Harold Camping's Statement: What Should it Say?

Oddly enough, Harold Camping chose the International Business Times to be the conduit for his message that he will deliver a statement by tomorrow evening on the reasons for the failed prediction and how he is responding to it.  Camping, says the IBT, looked “dazed and confused,” and “said he needed some time to think and recover.”  He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was “flabbergasted.”

What should Harold Camping's statement say?

I don’t doubt it.  I’ve never listened to Mr Camping’s radio program, and I certainly can’t claim to any privileged insight into his state of mind.  But I’ve known folks like him, people so consumed by an idea — an unlikely idea, a scandalous idea, an idea that most others find absurd — that they come to believe it in their bones and tendons, in their viscera, and that idea animates their lives.  It gives their lives coherence and significance, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a Heroic Struggle to fight.  I’m pretty confident he was a true believer.  And when you’re surrounded by other people who believe the same thing, and you taught them to believe the same thing, the pressure to justify and sustain that belief is extreme.  You cannot cease believing it; if you ceased believing, then others would cease believing, too.  Their trust in you would crumble — and become anger.  They would come to believe that you’ve horribly misled them.  And they would be right.  That prospect becomes so horrible that you simply must believe in what you’re teaching.

Let’s assume that Camping was indeed a true believer in what he taught.  What does he do now?  Believing in his teaching, his followers skipped their final exams, left their jobs, euthanized their pets, spent their life savings, in order to proclaim the coming of the End and save as man souls as they could.  Families were divided.  People’s hopes were shattered and their faiths deeply broken.  One disturbed woman even tried — unsuccessfully, thank God — to kill herself and her children by slitting their throats, lest they suffer in the tribulations that were to follow the rapture.

What should he say, and what should he not say, in his statement tomorrow?

  1. He should certainly not say that the calculations were sound but the data was off.  This is my personal fear.  We don’t really know when Jesus was crucified, and we certainly don’t know when the flood of Noah occurred.  Nor is there any real reason to think that the countdown to Judgment Day can be measured with reference to those events.  So Camping might say: “It’s still going to be 722,500 days from the crucifixion, but perhaps the crucifixion really happened a week after I assumed it had.”  Or “Perhaps it’s 722,500 days from the ascension and not the resurrection.”  No.  This is it.  No more predictions.  Even if he has a suspicion in his heart, an inkling that perhaps it’s May 27th (!), he must keep it to himself.  He has done enormous damage now with his two false predictions, damage to many lives and damage to the credibility of the church.
  2. He should not try to justify his prediction.  This will be very difficult, and it will tell me a lot about the state of his heart.  Human pride wants to explain, even though we were wrong, why we believed what we believed.  Even if our belief was false, we want to say, it was justified.  With all the mockery he has faced, before and after May 21, the temptation will be nigh-irresistible to explain why he was really quite reasonable in believing what he believed.  Yet this is not about him, and it’s not a time for pride.  It’s a time to focus on those who sacrificed their finances, their careers, their relationships because of their trust in him.  He needs the humility to take his lumps, end the circus, and simply bless those he harmed.
  3. So, right from the beginning he should ask for forgiveness.  He should confess not only that he was mistaken (which is obvious), but that he was wrong to enter the doomsday-prophecy business, that he should have listened to his brothers and sisters in Christ who warned him that his teaching was false and destructive, and that he let his pride get the better of him.  This is not about humiliating Harold Camping.  This is about making him whole, and making whole the people who suffered from the trust they placed in him.  They deserve a thoroughgoing apology and confession, and his restoration to the fold of the faithful will not be complete unless he repents.
  4. He should vow to do everything in his power to restore those who lost jobs, funds, and relationships with loved ones.  The world’s assessment of Harold Camping would change dramatically if he fully admitted his fault and then used the resources at his disposal to help those his teachings harmed.  His own wealth (whatever it may be), his empire of radio and television stations, these should be used to whatever extent possible to help those left destitute.  Some have suggested a fund to help the victims.  While Camping himself should not administrate that fund, he can use his media influence to raise the funds to help his victims.  This will help in their healing, and in his own.
  5. Finally, he should announce that he will make his radio show, indefinitely, into a forum for understanding what went wrong in this story and for reconciling families that were divided.  I’ve never spent much time thinking about a “Rapture,” but this story illustrates the danger that follows when we develop a very specific vision of the end times, a specific vision of what the Bible leaves mysterious and filled with symbolism, and then cling to that vision with tenacity.  Evangelicals need to have an open and thoughtful conversation about the problems of popular Rapture theology.  Even if I don’t expect Camping to change the basic contours of his eschatology – his beliefs regarding the end times – he could do great good if he could hold an edifying conversation on these things.  And he could do even more good if he invited families that were divided by his teachings into mediated on-air conversations that look to bring understanding and reconciliation.

