Book Review: “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” by Ray Comfort (1989)

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Despite the man’s external evangelistic methods which some would find disconcerting (and occasionally illegal) in my personal missionary context, Ray Comfort has one of the most fiery hearts for evangelism of just about any other Christian leader I have ever studied. The man is truly gifted with outreach, with conversation, and with evangelistic ardor, and I am certain that his mansion will one day be a considerably larger than my own. I first learned of Comfort when I was a teenager and I listened to a cassette of one of his sermon’s on Hell. He had offered with that sermon on cassette 100 pressed pennies engraved with the words of the Ten Commandments. He had used these pennies as just one of many evangelistic tools to either get a conversation about Christ going or to remind the undecided of their conversation about the Truth at some other point down the road. I found that his book also contained a multitude of other such practical illustrations.

In this book, Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Comfort focuses on the fact that Christians today tend to try evangelism without any mention of sin or the Law. In fact (spoiler alert), the Law itself is “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”! He suggests that when we share the Good News of Christ and fail to mention the bad news of sin, the Law or Hell, we only gain in our converts individuals who are destined to eventually doubt their salvation and quite possibly leave the faith altogether once the struggles of life set in. He candidly attacks the “social gospels” of today, attempts by believers to “love people into the kingdom.” Such weak efforts, he suggests, scrape against everything Christ ever taught and dilute the true nature of the Gospel. As my pastor is prone to teach, in sharing the Good News without the bad (or in not sharing the Good News at all), we only end up “loving people right into Hell.” It is at this realization of the truth that we believers need to ask ourselves, “What in the world are we doing!?”

Comfort’s book is replete with basic and clear illustrations of his points, though his book does tend to drag on in the negative. Not until Chapter 13 (aptly titled “Time to Talk about Jesus”) does he begin to discuss the Christ of the Gospel. While his reasoning is clear, some earlier mention of planned layout would have been welcomed.

My Bible Study Group and I used this book for one segment of the year, and I am glad we did. It definitely refocused our eyes on the need for evangelism, and it surely focused us more on the need for proper evangelism. I would suggest this book for either personal or group study.

© 2011 E.T.

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