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The Harold Camping Debacle

By David A. DePra

 Family Radio Network founder and preacher, Harold Camping, is predicting – no, he is GUARANTEEING – that on May 21, 2011, at about 6 PM, the rapture is going to occur. Jesus Christ is going to return on that day for His people. Not only has Camping guaranteed this is going to happen on May 21, but he has been paying for a huge advertising campaign to warn the world of this certainty. According to Camping, this is not a guess, or an opinion, it is a revelation from God Himself – that Camping has discovered in the Bible.

Camping has a live call in radio program. Thus, he has been bombarded with those who would question his guarantee. I mention this to bring out the fact that Camping has heard every argument and every appeal from those who would try to turn him from this absurdity back to the Truth. Yet he has dug his trenches deeper. He says that it is absolutely CERTAIN that the rapture will occur on May 21, 2011.

There is more. I would LOVE it if Christ came back on May 21, 2011. Wouldn’t you? But I do not believe it is going to happen – there is not a single reason to believe that the rapture will happen on that day rather than any other day – unless I want to blindly accept the teachings of Harold Camping. But you see, here is where things really get ugly. For you see, Harold Camping not only guarantees that Christ is coming on May 21, 2011, but he likewise guarantees that if you don’t believe his prediction – well, your, "unbelief," proves you are NOT SAVED. Thus, the proof that you will be in the May 21 rapture is your belief that it is going to happen on May 21. But if you don’t believe Harold Camping’s guarantee, YOU are NOT going anywhere on May 21. You won’t be included in the rapture. Rather, you will be here for the great tribulation. Indeed, Camping is not only guaranteeing the rapture for May 21, but he is likewise guaranteeing that on that date millions will die – including those who claim to be Christians, but who don’t believe his prediction. Such is the importance that Camping attaches to himself and his teaching.

It is always amazing how false teachers manage to make themselves a mediator unto God for others. Camping is smart enough to avoid saying you have to believe him to be saved. No. He says that if you are saved you will believe him. Of course, that is really the same thing. Either way, your faith in Christ is not enough. Your salvation is affirmed if you believe HIM.  And Camping has many followers who are being controlled by this spirit of fear and pride. They are afraid to doubt his words.

The reason God has NOT revealed to anyone the time of Christ’s coming is to prevent the kind of nonsense being spread by Camping and his followers. And the reason that even Jesus Himself was not given to know the time was so that no one could say they found clues in His words – if Jesus didn’t know, He could not leave any clues. But nevertheless, there have always been those who say they know what God said they cannot know. Camping apparently believes he is solely called of God to warn us.

It should not be surprising that Camping teaches such errors -- he teaches much other error. For example, he believes in the Satanic doctrine of unconditional election – Calvinism – and teaches that it is not possible to know for sure that you are saved. But evidently, one way to, "sort of know," you are saved, i.e., one way to know that you are, "one of the elect," is the evidence of your faith in HIS teachings. Does the word CULT pop up here in anyone’s mind?

Camping also teaches that in 1992 or so the church age ended, and if you have anything to do with an organized church, this is enough to send you to hell. I could go on. The bottom line is this: Harold Camping does not know Jesus Christ. He does not know the Word of God. He is a false prophet – not because of ignorance – but because he is not right with God. This is not my judgment. This is what the Bible says about those who do and teach such things.

Harold Camping believes that he knows what NOT ONE other person knows. He knows the day of the rapture. He claims to have been given an insight into the Word of God that no one else has EVER been given. He claims that when Jesus said no one could know the day of His return that this was just for a time – but NOW that time of ignorance is over – and today we CAN know. Of course, the only way we can know today is THROUGH HIS TEACHING. This is what he claims – despite the fact that he was wrong in 1994 when he said the age would end in September. This is what he claims – despite the fact that his great insight has not enabled him to see the Truth on some of the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

I do not want to be unkind or mean about it, but the fact is, lives are being ruined by Harold Camping. The people who are following him, and giving money to him, are certainly responsible for their own actions. But God does hold those who are in a position of influence accountable for the lives they impact -- people are going to be in for a BIG crash come May 22nd. Some may even renounce the possibility of knowing anything for sure.  This is usually what happens when people commit to something they think is of God, but which proves to be a lie. 

 It would appear that Harold Camping has put all of his faith upon his own ability to intellectually understand the Bible – although I’m sure he would deny this, and would not define what he is doing in that way. But if you read his, "proofs," and reasoning on this matter, and other issues, you cannot help but to discern that he is operating from the utter futility of his own mind. His faith in his own understanding is affirmed by the fact that he expects others to have that same faith – in HIS understanding. This is total deception. It is both sad and catastrophic. And God holds him to blame.

