Ray Comfort: Is it Just a Matter of Semantics?
By David J. Stewart

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” –2nd Corinthians 11:3

       Someone recently wrote to me, trying to convince me that I and Ray Comfort believe the same Biblical doctrine concerning salvation, and insisted that it was merely a matter of “semantics” (i.e., the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, et cetera). I certainly wish that were true.

My question to you is: Are there 2 Gospels?

  1. I believe that one's salvation is solely based in Christ's righteousness and has absolutely nothing to do with one's desire to depart from sin. Romans 4:5-6 plainly teaches that salvation is without works of self-righteousness, and that we are saved by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Salvation is of the Lord. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith. A person gives up their sins because they ARE a Christian; and not to BECOME a Christian. The changed life comes AFTER a person is saved, as a person grows in the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2).
     
  2. Ray Comfort on the other hand, believes that a person must stop deliberately committing sin to be saved. Mr. Comfort teaches that those who profess faith in Christ, but still continue in sin, are not saved because they have never given up their sins, which he teaches is necessary for salvation. Ray Comfort teaches that a changed life is part of the ROOT of saving faith. According to Mr. Comfort, a person must give up their sins to BECOME a Christian. In this false plan of salvation, a sinner must change in order to be saved.

These are 2 drastically different Gospels and one is wrong.

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!

A lot of Christians have brushed the issue aside as a matter of semantics, but the difference between the 2 Gospels is day and night. One includes a certain degree of self-righteousness, which is a false Gospel; but the other is solely based upon Christ's righteousness, which is by the precious literal, physical, blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I believe that Ray Comfort is sincere; but sincerely wrong on salvation. I am writing this article to evidence clearly that Ray Comfort is errant concerning salvation, and it is NOT merely a matter of semantics.

The issue is not about Ray Comfort, but about the integrity of Gospel. I don’t enjoy exposing false prophets; but it is a joy and a privilege to contend for the Christian faith. If one is wrong on salvation, then he is wrong on everything.

Ray Comfort is an extremely popular evangelist, with his ministries, THE WAY OF THE MASTER and LIVING WATERS. Unfortunately, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron teach the heresy of Lordship Salvation...

“Merely being sorry for your sins, or confessing them to God won't help you. You must turn from sin (repent).”

SOURCE: LIVING WATERS ministry, SAVE YOURSELF SOME PAIN

Heresy! That is self-righteousness! Adding even the slightest work of self-righteousness to the Gospel corrupts it into a false way, a false plan, a road to damnation.
 

Ray Comfort Corrupts Matthew 7:22,23

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." —Matthew 7:22,23

On page 1197 of THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, Ray Comfort comments on Matthew 7:22,23...

"These are perhaps the most frightening verses in the Bible. Vast multitudes of professing Christians fit into the category spoken of here. They call Jesus 'Lord,' but they practice lawlessness. They profess faith in Jesus, but have no regard for the divine law. They tell 'fibs' or 'white' lies, take things that belong to others, have a roaming eye for the opposite sex, etc. They are liars, thieves, and adulterers at heart, who will be cast from the gates of heaven into the jaws of hell."

SOURCE: THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, by Ray Comfort, pg. 1197; 2003, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, Florida

In sharp contrast, read what Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) has to say Scripturally about worldly believers.

Ladies and gentleman, Ray Comfort is teaching works salvation! According to what we just read by Ray Comfort, every believer who is still living in deliberate sin won't be allowed into Heaven.

The correct interpretation of Matthew 7:22,23 must include verse 21...

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

What is "the will of the Father"? The answer is found in John 6:40...

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."

The group in Matthew 7:21-23 were unsaved because they refused to do God's will concerning salvation. It wasn't because they still had personal sins in their life. Every believer still has sin in their life! We all sin every day. That's not to say that we have God's approval to sin, God forbid (Romans 3:31). It just means that even the best of Christians are still sinners. Ray Comfort wrestles the Scriptures to his own destruction.

John 3:20 states... "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:20). Such apostates are willing to follow a false gospel or a milquetoast preacher like Joel Osteen. However, it is not one's unwillingness to forsake personal sins that prevent a person from being saved; but rather, one's love for such sins. In John 5:40 Jesus said, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Jesus didn't say, "Ye cannot come." He said, "Ye WILL NOT come." But if such a sinner does come to Jesus, acknowledging his guilt of sin and sincerely desiring to be forgiven, the Lord will save him eternally.

Ray Comfort perverts Matthew 7:22,23 by claiming that false prophets are those who claim to be Christians; but are not because of sin in their life, i.e., because they have not literally forsaken their sins yet. Clearly, Mr. Comfort is teaching works salvation. Satan is a master liar and deceiver and his ministers are turned into ministers of righteousness (2nd Corinthians 11:13,14). There are many groups who falsely profess to be "Christian" nowadays, but it's not because they still have sin in their life... it's because they're trusting their own self-righteousness; namely, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christian Scientists, Scientologists, Lordship Salvationists and innumerable others.

