October 19, 2017

While We’re on the Subject…

By Chaplain Mike.

Since we’ve been talking about eschatology, the end times, and Jesus’ return lately, we might as well take a look at one of America’s foremost prophetic prognosticators.

You’ve probably heard something about the enthusiasts who think a great catastrophe that might lead to the end of the world will happen in 2012, based on the Mayan calendar, ancient prophecies, and certain natural phenomena that are predicted for that year.

Not so! says Harold Camping, citing a complete lack of Biblical support for the date. Instead, Camping is convinced the rapture will take place on May 11, 2011, and the end of the world on October 21, 2011.

Who is Harold Camping?

Camping, now 88 years old, has studied the Bible seriously for more than 70 years and  is the founder and president of Family Radio, which describes itself as “a nondenominational, noncommercial, nonprofit, listener-supported, 24-hour, Christian ministry.” He was a member of the Christian Reformed Church until 1988. An engineer by trade, Camping has an affinity for numbers and calculations. In 1970 he published The Biblical Calendar of History,” which set forth an unconventional dating scheme that put Creation at 11,013 BC. In 1992, he predicted that Jesus would return in 1994.

One of his most controversial teachings, based on intricate calculations and interpretations of prophetic Scriptures, is that the “Church Age” has ended, God’s judgment has begun to fall on the churches, and believers should therefore abandon local congregations, study the Bible for themselves (and, of course, listen to Family Radio).

Now, here we go again. According to Harold Camping, we’re just a little more than a year away from the Rapture. How does he figure this? In a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, he explains. OK, try to follow now:

By Camping’s understanding, the Bible was dictated by God and every word and number carries a spiritual significance. He noticed that particular numbers appeared in the Bible at the same time particular themes are discussed.

The number 5, Camping concluded, equals “atonement.” Ten is “completeness.” Seventeen means “heaven.” Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.

“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”

Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.

Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.

Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.

Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.

“Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.

“I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that,” Camping said.

How could I possibly have missed that?

Consider this an Internet Monk public service announcement. I don’t want to hear any of you singing, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” on May 12 next year.

Comments

  1. Rick Baartman says:

    Quite the most hilarious post I’ve seen this week.

  2. The funny thing is that Fundamentalists insist on Biblical literalism on everything except dispensationalism, which depends on all kinds of formulas (that seventh week).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      It’s the essence of Gnosticism, the Secret Knowledge only an Uber-Spriritual Few Can Know:
      “I and I Alone (through my Secret Bible Formulas and Calculations) KNOW What’s REALLY Going On!”

    • Elizabeth R says:

      Yes, exactly. One day = one day in Genesis, but in Daniel, one day = one thousand years (or so).

  3. Harold Camping is wrong. I agree that date-setting is something that Scripture speaks against. However, one of the marks of true faith is an earnest desire for the appearance of our risen Lord as he comes back to establish the Kingdom in its full glory. Those who are apathetic or indifferent to the eschatological coming of our Lord and focus their hearts entirely on how to build the Kingdom now through left-wing social ideals may not be part of the true Body of Christ.

    • When I’m at work (at a restaurant), I expect to be working. If it’s slow, I’ll find back-line jobs that need doing; not stand around and chat or watch ESPN. I have a fair idea of when my shift ends but that doesn’t make much practical difference (and talking about how much I look forward to it doesn’t bring it one moment closer). The work’s still there and there’s no getting out of it.

      Same thing here. If we are ‘laborers in the vineyard’ then, well, we should be out there laboring. What you’re taking as indifference, because you’re not hearing people talk about how much they just want the job to be over, may just be practicality. We don’t know when Christ is returning. We do know the task he has set us to do.

      • I understand what you’re saying. I’m not saying all Christians should pack up their bags and live in a bunker in a wilderness until the Second Coming. If you’re a doctor, keep treating patients; if you’re a mechanic, keep fixing cars; if you’re a waitress, keep serving customers. My point is that one of the marks of true faith is that we hope and longingly expect our Lord to come back to deliver us from this evil age. So-called Christians who are apathetic to eschatology are worse than people like Jack Van Impe.

