On Harold Camping and May 21 – Readers Respond: Will Camping Confess?

On Harold Camping and May 21 – Readers Respond: Will Camping Confess? May 22, 2011

The most “viral” thing I had written prior to today was Why We Have Children.  It’s probably, since I began writing for Patheos, the piece of which I am the most proud.  Yet today, the response to my Open Letter to Harold Camping and Those Who Expected Judgment Day has been something to behold.  Whether or not it’s truly “viral” depends on your frame of reference.  Compared to a piece at Huffington Post, 2,000 shares (where it stands about six hours after it was posted) is more like a mild cold than a virus.  Regardless, many thanks to those who read, shared, and commented on it — and again, please follow the Facebook or Twitter links in the sidebar to connect with me, or subscribe to the blog feed if you feel so inspired.

I wanted to post and respond to some of the more illuminating comments the letter received.

1. FIRST of all, many of the commenters called the letter “compassionate.” I confess that my writing is not always so compassionate.  It could stand to be more so, and I hope that the way in which people expressed gratitude for such compassion will inspire me to make it so.  But here’s the point: I do feel a sincere compassion for the people who were misled by Camping’s predictions, and the response to the letter reveals how many others feel compassion.  How many of us have not believed something, at some point, that we later came to view as silly?  How many of us have not felt the tug upon our belief systems that can come from a charismatic leader, or a community of mutually-reinforced belief, or a well-told story that’s filled with “too many coincidences to be chance,” or just the strong desire to believe that our lives are about to become much better?

I’ll expand on this point in a forthcoming series on why we believe the things we believe — but one of the best pieces of advice my father ever gave me was the encouragement, as I went off to Stanford as an incoming freshman, to “seek people of wisdom and not just intelligence.”  I soon saw what he meant.  Intelligence comes cheap, so it’s cheaply spent.  It’s far more common than wisdom.  And intelligent people believe and do the silliest of things.  I’ve since come to believe that intelligence has very little to do with developing right beliefs and avoiding wrong beliefs.  At various places within elite academia, I could mention all sorts of brilliant people who believed in alien abductions, in ghosts, in ouija boards, astrology, palm reading, and the like.  I could mention a Harvard professor who believed that “King George” W. Bush was going to declare martial law rather than cede the Presidency and would install himself as a tyrant in perpetuity; or another Harvard professor who refused to buy a home in Cambridge because he was firmly convinced, in 2002, that Cambridge would be under four feet of water within a couple years due to environmental catastrophe.  Of course we could mention Truthers on the Left and Birthers on the Right.  The factors that go into shaping our beliefs are many and complicated, and my point is merely that silly beliefs are found everywhere amongst the religious and non-religious, the Right and the Left, the young and the old — and the wall between “us” and “them” is a lot thinner than we might think.

Will Harold Camping Confess?

SECOND, should Christians call on Harold Camping to confess for sin and make a public and thorough amends? “David A” wrote:

Only one thing remains. This is not the first time Harold Camping has set a date for the return of Jesus. This is the second or third time…I’m flabbergasted that NO ONE has called him to repent or apologize…Graciousness can be applied AFTER Mr. Camping makes restitution for the damage done to all of those who followed him and to all of us who expect the immanent return of Jesus [–] but don’t set dates because Jesus warned against it…[D]on’t be shy about admonishing a man who, in his pride, does not listen to the Holy Spirit and ignores Jesus.

This is certainly a fair point.  The Open Letter was really written for the followers of Mr Camping.  Camping has a lot to answer for.  Was he, as another commenter said, “laughing all the way to the bank”?  Some people point out that he did not — while someof his followers did — sell his business and use all of the funds to pronounce the forthcoming of the Rapture.  Was his intent malicious?  I sincerely doubt it.  Just another true believer who believed in the wrong thing.  Was he too proud to heed the warnings of others?  Was he selfish and arrogant to let others make extraordinary sacrifices on the basis of his unbiblical theories?

