Deeper Water Podcast 7/15/2017: Hugh Ross

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This year at Rosh Hashanah, many Jews will be celebrating that a new year has come. There will also this year be many Christians waiting for this event. After all, this is the day that the rapture is being predicted to take place.

What was that?

Yes. A few months ago a friend of mine emailed me about some people at his church talking about Rosh Hashanah and their hope that the rapture will take place. This is supposed to be based on certain astronomical signs. I immediately thought back to the whole blood moons fiasco (Anyone heard that apology from John Hagee yet) and decided I’d talk to a specialist about this.

So I sent an email to get in touch with the person I know who knows astronomy best. I got more than I bargained for. He has agreed to come on the show and talk about the signs that are being said to be shown and we’ll look and see if they are of any real significance. I am of course referring to none other than Hugh Ross from Reasons To Believe.

So who is Hugh Ross?

Astronomer and best-selling author Hugh Ross travels the globe speaking on the compatibility of advancing scientific discoveries with the timeless truths of Christianity. His organization, Reasons to Believe, is dedicated to demonstrating, via a variety of resources and events, that science and biblical faith are allies, not enemies.

For those worried about the deck being stacked, it is also my understanding that Dr. Ross has in the past held to a futurist/dispensationalist understanding of eschatology. I do not know if that is still the case, but his main point here is to come as an astronomer. Are there really some signs that we are supposed to be looking out for, or is this going to be another case like that of the blood moons where there will be embarrassment in the eyes of unbelievers once again?

How ought Christians approach this phenomena anyway? If we don’t understand astronomy well, could we be saying things without knowledge? Even if one does want to defend a futurist/dispensationalist viewpoint, do we need to be extremely careful about setting dates for certain events?

If I am correct about my prediction that this is much ado about nothing, what will it take for Christians to learn? What more do we need to be paying attention to? How should the church handle it when there are claims that get national attention that prove to be wrong, such as the four blood moons or Harold Camping?

Some might think this is an in-house issue for Christians, but I’m not convinced. How we present ourselves to the world matters a great deal and if we can be shown to embrace something wrong so many times so easily, then how is it that we can expect anyone to believe us when we claim Jesus rose from the dead? I hope you’ll be listening for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast and that you’ll leave a positive review on ITunes┬áto let me know what you think of the show.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Eschatological Insanity

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve decided I’m going to write again on the recent rapture talk with a look at what it is that the atheistic community is saying as well as looking at what Camping himself has said about his predictions and see what it is that can be learned.

Consider this one first from Atlanta. What does the writer tell us?

The argument from my reading is that the idea of Christ returning is just patently absurd and that we all want to go to a Disneyland with no sex, booze, or anything fun.

Yes indeed. We all want to sign up for that one. It’s bad enough that the author thinks he’s made a real representation of the story, but then he says that the problem is falsifiability. Yes readers. You read that right. Christians are afraid to test their belief. Therefore, all that needs to be done is set a date for the rapture. If it does not happen on X date, then it is false and will never happen.

Let us hope that the author never takes bets on professional sports.

The problem is not that Camping has an eschatology. Everyone does. The problem with setting dates is the idea from Matthew 24:36 that only the Father would know the date. As is the case of course, this is only a little detail that is overlooked. Such an attitude of setting a date and not seeing it happen could lead to a number of odd conclusions.

We will have flying cars by September 30, 2015. If we do not have them then, we will never have them.

We will be invaded by aliens on July 6, 2034. If we are not invaded then, we will never be invaded.

Israel and Palestine will put an end to the land war on April 22, 2029. If they do not do so then, they will never do so.

Science is a great tool, but one cannot deal with the past and the future using just the scientific idea of falsifiability. All that we have had falsified is that the rapture did not happen on the date Camping predicted. We do not have a falsification of the belief that Christ will ever return.

Next we have P.Z. Myers here.

Ah yes. This is what religion fosters. Just have examples of people believing crazy things and you can see what it does.

Fair enough….

Could it be anything like saying without evidence that Jared Loughner was a Republican who listened to talk radio despite even all the evidence coming in to the contrary and jumping on a screen shot without even investigating it to prove to the rest of the world that you were right only to find out that that shot was not accurate?

All something Myers did by the way.