  4. I’m glad the rapture is happening on a Wednesday. It means I’ll have the rest of the week off.

  5. Mike,

    I converted to Christianity as a result of Harold Camping’s radio ministry. I started listening to him in 1989 and became a fatalistic and unconverted Calvinist. I followed his call-in show as much as I could, and bought some of his books. I bought into his eschatology, and followed his end of the world prediction for 1994. He is located in my back yard, so when the world was about to end, I started attending his church, and my conversion to Christianity began. The world didn’t end. Camping had an excuse within 24 hours of the stars not falling from the sky and the moon not turning to blood. He has made more than a handful of subsequent predictions after each one failed and has repeatedly denied making false predictions.

    He was also very legalistic, and I left his church the following year when I discovered things were very wrong. I personally made several attempts at confronting him on his predictions and views of his church. He flat out refused to hear me, as was the same with numerous others who tried. His church split as a result of his failed teachings. He has never repented of them.

    His “end of the church age” teaching has a hilarious twist to it. He has made the claim that God is finished with the church, and all pastors, elders and deacons of churches after the special date that God finished his dealings with the church are unsaved and under the direct control of Satan. The date he claims for this pre-dates his own realization of both his church no longer being a true church and his eldership in that church no longer being a true eldership. So, basically, his own theology of the end of the church age comdemns himself as a demon possessed elder and follower of Satan who is a reprobate headed for hell.

    I spent every Tuesday night for a year in his living room for a bible study and interacted with him personally just about every week. I know it’s not cool to wish ill upon other people, but I truly hope his theology for the last 20 plus years is the result of senility and not a sound mind.

  6. Always assuming, of course, that we’re counting from the correct 33 A.D. :

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03738a.htm

    “This was introduced about the year 527 by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk resident at Rome, who fixed its starting point in the year 753 from the foundation of Rome, in which year, according to his calculation, the birth of Christ occurred. Making this the year 1 of his era, he counted the years which followed in regular course from it, calling them years “of the Lord”, and we now designate such a date A.D. (i.e. Anno Domini). The year preceding A.D. 1 is called Ante Christum (A.C.) or Before Christ (B.C.). It is to be noted that there is no year 0 intervening, as some have imagined, between B.C. and A.D. It is supposed by many that the calculation of Dionysius was incorrect, and that the birth of Christ really occurred three years earlier than he placed it, or in the year of Rome 750 which he styles 3 B.C.”

    So if there is a three year error, then the Rapture should have happened in 2008, shouldn’t it? And are we taking into account the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars to boot?

    The trouble is, so many sincere people have calculated the definite, final, this is really it, End of the World and been wrong beforehand (didn’t the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the same problem?)

  7. This temptation for religious leaders to put on the mantel of the oracle or prophet of secret knowledge has plagued Christianity (and every other religion on the planet) throughout history. To proclaim, “Thus sayeth the Lord,” and then later to be able to shout, “I told you so,” to the whole world is the ultimate wet dream of self-proclaimed prophets like Camping. And even the failure of their predictions to come true doesn’t seem to crack their self-perception as God’s chosen spokesperson. If we still judged our prophets like the ancient Isrealites, Camping would have been taken out and stoned on New Years Day, 1995. Now, I’m not really saying we should stone people like Camping, but we would do well to take Jesus’s advice and judge both trees and prophets by their fruit — and not by their ability to manufacture scriptural or numerical formulas for either predicting Christ’s return or getting rich in the meantime.

  8. The intellectual in me wants to laugh saying “Quack! Idiot!”
    The the more pious side of me would rather say “False Prophet.”

    Either way, lets hurl some textual stones!

  9. Well, then:

    People get ready, there’s a train a comin’
    You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
    All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
    Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord
    (From “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield)

    I don’t understand these people. There is a woman who lives not far from me who predicted some wonderful things for the town she lives in and she wrote a book about it. When that didn’t happen, she said it is still going to happen but she had the date wrong and now she has given another date.

    I agree with Michael Spencer who asked why people don’t believe what Jesus said about no one knowing the date when “the end” will occur.

  10. I just about fell off my chair when I read that, too.

  11. I do not want to mock Mr. Camping, but if you type 7734 in your digital calculator and turned it upside down, you’ll get HELL. So what does that mean?

    While I truly believe in the prayer, “Your kingdom come,” and hope for Christ’s return, I trust that my Father in heaven has events within His control and when the time is right, Christ will return. Until then, I will “occupy,” or keep busy, until He comes.

    And if you type 7734, it says HELLO. 😀

  12. I just listened to “Stairway to Heaven” backwards and got the real date of the end of the time-space universe!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I listened to it backwards and got “You’re Playing This Record Backwards, Dummy!”