I believe he was.  I hope he does repent.  More importantly, I hope he stops making these predictions and does everything in his power to make whole the people who lost so much because they believed in him.  But I also think that mercy — not condemnation — is what moves us to confession.  Christ died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), after all, and God’s kindness is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

THIRD, and finally, we should remember to pray for families that were divided by Camping’s teaching. I received two comments from people whose parents were expecting the Day of the Lord on the 21st.  The first is Josephine:

Thank you…I’m the daughter of parents who have been caught up in this May 21st deception and convinced of Harold Camping’s interpretations of scripture. For years, it has been a heavy topic of contention, causing a great divide in our family dynamic in which we once shared a common understanding of the Bible and who Jesus is. The danger of deception is all too real and I know with this date passing, it is not the end. I pray that starting today, my parents and all those who have followed Harold Camping will begin to look at the Bible without the filter of past misinterpretations–that they’d be able to examine God’s Word anew.

And the second comes from Lara:

Thank you for this. As the daughter of a man who completely bought into Harold Camping’s false teachings this is the most comforting thing that I’ve read so far. Our lives have been wrecked for the past 2 – 3 years. My father apologized to our family today. We are thanking Jesus for the miracle. We have hope that God will use evil for good. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Josephine fears that the deceptions and self-deceptions will continue.  She hopes that those who followed Camping, including her own family members, will reconsider the ways in which they’ve been reading the scripture, and be reconciled with their families.  Lara is already beginning to see that.  That’s promising.  We can pray for more of the like.

We do indeed have hope that God bring good out of evil, truth out of falsehood, joy out of trial.

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  • Traci

    If people had enough sense to believe in The Lord and really read The Bible, they wouldn’t have been so foolish as to put their faith in a false prophet. I don’t feel sorry for a single one of them for being so stupid.

    • Anne

      That’s unfortunate. Seems to me that even Jesus had compassion on those who had made mistakes… tax collectors, adulterers… even Saul who prosecuted his followers became his greatest messanger Paul. It’s easy to be misled, for Satan looks like an angel of light. Do not let your heart be hardened by condescending these people. They believed that now was the coming predicted by the Bible; their mistake was listening to a false prophet about WHEN it would happen.

    • Khaliah

      Traci, I understand your indignation at this entire affair. I admit, I had my own hostility to work through, and prayed about it endlessly. To be honest, I wasn’t ready for the end. I didn’t want to know that billions of people would suffer and die while I went to heaven. I’d rather suffer for 100 years than watch billions of people suffer for even one year.

      That said, when I laid my concerns at God’s feet, he awakened in me a sense of compassion that feels stronger as the days go by. We’re not talking about fools here. We are talking about people, people who need our help, not self-righteous “I-told-you-so’s.” There are enough athiests out there doing the mocking; we need not join in on the derision. That is not the Christlike thing to do, nor is the smug attitude that you seem to convey in your writing.

      It’s easy to call someone else stupid, when you’re using your own intelligence as a standard measure. Don’t look at this situation through worldly eyes. This is the time for compassion and prayer for these people.

      • Nicely said. Jesus warned us that in the last days even the elect would be deceived. We must offer hope and love to those deceived; as you said, the mockers are plentiful. Let us be different; let us be the light we are called to be. They will know we are true believers, because we love one another.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Nice comment.

    • John

      I don’t agree with Mr. Camping’s predictions. I do think he may be a sincere Christian. I listen to Family Radio and appreciate much of the programming. Some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard is played on this network. I thank Family Radio’s ministry – and hope Jesus can restore any tarnish that has been done by the predictions. Please pray for this ministry and for all that they effect.

      • John

        John, it’s not my place to judge but I do not think camping is necessarily a sincere Christian. His doctrine and beliefs are very anti scriptural. the Bible says “And you will know them by their fruits”, look at the fruits of camping and His organization beyond just the outer exterior.

