05.21.11 Judgment Day Pt. I (Who is Harold Camping?)

There seems to be a growing hysteria that the judgment of the world will occur on May 21st. It seems that everywhere you turn you see some billboard, school bus, plastering these ominous words, "05.21.11, Judgment Day." I can attest to this personally as each day on my commute I see several of these billboards. The source of these words is none other than the infamous Harold Camping of Family Radio.  Family Radio is a daily radio broadcast station which Camping himself hosts.  Camping has had great success as president and founder of the station and author of other apocalyptic books and pamphlets. In the coming days I will be posting several installments explaining why Harold Camping's predictions are not in line with authentic scriptural interpretation. Moreover I will also show how Catholics other Protestant Denominations have rightfully opposed Camping's latest prediction.  It is my hope that through these installments I can provide my readers the truth. 

In this post I will briefly explain who exactly Harold Camping is and his checkered history.

So here are the facts:  (To read more about Camping click here.)

  • Harold Camping earned his degree in civil engineering in 1942 from the University of California Berkeley
  • Camping was a member of the Christian Reform Church until 1988. In that year he also left the  Alameda Bible Fellowship  (This date is critical I will explain)
  • Camping in 1961 began his famous Open Forum discussions on Family Radio which he still holds to this very day
  • In 1992 Camping published the famous book titled, 1994.   In this book Camping famously miscalculated that the end of the world would occur on September 6, 1994.  Camping attributed this mistake to a mathematical miscalculation.
  • Camping has developed his own unique blend of mathematics to date pivotal events of the bible such as the creation of the world, (11,013 B.C),  The Great Flood, (4,990 BC) and Jesus' actual crucifixion date, (April 1, 33 BC) His allegorical computing methods has been severely criticized by many experts because of its inherent subjectivity.
  • In his latest prediction Camping predicts that Judgment Day will occur on May 21, 2011 meaning that the rapture would take place on that day.  The actual date of end of the world would occur 5 months later on October 21, 2011.
  • Camping also has famously taught that in 1988 The Age of The Church had ended and encouraged all believers to leave their churches as he said in his work,  The End of The Church Age And After
"As this study will show, we are now in that time of history when the church age has come to an end. Consequently, God has commanded each and every believer to leave his local church and continue to serve God as His ambassador outside of the churches and congregations. This is the action required by God for any and all who tremble before the Word of God." (Preface to The End of The Church Age And After.)  To view the entire document click here.
  • What is hidden in plain site is the fact that Camping began to preach the end of the church age precisely around the time when he was dismissed from the Alameda Bible Fellowship in May, 1988.  Therefore it is no coincidence that Camping has chosen once again the month of May in his latest prediction.  (To read a great blog post about this click here.)
  • Camping is a believer in the concept of annihilationism which teaches that a soul does not go to hell, but instead the soul is destroyed through natural death. 
  • Camping has also taught that the concept of a hell is a false one predicated on the human understanding of justice rather then on God's view as he states in Chapter 3 of To God Be The Glory, (To view entire document click here)
"That is very similar to the traditional view of the Biblical judgment process. In that view, the Judge will be Christ. The accused will be each and every unsaved person. The time will be the end of the world. The sentence will be torment forevermore in a place called hell.
We are now learning that the traditional view is utterly bankrupt. While that view was held by almost all churches throughout the church age, it is founded on man’s understanding of justice rather than the truth of the Bible."
I would like to conclude with the following questions about Camping's end of the world prediction.

  • By what authority besides himself is he basing his bold claim?  After all didn't Jesus famously preach that he himself did not know the hour or the time?  (Cf. Matt 24:36)
  • What makes his prediction absolutely unique from other apocalyptic preachers throughout history? 
  • How does he reconcile his past failed attempts with this latest one?
In tomorrow's post I will explain why Camping is wrong.



Comments

  1. It seems that there is another group on the scene with a new perspective in disputing Camping's prophesies. They make a compelling statement that "Jesus is here now." Check out their billboard which I think will stir the pot a bit.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/62779138@N08/5708063636

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