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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Faith is For Weak People" (Ray Comfort)

TITLE: Faith Is for Weak People: Responding to the Top 20 Objections to the Gospel
AUTHOR: Ray Comfort
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2019, (224 pages).

Not many Christians actively share the gospel. Some hide behind good works while others succumb to a climate of fear and intimidation. The Bible urges believers to be strong and courageous for if God is for us, who can be against us? Plus, there is no fear in love for perfect love casts out all fear. Why then are people afraid to speak up for God's Word and the salvation of the world? Perhaps, it is due to the hostility surrounding Christianity in society. It might also be linked to people feeling ill equipped to deal with objections, especially those questions that even Christians find it hard to answer. Bible teacher and apologist, Ray Comfort knows it from experience. He makes his point very clear. Some Christians roar like lions on social issues such as corruption, violence, poverty, drug abuse, and so on, but when it comes to the gospel, they squeak like mice. The way of salvation is not through good works but through the gospel of Jesus Christ. More importantly, love overcomes all manner of fear. After making a passionate plea for all believers to advance the gospel, Comfort challenges all to have a ready answer for 20 top objections. I have paraphrased most of them.

  1. Why is the world so out of control if God is in control of everything?
  2. How can a good God torture unbelievers in hell indefinitely? (Part One)
  3. How can a good God torture unbelievers in hell indefinitely? (Part Two)
  4. Why should I bother if there is an afterlife?
  5. How could a loving God allow suffering to happen in the world?
  6. Is the God of the Old Testament the same as that of the New Testament?
  7. When asked, would you sacrifice a child to God?
  8. Aren't religions the cause of many wars and sufferings?
  9. Why can't a loving God let gay people choose what they want?
  10. How could "sincere Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists" go to hell if they don't believe in the gospel?
  11. "Why are there so many hypocrites in the Church?"
  12. Why should we believe the Bible's account of creation?
  13. Isn't the Bible written by man? How could it then be error proof?
  14. Who made God?
  15. Why can't good people go to heaven?
  16. What about those who have not heard of the gospel?
  17. "Why does God allow evil?"
  18.  “What’s so bad about other religions?”
  19. “Seeing is believing. Why do I need faith? Faith is for weak people.”
  20. “I can murder a hundred people, then give my heart to Jesus and go to Heaven?”
Each chapter follows the same framework. First, he describes the questions and the underlying concerns. He points out parts in which he is in agreement. Then he moves on to show us that the question itself is inadequate. Often, it is a problem of a good question but inadequate conclusion on the part of the questioner. While admitting to some legitimacy of the argument, Comfort also points out the flaws of the question itself. For instance, the topic of suffering has often been used to discredit Christianity. Yet, the questioner forgets that the greatest sufferer was none other than Jesus, who though innocent, suffered the greatest humiliation and pain. Atheists also attacked the Old Testament God and insists on their version of righteousness. Some of them are more interested in discrediting the Christian faith rather than genuine desire for the truth. After presenting some possible responses to the question, he ends the chapter with a list of questions for anyone to discuss the matter further.

My Thoughts
From beginning to end, Comfort tells us stories of his engagement with people everywhere. At the airports, gas stations, over the telephone, inside restaurants, and especially when in public speaking. one can see his passion played out through his calling as an apologist and an evangelist. One reason why he is able to keep doing what he is doing is his conviction that the gospel must be shared to all, and that only the gospel saves us. Stories work very well in connecting with people, especially his personal ones. In fact, Comfort tells personal stories throughout the book. This is not simply a book about arguments. It is a story of how Comfort connects with people through arguments, apologetics, and associating the gospel with ordinary people.

Comfort also shows us the way of the gospel in every question, turning objections into opportunities. For instance, in the question about sacrificing one's child, he admits firsthand that the question itself need to be examined and if asked, one might want the questioner to "seek professional help." He looks at whether the question of sacrifice contradicts the Bible commandments. He then turns the objections of fear into an opportunity for faith. With philosophical skills and personal tact, the author shows us a gentle and effective way on not just addressing the question but also on presenting the gospel clearly.

Finally, like every book that showcases top 20 questions or objections, one might even ask, what about other issues? Issues such as divorce, abortion, drug abuse, and other contemporary challenges. I would say that a book of this nature is more about teaching us a framework instead of becoming an encyclopedia of answers. Only God can give us all the answers. After reading a couple of chapters, readers would have perceived Comfort's way to do evangelism. I would encourage every reader to develop their own styles of conversation and connection. These must happen before any presentation of the gospel. When in doubt, the following mantra would help: "I don't care how much you know about the gospel until I know how the gospel care for me and my concerns." May this book equip us to do just that.

Ray Comfort is a popular apologist who has written over 90 books. He has co-hosted with Kirk Cameron on TV's The Way of the Master. He also writes a commentary in "The Evidence Bible." He hails from New Zealand and is an active evangelist.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Books and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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