        “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:15-23″

        Yes, pray for Camping but don’t fall prey to his false/poisonous fruit. Just think he believed it the end yet did he sell all his possessions give the money to the poor and follow Christ Jesus?
        God is the judge, not me, but we should like Jesus says, Watch out for false prophets that come to you in sheep’s clothing.

  • ady

    I think it’s just that people don’t want to die and disappear forever, so they hope and have faith that something or someone will save them.

  • Bjarke Hansen

    It is the will of GOD that all false prophets be killed.

    Let the will of GOD be done!


    • Timothy Dalrymple


    • John

      Wow, I was not a camping follower , but I do believe Christ came in the flesh, died for our sins and rose again conquering, sin death and the evil one. I believe He is returning in His perfect time in power and glory. So I will say this be creful with your jugements whether made from jest or anger. You do know that there are many sins that lead to death right? Adultery (which Christ includes lusting in your heart), murder (which includes hate) Taking the name of the Lord in vain…etc.) but we are now under the law of Christ and not the law that leads to death. Why? Because we are crucified(and raised up)with Christ and He is now perfecting His body of believers/making them Holy.
      That said are there still consequences? yes, and that is why we have a government in place to dispense “justice”, but some advice, judge not lest you be judged.
      God’s word says “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” and “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 3:1 and 4:12” Was camping wrong yes but I know that God in His omnipotence has it under control! We will all stand before God and He will separate the sheep from the goats not you, so we should all know our place and live according to His perfect will.

      “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;
      that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8”
      I don’t mean to jump all over you but I felt this needed to be said, we must all humble ourselves before the Lord and submit to His authority not our own self made strict sense of justice that we rarely use even on ourselves!

    • Nobull

      Jesus was a false prophet – mark 9:1 “AND he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” maybe that’s why he was killed.

      • Brian

        These words came true. If you continue to the next chapter of Mark you will see that Peter, James and John all witnessed the Son Of God in his full glory.

      • John

        Haha Nobull you’re funny, although you sound like a bit of an anti-Christ (in that you are anti…Jesus the Christ) so….be careful to look into things before coming to such bold conclusions. Anyway you use the Bible for your argument so I will too in 3 short points.
        1. The Disciple/Apostle John (Jesus’ contemporary) describes how he saw the kingdom of God come with power in the book of Revelation.
        2. Christ rose from the dead (never to die again) and in essence conquered death. I think conquering death displays great power and many were witnesses to that event.
        3. You do not know that that statement is false even today, because you do not know that everyone present there then has in fact died (haha this last one is a stretch but no more than your brazen self assured statement that He was a false prophet I think)

  • RJ

    I was inspired by your blog posts regarding Camping. I put links to your posts in my blog. You are more kind to Camping that I would be and as compassionate as I wish I had been. I think Camping is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Matt

    Events like this just bring to light the hypocrisy and idiocy of religion. How can you believe something that has no evidence other than written fiction?
    Prove to me that there isn’t a giant walking meatball in the centre of the earth that determines man’s future, or a trombone playing sea lion that demands the skulls of newborns as his trophy. Each of those is infinitely as likely as any kind of deity.
    Hopefully in a few hundred years everyone will look back and laugh at these theistic religions, just as we laugh at the primitive Egyptian and Celtic gods.

    • John

      Comments like this just bring to light the arrogance, hypocrisy and idiocy of agnosticism and atheism. How can you not believe something that has millennia of evidence and years of amazing testimonies, miracles, and affidavits from brilliant minds and historians backing it up, stating that it cannot be fiction? Yes, like all things that last, a few “quacks” infiltrate and give it a bad name, but It stands the test of time for a reason.
      Be careful with your so called wisdom and use it to err on the side of caution. If you don’t think it can be proved, that God exists and loves you, you must know that it cannot be disproved, so all such arguments are useless and even a bit arrogant. Yet, like many things (scientific theory, history, philosophy) although there are a lot of evidences for God, belief still requires faith. Regardless faith is a choice and we each have that freedom why do you try to destroy freedom? Whether it’s faith in God, evolution, the world being flat, life growing on the backs of Crystals, no God and an empty meaningless existence in the long run etc. all requires faith. But I must warn you “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20”

      • nobull

        you are joking – surely ! there is ABSOLUTELY NO evidence of miracles
        apart from worthless unreliable anecdotes. No reliable historical evidence
        from outside of the bible backs up any of the jesus story and the OT just
        shows a pathetic cruel horrible monster of a god. I know its been said before, but if you believe miracles are possible – show me one case
        of limbs being grown back – why does your got hate amputees?

