Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Recently, my wife and I were traveling out of town and on the way there, we happened to pass by a billboard obviously put up by Harold Camping who runs Family Radio stating that Judgment Day is May 21.
There are two things at least I’m certain of.
Judgment Day will not be May 21, 2011.
Harold Camping will still have faithful followers on May 22, 2011.
For the first one, I will definitely say I could not prove that, but based on the way I approach eschatology, I just don’t see it as happening. For the second one, it has happened before as Camping has stated when the end will come before and as we can tell from a new statement, it’s been wrong before.
Yet still, people are sending in the donations and keeping this going on. Let us keep in mind that in the Old Testament, if someone had made such a claim and that claim was false, they would have been killed for it. God takes it very seriously when people claim to speak for Him and even those of us who are teachers should be cautious. While it would not be normative to claim special revelation personally on our part, we are handling the revelation God has already given of Himself and people will take how we interpret that very seriously.
Regardless of what your eschatology is, the actions of Camping should be condemned by all Christians. From preterist to futurist, everyone should disagree with this. If you’re a futurist looking forward to the rapture, you should condemn it since there is no basis for setting an exact date on when it will occur. If you’re a preterist just waiting for judgment day alone and not believing in the rapture, then you should still condemn it not because it’s a futurist idea, but because it explicitly goes against what the Bible teaches. Now of course the Bible cannot both teach and not teach the rapture, but that’s also a point Christian can disagree on. What they should agree on however is that God’s name is to be taken seriously and especially on those who claim to speak for Him.
My other concern with this event also is with the way we look to the non-Christian world. I care about it in the sense that it is people like this that will be seen as what Christianity is like on a normative basis. Of course, this is entirely unfair to us, but to an audience with itching ears, it’s what they want to hear. For instance, Sam Harris talks about a Christian group in “The Moral Landscape”, not bothering to note that this so-called Christian group is actually a cult that would be condemned by Christians. Who cares? The audience who doesn’t bother researching the material will accept it as just ordinary Christians.
What’s the response of the church then at this point? Call sin sin. If someone is out there setting dates for judgment, don’t support them. Pray for them? Sure. Support for them simply encourages this behavior to go on. It also points to a lack of biblical awareness on our part and how in a nation where Christians have no excuse for not being able to educate themselves on their faith, that so many are not doing so and are simply following someone blindly, and yes, it is blindly considering how many false predictions have been made in the past.
The church needs to do better. That someone like Camping has such a following is revealing. We are to be a light to the world, but we need to clean up our own side as well. If a group acts like one of us and goes against us, then call them out. After all, the little false teachings of today could be the major heresies for our children.