The Ultimate Deception. By Ray Comfort. S. Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, Inc., 1993. 269 pp. Paper $5.95.
This book is by an itinerant preacher from New Zealand, living in Southern California, who is burdened about the Gospel and the need to proclaim it clearly. We are in total agreement on that.
He is against what he calls the “Jesus gives happiness” gospel (pp. 15ff.). In this we are in full agreement as well.
The so-called converts of many evangelistic crusades today, Comfort says, are illegitimate since the people do not hear the real Gospel. He gives many examples of large numbers of “converts” at crusades, most of whom never darken the door of churches one year later (cf. pp. 35-39). Again, I agree.
Our final point of agreement concerns the need for people to recognize that they need salvation.
The problem with this book is that it too presents a false gospel. Comfort holds to Lordship Salvation. While he doesn’t dwell at length on what one must do to be saved—which surprised me, since the book decries false practices—Comfort clearly indicates that to gain eternal life one must turn from his sins and make Jesus Christ his Lord (cf. pp. 15-16, 148-50, 268). In addition, he says that if a person’s works aren’t holy that they were never saved in the first place (cf. pp.186-90, 199-200).
This book is not particularly well organized; it’s a bit difficult at times to follow the point the author is trying to make. However, the book is written in a popular style and will appeal to some. It appears that Comfort is a charismatic and that this book is directed primarily to charismatics (pp. 8-10).
This book is for those who wish to have in their library a popular level book defending Lordship Salvation.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society