With regards to the current controversy over Ray Comfort's planned appearance at a WoF conference, Coram Deo have sortof responded in this post of his. There are of course many points all of us agree, in that the Gospel is sufficient for salvation for heretics if they will repent and believe in God. Also, there is nothing wrong about preaching the Gospel anywhere. One issue with Coram Deo that I have here has to do with the mode of preaching the Gospel and the consequences that follow, especially with regards to preaching at a WoF event. I will use this short exposition of Mk. 10:17-22 as the foundation text for addressing this issue.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mk. 10:17-22)
In this passage, we can see Jesus talking to the rich young man in a setting analogous to evangelism, except that the subject of evangelism Himself is the evangelist here. Furthermore, this scenario is every Christian and Evangelist's dream come true. After all, what more can we ask for than for unbelievers seeking us out to enquire about the way of salvation? No need to break into cold sweat and be afraid of rejection; they naturally come to you enquiring about God and the way of salvation. Yet, even here, Jesus shows us the way to address seekers, and as it can be seen, we should proclaim the Gospel and not tone it down even if such a prospective convert and eager seeker reject the message in the end (Mk. 10:22)
Jesus' response to the question of the rich young man is to emphasize the commandments of God (v. 19), and call upon the rich young man to follow them. Here we can see that the commandments of God can merit salvation if they are perfectly obeyed (Rom. 2:6-11; Jas. 2:10). Of course, such is impossible for fallen Man and therefore the Law is meant to show us our desperate condition (Gal. 3:24; Jas. 1:23-25) in order to bring us to Christ.
Back to our passage, we can see that Jesus is using the Law in an attempt to show forth his status as a Law breaker. Incredibly, the rich young man claimed to have obeyed all of them from his youth (v. 20), which will therefore mean he has merited salvation! It is after hearing this that Jesus exposed his major area of sin: covetousness (the Tenth commandment as well as the First Commandment). Jesus called upon him to sell everything he has, give to the poor and follow Him (v. 21). His sin thus exposed, he went away sorrowful because he will not part with his great and many possessions (v. 22)
Now, as we look at this passage, we must ask ourselves why did Jesus not immediately name the tenth commandment in his first list of commandments to be obeyed. Also, why did Jesus answered the way he did, by asking the rich young man to DO something instead of just asking him whether he obeyed the tenth commandment?
We can see from the portrait of the rich young man that he thought he have followed ALL of the commandments. When Jesus named the commandments, He didn't name all of them, but it would be understood that the ten commandments are implied. Jesus did not name the tenth commandment here in order to make it explicit that the rich young man thought he obeyed all of the commandments of God. As it is with Man, we so easily treat God's standards lightly and so it is no surprising that there would be many self-righteous people who think that they have fulfilled the commandments of God like the Pharisees for one.
And that is why Jesus followed through with a very specific application of the Law which exposes his sinfulness. In the case of the rich young man, Jesus called him to sell all that he has and gave them to the poor, and then follow Christ. This is not because Jesus needed the money or required that of his followers (the same was not asked of people like Joseph cf Lk. 23:50), but through the failure to obey, it shows forth the specific sin of the rich young man. Contrary to his assertion therefore, he did not obey all of the commandments from his youth. His sin exposed, he chose to retreat from the light rather than turn to Christ for his salvation.
So what does all this have to do with the case of Ray Comfort? I have been saying that my main contention with Comfort's preaching at the WoF event is that he may be speaking Christianese there. Comfort's action is therefore analogous to Jesus' first answer to the rich young man; it does not truly 'connect' with the WoF heretics. A "simple" Gospel presentation using traditional Christian terminology is useless against the WoF heretics since they reinterpret all of the jargon we use into their heretical equivalents. What is needed is something analogous to Jesus' exposing of the rich young man's sin. The Gospel message to WoF heretics at a WoF event MUST be stated in a way to connect with them and get past their redefinitions of the Gospel terms. Just as Jesus uses a practical application to get past the self-righteous fog clouding the eyes of the rich young man, Comfort (and all who preach the Gospel) could use such practical aspects of the Gospel to show forth the soul-damning lie the WoF movement teaches and call both its adherents and teachers to repentance. Failure to do so would be total miscommunication, and therefore there would be no true Gospel communicated to these heretics and their followers. As an example, Comfort could talk about the sin of materialism as seen in many of the WoF teachers living like kings on earth, and how such a sin damns souls to hell.
So with this, I would urge Ray Comfort to preach the Gospel in THE way of THE master, our Lord Jesus Christ, to expose the sins of the WoF teachers and adherents. Do not preach using Christianese which might as well be Greek as well as the communication of the Gospel is concerned. Of course doing that would probably mean no more invitations to such events to be sure, unless the WoF teachers there repent of their heresies, but we are called to preach the Gospel no matter what the consequences anyway. So if Ray wants to go there to preach the Gospel, do it properly like Jesus did, otherwise do not go there to muddy the waters.