I’ve written elsewhere the story of how I broke my neck in a gymnastics accident during my sophomore year at college.  Soon thereafter, I faced a decision.  Would I see this (on the face of it) horrible thing that had happened in my life as something accidental, something tangential to the calling God has for my life?  Or would I see this as a part of the story that God wants to tell through me?  Whether or not God meant this for me from the beginning, what could God do with it now?  The same question is faced by countless people everyday who have suffered terrible turns in life.  Is this hardship extrinsic to my vocation, or intrinsic to it?

Harold Camping’s followers are facing this decision right now, and so is Mr Camping himself.  Since nothing can separate us from the love of God, there is nothing ultimately that the love of God cannot redeem within us.  God can turn the worst of things into the best of things.  Who knows how many years Harold Camping has left.  Let us hope that he chooses to work with God in redeeming the wrong he has done and making whole the people he has harmed.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Edmund Rowlands

    Excellent article. Camping should also get back into a sound evangelical congregation.

  • MB

    Hey, you are are a pretty good writer, and I understand the extent of the damage. I was grew up in the same area as Camping and was involved personally in the intial church exodus of 88. I was there for 94.

    This is over the top how you are characterizing him and what he “needs” to do. Yes, what he says will tell us alot about his heart, and yes, assuming he remains totally off, he should not have been so 100% on it.
    The one thing, I think he should have done different, is not have said 100% sure. If he had just said 99.999999% sure and no more, then people would not have reacted so naively.

    He is a respectable man. Admirable in his actual daily holiness. Even people that disagree with Camping, have nothing to say bad about him personally.

    But mostly, yeah, no more dates, datesetting is for the birds and I am truly sorry is the jist of what he ‘owes’ to the world.

    Sheesh, there is so much I would like to share on this, I could almost right a book on this

    • MB

      its funny…in your post yo mention that he should “vow to do X”. I was chuckling…you really should listen to his open form show. They are on family radio open forum archives. Camping as had this 1.5hr bible study q/a calling show for 50+ years. 5 days a week. That alone is a feat that is worthy admiration.

      In any case, on this show you get all kind a crazies that call in, talking about how they saw jesus in the backyard and he said X, etc. As soon as the call goes into extra-biblical zone, he sonorously declares, “Excuse me, Excuse me” and then immedatley correct the calls on how the bible is the authority and if the call thinks they saw Christ for real that it must be Satan and to ignore it and pray and read the bible”. Then he does this thing, “, but thank you for calling and sharing, and shall we take our next call please….”

      to take the crazy long way around, I meant to say I chuckled inside as I know that Camping would have cut off a call suggesting he make a “vow” due to the bibilcal warning against vowing.
      Just sharing that little bit

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Thanks for the context. These are just recommendations — the things that would, I think, begin to redeem the moment. Whether he wants to “vow” or not is not particularly important to me; a simple commitment to do his best to use the resources with which God has entrusted him to make amends to the greatest extent possible. -Tim

  • Roy

    The only difference between Harold Camping and other Christians is that he set a date for Judgment Day while the others did not. ‘Mainstream’ Christians still believe this ridiculous event will happen some day, they just can’t say when. Camping and other Christians are really just as delusional as each other.

    • Kevin M

      Exactly in what way is it ridiculous. Since you are making a firm claim please provide evidence to support it (and no that it can’t be proven is NOT evidence if you are unclear on this pelase consult any basic book on critical thinking specifically the fallacy of appeal to ignorance). Also where did you get your credentials as a psychiatrist? If you didn’t what basis do you have calling anyone delusional, while you are consulting that book on critical thinking please also look up ad hominim attacks. You know its amazing how many Christian bashers are incapable of using basic logic.

  • Maria

    Hello, I came across this when I was googling Harold Camping. I think this is a brilliant article – heartfelt, wise and well written, especially the last two paragraphs.

    “Whether or not God meant this for me from the beginning, what could God do with it now?” It’s a really good question that I should be asking myself more often. Thank you. :)

  • batgrl

    I have to say that this has to be one of the BEST proposals written I’ve seen about what Mr. Camping should probably do. I agree. A sincere apology to all those hurting should definitely be in order. To turn his cheek to all those scoffing at him and make another prediction, run again or make another excuse would certainly prove detrimental to everyone right now.

    Should he reimburse those who lost funds? Absolutely he should find some way, shape, or form to. Even if its not he himself funding it. Many euthanized beloved pets in fear, and a man committed suicide in a church as well. It is so devastating to see such panic stricken in the hearts of people.

    The last point you bring to the table of transforming the radio station into a place to mend the torn families of those who were broken by the belief system brought on by Harold Camping I agree with to an extent. He is (for the most part and this shows in his attempt with the mathematical portion of his figuring of the rapture date) an engineer, not a psychologist. I don’t know if he would be able to repair all the bonds broken there; especially since it was he who broke it in the first place. It depends on what all was broken in the first place. Don’t you suspect the family members that had opposed Camping’s beliefs would butt heads with that proposition a bit? However, the extent of the punishment would be nice; in the same I think the poor dude’s endured enough. I don’t know if he’s read anything on the internet, if he has I’m sure he’s embarrassed, if not- he’s sure going to catch it while leaving the house on Monday. That would be enough for anyone!