        • John

          No Joke – surely! 🙂
          There is lots of evidence, testimonials, and even video footage of miracles. Perhaps you’re looking with eyes that refuse to see. In fact I myself (whether you want to believe it or not) have been witness to several miracles, I’ve seen them and heard from first parties about various miraculous healing(from broken bones, torn up legs, healing from asthma, cancer and aids, and even amputees growing back limbs…no joke! I’ve even heard first hand accounts of people medically dead coming back to life) and miraculous provisions(like food/shelter/ and medical care in impossibly situations)
          One case: I saw a man with no knee caps and a steel rod in his knee preventing him from being able to bend it miraculously healed, he could bend his knee, walk freely and the rod was….gone. I know also of a woman whose one leg was shorter, which had caused her trouble(back and hip pain) for many years and she was prayed for and her short leg actually grew and was as long as her other one.
          I realize you may not like my “worthless unreliable anecdotes,” but that makes them no less real/reliable to me.and I’m sure if you were to see/experience them first hand you would be amazed (even if you didn’t believe them) And there is plenty of reliable historical evidence from outside the Bible, but it comes down to faith. You have the right to believe it or not, I’m not forcing you to believe what I do though, so why do you berate the belief of others?
          You must never have read the OT if you believe God is a monster. He was shown to be God, but in His Godhood He displayed His justice. (and boy do we hate justice unless we agree with it) It ultimately shows how we(mankind) needed the savior Christ Jesus to make peace between God and man as we could not keep his law because of our inclination for sin.
          Are there many amputees and people suffering in this world? Yes absolutely both Christian and non-Christian, and even worse there is death. Do I know the reason? yup it’s sin in this world, but it’s only for a season, this is not meant to be our eternity. God I know in His omniscience knows why we must endure hardships in this life. He wouldn’t be God if He didn’t, but He does give abundantly more good than the hardship we endure if we would open our eyes to see it, and better yet He gives us Christ Jesus! 🙂

          • Rabbit Scribe

            “One case: I saw a man with no knee caps and a steel rod in his knee preventing him from being able to bend it miraculously healed, he could bend his knee, walk freely and the rod was….gone.”

            The James Randi Foundation will give you a million dollars if you can document a steel bar vanishing from within a human body. If this really happened, it would be trivial to prove it. But, of course, it didn’t. Best case: you heard a vague anecdote about a friend of a friend and took it at face value. Worst case: you’re lying or deluded.

          • John

            Dear Rabbit scribe,
            It was no anecdote or friend of friend experience.
            I have no reason to lie to you or anyone else in this matter. I gain nothing by sharing this comment on this blog post and the only reason I posted it is to give God the glory. After all I’m sure that if you yourself saw something truly worthy of awe you would not keep it to yourself either. This was not some cheap magicians trick. and as for being deluded, It would have to be quite the life shattering delusion if I could be so deluded in this circumstance. The situation held no reason for fraud or trick or gain, and the man in question who now walks without hindrance, praises the Lord God! In fact (whether you choose to believe it or not) he was a devout Muslim and after receiving such a miracle in his life through the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ he converted to Christianity. Not something a devout Muslim would do lightly without such an amazing miracle taking place in his life, because the Lord showed him clearly that day His power and love for the man. I don’t ask you to believe it, I was simply sharing but one of the amazing (less common) works of the Lord. The world turns, rain falls the sun shines He is an AMAZING CREATOR!!! 🙂

            As for the James Randi Foundation, this was not something any man did or performed it was a miracle that God performed! In fact a sorcerer at the time of the apostles wished to buy such power and the apostle Peter responded “Peter answered: May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! Acts8:20” The Lord God does not need money or your faith but because of his love He desires to give you life. Here is another response to a miracle God did through Peter and John “When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. Acts3:12 and Acts3:16”
            They claimed no glory for themselves, you see miracles are not man made and not reproducible by man they are acts of God!

