I know we all had some laughs about today and the things that did (or did NOT) occur. In fact, I’ve heard some of the funniest jokes I’ve possibly ever heard from some of the least likely of people. But between you, me and the rest of the world, I honestly wish I were as dedicated to my beliefs as that “crazy” old man, Harold Camping is…
I’m not trying to switch focus to myself or my inadequacies here, but I can remember many times in which I could have stood up for my beliefs but didn’t because I was much too scared of being wrong.
I’ve heard everything about this man. Everyone has an opinion about it. Some theories say this was all a publicity stunt to get people to go to church. Others believe he did it as a very well-thought prank set to make believers look like charismatic psychopaths …
then there are the ones who believe this event was innocent, that it was simply a tired man who wished so badly for something to be true that he poured all of his time, resources and credibility into it.
He laid down his most sacred possessions/assets… and for what? To get it wrong.
You want to laugh. You want to roll your eyes. You and your friends have sat around making comment after comment about it (as I have with mine) and yet, as I sit here now, I can’t help but feel kind of emotional about it. No, not because I didn’t get “raptured”, not even just because I kind of feel bad for the man, but because he took a shot on something he believed in and left absolutely no spot in his life for a “plan b”. Maybe the subject was harsh and completely un-biblical, but if only I could have that kind of faith about the things that mean less.
Harold Camping may have gotten it wrong –very wrong– but at the very least, the man did so boldly.
And to an extent, I wish I can say that more often about my failures.
If this was only about him and his ministry, that would be one thing, but it is not. It is clearly the job of the modern Western media to find any crackpot, bigot, or screwball (pick your own noun/adjective word you like) and make them the “voice” or “herald” of Christianity. This for some reason is completely legitimate to do with Christianity, but is not done with any most other fanatical ideas.
When those Dodgers fans beat that Giants fan within an inch of his life, there was no linking of the tiny handful of fanatics with the Dodgers organization in totality. So, why is it that one ignoramus making any claim connecting himself with Christianity or a Church immediately speaks for the whole? (The only other group this is done with is Islam, but that’s another rant all together.)
Harold Camping should have been exposed as a false teacher / false prophet back in 1994 when he made the same predictions he is making now. Just because he buys billboard space does not make him learned or correct. After his first failed prediction, he should have been silenced, or had the decency to silence himself from future predictions that make the whole Christian Church look like a collective village idiot. Where are the people in his life that keep him accountable to what the Bible teaches? Someone who misleads a church is not alone in his error, there are others there that should hold him accountable.
Too many in the Church regard Eschatology to be an unimportant side-issue in Theology put somewhere in the category of women’s head-coverings and separate communion mini-cups or shared goblet.
Eschatology is an extremely important area of Theology to study, if for no other reason, to easily refute and set aside stupid predictions as the one Harold Camping has made. I guarantee, on May 22, when the Rapture has not happened, the world will make an absolute mockery of Christian Eschatology and Theology as a whole, and after thinking that was so much fun will find another Theological Issue with another useful false teacher for another round.
In closing this rant, a word to the Media: STOP ANOINTING PEOPLE TO BE CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOR THE CHURCH. You do a terrible job of it. You find the sensational instead of the rational because RATINGS are the name of the game, not TRUTH.
Below is an article/letter written by my friend and mentor, Kris Martens, to the church he leads, Reality Vancouver Church. Yes, the news has been bombarded by the prediction of the rapture which Harold Camping said was to happen today, May 21, 2011. Kris writes it very, very well, so I’d like to share this with you. (Kris, if you’re reading this, I hope its okay with you. Or you can just beat me up later.. jk)
‘Jesus is coming…run for the hills’
Well, He IS coming - but not likely today. Although that’d be awesome. Would put our city’s boisterous Canuck idolatry in persective, eh. Jesus’ church really needs to stop arrogantly setting dates for His return, but be eagerly waiting & preparing for the certainty of this event.
Albert Mohler has a great article on the false teachings of Harold Camping and the familyradio nuttiness HERE. He ends with some helpful reminders:
First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
To state the case plainly, these two verses explicitly forbid Christians to claim the knowledge of such dates and times. Jesus clearly taught that the Father has not revealed such dates and timing, but has reserved that knowledge for himself. It is an act of incredible presumptuousness to claim that a human knows such a date, or has determined God’s timing by any means.
Second, the Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible’s message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God.
Third, Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.
In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming.
The Gospel Coalition’ Justin Taylor has some other great resources & articles HERE.
Reality - instead of simply mocking the doomsday false prophets (which is oh so tempting) - may this weekend remind us that Jesus will indeed return and that someday every knee will bow & tongue confess that JESUS IS LORD. Until that day comes - pray fervently, love extravagantly, live missionally, and let the Good News of Jesus be reflected passionately & radically in every area of your life. To God be the glory. Come, Lord Jesus, come. pastor Kris