    • Arthur Adam Haglund

      I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with you!
      Camping meets the conditions of a cult in all aspects but one, he never sequestered his followers. They are open range cult members, I guess you could say.
      I made a small (as it would take much longer to do an exhaustive list of their anti-christian doctrine):
      http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=223737237637703#!/notes/art-haglund/is-family-radio-and-harold-camping-a-cult/223737237637703
      While Harold might not be malicious, as you say, he is viscious, at times to any and all who openly contradicted him.
      In the end, Satan IS malicious and Camping’s doctrines are not Christian, but Satanic.
      You do all who read your blog a disservice in saying that he is not a cult leader not malicious, due to his sincerity.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Thanks for your thoughts, Arthur. -Tim

    • Arthur Adam Haglund

      Sorry, My reply was to the Blog writer, not the comment writer.

  • http://www.dewofhermon.blogspot.com Gerard O’Shea

    Thank you for your considered and gracious reflections on the failed predictions of Harold Camping. I think he would do well to heed your suggestions of a path towards repentance, where this prophetic debacle could by Gods grace be yet turned around for His glory!

  • Danny Haszard

    Armageddon-aint-a-coming-so-im-a-getting-outta-here…

    Watchtower Jehovahs Witnesses have lost credibility with their own *Millerite Math* doctrine of Jesus *invisible* second coming October 1914.
    Watchtower society false prophets declare Armageddon end of world in 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984….
    —Danny Haszard been there!

  • Todd

    I believe the most beneficial statement he could make is this:

    1. The calculations were sound, and the information was derived directly from the bible. This can only mean one thing: the bible is fiction.

    I sincerely hope he maintains “faith” in his calculations and reaches this inevitable conclusion.

  • Jason Buckley

    This is a thoughtful response, but it doesn’t really go to the heart of the issue.

    Harold Camping’s prophecy was different in degree, but not in kind, to any pronouncement about the afterlife or the supernatural. It was a prediction made without reasonable evidence, on the basis of one holy book selected out of the many thousands of conflicting religious traditions the world has witnessed, because of the accident of birth that drew that particular tradition to Camping’s attention.

    The only difference between Camping’s prophecy of the end of the world, and anyone else’s prediction of a Christian afterlife or the veracity of the bible is that his prophecy was open to falsification. So in that sense, it has a commendable honesty to it.

    To believe that the whole wide universe has been constructed as a theatre in which a drama concerned with the human species is to be played out is just as vain and ridiculous as to imagine that you personally have identified the date at which the world will end.

    We are stuff. Wonderful, exciting, surprising and occasionally ridiculous stuff. But being stuff is enough.

  • Ella

    I fully endorse all but the last point: “Finally, he should announce that he will make his radio show, indefinitely, into a forum for understanding what went wrong in this story and for reconciling families that were divided… he could do even more good if he invited families that were divided by his teachings into mediated on-air conversations that look to bring understanding and reconciliation.”

    The best thing he could do is preach the gospel. If he’d stuck to that in the first place, none of this would have happened. Unfortunately he’s no longer qualified to teach from Scripture, but before he retires he should repent privately, apologise publicly, make restitution and hand Family Radio over to someone sensible who can preach humbly and faithfully from Scripture. After all, “understanding” of the Word and “reconciliation” with God are more important than any on air discussions among duped listeners.

    • Helena Constantine

      What good do you think he could possibly do? He needs to go to prison, no different than Bernie Madoff, and have his fortune reapportioned to the people he lied to in order to swindle it from.

      How could any sane person think anything else?

  • Jeff

    I was listening to the Family Radio East Coast webstream at 5:55 AM EDST, 23 May, 2011. Host Charlie Menut (station manager of their affiliate WFME-FM) was hosting, and introduced a gentlemen from FR’s network programming department (couldn’t catch his name). He read a statement about why the rapture didn’t come. No mention of Harold Camping’s name.

    I got the feeling Harold Camping will be eased out. Listen to the west coast feed to see if they repeat the statement in a few hours time.

  • Zephyr

    Good article. I think those who are reviling Camping as a false prophet and Robert Fitzpatrick of NYC as a fool need to have some compassion. Camping and Fitzpatrick were misguided, but IMHO they were not trying to bilk anyone– they truly believed that the world would end. Fitzpatrick, in particular, spent nearly all of his savings trying to spread the word and “save” other people. That would have been heroic if he hadn’t been wrong.

    In the interests of accurate reporting, is there any data on how many people actually quit their jobs, sold their homes, etc.? Other than Fitzpatrick, I have yet to see the press mention the name of one person in the U.S. who did this, despite all the sympathy for “all those people who gave up their life savings”.

  • Bob

    I think that financial restitution is essential, but I don’t believe any funds should be raised until all of the assets of Family Radio have been liquidated. If there is anything left, and Family Radio continues, Mr. Camping should just publicly repent of his false teachings and then be quiet and leave the ministry to truly Biblical teachers.

  • http://www.tribaljade.wordpress.com Angie

    Definitely one of the best responses I’ve read to this whole tragedy. Thank you for posting.