            So Here is some good news for you and all who read this:
            The Lord Jesus Christ will give eternal life to all who repent and believe in Him!! (far better than 1000000 dollars I think) Here are a couple great promises from The Bible for you Rabbit Scribe!
            “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16” and “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:9-14” Hope this blesses you!

    • Daniel

      Or perhaps Matt a fairy tale that Athiests can see into the spiritual realm and know all and can save us all by telling us that God does not exist and the world was created with two nothings colliding. Never met an Athiest yet that could prove god doesn’t exist. They all strike me as very angry people that people don’t believe what they do..

      • nobull

        and I have never met a theist who could prove that their god exists.
        and Christians strike me as very gullible deluded people who depend
        on wishful thinking to get through life

        • LOL

          LOL, Surely that isn’t your argument?!?!?! Theist’s could say the same thing about atheists.

          I have never met an atheist who could prove that their God does not exist.
          and people that are anti faith strike me as very gullible deluded people who depend on wishful thinking to get through life. That is if you can call an empty, purposeless existence as life. Because no matter how they look at life purpose a million years from now (according to them) not a thing they, or there descendants will do will matter to the universe which has an end too so what’s the point of morality, humanity or even their “higher brain function” LOL Without a God life ceases to be life because He is the author of life. And so called intelligence ceases to be intelligence, and all this is based on faith and theories that there is no God….what’s the point in such a faith?

  • Peace be with the reader.

    Mr.Camping was mistaken about the so called’Rapture’,
    however the Son of man has returned, and the judgment
    has commenced.


    The FAithful Witness(Duke)

  • stephen stretch

    anybody that listens to such a dumb idea isn’t very smart. harold camping needs mental help.

  • Ella

    Lara’s father has done in a worthy thing in apologizing to his family. I can only hope Harold Camping will have the courage to do the same. Unfortunately he owes an apology to a vastly larger audience, and much of the damage he’s responsible for cannot be undone.

  • RAUL

    well, one thing is for sure, just because Mr Caamping missed the day, that does not mean is not going to happen. I beleive this is a distraction to make beleive that Jesus Christ is delaying his coming, but he is nearer than ever. shalom. be watching and praying so that that day will not overtake you. Jesus said.

    • nobull

      jesus died about 2000 years ago.

      • BSFmama

        Where is His body? The skeptics & atheists have been trying for centuries to disprove the resurrection. Producing a body would have been the surefire solution to that. The Pharisees must have done their best, but no body could ever be found, & His followers died rather than recant their claims regarding His resurrection. There is evidence, you just refuse to take it seriously. Go read “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell.

      • nobull

        and rose to life! 🙂

  • jeanelane

    I think all of us should be as gracious to the misled as God has been to each of us. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray” Is 53:6a. We are called to love our neighbors. Is it loving to call others foolish, stupid, dumb? EVERYONE of us needs to read and take to heart ALL that Jesus said. Don’t pick and choose based on one thing!

  • ammes

    Harold Camping is NOT A CHRISTIAN!

    No True Christian would follow this man. He is an arrogant Old fool who believes his own Bible translations.

    His followers are the worst, they trust “HAROLD CAMPING INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE…NOT THE BIBLE!

