Harold Camping – Prophet or Misguided?


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.

Now, there seems to be two opinions of him: he’s God’s prophet, and he’s Satan’s puppet.  Well, not too many people are readily able to say that he may just be misguided.

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:

To: *******@wecanknow.com

Hello,
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,
-Alex

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.

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2 thoughts on “Harold Camping – Prophet or Misguided?

  1. Stamping Out Harold Camping

    I don’t care a fig for date-setters, especially those who predict when Christ will return. The current champion is 89-year-old, headline-grabbing Harold Camping of Family Radio fame.
    Is Second Coming date-setter Harold Camping worthy of death? He already has a zero batting average after his September 1994 prediction fizzle and, according to the Bible, is a false prophet.
    Nevertheless that California shaman, who should be ashamed, claims he’s found out that Christ’s return will be on May 21, 2011 even though Matt. 24:36 says that no one knows the “day” or “hour” of it!
    A Google article (“Obama Fulfilling the Bible”) points out that “Deut. 18:20-22 in the Old Testament requires the death penalty for false prophets.”
    The same article reveals that “Christians are commanded to ask God to send severe judgment on persons who commit and support the worst forms of evil (see I Cor. 5 and note ‘taken away’).”
    Theologically radioactive Harold Camping and his ga-ga groupies (with their billboards featuring “May 21, 2011”) should worry about being “stamped out” if many persons decide to follow the I Cor. 5 command.
    The above article concludes: “False prophets in the OT were stoned to death. Today they are just stoned!”
    PS – For many years Camping was not known as a pretrib rapture teacher. But now, for $ome my$teriou$ rea$on, he seeks support from those who believe in and teach an imminent, pretrib rapture which supposedly will occur SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE the traditional SECOND COMING to earth! For a behind-the-scenes, documented look at the 181-year-old pretrib rapture belief (which was never a part of any official theology or organized church before 1830!), Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts.” These are from the pen of journalist/historian Dave MacPherson a.k.a the “Pretrib Rapture Answerman” & the “Rush Limbaugh of the Rapture” – author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot,” an “encyclopedia” of pretrib rapture history (see Armageddon Books).

    1. Just hold on a minute. I think you’re taking some Bible ideas way out of context, concerning how to deal with false prophets. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 commands false prophets to be stoned *only* if they preach rebellion against God; prophesy people to stop worshiping the God of Israel, and turn to a false god.
      As far as judgement is concerned, first the appropriate steps should be taken in accordance to Matthew 18:15-17, where Mr. Camping should be confronted about his beliefs. This verse talks about sinning, as opposed to the specific act of false prophesy, but it never-the-less applies. I don’t know if these steps have been done. There is plenty of information on the internet, but I think this sort of confrontation is better done in person rather than via web pages. Our judgement, in the case that Mr. Camping does not recant his statements and repent, is that the church-community disassociates themselves with him.
      1 Corinthians 5 says nothing about asking God to send “severe judgement.” Paul states his opinion (1 Corinthians 5:5), “I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Notice how Paul says, “I have decided,” not, “This is God’s judgement.” And Paul certainly didn’t pray to Satan for that person’s destruction. I am forced to believe that Paul is stating his disassociation with that person, providing no spiritual intercession on his behalf.
      Applying that to this situation, we don’t have any means to say whether or not Harold Camping is definitively saved (it’s not our right to judge that), but we do have the ability to not support his ministry and encourage others to do so as well. However, if Mr. Camping is rejected by the Christian community, but changes his ways afterwards, I think we should be open to that, as well.

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