  • Kenton Forshee

    I don’t know what he should say entirely but I know what it should include. An apology to the gay community that he maligned in the lead up to this nonsense. Saying that it was the gays that were the reason the Apocalypse was going to happen. It’s on video and I’ve seen it.

  • Polaris431

    This article is a sham. It makes it sound like Camping is a Christian that simply went astray. Nothing could be further from the truth. He never WAS a Christian to start with. He is a false prophet, a tool of the Devil who needs to repent and be born again.

    • Jennie

      So you know his heart do you?

  • John Stanley

    Timothy, this is a lovely and grace filled posting. I join you in praying that brother Camping will do the right thing.
    I would only add that far worse than the failed rapture date, has been the teaching that God has abandoned the churches. Both to help his deceived flock recover their sanity and also to make amends to the part of Christ’s body that has been slandered, time be given to air testimonies from anyone who WAS saved in any church during the years since “the end of the church age”. The many stories of lives transformed by the power of Christ working in the churches would be an inspiration to all as well as a corrective to this false doctrine.

  • http://unsealing-the-seven-seals.blogspot.com/ Michael Cecil

    What should Harold Camping’s statement say?

    It should say that Jesus never taught the doctrine of the ‘Rapture’ in the first place.

    It should say that Jesus never taught the Pharisaical *doctrine* (expropriated from the Egyptians) of the physical raising of a dead body from the grave.

    It should say that Jesus taught the Doctrine of “resurrection” as a Doctrine of ‘Rebirth’–which is why the Pharisees opposed him in the first place.

    And, finally, he should say that Jesus will NOT return ‘riding a white horse out of the sky’.

    That is no less of a florid delusion (and a Satanic doctrine) that the doctrine of the ‘Rapture’ itself.

    • Helena Constantine

      So it should conform to your version of insanity?

      • http://science-of-consciousness.blogspot.com/2011/01/towards-new-paradigm-of-consciousness-i_24.html Michael Cecil

        The *least* you can do is get the terminology right, dearie.

        The Sadducees said that anyone who received the revelation of memories of previous lives was “possessed by demons”; an accusation which was then repeated in the Easter, 1990 edition of “L’Osservatore Romano”.

        Just to keep things in perspective here.

  • http://von-m.com.au von Maedler

    Probably best to start with an apology, and then ask for forgiveness. There is nothing else to say beyond that.

  • http://www.body-mindandspirit.com David H-T

    You continue to write great, reflective stuff about this, Tim. Here’s a link to my own response to the non-rapture over the weekend, “There’s No Place Like Home: My Post-Rapture Sermon”: http://www.body-mindandspirit.com/2011/05/theres-no-place-like-home-my-post.html

  • ammes

    HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR THIS OLD FOOL

    1.He said all in Churches are ruled by the Devil
    2.Millions of Babies would die on May21
    3. He was “the” Bible expert and Priest,Ministers,and all others were evil
    4.He said the deaths would be beautiful on Judgment day

    THE FCC MUST REMOVE HIS STATION FROM THE AIR

    SEE HOW HE TOOK $$$38 MILLION IN 1 YEAR FROM HIS FOLLOWERS! SEE HERE http://haroldcamping-21.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-harold-camping-pulled-off-biggest.html

  • Ernesto

    Fabulous commentary, Mr. Dalrymple. Strikes the right balance between calling Mr. Camping out on his sin, while taking him at his word regarding his salvation and calling him to repentance.

    Unlike you, I am not entirely convinced that Mr. Camping completely bought into his prediction. If so, he too would have divested himself of all his possessions and used the proceeds to spread the word.

  • http://unsealing-the-seven-seals.blogspot.com/ Michael Cecil

    (By the way, if you decide to censor and suppress my previous comment–such censorship of the Truth is DIRECTLY responsible for the BLOODSHED in the Middle East–that censorship will soon become clear to those who read my website.)

  • John Haas

    “ammes” is onto something that a lot of commentators are ignoring. This prediction didn’t just spring up from an otherwise impeccably sane ministry. This guy is a cultist. He needs complete reformation. But the reason one becomes a cult-leader has to do with a whole lot more than a mere error in one’s addition. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any mea culpas from him anytime soon.

  • Jonathan

    A very well thought-out and interesting read! I sincerely hope that Harold will have the humility to apologize though it will be very difficult. This rapture-prediction business has been going on for quite a while and it seems, as someone said, that “The one thing we learn from History is that we do not learn from History”. sadly, there will be enough of false teachers, some of them no doubt sincere, who will ensure that this will continue.

    Harold has once more given the opportunity to the world to hold us Christians to public ridicule and open scorn, something totally unnecessary and certainly not the sort of ridicule that Christ would have us go through. It is going to be hard for many of Harold’s supporters to prevent themselves from totally losing faith in the aftermath that has just started and is far from over. May we, the body of Christ be sensitive to their needs and be there to encourage and bless them. God bless.

