I am going to post a video here. However, as interesting as the topic of the video may be, it is not the subject of this post. In fact, you really don’t have to watch the entire video to understand where I am going.

This video is about how much people know about things such as celebrities, NFL teams, and department stores compared to how little they know about God’s commands. While I know this is true and I don’t really need a video to illustrate this, I understand the impact that a video such as this can have to help confirm this belief.

However . . . am I the only one who feels a little manipulated when I watch these type of videos? You know, the interview videos that put people on the spot. It is the Way of the Master type approach to tugging at heart strings. 

I will just leave it at that and ask you, Do you have the same problem with these type of videos or is it just me?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    21 replies to "Manipulating the Evidence for the Greater Good?"

    • Chance

      How is this manipulation? I dont think putting someone on the spot is manipulation.

    • EricW

      Well, of course most Americans don’t know the Ten Commandments. After all, they’re goyim, not Jews!

      Do you know the Constitution of France? Why expect people to know laws that weren’t given to them or that don’t pertain to them?

      What would really shock me is if most Americans don’t know the “Big 10” that DO apply to them – i.e., the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution aka The Bill of Rights. Do you?

      Do you know which children Jacob had by each of his four women? Do you know the names of those four women?

      [/slight sarcasm]

    • C Michael Patton

      How is this manipulation? I am not necessarily saying it is. Although, I am saying when I watch these type of interviews, I feel manipulated. Why is that?

    • Tony Hicks

      You don’t just have to look at videos to see manipulation but also in preaching in many cases. We are to “provide things honest in the sight of all men.” In my opinion, salesmanship and the Gospel do not go together.

    • Kurt Mincin

      Good points, particularly from Eric W. These comments make me ask, “what would this same scenario look like 50, 60, even 70 years ago? In other words, related to Eric W’s comments, would people in the mid- to late- 1900s have known the commandments or the Bill of Rights? Is it just the shift in values, morals…?

    • C Michael Patton

      Really, it has to do with this whole type of interview. I could go out an interview 100 people and choose only those interviews that support what it is I am trying to push.

      I doubt that this is what they have done here, but I just don’t think that this type of shady process should be something that we use to substantiate our position.

    • davidbmc

      Can you recite the mission statement of the company you work for?

      Can you name the goals your department set at the beginning of 2009?

      Can you name the steps of the scientific method?

      Can you name the capitals?

      There are all kinds of things people can rattle off.

      The problem with this video is in the first set of questions he allowed them to choose ten from a list of nearly unlimited options (name ten sports teams) then he asked them to recite the ten (and only ten) commandments. It’s not comparable.

      To be fair though-the flip side of what he is doing is fairly positive. The guy is trying to get people to memorize the ten commandments by offering to pay $20,000 to people who are willing to play along. They practice and somebody wins. That ain’t bad.

      I won’t even get on my high-horse about how we are not bound by the ten commandments.



    • EricW

      Actually, “The Ten Commandments” are in Exodus 34 (see Exodus 34:28 and the preceding verses 34:10-27), not Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5. And it’s not the same list that the guy in the video is using. Maybe it’s he, and not his victims, that doesn’t know “The Ten Commandments.” 🙂

    • davidbmc

      Interesting. How/where do/would you enumerate those?


    • EricW


      That’s a good question. Try your hand at it. 🙂

      FWIW, the regular 10 (Exodus 20/Deuteronomy 5) are divided/numbered differently among Catholics, Protestants, and Jews.* Plus, the slight wording changes between Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 raise some questions, e.g., what is the reason for the Sabbath remembrance (Ex 20) or observance/guarding/keeping (Deut 5): creation in 6 days or deliverance from slavery into “rest.”

      * See David Noel Freedman The Nine Commandments, pp. 15-16 for a chart of the different numbering systems of Exodus 20:2-17: Jewish, Roman Catholic/Anglican/Lutheran, and Orthodox/Reformed.

    • davidbmc

      I did try my hand at it. That’s why I asked.

      I came up with between 6 and 15 commandments depending on how you group them. I was wondering how you divide them.

      Or is it possible that the reference to the ten comm. in v. 28 is referring to the Ex 20 list? (Not saying it is-just asking.)


    • tamara

      It’s manipulative, irritating and disconcerting. Dangle money in front of someone so that they can memorize some words that tell them it’s not ok to steal from or kill someone? Like we still need to be told this? Is this the central theme of Christianity? Is this God’s concern, that we obey the 10 commandments?? I thought we were supposed to be pressing people towards Jesus, not OT law.

    • EricW


      I’ve tried to enumerate them a couple times, too. IMO, the context suggests that 34:28 is referring to what preceded it in 34:10-27, not to Exodus 20. John Sailhamer enumerates them this way:
      1. 11-17: Prohibition of idolatry
      2. 18: Feast of Unleavened Bread
      3. 19-20: Dedication and redemption of firstborn
      4. 20: Sabbath
      5. 21a: Feast of Weeks
      6. 21b: Feast of Ingathering
      7. 25a: Prohibition of leaven in blood of sacrifice
      8. 25b: Prohibition of preserving Passover sacrifice
      9. 26a: Best of the firstfruits
      10. 26b: Prohitibion of boiling kid in mother’s milk

      The Pentateuch As Narrative, John H. Sailhamer, p. 316

    • Shawn Smith

      I have little problem with it. I get Ron Paul fan email… I have thick skin 🙂

    • I fail to see how Way of the Master can be put as manipulation? Doesn’t Scripture tell us by the Law is knowledge of sin, so how else to expose one’s real self to themselves than the Law of God?

    • Susan

      Ray Comfort (who heads up the Way of the Master–not the guy in the video) is an evangelist, and he has a lot of very worthwhile things to say. Although I might not feel comfortable using the street witnessing methods he teaches, I think that there is validity to helping people to reflect on the fact that they aren’t necessarily such ‘good people’ by God’s standards. Those who don’t see themselves as sinners have no need for a Savior. Conviction over ones sin is a work of the HS, which can certainly be brought about with exposure to God’s standards.

      The video seems a bit cheesy, but I wonder if many would experience true conviction if they sat down and memorized the Ten Commandments. It would of course be a work of God’s Spirit….
      It wouldn’t be my method……but……?

    • tamara

      If I recall, the way the story goes is that God gave the 10 commandments to Israel in the wilderness and that, but for two, all who were there to receive it died in the wilderness. The Law does not bring life. It does not even bring conviction. It only establishes that an offense has been made. This is not the Good News. This is the Bad News.

    • Ron Wolf

      I can definatly see why you feel this way Michael. How long would have the viedo been if they included all that they had recorded. It was recorded to show how, as a general population, we lack knowlege of God’s 10 commandments compared to worldly things (not all worldly things obviously). 85% was a figure tossed out. 85% of what? The people outside in his neighborhood, in a business district? At the mall or place were these items they had knowledge about were sold? Could be as you say “Manipulative” to say the least.

    • C Michael Patton

      Ron, you are the only one who got it! That is exactly what I was talking about.

    • R.A. Fiallos

      The Way of The Master makes me cringe. I saw some of the video clips with Kurt Cameron (who seems like a genuinely nice and sincere guy)…to me, it’s kind of embarrassing. Why not try to attract followers to Christ by actually ministering to them instead of making them feel intellectually small and giving them $20 afterwards? I only saw a couple of the videos, perhaps I’m generalizing, but I did feel uncomfortable watching them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.