Ray Comfort Perverts Luke 8:13

By David J. Stewart

1st Timothy 4:2, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”

       On Ray Comfort's website, http://www.wayofthemaster.com, under the drop-down-menu "Get Equipped," there's a link titled Answers to 100 Common Questions.  In this section you'll find Ray's heretical answer to the question... "Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?"  The answers are directly from The Evidence Bible, which was compiled and commented by Ray Comfort.  This heresy also appears on Mr. Comfort's other website at... http://www.livingwaters.com/witnessingtool/browse.shtml.  Here is Ray's unbiblical answer to the question...

Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?

... We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and until we forsake them through repentance, we cannot be made alive in Christ ...

If belief is all that is necessary for salvation, then the logical conclusion is that one need never repent. However, the Bible tells us that a false convert "believes" and yet is not saved (Luke 8:13); he remains a "worker of iniquity." Look at the warning of Scripture: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (1 John 1:6). The Scriptures also say, "He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesses and forsakes them [repentance] shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). Jesus said that there was joy in heaven over one sinner who "repents" (Luke 15:10). If there is no repentance, there is no joy because there is no salvation.

SOURCE: http://www.livingwaters.com/witnessingtool/browse.shtml

Carefully notice that Mr. Comfort attempts to use Luke 8:13 to support his heresy that believing on Jesus Christ is insufficient by itself to save a person.  Luke 8:13 states:

"They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away."

Now let's take a broader look at Luke 8:12-14:

We see FOUR distinct groups here.  The first group clearly did not get saved, because the Bible states it. 

The second group DID get saved, because the Bible says they believed for a while.  For Ray Comfort to teach that the people in Luke 8:13 weren't saved is heresy.  The Bible says they received the word "with joy."  We read the parallel account of Luke 8:13 in Matthew 13:20-21:

"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

This Scripture is addressing the believer who does not confess nor bare fruit for Christ because of fear of persecution.  This truth is perfectly illustrated by the chief rulers in John 12:42-43 whom the Bible states were SAVED...

"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also MANY BELIEVED ON HIM; but because of the Pharisees they DID NOT CONFESS HIM, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

Ray Comfort is wrong!  For someone to receive the Gospel with joy, and believe, is saved!!!  There are many believers today, most in fact, who cower in their churches.  They would never protest on a street corner against abortion, would never go door-to-door confrontational soulwinning, et cetera.  The Bible clearly states that the people in Luke 8:12 didn't get "saved," and even uses the term.  In sharp contrast, the people in Luke 8:13 wanted to be saved, and were saved; but they were not strong enough in the Lord to deal with persecution.  Every one of Jesus' disciples abandoned Him when he was arrested, and was tried as a criminal, and sentenced to death on a cross.  They fell away in a time of temptation (i.e., hardship); but they didn't lose their salvation, nor does it mean that they had only believed without repenting.  Ray Comfort is teaching heresy!

The folks in Luke 8:13 were saved, and so were the people in Luke 8:14.  The Bible says they were "choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life."  This again describes most believers today.  The average believer today is more concerned about making money, upgrading their cellphone and having a good time.  They are not honoring God with their life or resources.  If anything, they give God a little pocket-change and some spare time.  The believers described in verses 13 and 14 never make an attempt to win a soul to Jesus Christ. 

In striking contrast, the believers in Luke 8:15 are soulwinners, who faithfully and patiently preach the Gospel.

Sadly, Mr. Comfort and his sidekick, Kirk Cameron, are doctrinally corrupted and confused; likely because they are followers of heretic John MacArthur (evidenced by Kirk Cameron promoting the John MacArthur Study Bible on his website). They are WRONG to teach that repentance unto salvation means ceasing from sin. They are also wrong to teach that repentance is a completely separate act from believing upon the Lord to be saved. These are 2 deadly heresies concerning salvation. THE TRUTH is that you simply turn to the Lord by faith to be forgiven of your sins and you are saved immediately, completely and eternally. It's that simple. We are the SINNER and Jesus is the SAVIOR!
 

Biblical Repentance

There is a fine line between the turning from sin that genuine repentance brings; verses the turning from sin that false prophets like Ray Comfort require for people to get saved.  Again, Mr. Comfort states:

If belief is all that is necessary for salvation, then the logical conclusion is that one need never repent. However, the Bible tells us that a false convert "believes" and yet is not saved (Luke 8:13); he remains a "worker of iniquity."

SOURCE: http://www.livingwaters.com/witnessingtool/browse.shtml

In sharp contrast, Dr. John R. Rice correctly states...

“To repent literally means to have a change of mind or spirit toward God and toward sin. It means to turn from your sins, earnestly, with all your heart, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you. You can see, then, how the man who believes in Christ repents and the man who repents believes in Christ. The jailer repented when he turned from sin to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (John R. Rice, What Must I Do to Be Saved?, 1940). [emphasis added]

Whereas Ray Comfort attempts to separate repentance from belief; Bro. Rice correctly recognizes them as ONE AND THE SAME.  A man who turns toward God in faith to be forgiven of his sins has repented!  A man who has repented of his sins is one who has come as a guilty sinner to the cross of Christ for salvation.  This is the simplicity of salvation.  Ray Comfort, as heretic John MacArthur, makes salvation hard. 

Take a look at what MacArthur says on page 93 of his book, Hard To Believe:

"Salvation isn't the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it's the fruit of actions, not intentions. There's no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile...The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny" (Hard to Believe, p. 93). [emphasis added]

Do you see the night-and-day difference between turning from sin that genuine repentance brings; verses the turning from sin that false prophets like Ray Comfort and John MacArthur require for people to get saved?  We turn to Christ to be saved from our sins; we don't turn from our sins in order to turn to Christ.
 

Conclusion

I believe Mr. Comfort may be sincerely confused (i.e., ignorant of the Scriptures).  Nevertheless, he is teaching damnable heresy and must be exposed for doing so, because he is influencing millions of people for Satan.  Many people today think they can't be saved unless they are willing to turn over a new leaf and stop committing sin.  I have news for you, Ray Comfort commits sin every day, just like you, me, and everyone else.  Salvation is receiving; NOT giving.  Eternal life is a free gift from God (Romans 5:15;6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9), paid for by Jesus' precious, literal, liquid, blood (1st Peter 1:18,19; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 1:5).

The problem is that preachers oftentimes confuse the FRUIT of a believer's faith (James 2:18-21) with the ROOT of a believer's faith (Romans 4:3-5).  The change is the FRUIT, the result, of repentance; not repentance itself.

Genuine repentance brings forth FRUIT; but the fruit is NOT a prerequisite to obtaining the ROOT (i.e., salvation by grace through faith in Jesus).  Luke 8:13 cannot be used to prove the false doctrine that believing on Jesus is insufficient to save.  Those folks in Luke 8:13 were already saved.  If you have childlike faith in the Savior to forgive your sins, that's all you need to be saved.  The Word of God refers to the Biblical Gospel as "the simplicity that is in Christ" (2nd Corinthians 11:3).  Thankfully, the Gospel is simple... we are guilty SINNERS and Jesus is the Precious SAVIOR.  Anyone who acknowledges their guilty condition (being condemned under God's Holy Law—Romans 3:19) and believes on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins is saved (John 3:16).  Acts 10:43 plainly states: "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."  That is the simplicity of the salvation that is in Christ. 

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