Every proponent of Lordship Salvation claims that eternal is a free gift, provided by God's free grace, and that works are not essential to salvation; yet, they 100% contradict themselves when they mandate a changed life as part of saving faith. Forsaking one's sins is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; not a prerequisite to being saved.

Jesus clearly taught that the reason why the group in Matthew 7:21-23 wasn't saved is because they had failed to do GOD'S WILL. John 6:40 tells us that God's will is for us to BELIEVE ON JESUS CHRIST. Ray Comfort would have us to believe that forsaking one's sins is God's will for salvation; but that is NOT what the Bible says at all.
 

What About Charles Spurgeon?

As with other false prophets, Ray Comfort leans heavily upon the quotes of historically great men to support his unbiblical position. THE EVIDENCE BIBLE quotes Spurgeon often. Unfortunately, Ray Comfort (as does John MacArthur) horribly take Charles Spurgeon's words out of context, and claim that Spurgeon taught Lordship Salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth, as this quote by Spurgeon himself plainly reveals...

"You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. "Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself..."

— Charles Spurgeon

SOURCE: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0044.htm (from a sermon preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on September 23, 1855)

Why doesn't Ray Comfort quote those words by Spurgeon? Ray Comfort is guilty of twisting the Scriptures around and misrepresenting the beliefs of Spurgeon to support his unbiblical position.
 

Ray Comfort Says Sinful Believers are Not “Safe” in Jesus

On page 1513 of THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, under the section “Questions & Objections,” Ray Comfort addresses the statement: “Because Jesus died on the cross we are forgiven of every sin.” Here’s Ray Comfort’s reply to this statement…

“The forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ is conditional upon ‘repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21). It is a gift that God offers to everyone, but individuals must receive it by repenting and trusting in Christ, or they will remain dead in their sins. No one has Biblical grounds to continue in sin, assuming that they are safe just because Jesus died on the cross. See 1 John 3:4-6.” [Emphasis added]

SOURCE: THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, by Ray Comfort, pg. 1513; 2003, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, Florida

Those are some very dangerous words at the end, “…assuming that they are safe just because Jesus died on the cross.” Are not all believers “safe” in Jesus Christ? Yes, they certainly are safe (Ephesians 1:13; Isaiah 28:16; Romans 10:11); but Ray Comfort teaches they are not. Ray Comfort is teaching heresy to say that believers who fail to forsake their sins are not safe in their salvation. Such reasoning places a heavy burden upon the sinner, requiring one to depart from sinful bad habits as a prerequisite to be saved.

Ray Comfort's teaching here beckons the question: How much sin is considered "safe"? Aren't we all willful sinners at times? Yes indeed. Is any amount of sin "safe"? Clearly, Mr. Comfort interprets "repentance" for salvation as ceasing from one's sins, which is entirely wrong. Man's only part in salvation is to believe on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43).
 
The major problem with Ray Comfort’s theology is his faulty understanding of what Biblical “repentance” means. It is interesting that Ray Comfort avoids defining the term directly; whereas the New Testament Greek does… METANOIA, “a change of mind.” That’s it! Ray Comfort understands repentance to mean literally forsaking one’s sinful lifestyle to get saved. He’s putting the cart before the horse. The changed life comes AFTER a person is saved; not as a prerequisite to be saved. This is what 1st John 3:4-6 means. A believer’s faith should be evidenced by a changed life; BUT, you can’t mandate that changed life, i.e., forsaking one’s sins, as part of saving faith.

Dr. Harry Ironside (former pastor of Moody Memorial Church, 1930-1948) correctly understood repentance to mean…

"Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership — the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word."

SOURCE: Except Ye Repent, by Dr. Harry Ironside, chapter 3

Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. H.A. Ironside correctly recognized repentance as the confession that "one is utterly without merit" and that if one is "ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ." Salvation is without works of self-righteousness. Romans 4:5 plainly teaches that a man's faith is COUNTED for righteousness, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to one's heavenly record by faith. Repentance and faith are inseparable. The Gospel of John mentions the word "believe" 85-times; but the word "repent" is never mentioned even once. In genuine salvation, one who believes on Jesus Christ has repented; and one who repents has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

In sharp contrast, Ray Comfort separates repentance from faith, thus requiring lost sinners to cease from their sins as a prerequisite to placing their faith in Christ for salvation (which is a false gospel).


Salvation is Not Hard
 
Ray Comfort makes salvation hard, as does John MacArthur (who even authored a book titled “Hard To Believe”). My friend, it is not hard to believe. The reason why people won’t get saved is because they willfully choose not to come to Jesus Christ to be saved… “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). In John 5:40 Jesus said to the unbelieving crowd… “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Carefully notice that Jesus DIDN’T say… “Ye cannot come.” Rather, He said, "Ye will not come." Salvation is freely given and freely received by faith alone (Romans 6:23; Revelation 22:17). Salvation is not hard at all. What is hard is people’s hearts! Anyone who acknowledges their guilt of sin and wants to be eternally forgiven may, by simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
John 6:40 tells us the will of God concerning salvation… “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” I don’t see any mention of “repentance.” Do you know why? It’s because a person who turns to Jesus Christ to be forgiven of their sins has repented. It's the very fact that one repents that causes them to believe on the Lord for the forgiveness of sins.
 

