic or Atheist.

    As for your comment about my knowledge of the Bible, you are again mistaken. In fact I have read the Bible (several different versions I might add) and find it a fascinating piece of literature just as I do the Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the other Babylonian, Sumerian, and Assyrian texts that were blended together to become the holy book you hold in such high regard. It is only through the examination of the Bible through comparative mythology, linguistics, history, and archaelogy that allows us to sift beneath the surface to discover the truth behind religion.

    If you truly are the owner of a Biotech company, then I hope you put better research into your products than you do your arguments.

  5. There are those who quarrel and judge, and there are those who take action on what they believe. and I see both here. Those who argue need to take their argument out to the crowds to test what they beleive. Talk is cheap… Chris let me know where you going to be preaching your believes…I would like to see how it stands agaings the crowd and how strong your think your knowledge is…
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK STEVE. We support you. Walter
    PS…Had a great experience and I too was outhere reaching out. It was awesome… In the other hand we came accross people blinded by their worldly knowledge and arrogant due to perish spiriually just like the scriptures testify…

  6. Chris— I appreciate your comments. And I know you understand that this is a primarily Christian site, so don’t get put off by the attempts of people to convert you. I’m sure you can handle it though…

    If you are ever in the area, let’s talk; I’ll buy the lunch! 🙂

  7. Chris,
    You are right, the number is off alittle, I apologize, it’s 75% according to a new study done at Rice University in 2006 by Elaine Howard Ecklund, funded by the Templeton Grant. I see your finding are 8 years older. Things have changed in the scientific community since your last article. No sweat!

    But you’re right again, I don’t know if you read the bible, but since you say you did, I believe you. Seems like you like to read, I have a book I’d like your opinion on, http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/

    Also, You missed the real point, and for a critical thinker, I’m shocked. The insults towards Steve and his children was the real point. “It is criminal child abuse that you have indoctrinated them into your bronze age faith.” Can you admit that is real extreme to start a conversation about God vs. Science. You have to admit, it was a personal shot you took, cloaked in the pseudo intellectual blah blah blah.
    You said you would give your children the choice, but you never answered my question. what if they chose Christianity? Would you accept their decision, after they waited until the time is right to make their choice?
    I apologize for calling you a coward, but it bothered me that you lowered your reasoning to calling him criminal.

    Can you come out an give a rebuttal when him and Ray preach? I’d like to see you take a stand for what you believe publicly using the critical thinking and reasoning you talk about. Bring your children, I’m sure they would be proud to see you standing for what you believe.

    No more verbal bashing between us, we can be civil and discuss things without insults.

  8. Patrick, what a huge surprise to see the Templeton foundation behind a piece of religious propaganda. I am very aware of the Templeton Foundation and their attempts to undermine scientific progress in favor of their Creationist agenda. Every year they hand out their awards to the “scientist” who best throws reason and science out the window to embrace a 12,000 year old Earth.

    “Each year, the Foundation awards the Templeton Prize to the living individual who best exemplifies “trying various ways for discoveries and breakthroughs to expand human perceptions of divinity and to help in the acceleration of divine creativity.” -Wikipedia

    Does that sound like an organization that strictly follows the scientific process to you? Also the woman behind the study is a graduate from the Jerry Falwell’s fundamentalist Christian Liberty University. A school that depicts dinosaurs and man walking side by side 10,000 years ago is an educational disgrace.

    Here is another study done last year by Dr. Greg Graffin that support the same data from the study 8 years ago.

    http://www.cornellevolutionproject.org/

    Watch the video here and see Richard Dawkins debate students from Libery University.

    http://richarddawkins.net/home

    As far as my children becoming Christian, maybe I didn’t make it clear in my original post but my children will be educated on all the worlds major religions. If after looking at all the evidence and they decide to be Christian, then great! At least they were presented with all the evidence and came to a decision on their own. I know it may seem harsh to you, but I stand behind my comments about Steve indoctrinated his young children. It is child abuse.

    Thank you for your gracious offer to join you on your preaching circuit, next time I’m in Huntington I just might stop by!