    Harold Camping is a horrible Bible teacher




  • Pat

    I commented a few minutes ago addressing the original article. But I’d like to add here that when the church of my youth came to realize, by God’s good grace, that their doctrines were wrong, I was freed to seek Truth. I was 42. I, too, then apologized to my family for the rift that it caused. My dad believed and my mom didn’t. My dad took my two sisters and I but the 3 older kids never attended. In 1966 my mom got a job to prepare for the day “we would leave her”. It was very difficult to be a child of age 8 (and so on) to deal with this very mature concept and the fall out. I feel for all those kids of the May 21st debacle.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for this comment, Pat. -Tim

  • DP812

    I call BS on the idea that Camping believed this nonsense. If he did, why didn’t he dump his millions-plus bank account? Why didn’t he immediately release a statement on Sunday morning apologizing for what he did and offer to return the donations?

    And more importantly, why didn’t he do these things back in 1994 after his first failed prediction?

    It’s because Camping is a scam artist. He’s expected to release a statement later this weej and that statement will read that he forgot to carry the remainder somewhere in his calculations or something. He’ll say he’s going to go through the Bible again and recalculate to see where he went wrong. Then he’ll come back again in a few years (assuming he lives that long) with another prophecy.

    No apology. No remorse. No refunds. I encourge Camping’s followers to bring a class-action lawsuit against him for fraud. And make it a media circus. Maybe that will deter not only him but other like-minded bottom-feeders from pulling these scams in the future.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      You ask good questions. It will be interesting to see how Camping responds. Still, I’m less concerned with taking out anger on Camping than with supporting those whose lives are wrecked and doing what we can to make these things less likely in the future. -Tim

  • xtrasuxhyun

    how on earth did this crazy fool come up with that date??!

    i hope he doesnt go on giving excuses that he miscalculated again. he better apologize for messing up so many peoples’ lives.

    matthew 24:36 says not even the angels nor jesus but ONLY GOD HIMSELF knows when the end will come. if he is such a bible expert he shouldnt have missed that. who the heck does he think he is announcing the date of judgement day.

    • Nobull

      Religion messes lives. Mark 9:1″ AND he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” contradicts mathew and shows Jesus as
      A false prophet himself. So why believe any if the bible rubbish?

    • sn

      He miscalculated in 1994 and again for Oct 21 or
      whatever date again this year. The Bible says nobody
      can predict when.

  • Ron Scott
  • Batgrl

    I don’t think it’s for any of US to judge. Who are we? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I don’t believe ANY of us are perfect (aside from Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit), and I don’t believe any of us know what all Mr. Camping’s intentions were. I am a Christian, and was NOT a follower, but Mr. Camping intends on making some sort of speech on Monday night apparently, as well as some sort of statement via Internet on Monday as well. Hopefully, this will be a much needed apology to all those poor children of God that he induced panic into the hearts of. I also pray that he reimburses them for all the money that was blindly handed over (although it is highly doubted for how much went into the fiasco).

    I e-mailed the site, but highly doubt that he will receive any of my thoughts. They were not full of hatred or malice. More of questions and Words of Wisdom. I hope in the future, people will really think fully before following blindly again. I know we were given a choice, but you should know deep down in your heart and soul that it’s not right. God’s Word is not something that was meant to be “decoded” like the DaVinci Code… it was meant to be “decoded” as a way of life. It’s got every rule to live by, God’s and Jesus’s Words of Wisdom, etc. Down to a T, THAT is how a true Christian should be living their life, and any TRUE House of God will be using that STRICTLY in their service and homily (as well as songs, etc- all places of worship are different but that doesn’t make one better than the other or make one “dead to God’s eyes”).

    If any of Camping’s followers (or Camping) reads this, know that you are all fervently in my prayers. God never gives us more than we can handle (YES, even if we choose it). I have been through much in my very young life… Don’t let anyone or anything sway you, you had the right heart, but not the right frame of mind. Just keep trying and don’t give up. There are many (including myself) that long to reach out to you.

  • Mich

    Camping has ruined thousands of lives- people who have quit their jobs, sold everything and lived in a state of panic for months. There have even been cases of suicide, all because of what he’s predicted.
    Now, he should be held to account, the same as any fraud or con artist.