An Every Word Bible

I am dismayed when I hear professed Christians say that the Bible is not something we should fight over. What? If God is going to judge us for the very words we speak, then don't you think that the Words He speaks are equally important? Yes, of course! Everything that we believe as Christians hinge upon EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD (Matthew 4:4). Therefore, I need an every word Bible. God only wrote one Book. There are literally hundreds of English translations, which vary widely in their content, meaning and doctrine. This is why I defend, love and promote only the King James Bible. All other English translations on the market today are corrupt! It does matter, very much, that we have the right message, from a trustworthy Bible.
 

There is Only One Gospel

Ray Comfort once kindly wrote to me, attempting to convince me that our doctrinal differences are a mere matter of semantics (i.e., wording the same belief differently). I told him that we do not agree at all on the issue of salvation, because he believes that a person cannot be saved and deliberately continue in sin; but I do believe that. The difference is much more than mere semantics, it is night and day.

Do you see the drastic difference between the two different Gospels? The latter is damnable heresy.

Ray Comfort is sincere, unquestionably; but he is doctrinally messed up from following John MacArthur. Biblically, a person who continues in sin is likely not saved (1st John 3:8); but it's not because they never gave up their sins as Ray Comfort errantly teaches. It's because they never genuinely believed on Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21; John 6:40).

That's where Ray Comfort goes astray in his theology. To teach that giving up one's sins is mandatory for salvation is a false Gospel of self-righteousness, which excludes everyone who is not willing to stop living in sin. Jesus said in John 6:37 that He would not turn away anyone who came to Him for salvation, and that includes the vilest sinner who isn't ready to give up his sins yet. All God requires is that a person acknowledge their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19), and believe on the Lord to be forgiven (Acts 10:43; Romans 10:13). Acts 16:30-31, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” That's the way to be saved, i.e., to believe on Jesus as the Christ.

Most of the false prophets teaching the heresy of Lordship Salvation are from California (John Mac Arthur, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Jack Chick, et cetera). California is a hotbed of false prophets! Lordship Salvation is the teaching that a person must stop living in sin to be saved. In Jack Chick's case, he's a bit more subtle, teaching that it's not enough to admit one's sinnership to be saved; but a person must also be willing to stop living in sin to be saved. These are all damnable heresies that destroy the gift of God. You don't give up anything to be saved; Jesus gave up everything to pay for our sins. Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS! If you want to be saved, then repent toward God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to forgive your sins. It's that simple. God will take care of the rest from there.

There are hundreds of perversions of the Gospel nowadays. Every believer needs to be a watchman, a pit bull guard dog, that shines the Light of God's Word upon the darkness. That's the only way to expose the darkness, i.e., by shining the Lamp of God's Word upon it. Salvation is simple—we are SINNERS and Jesus is the SAVIOR.

If a person must forsake their sinful habits to be saved, then salvation is extremely complicated. The hypocrisy of Ray Comfort's and John MacArthur's Lordship Salvation heresy is that NO ONE can give up all their sins. 1st John 1:10 says that we are calling God a liar if we say we are without sin. Only Jesus is completely without sin (1st Peter 2:22).

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." —2nd Corinthians 11:3


Charles Spurgeon On Repentance

Some Bible teachers like John MacArthur and Ray Comfort have attempted to misquote Charles Spurgeon to support their Lordship Salvation heresy; but they need to keep reading Spurgeon's sermons, because Charles Spurgeon clearly DIDN'T believe in giving up sins to be saved...

"You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. "Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself..."

— Charles Spurgeon

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon, sermon: REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE, [http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0044.htm (from a sermon preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on September 23, 1855)]

Clearly, Charles Haddon Spurgeon DIDN'T believe that forsaking one's sins, or grieving, or feeling sorrow, or being willing to turn from them, was necessary to be saved. Rather, Spurgeon believed that they were evidences of genuine repentance. Spurgeon did in fact teach, as have other great men of God, that a sinner ought to turn from his or her sins as evidence of genuine repentance; but this is after-the-fact, and not a requirement for salvation itself. Spurgeon plainly taught "there are no conditions of salvation," which is what the Bible teaches. We are sinners and Jesus is the Savior!


Ray Discomfort  |  Ray Comfort is Wrong On Salvation!

Ray Comfort's Perverted Gospel  |  The Unbiblical REPENTANCE Heresy!

The Evidence Bible Exposed!

Spurgeon DIDN'T Teach Lordship Salvation

Harry Ironside DIDN'T Teach Lordship Salvation

Catholics Teach the Exact Same Meaning of “Born Again” as Lordship Salvationists!

Repent! Repent! Repent!


Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!