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05.21.11 Judgment Day Pt. II (Why Harold Camping is Wrong Reasons 1-5)

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings and will turn away and wander into myths." 2 Tim 4: 3-4

In my last post I briefly explained who Harold Camping was.  In today's post I will list several reasons why Camping's apocalyptic teachings are not in line with authentic scriptural teachings. 

(side note:  To those people in my life that I care about very much (and you know who you are) - I beseech you:    Please read on and let these reasons help you to have peace.  I know that you are afraid that this man (even if he is a nut) could be right and doomsday is four days away.  But please know that God loves you very very much and everything is going to be OK)

So here are the reasons:

1) The Bible is explicitly clear that neither man nor Christ know the exact time of God's final coming. (Cf Matt 24: 36) Now does that mean Jesus does not know when judgment day will occur?  No of course not! Jesus does know when judgement day will occur, but through this scripture one sees that Jesus is exhorting that no human will ever know the exact time nor date, this includes Harold Camping!  Pope Benedict in his work Jesus of Nazareth Book II explains this dynamic eloquently as he reflects,

"A further key element of Jesus' eschatological discourse (end of time preaching) is the warning against false Messiahs and apocalyptic enthusiasm.  Linked with this is the instruction to practice sobriety and vigilance, which Jesus developed further in a series of parables, especially in the story of the wise and foolish virgins (Mt 25: 1-13) and in his sayings about the watchful doorkeeper (Mk 13:33-36). In this last passage we see clearly what is meant by "vigilance": not neglecting the present, speculating on the future, or forgetting the task at hand, but quite the reverse-it means doing what is right here and now, as is incumbent upon us in the sight of God. (pg. 48)
 So according to Benedict one should be wary about anyone claiming to know the exact time and date of the end of the world.  Benedict instead is reechoing the past teachings of the great Saints which stresses that the end of the world can occur at anytime.  Armed with this knowledge the true Christian should always be vigilant in the present moment since tomorrow is not guaranteed.   Camping instead is claiming to have an authority which Jesus never gave to anyone, not even his disciples.

2) By choosing an exact date Camping is discouraging the rightful vigilance of the present moment.  Harold Camping through promoting this hysteria is actually encouraging the opposite, to do nothing about the present.  If one's sole emphasis is living just for May 21st then what is special about this moment, May 16? In a similar vein each time a false prophet like Camping wrongfully proclaims the end date that in turn desensitizes people from believing in their eternal destination.

3) Camping wrongly assumes that God operates within our notion of time.  According to Camping he has been able to unlock the secrets of the bible through his unique blend of Mathematics.  But I would caution Camping in his assertions since God does not operate strictly within our human time space continuum.  St. Peter explains this dynamic perfectly as he states,

"But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  2 Peter 3:8-14
Peter, in this passage perfectly captures the correct attitude that a Christian should have when thinking about the end of world.  The Christian needs to be vigilant, but unafraid and at peace.  Peaceful because one believes through faith and vigilant because one needs to constantly cooperate with God's will on a daily basis. This healthy bi level striving gives the christian an unshakable peace.  For Camping to assume that God functions within his mathematical concepts is the height of arrogance.

4) Harold Camping has been wrong before!  In 1992 Camping self published a book titled"1994"  which predicted that the world would end in September of 1994.  Many well intentioned Christians sold their homes, businesses and donated their money to Camping's Family Radio.  When confronted about this disastrous mistake Camping unapologetically proclaimed that his mistake was attributed to a mathematical miscalculation. 

5) Camping only considers that those who leave their churches will be saved.  Camping in 1988 famously declared that the Church age had come to an end.  Coincidentally in that same year Camping was dismissed from his teaching post at the Alameda Bible Fellowship.  More importantly Jesus is unabashedly clear that the Church will always exist till the end of the word as he states, "And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death will not prevail against it."  (Matt. 16:18.) In a similar vein St. Paul reiterates this theme in Ephesians as he reflects, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her." (Eph 5:25) So the question is if Jesus intended for the church age to end then why would he die for it in the first place?  To take it a step further Camping believes only those who believe in his brand of Christianity will be saved.  It is clear through these passages that Jesus places an eternal importance to the church.  Put simply - there can never be an end of the church age since Jesus gave it the power to overcome the world. Overcoming the world means just that; overcoming everything about the world and that includes its ending.

In my next post I will highlight reasons 6-10.

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