  13. “End Times Math.” It seems to be rampant in lots of groups. JW’s and Adventists do the “Daniel Math” and algebraically enter those equations into the “Revelation Math.” However the common denominator is that almost everyone else is going to hell – especially the Catholics. This recurring fringe theme must attract a certain type of person because it is a good strategy for business/power.

    But apart from the scorn and mocking that these folks generate, they seriously undermine and marginalize the Message. And even if this fringe set of beliefs is not endorsed by many groups, parts of their message will become incorporated into many Christians day to day thought processes. This insidious effect is similar to the way we are all affected by advertising – contrary to what we all think, advertising actually works on us. End Times discussions come in waves. This heresy needs to go the way of the biblical justification of slavery and women wearing head coverings and being silent.

  14. Ok, I think I hear the Catholics chuckling again. We’re so superior to them because we don’t need a Pope or magesterium, but instead, we hand over our wills and reasons to any nut-job false prophet/Elmer Gantry who comes along. Why is this so? Is the answer that sola-scriptura just doesn’t work, that we keep looking for a new, fresh revelation? We latch on to anyone who claims to have seen or heard from God. The result is that these enlightened prophets take the place of Jesus: the Logos, in whom the fullness of God dwelt. If Jesus isn’t enough, we will never quiet our restlessness. Either Jesus is whom he claimed to be, or he is nothing at all, and the search goes on. If he is, then we need to accept the revelation that he gave and the silence that he left shrouding many things. They are mysteries to be pondered, rather than nuts to be cracked. Again, it is the serpent who claims to offer all knowledge of good and evil; Jesus offers us faith, which in a way is far better than knowing all of the answers.

    “I know not when my Lord may come,
    At night or noonday fair,
    Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
    Or meet Him in the air.
    But I know Whom I have believed,
    And am persuaded that He is able
    To keep that which I’ve committed
    Unto Him against that day.”
    – Daniel W. Whittle

    • I meant that we THINK we are so superior, rather than that we are – the irony being that we turn over our spiritual autonomy to the first charlatan we meet, but feel proud that we don’t submit to a Pope. It is a serious matter, which is fundamental to the enlightenment’s concept of autonomy: autonomy ultimately results in tyranny.

  15. He’s so William Miller and Charles Taze Russell……yawn.

  16. I’m glad I saw this one. The video in the newer one makes sense now. Dur. 😛

  17. Last summer, when I visited Staten Island to see family and friends, I visited a small church where they have a security company that allows them to remain open 24 hours so people can always come into the sanctuary (very cool idea). Well, when I was there with my sister, I met a security guard and I also noticed that in the church library a Camping book was lying open on a table. As we got to talking I quickly realized that she (the security guard) was the one reading it and also subscribed to just about every conspiracy theory out there. We talked for a few minutes and it was getting somewhat tense because when I offered up facts that I thought were common knowledge she became more and more defensive. I realized that there was no getting through to her. Over the years I’ve come across a number of people, people who otherwise are very rational, who nonetheless buy into some of the craziest stuff you can imagine. In general I think there’s a set number or percentage of people who are naturally inclined towards this kind of thinking. But when times are tough and tumultuous such as they have been the last couple of years, there’s definitely an uptick in extremism and apocalypticism and conspiracism. My hope is that these folks can snap out of it, and some do thankfully, but too many go further down the rabbit hole and never come back out.

    • People get angry when you bring common knowledge to the debating table because they believe what they do by force of will rather than out of humiliation of their character. In a sense, they know that what they believe is arbitrary, but they prefer contemplating the mechanics of a subtle, external scheme to facing the deeper crisis of what Jesus Christ really means, practically and soteriologically, to a fallen man.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Problem is, once Conspiracy Theory Logic comes into play, you end up pinched off inside the event horizon of the Conspiracy pocket universe.

      Because a Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is literally impossible to shake. Any evidence against The Conspiracy is Disinformation Planted by The Conspiracy; any lack of evidence for The Conspiracy is PROOF The Conspiracy is So Vast THEY Can SIlence Anyone (except, of course, the Lone Truther). The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

      And Christians seem especially prone to Conspiracy Theories, usually involving Ye Ende Is Nighye. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

  18. donald todd says:

    i am reasonably sure that the end will come when it is supposed to occur. That particuliar item is outside of my ken or decision making ability. It truely belongs to Someone Else and I have no business putting my demand on Him for this event.