May 21, 2011 will come and go without the rapture.  Bank on it.  Indeed, I expect that NOTHING will happen on that day to distinguish it from any other. But of more interest will be how Harold Camping and his devotees will handle this incredible debacle. If Harold Camping has the slightest relationship with Jesus Christ whatsoever, he will not only issue a public apology and confession, but he will return all donations received. And he will resign and take some time to get himself right with God. My guess is that it won’t happen. I hope I’m wrong.

Here We Go Again

Right now on the home page of Family Radio we have a countdown clock to May 21st, as well as a warning. I wonder when they will change it? And what it will read once they do?

I remember a couple of websites leading up to Y2K did much the same thing. They guaranteed disaster at midnight. NOTHING happened. One ministry, "God’s News Behind the News," not only guaranteed the world would change as we knew it because of Y2K, but many ministries were selling food and disaster supplies. When nothing they prophesied happened, they took down their sites for a week, or a month, and then after awhile, emerged as if nothing had happened. The eventual excuse for the false prophecy was that God’s people had, "prayed real hard," and averted what would have been a catastrophe. It is always nice to be right no matter what – especially if you can then take credit for preventing the doomsday you predicted.

I don’t know what Camping will do. When someone on his call in radio program asked what he will do if he ends up being wrong, his answer was, "I don’t have to consider what I will do because I’m NOT wrong!" But my guess is that there will be some sort of damage control – it is too much to hope for a confession or apology, or that he would just go away. He will either say that his followers prayed and God is delaying the end – just like Y2K – or he will say it all DID happen spiritually. That is always a good one. But regardless, this should be interesting. He has made his bed and now he is going to have to deal with the consequences.

There are others on television today predicting that the age will end in 2012. And there are going to be professing Christian people who will believe that this is true. I suppose that if someone predicts the return of Christ every year that eventually, by odds, someone will be right. But they won’t be right because God has revealed the date to them. In the end, God has simply not revealed this – and has told us so. We need not waste our time  We don't even have to discuss it.  IT IS NOT REVEALED.  Period.  Isn’t it amazing how Christian people can continue to try to know EVEN what God has specifically told them they CANNOT know? Yet this is what Camping is doing. Here we go again.

Christ In Us

I took the time to listen to several of Camping’s call-in programs recently. One person called in questioning the fact that he is currently accepting donations -- in the form of the life-savings of the elderly. Evidently, there are some elderly folks who don’t believe they will need their savings after May 21st -- they believe Camping is right. So they are giving him their life savings. This is so sad. One wonders how, if Camping is a man of God, how he can simply take that money. But he does take it. He takes it without the slightest conviction of God’s Spirit.

When confronted over this, Camping did not deny he was accepting such donations. In fact, his actual reply was, "we have never told anyone to do this. It is their choice." So it must be true that some folks are donating their life savings to him. For when given the chance to deny that such donations were being accepted, Camping personally affirmed that he was accepting them. He simply defended the fact he was accepting them – he said that those elderly people wanted to give him their money – and said that there was nothing wrong with him accepting their money.

The question for Camping is this: If you really believe that May 21st is the end, then why do YOU need the donations? Why do you need ANY donations other than ones to get you to May 21st? Indeed, why not bequeath all of your money and possessions to some charity – dating the transfer May 22nd? At some point, I think these money questions alone expose Camping’s heart.

Harold Camping is going to be 90 years old. He is an unfortunate example and a warning to all of us as to what a professing Christian can BECOME if they continue on in a path that is outside of the Truth. If you turn from the Truth, you will get darkness -- even turn to fables. You can become totally deceived.

We can continue to pray that Harold Camping would turn to God. And we can look with interest as to how a 90 year old professing Christian man – one who has taken upon himself a position of leadership and influence in the Body of Christ – we can look with interest as to how he will handle what is going to be the most devastating debacle of his life and ministry. We will see, starting on May 22.

When will Christian people learn? When will we stop all this end time prophecy garbage and realize that if we are saved, that Jesus Christ is IN US? – right now? Jesus Christ will someday come back – literally. But the only command He has given to His people about that day is simple: BE READY. How do we do that? Walk with Him NOW. Grow to know Him NOW. That is the only to guarantee that THAT DAY will not take us unawares.

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