  • TRR

    I first listened to Family Radio back in the mid 1980s. There were many good programs and radio show hosts at the time. The only show that I had a problem with was Mr. Camping’s Open Forum. The show was and is anything but that. It is a bully pulpit for him and his interpretation of scripture. As time went by, more and more positive broadcast programs were removed from the Family Radio schedule, mostly due to Mr. Camping’s rules and arbitrary changes to program content. He has serious problems with pride and self-centeredness, and they’ve been getting worse as he gets older. It’s a shame, because the Family Radio network has great potential to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a world that needs to hear it. I hope that this humbles the man, and that he commits himself to doing GOD’s will, and not Harold’s.

  • Jason

    I hope that Mr. Camping does some of the things mentioned above. And if people are willing to donate to some fund to help those who were mislead that’s great. But we also have to think, at the end of the day, everyone makes their own decisions. Mr. Camping didn’t force anyone to quit their jobs or donate their life savings. These people made these decisions of their own accord. At this point, I think this people really need prayer and a support group for their families and peers.

    He needs to be broken completely off from his followers, because history shows that not only will many of his followers now leave, but somehow their belief will be stronger. The failure is too great, they can’t bear it and will deny it with every bone in their body.

  • Dave

    Agreed. There needs to be restitution. He committed fraud.

  • Helena Constantine

    The Bible requires that false prophets be stoned to death. Surely he should invite his hears to do that.

  • Jeff W

    Unfortunately, my sympathy for his followers is limited. These people that bought into his prophecy should have been aware of Matthew 24:36. I’m not a strong believer in god, but if I was I’d do my own homework and read that bible front and back before betting the ranch
    on what some man was preaching. Especially given that man’s track record with prophecies.

  • marty

    No doubt that many will lose faith from this experience and what does the bible say about that? In Matthew 18:6 Jesus warns anyone that causes a child to lose their faith, it would be better to have a rock tied to their neck and be thrown into the sea. Harold is a heretic who deserves to be shunned.

  • Jeff W

    I kind of agree with ammes. The government or FBI or Homeland Security should research the amount of damage Mr Camping has caused. This society is filled with religious zealots that are to eager and sucpetible to teachings and put themselves at risk of major damages. These so called prophets need to be held accountable.

  • Grendelair

    Perhaps he should convert to Islam and tell THEM the world is ending?

  • http://www.godsloveandlaw.wordpress.com Rob

    Harold is seriously LOST. Repentance is the ONLY thing in order. He foolishly ignored scripture “No man knows the day or hour” for HIS OWN selfish beliefs. As far as the “followers” there is no need for his repaying them back. THEY, I repeat THEY decided to follow his false teachings on their own, they were not forced. They too must search their hearts and repent, Rob http://www.godsloveandlaw.wordpress.com

  • Frank

    I don’t think Harold Camping has anything to apologize for. He has spent 70 years studying the Bible and he has come to certain conclusions; one of which was that the rapture would occur on May 21st. In each episode of his program he encourages the viewer / listener to read the Bible themselves and come to their understanding. If like-minded folks came to the same conclusion or out of laziness just accepted his conclusions then they are responsible for any actions they took in their lives because of it. Time for all people to take responsibility for themselves and not blame their actions on the opinions of anyone.

  • Cliff Gardner

    You guys are missing the point. I’m sorry a man spent 140,000 on marketing and I’m sorry for Adrienne. However, this teaches us one thing. At any moment, we must prepare for the coming of the Lord. It is true that no man may know the time of his coming but I think this should touch everyones soul. I know many people that said, “Hey, why not pray it actually might be the day.” I don’t see a problem with that but I think we’ll be a lot better off if we treated everyday like Judgement Day could happen tomorrow. I don’t want to see people out of fear tell God sorry only ti return to their [mine] ways after the fact. I for one am going to continue studying the Bible, making sure I don’t get sucked in by private indoctrinations and do my best in hopes that I may meet God one day as a friend via death, rapture or whatever the means. Have a good day everyone. He does need to issue a statement, his own family was even split apart by his teachings so I guess he’s feeling like the worst person in the world right now. Not letting him off the hook but aren’t people always harping on how independent they are. He was wrong in 1994 and my own father with Alzheimer’s had doubts about this. He doesn’t take a penny in pay from family radio so I don’t perceive compensation for those effected will hurt too much, espeically in his own eyes we aren’t supposed to be here now. The fact remains, that this world is an ugly place. Murder, greed, envy, hate, theft, poverty and many other horrors are around us everyday and seem ti multiply by the second. I do believe the world will end soon–but hey, I could die today. I have to focus on the now and let what will be, will be down the road. Pace and blessings to you all.