  9. Patrick, The Templeton Foundation is well known for giving out grants that support a Creationist agenda.

    Each year, the Foundation awards the Templeton Prize to the living individual who best exemplifies “trying various ways for discoveries and breakthroughs to expand human perceptions of divinity and to help in the acceleration of divine creativity.”
    -Wikipedia

    The study is a very misleading because she included 1600 people from only 21 universities. This means that research students, assistant professors, and pretty much anyone else who is not published was included in this study. I don’t see how this even comes close to a study done on members of the National Academies of Science.

    If you want a more recent study, check out this very similar survey done by Dr. Greg Graffin last year.

    http://www.cornellevolutionproject.org/

    I’m also familiar with Antony Flew, and the great excitement among Christians that they believe they have added an atheist to their cause. However, once again you don’t have all the facts. This website chronicals a 5 year conversation with Flew who at best has become a sort of deist, but definately not a Christian by any means.

    http://www.secweb.org/index.aspx?action=viewAsset&id=369

    In his acceptence speech for an award given to him to Biola he declared he was a Deist and believed in a God who “is neither interested in nor concerned about either human beliefs or human behavior.”

    Don’t get me wrong, although I am an atheist I find it pointless to try and dissprove God. By definition God is supposed to live outside of our reality, making proving or disproving him to be impossible. However, as you might of guessed I’m adamantly against religion, and I believe that the virus of faith causes much more harm than good.

    As far as my children, I stated before that they will be taught all the worlds religions as equal. Once they are shown all the evidence and they decide to be Christian, Buddhist, or god forbid Mormon; then that is there choice and I will respect it.

    Thank you for the invite to join you guys during your soap box sermons, maybe if I find myself in Huntington one of these weekends I’ll stop by and say hi!

  10. sorry I didnt see me posting so i made another one, my bad

  11. Chris,

    That link was pretty funny, I was cracking up at the questions. Elementary my dear Watson, Elementary! Just based on the questions Atheism is a religion. I’ll walk you through each one, but on a later date.

    Your emotions are getting the better of your reasoning, you make the comment about Andrew Flew; “once again you don’t have all the facts”, and I just asked your opinion on the book and to read it. I never gave a fact or a thought, I asked for yours, but regardless, your opinion is he is a deist.

    Since you read the Bible, we have very similar views on religion, my view on religion is in James 1:26, which I think you would agree somewhat. Also, you should revisit OUR, not yours, definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1. You have a very similar beliefs, but as an Atheist.

    I do admire that you would respect your childrens decision if they were to choose a personal relationship with Christ, after they studied all the facts and world religions first.

    Something you said is very interesting, “although I am an atheist I find it pointless to try and dissprove God. By definition God is supposed to live outside of our reality, making proving or disproving him to be impossible.”

    This conclusion to your statement is a concession. In saying that it is “pointless”, you limit your ability to understand things outside of your reality.

    Andrew Flew, a deist as you claim, found something that made him re-evaluate his understanding about the impossible being possible. An after 5 years of hardcore interviewing and questioning by the Atheist community, it seems he did not change his position.

    I have a few more things on your conclusion you might find interesting; I’ll follow up with you next week.

  12. Chris,

    While I can give you the fact that in the name of religion, some people have done some pretty terrible things, I think that is WAY too broad of a statement to make in light of history! (“virus of faith causes much more harm than good”)

    Let’s be specific:

    There are a lot of religions that are really (from a pragmatic standpoint) nuetral, if you will. They don’t cause harm (in the light that you suppose), they simply are (mostly Eastern religions)… people simply practice these religions, but they themselves have never used these religions to propogate any “evil” against mankind…

    This doesn’t suppose that these religions are totally benign (Christians would argue against that, but from a spiritual standpoint)…

    There are obvious cases throughout history that would support your theory:

    1. Roman Empire (which viewed Caesar as GOD)
    2. Empire of Japan (” ” the Emperor)
    3. Hitler (strange occultic German religion which led to Arryan doctrine)
    4. Islamic Extremism (current)