    Judgement day may have come,we can’t completely comprehend things on god’s level as we are mere humans, we are CERTAINLY EXPERIENCING tribulation everyday single day with more wrath from god and it will only continue unti the final hour, I do believe, especially among those with no faith whatsoever, you would never see a sign(no man knows)

  • chefthom

    It strikes me as odd that people like nobull will become so angry at someone who believes and has faith in something that he obviously just does not understand. Especially something that teaches love and compassion for their fellow man. You can see His hand in so many things on this earth that I would need a bigger space to mention all ogf them. I pray for all of those who can not see the grace that surrouds them everyday. And a miracle doesn’t have to be the growing back of a limb or walking on water. Open your eyes, and you will see miracle everyday! God Bless all of you!

  • Brian

    Anyone who has spent any amount of time knows that this teacher’s teachings suck you in and seem Biblical. If you get into it, and listen, you have no way of discerning whether it is truth or error unless you were already taught or alerted to the error before hand. He is an engineer and his teachings are very thought out and consistent. I followed him until he predicted the end in 1994 and I had people kind enough to show me where he was wrong. I hope these other people can find people kind enough to do the same, and put up with all of the objections people may have as they come out of it. It’s a hard thing to take, and for a long time you might not even know how to read the Bible or understand any of it. It can be quite a crisis. No I wasn’t fooled this time I didn’t believe in may 21. ;P

  • triggerfish

    Mr. Camping is a false prophet by his own words and those of the Holy Bible. Yes, we can pray for them and hopefully they will come to a better understanding of the Word of God.
    Using mankinds math and allegory is what led to his massive failure and destruction of many followers. This may have hurt Christianity in a terrible way as well, I pray not. All things work for the glory of God and it’s possible some good can come of this. Maybe people will look more carefully and seriously at the Bible and also leaders or teachers.
    I read the Bible in a literal, common sense way. I believe God created mankind and knows best how to communicate with us. I do not think that we need mathematical calculations, secret codes or allegory to have a loving, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
    May the peace, wisdom, grace and love of God be with us all.
    Glory to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • I am so glad you wrote this article. As a Christian I have struggled with my feelings about Mr. Camping and some of the TV evangelists. On one hand I hate how he has made a mockery of prophecy and the inherent nature of scripture. It has angered me to a point where I have made viscous comments. This in retrospect is wrong and I am in need of repentance. “Vengeance is Mine sayeth the Lord”

    And then on the other hand, I look at a picture of Mr. Camping and feel compassion and what I think(hope) is mercy. I really do think he was sincere in his prediction and thought it more important than life to spread the message. Unfortunately, he is misguided and the outcome for some is tragic.

    All in all I am just sad that the Bible and Christ are being dragged through the mud as a result of all of this.

    May the the love of Christ change us all for the better.

  • Bob

    I don’t know if it will be the time, dont know how Camping could either but I have been so encouraged this week .

    People all over, some I know, many I had no idea who they were before we spoke. Delivery people at work, many fellow employees, my family, people at the outing yesterday.

    Most conversations just started out by a reference to the Lord (thank the Lord, couldn’t do it with out the Lord, etc..) Then the people would say, “hey you must be a believer or a Christian, what do you think about the 21st”.

    It opened the door for an awesome Spirit filled conversation of witnessing to them the differences and changes in my life, and how the process of giving my self to my Savior Jesus Christ has metamorphosed me into something I could never be by my own power. It led to conversation about the ” born again question” The Spirit allowed me to convey to these people that the whole process of accepting Jesus and laying your life into his total care, and constantly praying for the Spirit to take me from myself and put me in the Lord will birth you into the Holy Spirit. There the process of healing begins, slowly the Spirit through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Grace of God will change your life and you will truly be born again in a way that you or I could never know through our fleshy entrance to this world. These conversations were incredible to say the least.

    One that stands out the most was a delivery man that called me when he was on his way to the job, said “hey is this Bob Miller” I said “yes, I’ll be hear to accept the delivery” and gave him my location. We chatted during the delivery briefly about some of the above. As he left he said to me, “Yea, I’m just not sure of this born again thing and how it works”.