    Camping is merely another of the end-time authorities who are responsible for stirring the pot without providing a result. As the old saw goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.” Whatever the end-time authorities are cooking, it is tasteless, unedible, and therefore without any nutritional value. It may even be deadly for those whose faith is built on it.

    There has been a desire for the return of the Messiah from the early days after the Ascension, and that desire is correct. The Apostle John told us as much at the end of the Apocalypse when he wrote “come Lord Jesus come.”

    I pray for the Second Coming, without putting this event on a schedule of my own devising.

    May God forgive those agents whose agendas are in conflict with His agenda.

    I would also suggest that one is not required to support such ministries. Perhaps if they cannot afford the tv or radio time, no one will purchase their materials and we’ll be spared hearing from them or hearing about them, sparing others from this evil.

    • I agree. We cannot support ministries like Harold Camping that set dates for Christ’s return. I also believe that we should not support ministries that undermine the authority of Scripture…but that is a discussion for another day.

  19. Friendly observer says:

    Don’t you mean October 2011? We’re way past October 2001…..

  20. What happened was, the world’s end actually meant the end of time. So we’ve been going in reverse ever since. Time’s just rolling up on itself. 0=)

  21. I wonder how much the Apostle Paul would have modified what he wrote to the various churches if he had realized it would be so long before Jesus returned in glory? It’s obvious that he thought Jesus was coming back SOON. Would he still have advised people that it was, in his opinion, better to remain single than to get married? Maybe. Maybe not.

    • I think he possibly would’ve tempered it a little, but I think essentially he’d affirm the single life of devotion and quickening as a Good Life in anticipation of the Kingdom – whenever it comes to pass.

    • I do find it fascinating that Paul expected Jesus to return in his lifetime and yet Jesus did not. I don’t believe that means we can’t trust Paul’s teaching, but by God’s providence, we are allowed to see that Paul was not perfect. It keeps us humble. 😉

      • I don’t think that fact (that Paul thought one thing and Jesus thought differently) went unnoticed by the early Church, either.

      • Tim Van Haitsma says:

        What about the Olivet Discourse? Jesus is mentioned in 3 of the gospel talking about his return in the is generations lifetime. Refering of course to his comtemparies. See: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

  22. readyourbible says:

    Labels of “unconventional dating” and “intricate calculations” show a lack of understanding on your part. I’m not sure what is “unconventional” about proving from scriptures that the word “begat” in the Bible does not necessarily always mean a father-son relationship. James Ussher used this false assumption to create his timeline. And the “intricate calculations” are merely algebra, so the only funny part about this joke is that you’re not good at algebra. The difficult part is assembling scriptures to understand the algebra. That part you don’t seem interested in. Even if Camping has numerous FREE books that show where he’s getting May 21, 2011 from the Bible, and comes to this date from many different vantage points. Scoff away folks:

    2Pe 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

    • God did not give us a Bible that requires its readers to “assemble Scriptures and do algebra.” Any straightforward reading of the actual Scriptures reveals what a kook Camping is. One of the main problems with dispensational and other illegitimate “end-times” teachings is that they are based on the approach to Scripture that you advocate. The Bible is not a book of secrets that requires folks to go on a treasure hunt and put together an elaborate picture of what God is saying.

      No one here is scoffing at God’s promises or the fact that Jesus “will come again to judge the living and dead.” Just at crackpot preachers who use positions of power to deceive and mislead God’s people.

      • I see what is going on here. You call Camping a “kook” (certainly, there are things about his teachings I would be wary of too, but “kook” sounds a bit strong), but I get blasted by YOU because I cast aspersion on anyone who is not a traditional bread-and-butter conservative Christian. You call dispensationalism (I used to be one) as one of the illegitimate end-times view, but when I blast away at mainline Christian views of the end-times (if they have ANY) I get rebuked for calling them unregenerate. I call people who deny the authority of Scripture, condone homosexual practice, and believe that Jesus is not the only way to reconciliation with God as kooks.

        • Mark, you’ve totally mischaracterized what I said. What I’m concerned about as the moderator of this blog primarily is staying on topic and not using what we are talking about to launch into other areas of opinion.

          I welcome and respect your opinions and input, I just ask that you stick with the subject at hand.

          The whole point of this post is that Camping is a kook, and if you can’t see that from the evidence I’ve given, go to his website and take a bath in all his kookery.