    And obviously the list goes on…

    But I think we have to be objective here and say that almost every culture that ever existed has WORSHIPPED SOMETHING…

    So to say that Religion is behind every injustice and every aggressive act in human history is vague at best and insincere… without getting into the details of those events and disecting them (*see example below)

    (Again, the Christians here would agree with this conclusion, but on a wholly different level/plane. They would suppose this to be true based on the fact that these religions are FALSE religions and therefore leading people to actions that not only harm themselves, but ultimately the society at large… a deeper look at the Christian ‘religion’ forthcoming…)

    *For example: The Protestants vs. the Catholics in N. Ireland. This conflict is usually portrayed as a “religious war”, but in reality has NOTHING to do with religion. It has to do with a division that is founded upon an affiliation that has been passed down from generation to generation. Their conflict is about heritage and NOT any dispute of doctrine or belief. Both sides at best are what would be described as by Christians as nominal practicioners.

    There lifestyle (and the violence) is incompatible with the religion they themselves claim to ascribe to.

    Whereas violence is propogated in the Koran. The fact that this or other religions have or had promoted violence doesn’t make “RELIGION” as a whole wrong, (again, according to the Christian worldview) it makes THOSE religions wrong…

    Now, for a closer look at Christianity:

    Most of the higher educational institutions that we have (103 of the first 106 here in the U.S.) were given to us by the Church [read: Christians]; most of the hospitals in the world (initially) were given to us by the church. Just take a look at the mission field and all that has been done in the name of Christ to bring education, a better quality of life [read: community projects such as wells, fresh water, living standards, etc.], medicine and medical treatment and the list could go on.

    To say that the harm done is greater than the good is disingenuous at best, unless you want to look at specific religions and gage their impact (both negative and positive) on their immediate society or the world at large.

    Just the beggining of a dialogue, I know and I’m ready for the salvos of where you feel even Christianity has fallen short. I’m willing to admit that, but of course our worldview is that they (shortcomings) are a result of human weakness (a major theme in Christianity) and not the result of a flawed “religion”…

  13. And just to clarify further… Christians don’t view Christianity as a RELIGION, they view their belief as a RELATIONSHIP with the only True Living God (revealed in the Scriptures as God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are ALL one God, revealed in three different persons).

    To water it down: Religion is man’s attempt to reach God, whereas (initially through Judaism) Christianity is God’s attempt to reach man.

  14. Gentlemen, a lot to cover but I will try my best. First, because I say that God is impossible to prove or dissprove is not a concession to his/her existence. There are an infinite amount of things that have been thought to exist and an infinite things that can be thought of to exist that you cannot prove or dissprove. If I were to tell you that a 1956 March Edition of Playboy was floating in orbit around Pluto, I think we could all agree that it is very, very improbable that it would be there. The same goes for God, by setting the ground rules that God is outside are reality you basically remove God from ever being proven or dissproven, hence my earlier statement.

    As for Pastor Dougs comments, I agree about most of your comments on religion. I think that every culture in existence has always tried to justify their existence with religion in one form or another, in fact I find this phenomena to be very fascinating and the reason why I pursued a degree in Cultural Anthropology. Everyday things like earthquakes, tsunamis, comets, rain, snow, lightning, thunder, floods, etc, were so baffling and frightening to early man that the human mind was compelled to find a reason behind them. Because these forces were so damaging and in some cases essential to life (like rain) it is not hard to see why early polytheistic religions attributed Gods to virtually every phenomena immaginable.

    Now you mention the Koran as a book where “violence is propogated”. So do you believe violence is not propogated in the Bible?

    “Many religious moderates imagine, as you do, that there is some clear line of separation between extremist and moderate religion. But there isn’t. Scripture itself remains a perpetual engine of extremism: because, while He may be many things, the God of the Bible and the Qur’an is not a moderate. Read scripture more closely and you do not find reasons for religious moderation; you find reasons to live like a proper religious maniac—to fear the fires of hell, to despise nonbelievers, to persecute homosexuals, etc. Of course, one can cherry-pick scripture and find reasons to love your neighbor and turn the other cheek, but the truth is, the pickings are pretty slim, and the more fully one grants credence to these books, the more fully one will be committed to the view that infidels, heretics, and apostates are destined to be ground up in God’s loving machinery of justice.” -Sam Harris

    I’m not saying that religion does not do some good, but the difference is that the good that is done in the name of religion is done only to avoid eternal damnation.