No. The problem is not religion. The problem is just that a lot of people don’t know how to think and they add religion into the mix. The same can happen with any belief. Now I agree with what Myers wants in the end to happen to Camping. However, Myers is taking the sensational and making it the typical, instead of realizing that 99.9% of Christians around the world condemn this nonsense.

Far be it for Myers to actually deal with a sane position on eschatology….

Finally, we come to Mr. Camping himself. What does he have to say? Let’s take a look.

And here we have just a humble Bible teacher who says he makes no apology. Never mind that he’s made a laughingstock of the church leading those of us who condemned what he said into embarrassment as we are inevitably seen as thinking the world was going to come to an end that day simply because we’re Christians.

There is nothing humble about Camping. It is only arrogance to think that you can know something that Christ Himself said He did not know. Now Camping has gone to a spiritual understanding saying that Judgment Day did come and that the world will be destroyed on October 21st and it will not be spiritual, but he himself is not selling his possessions before then.

How convenient….

Family Radio is paid for by donations. No one at this point should donate a penny to such a cause. The church has been mocked as a result of what Camping has done. There are far better ministries out there that can be supported and many of them are from Christians who really do think about the issues and can help defend the faith against adversaries today.

It is a shame that eschatological insanity rests on all sides. That someone like Camping even has a platform shows how much the American church has fallen.

Eschatological Sanity

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Back on May 4th, I wrote on the supposed Judgment Day being today. Interestingly, I haven’t been able to connect to the Family Radio web site of Harold Camping since last night and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when he’s shown to be wrong yet again.

Now we have all laughed about matters some. There has been no major earthquake in New Zealand that has started moving across the planet. I have no doubt that I’ll be sleeping next to my wife in my bed tonight. If you post on Facebook, you see a lot of people having a good laugh over that and I honestly understand that. We’ve told our own jokes on the matter in our household.

At the same time when we pray at night, we pray about the people who have been hurt by this. My wife will ask me “What’s going to happen to the people who spent their life savings?” I don’t know. I can’t know. I do know that they will be hurt however. They would have placed all their trust in a man and found that that man was not reliable. The sad reality is many of them will transfer that over to the Bible. After all, if the Bible guaranteed it and that which it guaranteed was false, then the Bible must be false.

Many of us have seen people like this. They become very angry apostates a lot of times. The same mentality is there unfortunately. It is the cult thought entirely. These people have been hurt. What the solution is for now is us to develop some eschatological sanity. After all, most of us will be just fine when the sun rises on May 22nd, but some people won’t be.

Starting off, know the Scriptures. If you have a view of eschatology, be able to defend it. If you’re a dispensationalist, be ready to defend that. If you’re a preterist, be ready to defend that. However, realize there are extremes. For the preterist, to be a hyper-preterist as they are called is to go into the heresy of denying the bodily resurrection. For the dispensationalist, teaching like that of Camping can be the problem.

That anyone took Camping seriously is a problem. These people are counting on someone else to be their interpreter of Scripture. I have no problem with going to other teachers and getting their opinion on matters. Many of you read this blog for that reason. When the day comes however that someone takes what is in this blog as infallible then I will have a problem. Please check out what I say elsewhere.

A good friend of mine wrote that Camping’s problem with dating is extreme hubris on his part, and I agree. It can seem that with eschatology, so many of us are so busy trying to figure out when it is that we don’t live like we ought to. Peter told us in 2 Peter 3 that since the end is coming, we ought to live holy and godly lives. Are we doing that?

In many ways, we ought to be living like the end could come today. We ought to be living as if our Lord could come back and surprise us at any moment. Do we want to be caught unaware? However, we are not told that we can KNOW when that time will be. The house owner does not know when a thief is coming, but if he KNOWS one is coming, he will be preparing himself.

Folks. There’s been a 100% failure rate with prophecy predictions by doomsayers on when the end is coming. This is nothing new. Let me state what we are 100% certain of. Jesus will physically return one day. We will have our loved ones rise up and if we are dead, we ourselves will rise. Now we can talk about signs and such and think the end is near, and some do that, but Christ did not set dates and neither should we.

Pray for the people who have been hurt by this and pray for Camping as well. He too is in the image of God. Let us hope he repents also and that those who have been hurt can somehow be compensated.

Judgment Day?!

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.