          BTW, I agree with you that people can be misled from other perspectives as well, including those who have abandoned or who downplay orthodox Christian teachings. However, that’s another post for another day.

    • readyourbible:

      That Camping would use variations in Hebrew verbs to distinguish between patriarchal periods and direct naming of offspring while other scholars don’t, is by definition, unconventional. By the way, Camping’s conclusion that Hebrew verb variations demand patriarchal time periods in the Old Testament timeline is nothing more than his own unproven speculation. Also, his calculations involve more than simple algebra. Read his foundational works in dating and time projection and you will find things such as summation series. It only took him 1300 pages in three books to make his claim.

      Yes, Chaplain Mike isn’t very good at algebra after all, and this might just disqualify him for acceptance into the kingdom. There was enough brow-beating over Camping’s insistence that 2 Peter 3:12 “LOOKING FOR and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” meant a command from God that all believers do math calculations to find out when he would return, to make the math-challenged waiver in their assurance of salvation. I know. I was there. Salvation by math proficiency! What a concept. And Aaron had a pocket protector in his ephod.

      And scoffing? We’re not asking where is the promise of Christ’s coming, we’re asking where is any evidence that Harold Camping is right just one time. Just once.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      2Pe 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

      I was wondering when somebody would get around to quoting this Catch 22.

      As a Seventh Day Adventist End Times Book I read in my youth put it: “The Last Days Scoffers, who are themselves a Sign.”

      Nice trick. Anyone who objects to your End Time Prophecy interpretation is automatically PROOF of that interpretation.

      P.S. Check out a Seventh Day Adventist End Time Prophecy book sometime. (The one I cited above was a Fifites-era book titled “What Jesus Said”.) They take the same verses and the same “algebra and calculations” and come to a completely different conclusion with completely different choreography and details.

    • readyourbible says: “The difficult part is assembling scriptures to understand the algebra. That part you don’t seem interested in.”

      To readyourbible: The assembling of scriptures to understand a mathematical equation in order to prove scripture is circular reasoning. It’s a shell game. This is numerology, and akin to astrology. This is using the bible as a horoscope.

      My God doesn’t reveal his truth in that manner. It’s a form of witchcraft.

  23. I don’t think anyone’s suggesting Jesus isn’t coming back, just questioning how well people can claim to know something Jesus said they wouldn’t know. But that’s me.

  24. readyourbible says:

    @Kaci

    Regarding the topic of knowing when (time) Christs will return (judgment), i.e., “time and judgement”. Most of us are probably familiar with Mark 13:32 and the like… because this is the churches influence. But aren’t we to compare scripture with scripture? How come the churches don’t teach this:

    Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.

    • Two problems.

      One: “the churches influence”? What does that mean? Has the church misread the clear words of Jesus? What else could they mean? No one knows the time or hour. Not even Jesus. Not much to wonder about there.

      Two: Talk about taking a verse totally out of context! What in the world does that passage have to do with the time of Christ’s return? People can make the Bible say pretty much anything they want.

      Which passage is clearer? Mark or Ecclesiastes? If you want to compare Scripture with Scripture, that’s the way to do it. You don’t explain a perfectly clear verse by appealing to one that has nothing to do with the same subject! Sheesh.

      • Mike,

        Camping uses a strange mix of literal and allegorical interpretation (often with no specific hermeneutic to determine which percentage of which goes into the mix). Citing out of context and obscure bible verses to prove major themes is very normal. It leaves his followers no other choice but to believe his interpretation. Camping may compare a literal reading of one verse with an allegorical reading or picture label of another to get a conclusion.

        As an example (using the King James) he will take Proverbs 31:4, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: ” and combine it with 1 Corinthians 4:8, “Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you” to prove that believers shouldn’t drink alcohol. Since Paul uses the language “kings” to talk to the Corinthians (Christian believers) regarding kingdom ideas, Camping sees it as appropriate to put that meaning into the Proverbs verse to indicate that ALL believers should refrain from drinking wine.

        As for Mark 13:32 that readyourbible uses, the King James reads, “But OF that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Camping has used the word “OF” as an *experiential* term, meaning that nobody has ever experienced God’s wrath in it’s fullest. Jesus still hadn’t experienced that yet in time because he said this before he went to the cross, but because the Father is eternal, he knows what that judgment is like poured out on others. Camping also used the time element of “day and hour” to claim that it’s true that nobody can know the day or hour of Christ’s return, but the bible never says we can’t know the week, month and year!