  • jay

    The only other thing he should say is “I am stepping down from my position as president of Family stations network”

  • Pam

    I appreciate the article, and what you say, but by what measurement should restitution be made? Anyone can make claims to the stupid things they did in preparation for the 2nd time this guy has cried rapture. Ruined credit? Are we sure their credit wasn’t ruined before the rapture? Can you measure if they truly bought into it, or just wanted an excuse to spend? Euthanized pets? Do they have to bring a vet bill, and must the vet guarantee the pet was healthy and it was done because of the immenent rapture? People who made ill decisions did it on their own. There are people who believed in this who kept working, kept paying their debtors, and did not go on vacations and buy fancy cars and blame this. He did not encourage people to quit their jobs and kill their pets and families. He ought to donate his fortune, whatever that may be to charities that feed the poor, and whomever suffered due to buying into his prediction can find solice in a soup kitchen and not burden our judicial system with this ridiculousness.

  • James

    As someone who has grown up as a Christian with much emphasis on end time prophecy, I do sympathize with those who shared Campings beliefs and who were hurt by them later. After cracks of doubt spread in my die-hard beliefs about the Bible being divinely inspired and always interpreting scripture literally, I began to wonder why a loving and understanding creator would ever destroy the earth (much less souls!) in this vicious and rather selective manner. Personally, when I was a naive high schooler freaking out about end time shit, I might have followed Camping the same way I did Tim Lahaye and other “rapturists.” Weaning yourself off of these types of beliefs is emotionally hard, and though you have to suffer through a “self-reconstruction period”, you never fall prey to this kind of seperational doctrine again. I offer mono-theists the possibility that God has an equal amount of love and salvation to give to every last human being on Earth, including those who doubt the existence of God or who question aspects of Christianity. Just because someone is completely convinced of the idea that only those who share their type of faith (whether in their religion or their end time date) receive God’s grace, does not make it so.

  • Paul

    Excellent article. I think he should do everything you said.

  • Jeff

    I just got through listening to the last half of today’s live Camping’s Open Forum program (had to work late so missed the first half).

    At that point in the program, reporters in the studio audience were asking him questions. He answered very few questions directly, instead each time going into a rambling discussion. He indicated Family Radio would not refund donations or financially assist people who did things based on his predictions. He insists the end of the world will come in October.

  • http://kathydecosmo.blogspot.com Kathleen Decosmo

    I agree That Harold Camping should ask forgiveness and vow to do everything in his power to restore those who lost jobs, funds, and relationships with loved ones.

    Perhaps the “Real Story” to be told is how Harold Camping handles this and makes it the example people need to see.

    Romans 8:28

  • http://grace-bible.com Jesse Gistand

    I too commend this article.

    Having been with Mr. Camping all throughout the 94 era, as an elder in the RBC Church and now Ministering Pastor of Grac Bible Church in San Leandro.

    Your recoomendations are not over the top, as one person suggested. That people are blinded by Mr. Campings professed holiness is ludicrous.It is his teachings that are damnable.

    UNFORTUNATELY, He did not take your advice. In the most predictable way, He revised his interpretation and is now carrying those poor ignorant naive people into OCTOBER of this year as the true date of Christ return.

    Incredulous, absurb, scandulous, and wicked. There is no other honest way to put it. He is reprobate and impenitant.

    You will never hear him say I am sorry! Iwas wrong, I quit!
    I know this personally!

    Don’t hold your breath,

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jesse. I’m afraid you’re right. Humanly speaking, I’m sure you’re right. Could there be some miraculous softening of his heart? There could be. But, as you said, I won’t hold my breath. -Tim

  • Morgan

    I guess I should be shocked and appalled that Camping doubled-down with an October 21st date. Sadly, I’m not.

  • JuneAnnette

    Though I am not a listener or supporter of Mr. Camping, I know of his teaching from others. Mr. Camping’s dogmatic statements left no room for a “margin of error” and that is what made his pronouncement so dangerous.
    Timothy Dalrymple has truly spoken the “truth in love”. (Eph. 4:15)
    This is undoubtedly the best commentary I’ve read in the aftermath of Harold Camping’s failed end of the world prediction. It would be a real blessing if both Harold Camping and his ministry, Family Radio would follow his sound Christian advice.
    Sadly those who know him very well, are persuaded that is not too likely. In an interview on May 20, one of Harold Camping’s former colleagues has shared his thoughts on the path he believes Mr. Camping will once again go down.
    *********
    Excerpt:
    “The former dean of Camping’s Bible school balances a tremendous respect for his former boss with grave concerns for his followers this weekend.
    Gabriel Otero said that one former parishioner quit his job, sold his property for next to nothing and moved with his wife to Arizona for the last days before the Day of Reckoning.
    “I’m concerned for the emotional make-up of these people,” said Otero, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Morgan Hill. “It is sad that on Sunday, when they find out nothing happened and they have nothing.”
    Camping fired the former dean of Family Radio School of the Bible in 2006 after 34 years when the nonprofit president decided to remove organized religion from the nonprofit, Otero said. And yet, the 61-year-old speaks fondly of him.
    “He’s a nice man. A wonderful fellow. Simple, clean as can be and very trustworthy,” he said. “Mr. Camping is unique in that he doesn’t see through the theology of Christianity.”
    Camping began predicting Judgment Day would be Sept. 6, 1994 and wrote a book. When the world continued, Otero said, Camping stayed mostly quiet about his miscalculation but told Otero that the Lord did return to Earth on that date – in a mystical way – taking the Holy Spirit back to heaven.
    Otero expects another excuse come Sunday.
    “I’m very sure he’s going to come up with another date … He’ll say we need to refine the study here and there.”
    *******
    The entire interview can be read here:
    Source: Kansas City Star / Article: An insider’s look at Family Radio and its leader Harold Camping /
    http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/20/2890976/an-insiders-look-at-family-radio.html
    *********
    I am a former Roman Catholic converted to Christ by his grace and I believe in this matter Mr. Camping has “erred from the faith” and lead many astray in so doing. He needs to show some humility and get back to preaching the glorious gospel of God’s free & sovereign grace and exalting His person and work alone!

