Recently the Lord began to impress me with the great need to share the Gospel with the lost. When He put an opportunity to witness right on my lap (via my laptop!), I realized I needed to know how to witness, where to start, what to say. The Lord led me to pick up my sister's copy of an amazing book, Hell's Best Kept Secret, written by Ray Comfort, evangelist, author, and host of the award-winning TV show, The Way of the Master.
In the preface, the author presents his reason for this book. Many people do not hear the Gospel because Christians are bound by fear of rejection or fear of saying the wrong thing. In addition, many people think they are saved because they have been reached by a false Gospel under the name of Christianity. The purpose of Hell's Best Kept Secret is to break away from the present-day, faulty evangelistic fads and to return to "the way of the Master", the way that Jesus and Peter and Paul evangelized in the Bible. Ray also desires to give answers to frustrated Christians who are unsure of how to witness, and to inspire them to go forward for Christ's kingdom with fresh zeal.
Ray begins explaining the errors in modern-day "evangelism". Instead of giving a Gospel that calls people to repentance and surrender to God, people today advocate a man-centered Gospel. They say things like, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!" "Jesus will make you happy!" The Gospel becomes "a ticket out of hell" and allows people to continue to do whatever they wish with their lives. In most of the great evangelical campaigns, quite often less than 20% of the people who have professed salvation have stayed true and shown fruit of salvation. What has gone wrong? Is the Gospel less powerful today than it was in the days of Paul?
By no means! Ray Comfort reveals the major element missing in the popular Gospel presentation today: the Law. He explains, by Scripture and through colorful illustrations, that unless a person realizes their spiritual destitution and their need for God, they cannot experience true salvation.
Scripture sheds light on the function of the Law. The Law can never save anyone, and yet it is needful for a person to see their need for salvation. The Law (1) convicts of sin (Acts 24:24-25), (2) produces understanding (Hosea 4:6, Matthew 13:23), (3) builds faith (Romans 1:17, (4) exposes sin (Romans 7:7-8), (5) prepares the sinner to receive Christ (Luke 19:1-10), and (6) is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Drawing from Christ's encounter with the "Rich Young Ruler", Ray presents the principle of using the 10 Commandments in witnesses to convict the sinner of his sin and of his need for God. Based off of the account of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, he presents for principles to remember while witnessing to someone: (1) Relate (finding common interest, beginning a conversation), (2) Create (swing to a discussion of the Gospel), (3) Convict (help the person to see his need for God), and (4) Reveal (share with them how their sin can be forgiven and how they can have a personal relationship with God.)
In addition, the author answers questions such as, When and where should I engage in a spiritual conversation? How do I begin a spiritual conversation? When do I begin to talk about Jesus? How do I know a person has truly been saved? What do I say when a person has prayed for salvation? Can I be a witness for Christ? He also includes an eight-page appendix of additional frequently asked questions regarding witnessing, and answers to those questions.
This book was a great blessing and encouragement to me, as well as a huge motivator for me in sharing the Gospel. As well as helping me to know how to share Christ with others, it filled me with a fresh realization of my own sinfulness and a renewed appreciation and awe for the wonderful work Christ has done in me. After reading Hell's Best Kept Secret, I hope that I am now better equipped to take part in God's purpose for all believers: to disciple the nations. I highly recommend this book to those of you who desire to serve Christ with confidence and wisdom.
Hell's Best Kept Secret is copyrighted 1989 by Whitaker House and can be found at your local bookstore or at Living Waters. In addition, audio lessons, articles, and videos by Ray Comfort and his co-host Kirk Cameron regarding witnessing/evangelism can be found at The Way of the Master's website.