On Sunday, Pastor Douthwaite at our church gave one of the best comments on the Harold Camping fiasco. From his sermon on John 14:
Thomas and Philip didn’t quite understand all that Jesus was saying. They ask questions. Their knowledge isn’t quite right or complete. But don’t mock them or think less of them for this – for who among us understands all this? Especially the mystery of the Trinity which Jesus here is teaching. But give Thomas and Philip credit for this – though they didn’t fully understand, they looked to Jesus for the answers. They clung to Him tenaciously.
That’s not only a good example for us, it is what a certain Mr. Harold Camping missed this weekend. I’m certain that you’ve heard of him. The media has paid an unusual amount of attention to him and his prediction that the end of the world was going to begin yesterday. I don’t want to go into the details of all that he said. But you know what he missed? Christ. Not that he’s not a Christian. I’m not saying that. I don’t know what’s in his heart. But in all his study of the Bible, he looked for numbers and clues and codes and all sorts of things . . . but he missed Christ. And that’s what the Scriptures are all about. They’re not about hidden clues, secret teachings, mysterious numbers, and being able to calculate days and times. They’re all about Jesus. About his death and resurrection. That dying and rising with Jesus is the truth, and the way to eternal life.
Camping is not alone in spinning a Christless Christianity. I have read “Christian” books going into all kinds of profound theology and teachings about Christian living that did not so much as mention Christ. I have heard sermons, even evangelistic sermons, that left out Christ. I have heard expositions of the Bible that said nothing about Christ. I have heard personal testimonies and evangelistic witnesses that leave Jesus out of the picture. I have looked at lots of Sunday school curriculum and “Christian” children’s books that are pure moralism, without a shred of Jesus and His gospel. Since the root of “Christianity” is, you know, “Christ,” how is this possible? Don’t you have a different religion if you leave Jesus out of your Christianity?
P.S.: This is the reason to discuss Camping and not just to ignore him, as some of you were recommending: To discern how his particular spirit may be manifesting itself in other contexts closer to home. That’s the theme of this post and the one below.