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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Harold Camping

I've blogged before about the opportunity that exists to write a book or produce a documentary that we might title, "Christians Behaving Badly."  Now the definition of a Christian is simply someone who follows Christ.  But in modern culture, a great many people self identify themselves as Christians ... without there being any actual evidence to support such a claim.  Even worse, there is often substantial evidence to the contrary ... where the behaviors and even the beliefs that can be observed run so counter to who Jesus Christ is ... that there can be no doubt that the claims to Christianity are fraudulent.

Recently the world had a good laugh over the failed prediction of Harold Camping, the 89 year old founder of Family Radio Network.  You may recall that Camping had predicted the "end of the world" would arrive on May 21st.  Of course it didn't.  This wasn't the first time that Mr. Camping had predicted the so-called end of the world.  He's given specific dates before that didn't come true. And when they don't come true, he's unapologetic.  Instead he claims technicalities and rationalizes his wrongness.

True Christians ought to be able to see through these shenanigans.  One of the most basic things the Bible tells us to do is to test everything that we're told against the Word of God.  And if someone is sharing divine prophecy, we should look to see if it actually comes true.  Prophecy from the Lord will always come true.  There'll never be a need to explain why it didn't.  Simply put, there's no such thing as rationalization or justification in Biblical prophecy.  Either it comes true (and is genuine) or it doesn't (and is fraudulent).  Such is the case with Mr. Camping and his pattern of predictions that don't come true.

Maybe you're like me and you've never paid much attention to Mr. Camping or his ministry.  When his latest prediction hit the news wires, I had to go do some research to figure out who he is.  What I found astounded me way more than his simply erroneous prediction.  While all the world seems to be familiar with Camping's prediction that the world would end on May 21st, 2011 --- it seems that most of the world has missed an even more ridiculous claim made by Mr. Camping.  To be sure, it is a claim that even further cements his role as a heretic and false prophet.

It seems that Mr.Camping declared that May 21st, 1988 was the day on which God - being utterly weary of the lapsing of the churches from revealing truth - handed them over to Satan!  (Yes, you read that correctly!)  Camping claimed that, as a consequence of this act on God's part, all organized churches on the face of the earth came under the direct dominion of Satan.  Further Camping claimed that all true believers were then obliged to exit those churches.  He even said that all pastors in all churches everywhere became, albeit unwittingly, servants of Satan on May 21st, 1988.

"Satan is ruling in all the churches, and those dear people and those pastors are (now) emissaries of Satan." according to Mr. Camping.  He claims that those who remain in those churches after that date are really "under the wrath of God."

Are you getting this?  God, being disgusted with mankind and its organized religion, picked May 21st, 1988 as the day to hand all organized churches over to the devil.  Anyone who is a true Christ-follower was obliged on (and after) that date to leave their churches and no longer be associated with any organized church at all.  Those who stayed in the churches after that date, and those who continued to pastor those churches after that date, are actually minions of Satan and subject to the wrath of an angry God.  This is, of course, all according to Mr. Camping.

This sweeping prophecy or proclamation leaves millions of so-called Christians without any hope of heaven.  In fact, after making this proclamation, Camping moved to stop featuring a great many legitimate Bible teachers on his Family Radio programming. He said that "God stopped saving" people in churches on that date and claimed Matthew 24:15-16 as the Scripture to back up his claim.

Now Mr. Camping claims that his predictions all "come from the Bible."  Unfortunately, they only come to him.  This meets the classic definition of "private interpretation" of Scriptures, which we are clearly warned against in 2 Peter 1:20.  Said differently, even the Bible categorizes Mr. Camping as a heretic and his so-called prophecies as nonsense. 

Folks, we are not to be deceived by such moronic behavior.  And my guess is that the vast majority of modern day Christians aren't fooled.  They just look at Mr. Camping's so-called prophecy and naturally sense that it is a load of crap, not worth the paper it takes to report it.  But I wonder if perhaps we might have an even greater responsibility ... to confront this heresy and quiet this heretic. 

I remember when the radical Muslims have acted out badly --- and most of us condemned organized Islam for not speaking out against them.  But it appears that our non-Christian brothers and sisters could assert the same claim against Christianity.  We have idiotic and potentially dangerous behavior on the part of a few bad so-called Christians (like Mr. Camping).  But we stick our heads in the sand, nervously laugh and do absolutely nothing to silence this fool. 

I'm certain that God will deal with Mr. Camping in his time.  To be sure, Mr. Camping will be held accountable for what he's doing.  But I wonder if the rest of us shouldn't maybe be expecting to be held accountable for what we've not been doing.  What responsibility do we each have in this fiasco?

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