    I was then receiving other calls and got distracted and wasn’t able to spend the time to get into an additional discussion with him. As I ripped myself from the middle of the wild work day to make my way to the Covenant Golf outing, I was driving down the road bothered by tha fact that I couldn’t finish my chat with that driver. The Lord reminded me that this guy called me on my cell earlier, so I scrolled through my received calls and found a number I didn’t recognize and called it, it was him. We had a great conversation talking more about Spiritual birth. After he said, “Bob thank you so much for calling and this was a great thing that had happened”. We both acknowledged the power of God in ours lives, when we let him work, and hung up.

    Though it may sound weird, I later that night prayed thanks that Camping had raised all this about May 21st. It opened many doors and continues to do so!!!

  • 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.


    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for this, Rich. I’ve been preparing a post along these lines, actually… -Tim

  • Charm


    I found your blog quite by accident (or was it a God Wink?)
    during a Google search to see whether our mutual hope that you expressed in the following quote had come to fruition:” More importantly, I hope he stops making these predictions and does everything in his power to make whole the people who lost so much because they believed in him.”
    Instead I find story after story and transcripts of Harold Camping refusing to accept responsibility for those who believed in him and proudly insisting the world will end on October 21. His new twist on the rapture: “it’s a spiritual thing” lets him proclaim victory.
    Compassion is one thing, but letting this false prophet be seen as representative of evangelical Christianity by the silence of pastors causes scandal. I’m glad to see some pastors speaking out. This is bordering on cult like and already I’ve have read snarky newspaper stories about: “hillbilly baptists” and “bible thumpers” gullibility.
    We criticise the Muslims for not denouncing Muslim terrorists, should we as Christians not openly correct this very misguided brother who leads others astray?
    But I can see your points also.

    • John

      Good point charm! But I don’t think we really need to defend God with our words. Should the conversation come up of course share the truth about Camping falsehood, or confront him directly. But I don’t believe we need to defend ourselves to those who slander out of hate or foolishness. Look at Peter in the garden cutting the ear of that servant. He was trying to protect/rescue Jesus, but He didn’t need such rescuing.
      “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
      In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21”

      Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. so you see we don’t need to defend him, but that said neither should we become ashamed or doubt Him. We are His Church/body and we as believers know His will. That is to believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ and love one another (1John3:23) live holy sanctified lives and love(the action, not merely the emotion), giving to the poor and needy and the widow and orphan, defending the cause of the weak (perhaps those hurt through this mans false words) and spreading the good news(gospel). God is more than able to defend Himself and His Church! We don’t need to worry Jesus himself said not to be surprised if the world hates you! You know the adversary the devil has been trying to deceive for ages, but greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. 🙂 Should persecution come because of stuff like this then remember this verse: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31”
      Keep Jesus first in your heart! 🙂

  • Bob

    Rich, the word of God speaks to this so clearly with the three verses you included above, thank you. Amazing how our words can be many and say little or nothing, yet our Author can say so few and have the uderstanding through the power of the spirit cut through our layers of this world and speak to our hearts with such clarity.

  • Jonathan

    Harold Camping is not just a misguided Christian with too much zeal who wants Jesus to come back. He is an advocate of heresy. He came out several years ago with a proclamation that the Church age has ended. Jesus is no longer working through the Church–everyone should leave their church. People did so, and many of his followers decided to listen to his program together as an alternative to going to their local church. This is egregious heresy, not just a pathetic mistake.

    And as to the notion that no one has called him to repent. They have. Elders of a large church on the eastern seaboard approached him and urged him to change his mind and desist from his false teaching. They said he was the most arrogant person they have ever had to deal with. He didn’t budge.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I didn’t say, Jonathan, that no one has called him to repent. I said that I wish there were more, and that if I am going to call others to do so then I should be willing to do the same.

      He started teaching that Satan had taken over the churches a long time ago. As early as 1988, I believe. (See an article in the forthcoming World Mag for more.) It’s a dangerous and deeply destructive teaching, no doubt.