Harold E. Camping, an 89-year old Christian radio broadcaster and the president of Family Radio, a religious broadcasting network based in Oakland, California, is one of the more arrogant and misled teachers on radio. His network now spans more than 150 outlets in the United States. On his network and website Camping says Christ is coming back this Saturday, May 21st. Here is how USA Today reported the Camping prediction in a recent edition. Watch this video. It might move you to tears if you see how much damage this man has actually done to earnest people who follow him.
If you are not in an area of the country where you’ve heard Camping speak you haven’t missed a great deal. Wikipedia notes that his “trademarks include a deep, sonorous voice coupled with a slow cadence. He has also used mathematical predictions applied to the Bible to predict dates for the end of the world.” Camping is a very extreme Calvinist who at one time was actually a member of the Christian Reformed Church. (He long ago left his local church and pronounced judgment on this church and ever other church in existence! For some years his message has been centered on telling people to leave their church and support his radio broadcasts since he alone knows the truth.) His current end times prediction is that Christ will come for true believers, of which there are very, very few left it must be noted, this Saturday, May 21, 2011.
I heard Camping recently, for five minutes or so, on my car radio. He was going on and on about the fact that all of the remaining churches are apostate and all those who remain in them will be damned! Camping believes that we are already in the Great Tribulation and that when the few believers that remain are taken away this week then God will begin to completely destroy the Earth and the universe ending five months later on October 21. Nearly seven billion people will be destroyed in a series of “natural” disasters. He bases all of this upon calculations he has made with numbers and dates, ostensibly from the Bible. (It must be remembered that countless teachers have done the same for centuries, opposing the very teaching of Jesus about the end of this age not being known to anyone but the Father alone!) You would think Harold Camping would have learned something from his past mistakes about Christ’s return but such is not the case. He previously predicted that the Rapture would occur in September 1994 but now says he miscalculated the numbers. This time he will be right.
Several questions occur to me?
1. What will happen to Family Radio after May 21? (I hope it shuts down!)
2. What will these people who follow Camping so devotedly do after this Saturday? (I hope they wake up and confess their sinful foolishness, which is morally dangerous, disown the man as a false teacher and get involved in a confessional church.)
3. When will people stop this craziness? (You know the answer to this one already.)
4. How much damage will this teaching do to the missional witness of Christ? (Probably, very little.)
5. Who will be the next Harold Camping? (I have no idea but there will be others.)
6. What should true believers do this week? (Live for the glory of God and be faithful to Christ. Forget this unless you know someone caught in this deception to whom you can show mercy and grace after this Saturday.)
I plan to be doing my work all week. I doubt that I will think twice about Camping come Saturday, May 21st. I hope, honestly, that once and for all he goes away and is totally discredited once and for all.
A dear friend has said to me, “John, the only problem with all these foolish predictions is that someone might accidentally get it right sometime!” That is actually unlikely since “no one knows the day or the hour.” It would take more fools than we actually have in the global church to accidentally hit the right day somehow, someway. “At such a time as you think not” comes to mind.