  • Khaliah

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/24/harold-camping-to-apologize-to-followers-but-says-end-of-world-comes-on-oct-21/comment-page-1/#comments

    As I expected, he didn’t apologize. He’s absolved himself of responsibility, and is showing little to no sympathy toward his followers who now have nothing.

    What a powerful thing pride is. If Camping has any humility at all, it must be walled up behind several walls made out of adamantium or something.

    I really should have guessed this, and I’m saddened even more because of it. He shrugged off a person’s suicide in 1994, and now he’s shrugging off the thousands of lives he’s devastated by saying “I didn’t tell them to do it.”

    People can defend him all they want, but the truth has been laid bare. No matter how “simple” he lives, no matter how many years he’s studied and taught the Bible, he has misled people and is now abandoning them without offering to lift one finger to assist them.

    What I feel now is a sickening concoction of compassion, pity, and absolute disgust. How can anyone be so callous? It’s one thing to think that billions of lives lost in earthquakes is “awesome.” It’s another thing to let your followers fend for themselves after shattering their lives.

  • JuneAnnette

    This is an e-mail sent to members of the ‘Time and Judgment’ forum discussion group that I received from a friend and which I thought might be of interest to some here.
    *********
    To:
    TimeandJudgment_May212011@yahoogroups.com
    I just heard behind the scenes again. TODAY IS STILL THE DAY OF SALVATION (according to Craig H.)! Mr. Camping must be teaching incorrectly?

    — In TimeandJudgment_May212011@yahoogroups.com, “completecommercial” wrote:
    >
    > It appears Family Radio is sharply divided and it is playing out over the airwaves. Yesterday Craig Hulsebos “Behind The Scenes” was saying “today is still the day of salvation.” Last evening Mr Camping told the entire world using the Family Radio platform there is No more salvation, the door has been shut, now we just await the end October 21 2011 but absolutely May 21 2011 was the last day of salvation. This morning Craig Hulsebus in Behind the Scenes said that he reiterates what he said yesterday that “today is still the day of salvation.”
    >

  • juneannette

    Timothy Dalrymple has truly spoken the “truth in love”. (Eph. 4:15)
    This is undoubtedly the best commentary I’ve read in the aftermath of Harold Camping’s failed end of the world prediction. It would be a real blessing if both Harold Camping and his ministry, Family Radio would follow his sound Christian advice.
    Sadly that has not happened. In an interview on May 20, one of Harold Camping’s former colleagues shared his thoughts on the path he believed Mr. Camping would once again go down, and that is the path he has taken as confirmed by comments made here by others.
    *********
    Excerpt:
    “The former dean of Camping’s Bible school balances a tremendous respect for his former boss with grave concerns for his followers this weekend.
    Gabriel Otero said that one former parishioner quit his job, sold his property for next to nothing and moved with his wife to Arizona for the last days before the Day of Reckoning.
    “I’m concerned for the emotional make-up of these people,” said Otero, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Morgan Hill. “It is sad that on Sunday, when they find out nothing happened and they have nothing.”
    Camping fired the former dean of Family Radio School of the Bible in 2006 after 34 years when the nonprofit president decided to remove organized religion from the nonprofit, Otero said. And yet, the 61-year-old speaks fondly of him.
    “He’s a nice man. A wonderful fellow. Simple, clean as can be and very trustworthy,” he said. “Mr. Camping is unique in that he doesn’t see through the theology of Christianity.”
    Camping began predicting Judgment Day would be Sept. 6, 1994 and wrote a book. When the world continued, Otero said, Camping stayed mostly quiet about his miscalculation but told Otero that the Lord did return to Earth on that date – in a mystical way – taking the Holy Spirit back to heaven.
    Otero expects another excuse come Sunday.
    “I’m very sure he’s going to come up with another date … He’ll say we need to refine the study here and there.”
    *******
    Source: Kansas City Star / Article: An insider’s look at Family Radio and its leader Harold Camping /
    http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/20/2890976/an-insiders-look-at-family-radio.html

  • Sal_S

    Dr. Tim, your writings about Camping in the last few days have been interesting to read. Your open letter to Camping’s followers was a constructive approach to address the disappointment of all his followers who were sure that the end on the 21st was certain. I had to disagree with you, though, about him not being a crackpot or cult leader. Granted, he wasn’t out to enrich himself at the expense of his followers and I, too, think that he was sincere in his beliefs. However, those things don’t make him any less of a crackpot. To believe that he had somehow unlocked a secret of that magnitude that was unavailable to anyone else is a sign of a crackpot, in my book. In the end, the fact that he tried to calculate the date of the end of the world, mainly revealed his own pride and arrogance (and the fact that he’s an engineer at heart). Pride and arrogance are something we all confront in our lives, but when you have the ear of thousands of people, the stakes are much higher because it can harm so many lives (as was the case in this situation).

