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Camping…out!

Rarely do we have such a clear example of the dangers of following false teachers as the whole world recently experienced with the hitherto little known Harold Camping. Camping’s errors were many, and for years his folly left in its wake shipwrecked saints who put their faith in that supremely confident, soothing voice they heard on the radio. How could a man so sure of himself be so wrong? Well, self-confidence is not a virtue when good, solid men by the tens of thousands agree that you are wrong. The man who is stubbornly alone with his own ideas points more to arrogance than confidence. A lack of intellectual humility is a common mark of false teachers.

Harold Camping was and remains a false teacher who does harm to many people. He plays with the Bible rather than study it. He uses God’s word as a borrowed authority for his own musings rather than let himself be used by it and its Author.

He was not well known until a few of his loyal listeners spent their life savings promoting the May 21st rapture and cataclysmic judgment on billboards and roving buses. In the age of the Internet, social media, and 24-hour news-hungry cable channels, the prediction became known all over the world. Within a few weeks, far more people than ever listened to Camping joined a Facebook group pledging to merrily loot the homes of any believers raptured on May 21. All great fun. Jokes abounded for a few days, then the world moved on to its next source of amusement.

Could Satan have found a more worthy instrument than an old fool on the radio to make men laugh at the coming judgment of God instead of fear it? Yet I wonder if the enormous interest and chatter might be used to remind people that the Day is coming. The Lord will return in glory. As Isaiah says:

The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols will completely vanish. Men will go into caves of the rocks and into holes of the ground before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble. Is 2:17-19


Thinking about the amazing globalization of this foolish man’s doctrines does make me think about the end of the age as described in the Book of Revelation. It is a world of expansive commerce and trade (Rev 13:16-17;18:11-20), a world of global awareness and connectedness. We actually see that connectedness in Camping’s folly and the jokes around it. One day the world will see in that connected­ness great and terrible events leading to world-wide judgment and Christ’s return (Rev 11:7-10). We long for the day. The world wants to believe it won’t happen. Remind them that it will.

Yours in Christ

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in The AFBC Pony Express. Vol. IV, No. 6, June 2011.

 

“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3