As most of you likely remember, the Rapture-obsessed group Family Radio, headed by Harold Camping, claimed that the Bible “guaranteed” that the Rapture and Judgment Day would occur on May 21, 2011. I live-blogged the coming and going of May 21 at the time. Needless to say, their predictions (even promises) of what the Bible guaranteed were false.
For most people, this would be a red flag. Obviously, Camping is a crackpot. And it should have been a call to repentance. This was a group which had no problem claiming that anyone who didn’t accept the interpretation of Scripture which they developed on their own was going to Hell. When that interpretation of Scripture was shown to all the world, in a public and humiliating way to be false, they should have rent their garments and found an authentic shepherd who knew what the heck he was talking about.
Instead, Camping just re-invented what May 21 was all about. This is a sure mark of pride. Rather than admit that they were wrong, they’re simply moving the goal posts and acting like they weren’t publicly exposed as ignorant of the plans of God. What I hadn’t realized was how bad it had gotten. Now, Family Radio made two predictions which were easily proven false:
- That there would be global earthquakes;
- That all the “true” Christians (those who bought into Camping’s nonsense, and rejected the Church) would be bodily assumed into Heaven in the “Rapture.”
Both of these were obviously false prophesies. You don’t need to be a member of their group to know whether or not there were a bunch of earthquakes on May 21 (nope), or whether 3% of the world’s population disappeared on that day (nope). But here’s what Family Radio is teaching these days:
That’s right: they were still right, it’s just that andand don’t mean what you think they mean. By “earthquake,” it turns out that they really meant that “ ” This is an “earthquake,” since man is formed from the earth (no, really, their teaching is that bad). Even if you buy into the idea that “earthquake” means “manquake,” mankind wasn’t shaken with fear – at most, they were shaking with uncontrollable laughter, as Camping and Co. made Christianity look idiotic. So even under their modified “prophesy,” they’re still wrong. That’s astonishing, really — they’re making “prophesies” after the event in question, and still can’t make them true.
Much more troubling, where we jump from “stupid” to “evil,” is their claim that because of the invisible Rapture, no one else can be saved, ever again:
The second word, “rapture,” identifies with the idea of the completion of God’s salvation program. The catching up of all the elect meant that there was to be no more salvation activity to be done anywhere in the world by God. Each and every true believer had become eternally safe with God in Heaven. No more was there any aspect of God’s salvation program that remained to be done. But the same thing became true this past May 21, even though no one was raptured. No one who had not become saved by that date can ever become saved.
Here’s an obvious question: why bother running the radio show at all, then? It’s literally doing no good, even if Family Radio is right. We’ve now reached the end-point in the absurdity of double-predestination. Nothing anyone does from now until the end of time will have an iota of an effect. The elect are already saved in such a way that even their rejection of Christ won’t matter; and Christ will do nothing to save the damned now. As for the end of the world, here’s their new and improved end-times vision:
Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on October 21, 2011, on the last day of the present five months period. On that day the true believers (the elect) will be raptured. We must remember that only God knows who His elect are that He saved prior to May 21.
So you’re either going to Heaven or Hell, there’s nothing, not a single thing, you can do about it, and you’ve got no way of knowing which way you’re going.
In a single movement, Camping manages to combine the worst elements of Protestantism:
- the “you’re going to Hell, and Jesus won’t ever save you, no matter what you do” of hyper-Calvinism,
- the “of course Christ wants to come back in my lifetime” eschatological narcissism of Rapture Evangelicalism, and
- the refusal to admit error in the face of false prophesies of Seventh Day Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and sinful man generally.
The fortunate thing, of course, is that October 21, 2011, isn’t very long from now. I look forward to the day, very soon, when Family Radio is brought to humiliation once again. But I look forward to it precisely because these are well-meaning Christians being lead astray by Camping’s insane teachings. Once Family Radio can no longer cling to its pride, can no longer simply reinterpret the prophesies it’s constantly sure of, perhaps then we can draw Camping’s followers to a firmer foundation of their faith. Their fervor, such as it is, is admirable. But they’ve put their trust in princes (Psalm 146:3), rather than taking refuge in the LORD (Psalm 118:9).