I was hesitant to write this at first since I did not want to give more publicity to this man and his radio show; however the need to present truth, and the Christian response to this individual is vital. Whenever someone like this does something extreme, orthodox Christians everywhere get a bad name, so it is important to point out that Camping does not speak for any orthodox Christian group. What makes the whole issue worse, is that Camping claims to use the Bible as his only source of authority… He is very adamant that churches are forsaking the Bible and using other things to develop doctrine and practice- this is perhaps the most upsetting part of Camping’s Campaign.
If we look at this man’s teaching putting aside his date setting, we find that he conflicts with much of what Scripture teaches:
1) He is not a member of any local church, and has said many disparaging things about the Church[i]– in contrast, we find not one (with the exception of the Ethiopian Eunuch) person in the New Testament who is a believer and not part of a church. In fact it is that very institution that Christ loves and gave His life for (Eph 5:25). Furthermore since, Camping is not part of a church his is basically unable to obey most of the commands in the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus).
2) Camping denies the biblical doctrine of ‘Total Depravity’[ii]. However this is a critical part of Christian Theology and is evident all over Scripture (Titus 1:15; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-19)
3) Camping is also an annihilationist, this means he does not believe in a literal hell where God will punish law-breakers for all eternity, he believes that sinners who do not repent and trust in Christ will merely cease to exist[iii]
4) As has been evident by his recent blaze into the media, he has departed from the Biblical teaching that no one can know the day or hour of Christ’s return
What is interesting is that although Camping’s assertion that the ‘Rapture’ would happen on May 21 did not come true, the Scriptures prophecy that Camping would come along did come true. Consider:
Matthew 24:11, “and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people”. While this text clearly is referring to the time between Christ’s ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem, we know that the prophecy has something of a prophetic vision, telescoping in history before the actual return of Christ
2 Timothy 3:13, “while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived”.
So Christians out there should not lose faith in the Bible, they should learn not to put their trust in men, but in God. Furthermore, we should all turn our attention to ‘personal eschatology’ (eschatology means doctrine of the last things, so basically it’s about ‘end times’).
Camping was right about one thing, a lot of people met their Maker on the 21st of May, around 70 000 people died and were judged by the perfect and just God of all the earth (Hebrews 9:27). And from what we understand about statistics, 70 000 died the day after , and the day after that. Judgement came and went, were they all ready for it? Will you be ready for it? Whether Christ returns today and world history ends, or whether you will draw your last breath, either way everyone of us will give account to Jesus Christ. God’s kindness should be enough to lead you to repentance (to turn from your sin and live for God) and faith (trusting in Jesus Christ to save you from God’s righteous judgment on you); He is the one who gave you air to breath, and food to enjoy, and colours and amazing views, and pleasure, and laughter and everything else you enjoy, yet in our arrogance man does not acknowledge God or give Him thanks, but instead rebels against God. What futility it is, oh friend, you are not the maker of your own destiny, any more than you were the maker of yourself, turn to Christ today, and know forgiveness for your sins.
[i] Harold Camping. “The End of the Church Age…and After”. Family Stations Inc. http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/church/church_contents.html. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
[ii] Harold Camping. “Please explain what Romans 2:14…”. Family Stations, Inc. http://fsiforms.familyradio.org/dbqf/forum_021307e.html. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
[iii] “To God be the Glory!”. Familyradio.com. http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/glory/glory_3.html. Retrieved 2011-05-22.