If you haven’t already read my article on May 21, 2011, you should probably read that as a preface to this article.
So the talk of Christianity, and increasingly so as we get closer to May 21, is the end times. This date stems back to a prediction of the rapture made by Harold Camping. Prior to this, he also predicted Christ’s return in 1994, which evidently did not happen.
Many online news sources claim Camping to be a Biblical scholar. Although it seems fair to say that he has a deep interest in the Bible, he has absolutely no scholarly credentials that could make him any sort of an authority. So when you read him as a Bible scholar, it is better to say Bible reader. This, however, hasn’t stopped people from giving him the sort of status of a Bible-teaching authority. This isn’t to judge him, but to simply state the facts clearly.
Now, what can we say about this prophesy? Well, again, he made a guess that it might be 1994 or 2011, 1994 has passed us some time ago, so he is forced to stand beside his 2011 prediction. I haven’t read any of his books, so I’m stuck using other people’s information, and you can read some of that here (you’ll just have to use your browsers ‘find’ function for Harold Camping). Camping bases his prediction, supposedly, from Daniel 12:9-13, but other sources seem to say he used other portions of scripture and numbers.
Websites that paint him as a messenger from Satan obviously feel obligated to declare “he’d not a Christian!” Now, hold your horses, ever since when did a Christian gain authority to judge anyone’s salvation? Yes, Camping seems to hold some fairly unorthodox views that might step on some people’s toes, and cause people discomfort, but so far, he has not explicitly stated any sort of salvation apart from Jesus Christ, nor has he taken away from the deity of Christ, so I can’t make a definitive claim from his own quotes.
I have, however, decided to email the maintainer of http://www.wecanknow.com/ to get a better idea about what they believe:
I don’t know if this email will make it to Mr Camping or not, but I’m just curious in what Biblical message is being advanced. Yes, I understand you believe the rapture is going to be May 21st, but otherwise what is your flavor of Christianity? I’m not trying to offend or mock you, but http://www.youcanknow.com/ only really conveys beliefs about the end times, and not necessarily on salvation or who Jesus Christ is, which would be the foundation of anyone’s conversion (presumably what you’re going for?). Personally, I’m a Preterist, so end times theology for me is no longer relevant, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely against your set of beliefs, I just need more information. Unlike most webpages about Mr Camping, I’m not going to throw down the hammer of judgement and say he is a heretic. On the contrary, I admire any person who stands up for their Christian faith.
The only thing I’ve been able to find is that you are a sola scriptura (for the latin-impared, scripture only) organization.
Please get back to me at your convenience,
I will give everyone an update on the response I get from the maintainer, and maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get a chance to talk directly to Mr. Camping and maybe get some more straight answers.