|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Harold Camping, owner and president of Family Radio, has predicted that Jesus Christ will return to take believers (as Camping defines them) out of the world May 21, 2011 and that Christ will return a second time, signaling the end of the world, on October 20, 2011. The Word of God, and past failed predictions, prove that Camping is a false prophet. But now Camping has descended into even deeper heresy.
Camping made his 2011 prediction several years ago. He now says that only those who agree with his prophecy are true believers in Christ, and all others are lost. Camping has also stated positions that deny many other fundamental elements of the Christian faith. Harold Camping has demonstrated himself to be no Christian at all, but the leader of an antichristian cult in the mold of Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses) and Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science).
How has Camping denied the fundamentals? Openly contradicting Revelation 22:18-19, Proverbs 30:6, Deuteronomy 4:2, and other passages, Camping claims that he is receiving "new revelations" from God that have authority over Scripture. He now openly denies the doctrine of the Trinity. He denies that the atonement for sinners was accomplished by Christ on the earthly cross. That cross-death, he says, is symbolic in nature. He denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God from eternity, but states that He had a beginning. He teaches annihilationism, the heresy that the lost will not spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15 and elsewhere) but will merely cease to exist.
The following discussion of some of the false teachings of Harold Camping is from my book, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism, pages 347-351:
Harold Camping, owner and president of Family Radio, uses that worldwide network as a bully pulpit to teach that the church age has ended, we are now in the Great Tribulation, and the church of Jesus Christ in terms of local organized congregations no longer exists. The organized church, he says, has become the synagogue of Satan, who is now on its throne. God is no longer saving people through the ministry of organized churches. Therefore, says Camping, Christians must leave organized churches and meet in "fellowships" in which there are no pastors, deacons, or elders, and there is no practice of baptism or observance of the Lord's Supper. And, true believers are to no longer financially support organized churches but are to support Family Radio.1
Harold Camping has shown himself to be a false prophet before, having predicted in the early 1990s that Christ would return in September 1994.2 Camping recently announced a new date, 2011, on his daily radio program [and in his book, Time Has an End: A Biblical History of the World 11,013 B.C. - 2011 A.D.]. Scripture instructs us that
when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:22).
It also warns us:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).
Camping's teachings on the church could simply be dismissed as absurd if they had not gained a loyal and cultish following... His doctrines are absurd; he bases them on highly symbolic, allegorical, and inconsistent interpretations of isolated Scripture passages, and his interpretations have no foundation in grammatical-historical principles. Space does not permit a full discussion here, but the church needs to be warned that Harold Camping teaches deep error not only regarding the church but on many other things, including salvation itself.3 Camping denies that faith is the instrument of salvation; he claims that if God used faith as an instrument this would somehow add a work to salvation.4 Yet at the same time Camping often says on his Open Forum radio program that people must "beg and plead " with God to save them.
Many people who disagree with Camping listen to Family Radio for the good Christian music, extensive Bible reading, and other things that are in themselves worthy. But along the way, around the clock, listeners are periodically indoctrinated by Camping and his approved teachers who repeat and reinforce his false doctrines. Christians should beware of Harold Camping on the most basic matters of doctrine, much less consider Camping's teachings on the church to be a solution to the present crisis [in the church]. He has proven himself a false teacher who is to be noted and avoided [Romans 16:17-18]. Christians do not need to flee from the organized church; they need to flee from Harold Camping.
Scripture is clearly opposed to Camping's basic propositions. Space permits us to address but three. First, Christ has not, as Camping alleges, forsaken His church, nor is Satan on its throne:
I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father ├???├??├?┬»├???├??├?┬╗├???├??├?┬┐of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named..├???├??├?┬»├???├??├?┬╗├???├??├?┬┐ To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever (Ephesians 3:14, 21).
Second, Christ has not, as Camping teaches, suspended the sacraments:
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).
All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am ├???├??├?┬»├???├??├?┬╗├???├??├?┬┐with you always, even to the end of the age├???├??├?┬»├???├??├?┬╗├???├??├?┬┐ (Matthew 28:18-19).
Third, Camping-style isolation is simply not an option for believers:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Camping cites many problems in the contemporary church as supposed proof of his "end of the church". But there have been such problems in the church from the beginning: legalism (Acts 15; Galatians); compromise and corruption (Revelation 2); problems in worship (1 Corinthians 11); lukewarmness (Revelation 3); injustice (Acts 6); immorality (1 Corinthians 5); ungodly contentions (James 4). Such problems certainly abounded in the sixteenth century, but the Reformers knew better than to declare that the end of the church age had come. On the contrary, they championed separation from apostasy and realignment of the organized true church on sound principles. Because the church is in the world, [and] the world is in the church, and believers are not perfected in this life, the church can never exist in the absence of many such problems until Jesus returns. To say that the church has come to an end because these things exist in it today is to deny the Biblical doctrine of the church and the lordship of Christ over His church. On the contrary, one of the marks of a true church of Jesus Christ is that it deals with such matters by exercising godly discipline according to Scripture.
These teachings are found in Camping's booklets, Has the Church Age Come to an End? (Oakland, California: Family Stations, Inc., 2000) and The End of the Church Age.and After (2004). [They are elaborated in his more recent book, Time Has an End: A Biblical History of the World 11,013 B.C. - 2011 A.D.]
Harold Camping, 1994? (Ashland, Ohio: Vantage Press, 1992).
For a detailed critique of Camping's heresy, see James R. White, Dangerous Airwaves: Harold Camping Refuted and Christ's Church Defended (Amityville, New York: Calvary Press, 2002).
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