    There is a very good “blogalogue.” going on between Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan right now that is spot on the topic we are discussing. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,536,God-Is-Not-a-Moderate,Sam-Harris-and-Andrew-Sullivan-Beliefnetcom

  15. Chris,

    I fully intend to address what you have brought up in detail later (no time at the moment), but I want to preface it with this:

    An absolute DEEPER knowledge of Christianity is necessary to pursue this dialogue…

    One can argue about semantics and religion in general, but to fully comprehend why Christiainity is the way it is, you MUST fully comprehend how and why a Christian thinks the way he does, which is why I mentioned elsewhere on this site, that it almost presupposes that you must be a Christian to understand (1 Cor. 2:14, 15)

    For example: Whereas 99% of other religions would say “the good that is done in the name of religion is done only to avoid eternal damnation.”

    In other words, a WORKS based religion, do more good than bad and tadah: you have heaven, enlightenment, karma, etc.

    The Christian belief however is that it doesn’t matter how good you are! You cannot earn your salvation. Our relationship is UNTO good works, not to “stay out of hell.”

    I will expound more upon this point later on…

    I’ll also try to check out the link you gave… thanks!

  16. Chris,
    why did you dodge the law?

  17. Chris,

    Thanks for the link…Since you quote Sam, I’ll address his first.

    This acknowledgement by Sam is profound…”as these are the only passages in the Bible that the Creator of the universe felt the need to physically write them himself.” Can I get a witness?

    By the way, Sam Harris can not and does not disprove the 2nd commandment nor can he improve it or change it. He can try, but many have tried before him.

    He merely gives an intellectual blah blah blah example about Mohammed and tied it to the Ten commandment. Which are not in the Koran, similar passage exist but more guided to religious duty. Islam knows Mohammed is not God. The Ten commandments are in the Bible, so the comparison has no merit to defend. Just gushing out more blah blah blah. See for yourself…

    “Consider the possibility of improving the Ten Commandments. This would appear to be setting the bar rather high, as these are the only passages in the Bible that the Creator of the universe felt the need to physically write them himself. But take a look good look at commandment #2. No graven images? Doesn’t this seem like something less than the-second-most-important-point-upon-which-to-admonish-all-future-generations-of-human-beings? Remember those Muslims who recently rioted by the hundreds of thousands over cartoons? Many people wondered just what got them so riled up. Well, here it is. Was all that pious mayhem nothing more than egregious, medieval stupidity? Yes, come to think of it, it was nothing more than egregious, medieval stupidity. Almost any precept we’d put in place of this prohibition against graven images would augment the wisdom of the Bible (Don’t pretend to know things you don’t know…? Don’t mistreat children…? Avoid trans fats…?). Could we live with all the resulting problems due to proliferating graven images? We’d manage—somehow.” Sam Harris

    The Fulfillment of the Law

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” –Jesus

    As you can see Jesus has a view for us on Religious self righteousness.

    Most people break our traffic laws every day, all day, until they recognize they are being watched, then they obey it like they never broke it before. Why? Fear of the Judgement to come if they are caught breaking the law, thou shall not speed. they changed it but people still break it.
    You will see the judge if you’re under the Law. If you drive safely and obey the speed limits, you have no need for judgement. But we break it anyway, because we will probably will not get caught, we take our chances. When your speeding, do you know you’re speeding? Why? You know the Law.
    People who obey the laws, dislike people who don’t. But it almost impossible to not break a traffic law in the entire time you are able to drive. Now Cops, have a badge, which gets them out of tickets and they are exempt from the law, thou shall not speed.

    You can argue religion till your blue in the face, but the reality is you cannot negate the Ten Commandments.

  18. I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS!

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