    The thing is that in addition to the believers he’s already harmed, he also harmed the gospel. Nonbelievers are going to look at this and say, “Well, if Christians were wrong about this, then how can they expect me to believe in everything else they’re telling me.” Yes, we can say that this was simply one of millions and millions of Christians, and this particular Christian was wrong. But many are simply not going to bother to draw that distinction.

    Pride is often too overwhelming and I think that’s the case with Camping. He could remedy things by admitting his mistake, asking for forgiveness and trying to make amends. But that takes humility, and often that’s in short supply.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks so much for these thoughts, Sal. -Tim

  • RIch

    ==================

    Instead of pastors criticizing Harold Camping, pastors and theologians could make a serious attempt to meet with Camping and practice:

    Proverbs 28:23 He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.

    (those who have left Family Radio have reported how Camping surrounds himself with “flattering tontues” in agreement with his teachingt and removes those who may “rebuke” his mistakes)

    If Camping refuses to listen to anyone else, then we can agree:
    Psalm 36:2 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.

    ==================

  • JuneAnnette

    Khaliah, I thought you would find these remarks made by a board member of Family Radio of some interest. It would appear that there is much division amongst the Family Radio family members, but as others have said, those who dissent are either marginalized or forced out, as in the case of Pastor Gabriel Otero, and as confirmed by the comment made by ‘Jesse Gistand’ here.

    Source: NPR.org
    Article: Doomsday Believers Cope With An Intact World /May 23, 2011 / Link: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/23/136560695/doomsday-believers-cope-with-an-intact-world

    EXCERPT:
    Tom Evans was contrite. Evans is on the board of Family Radio, the organization led by Harold Camping, who calculated and promoted the May 21 date.

    “I don’t know where we went wrong other than that we obviously don’t understand the Scriptures in the way that we should,” he says.

    Before May 21, many believers quit their jobs, left their families and gave their savings to Family Radio, which then sent out caravans and put up billboards announcing the end. Evans, the Family Radio board member, says now that the date has passed, all they can do is pick up and move on.

    “I don’t know what the future holds for Family Radio or for any of us,” he says. “We just have to pray that God will be merciful.”

    Evans says he hopes the organization will repay people who gave their money to the cause. But at this point he can’t guarantee it.

  • JuneAnnette

    I have given this whole matter prayerful consideration and thought I might share my thoughts with the readers of this forum in that regard.

    On several occasions, Christ rebuked the Pharisees for their preference of TRADITION over the SCRIPTURES. ( Matt. 15:3,6; Mark 7:8,9; 13) No more is this in view than in the cult of Roman Catholicism. Christ also rebuked the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees and the Scribes, for their ignorance of the SCRIPTURES.(Matt. 22:29

    From the apostolic era on, many have wrested (twisted) the Scriptures in order to accommodate their peculiar doctrines with a view to gaining a following of faithful adherents who are just too lazy to read God’s Word for themselves.

    Those who unquestionably place their trust in a man are deemed followers of a cult. The pope is the leader of the largest cult, namely Roman Catholicism, which boasts a billion followers. It is a common snare among men to elevate a man to a position of prominence, but for Christians, Christ alone is to have the pre-eminence. (Col. 1:18) Christ has warned us that many false prophets would arise.(Mark 13:22) Christ said HIS sheep hear HIS voice and follow him.(John 10:27-28) He went on to say, those who keep HIS Word and obey HIS commandments are in truth HIS disciples.(John 8:31; John 14:15; John 15:10) In his earthly ministry, Christ often read and quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures. The Apostle Paul in the book of Acts commends the Jews in Berea for searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), and in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, we read: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Tim. 3:16-17)

    Both the followers of H.Camping and the pope would do well to take heed to this exhortation in God’s Word: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

    I would also invite and encourage Roman Catholics to visit the Berean Beacon website . . http://www.bereanbeacon.org. Richard Bennett, Biblical Apologist and former R.C. priest has authored many articles that examine Roman Catholic doctrines / traditions in the light of God’s Word.

    In Christian love,

    JuneAnnette

  • Russell

    Face facts people, Harold is a fraud, plain and simple, a two bit can artist.

    If he’s not and he really really believes in what he preaches, its easy for him to prove.

    Since the world will now end October 21, 2011, he has no need for Family Radio International. He should sell the assets and use some of the money to assist people in need for the short term we all have left in the world. What better way to show that you beleive in what you say.

    You know however he will never do this because he is acutely aware that it will be business as usual on October 22, 2011, no to mention the further donations he will garnish from this.

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