Well-known Kiwi evangelist Ray Comfort is relentless of his sharing Christ to the lost. Authentic Magazine’s Dave Firth caught up with him to see how things were going and to talk about what’s holding Christian men back from sharing their faith.
What memories do you have from growing up in NZ?
Sue and I read what’s happening in New Zealand every night. I know things have changed in recent years, but growing up in New Zealand for me it was one of a safe, happy, and carefree childhood. We lived opposite a beach and I spent most of my life in the ocean, and then making tree huts, and as I got older, I was deeply into the surfing scene.
How often do you get back to NZ and when you do what do you get up to?
Since coming to the US in 1989, I’ve been back to New Zealand 14 times. This was mainly to see my parents and my sister, and to get some good food. I’m talking about cream buns, meat pies, real fish and chips, and other things that are not available in the US.
Tell us about Living Waters and what you spend your time doing these days.
Living Waters started in 1974. A friend named Marcus Ardern gave me the artwork for the first addition of a free paper called, “Living Waters.” I had it printed, and we gave away hundreds of thousands of copies. Around the same time I started printing gospel tracts.
I also produced a surf movie back in 1972, was born again the same year, and sometime later I began producing films. Over the years we have printed hundreds of millions of tracts, and I’ve kept producing movies. Our YouTube channel has more than 48 million views, which really encourages me. We have access right into the heart of this godless world, through the Internet.
Sharing our faith seems to be a real challenge for Christian men. Why do you think we are so uncomfortable sharing the good news of Jesus when we’d be quite happy to share that McDonalds is doing ‘Buy one, get one free’?
Many are held captive by their fears because they haven’t been equipped to share their faith. Living Waters exists to come beside such people and help them to overcome their fears. One of the best ways to do this is to listen to a free teaching on LivingWaters.com called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.” It’s on the right side of the homepage, and it will really help. I also suggest not to pray for less fear. Pray for more love. That’s what’s lacking if people are going to Hell and we couldn’t care less.
Would you take a different approach between evangelising in NZ and America?
There is little difference. We took our production team to Europe and preached the gospel in 13 countries in 13 days, and filmed 13 episodes for a television program (Season Four). We did this to show that the biblical gospel is relevant to all cultures.
I think the only difference would be, the kiwi accent. Americans love it, that makes it easier to talk to them.
We’ve seen some of your amazing video testimonies (atheists, punks etc) but what is the most dramatic conversion you’ve been involved in?
The most dramatic conversion I have ever seen, is my own. I was made a new person overnight! The first time I was born, it was radical. I didn’t exist, and then I did. My new birth was just as radical. That was 45 years ago, and I am still shaking my head in amazement at what God did in
Where do you think is the best place to evangelise (workplace, socially, on the street)?
Undoubtably the best place to evangelize is anywhere you meet strangers. It’s very hard to witness in your workplace, to your family, or to your neighbors. This is because if you offend a stranger, you’ve lost nothing. If he calls you an idiot and says that he will never talk to you again, you’ve lost nothing. But if that happens with your family or your workplace or your neighbors, you’ve lost everything. That’s why it’s scary to talk to those you love.
How do you speak to lost relatives who aren’t interested in Christian things?
Very carefully and gently, then back off, and become rich in good works. Be extremely loving to a point where you give them gifts when it’s not Christmas or their birthday. Good works speak volumes to loved-ones. A bottle of sparkling nonalcoholic grape juice for no reason, can speak louder than 1000 sermons.
You’ve been involved in lots of high impact projects over the years but what has been the most rewarding personally?
We produced a pro-life movie called “180.” It shows eight people, who are pro-abortion changing their minds in a matter of seconds and becoming a pro-life, because they were asked one question.
The most rewarding thing to come out of that, has been mothers showing up at the ministry holding babies that are alive because of the movie. They were planning an abortion, watched “180” and change their minds.
Now you’re based in California these days but Kiwis can still learn and study with you and the Living Waters team via the School of Biblical Evangelism. Tell us about that?
LivingWaters.com is set up to equip Christians to share their faith biblically. Much of the material on the site is completely free. We have audios, videos, gospel tracts, movies and a whole lot of other things to help you. We also have the School of Biblical Evangelism. It has 18,000 online students. I would suggest subscribing to our YouTube channel. That way you can be kept up-to-date with our new productions.
Authentic Magazine exists to grow Christian men in their faith and give them tools and resources to share their faith with their friends. What do you think about that?
I think it’s wonderful. I hope you have great success. You’ll need a lot of prayer and a strong will, because encouraging Christians into what Spurgeon called the “irksome” task of evangelism, is like bathing wild cats and trying to floss their back teeth at the same time. God bless you for doing this.
We know the Bible is very important to you. A lot of Christian Men struggle to read the Bible. What advice can you give them about getting back in to God’s Word?
I have been reading the Bible every day without fail for the last 45 years. I thought every Christian did that. But I was wrong. Most are lazy and undisciplined and love their belly more than their Bible. They wouldn’t go a day without feeding their stomach, but they will go a week without reading the Word.
If we profess to love God, we should listen to what He says. Say to yourself, “No Bible, no breakfast.” Then keep your word. There are times that I wake up in the morning and my hair is messy, my face is pale, and I could kill a house-plant from 20 paces with my breath. I don’t feel like reading my Bible. But I don’t go by feelings. I’m no longer my own. I am bought with a price. I’m a soldier of Christ. Therefore, I discipline myself to daily read the War Manual.
Sorry but I have to ask…Marmite or Vegemite?
Marmite for sure. I’m a Kiwi through and through. We watch rugby every week. Love it. Love the All Blacks. Love New Zealand.
Ray, you’re a top bloke and a huge encouragement to Christian Kiwis. How can we support the work you’re doing or how can we get involved?
Pray for us, subscribe to our YouTube channel, reach out to the lost while we still have time.
This interview was originally published in Authentic Magazine in 2017.
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About the author
Dave Firth is a husband, father, Bible teacher and communicator. He loves the Lord and has a passion for His Word. For more info and free-to-use-Bible study tools visit www.davefirth.org
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