        Camping’s open use of the allegorical leaves him with an almost infinite number of possible interpretations, and of course he picks one that “fits” his scheme. His method of interpretation leaves him in the position of nobody being able to debunk him on his own interpretive terms. This is why arguing with his followers is fruitless.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Just like any Conspiracy Type, pinched off behind his own personal event horizon.

          The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

      • You don’t explain a perfectly clear verse by appealing to one that has nothing to do with the same subject! Sheesh.

        THANK YOU !
        for emph: and again I say: SHEESH
        GREG R

    • You mean from this passage?

      8:1 Who is like the wise?
      And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
      A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
      and the hardness of his face is changed.

      I say: [1] Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him. [2] 3 Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. 6 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble [3] lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

      The passage is on discernment, friend. Yes, I’m also aware of the Scripture that says not to “hold the prophetic utterances in contempt” (well, that’s my gross paraphrase).

      But here’s my take on the subject: Having gone through the ‘end times phase’ myself, and also having to be careful not to have a jaded attitude toward what I used to be obsessed with, I sometimes still have to wonder why our faith has to become a math formula.

      Here’s the part that is true about the prophecies: We tend to be wrong. That’s why the Jews are still looking not for one, but two Messiahs. That’s why the Gospels occasionally insert things like “But the disciples didn’t figure that out til after the Resurrection” (my paraphrase).

      It’s not the study of the end times that’s bad. It’s when you make that study, or your version of it, ultimate–putting it on the same level as salvation. When eschatology (or Calvinism, or a Arminianism, or liturgy, or social justice, or whatever) take the place of the intimacy of life with the Spirit, of Christ’s sacrifice–when the majesty of who Jesus is becomes eclipsed by how he might return, then there’s an issue, and I don’t care who’s saying it.

      Hopefully that was on-topic…

  25. It drives me nuts when ever supposedly bible believing christian teachers make specific claims about end time dates. Specifically because of the warning Jesus gave about NOBODY knowing. Whenever I hear somebody spouting off end time dates I logically conclude that hermeneutics is a word outside their vocabulary. If you can’t catch that in the bible, how can you coherently put anything else in scripture together to formulate cohesive doctrine?
    Now how much of this would really be going on if the vast majority of the worldwide church were still amillennial?

  26. So the world is going to end on October 21, 2011. My birthday.

  27. readyourbible says:

    @ Mike – it’s such common knowledge for people to profess not even Christ knew when He would return. And yet these same people don’t wish to study God’s word, in order to understand whether this is true.

    Mar 13:32 (KJV) But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father.

    The word “son” or “uihos” in Greek, Strongs G5207 is capitalized in all English translations. Why? I can’t blame the translators for being respectful… but NOWHERE in the local context is it made clear that “son” is Christ. It is set in context of Christ speaking to Peter, James, John and Andrew on the Mt. of Olives (v13:3)… okay. But I’m not playing word games, I seriously fear God’s word, and if it was clear in this verse the “son” = Christ I wouldn’t debate it for a second. But the fact is, G5207 is used in 348 verses in the new testament, often not referring to Christ. Please show me where in Mark 13 we can know “son” is Christ. I once had somebody quote the italicized portion in verse 13:34 “For the Son of man is”, please don’t do this.

    @Miquel – care to share your hermeneutic? I have a feeling it’s not Biblical, but I hope you prove me wrong.

    • Simple answer: context. The most basic principle of interpretation. Which you consistently ignore and which leads to your kooky conclusions and which makes it impossible to argue with you, because in your world, anything can mean anything just because you say so. You’re digging yourself in deeper each time you comment, readyourbible, because there are people involved in this blog who actually know their Bibles.

      • readyourbible says:

        Mike. It appears you didn’t read what I wrote… just hit Ctrl + F and you’ll see I used the word “context” twice. Your answer of “context” makes zero sense… you need to provide a verse(s), that show Christ = son. One progresses with truth in the Bible by reading the Bible. You’ll likey not do it; and the default response from most will be to evade the question and drop the topic, likely by booting my posts. And I’m humble enough to not re-appear under some other alias. No matter how simple I try to make it, the question is endlessly avoided.

        • Don’t even answer him, Mike.

          • That was sort of my thought this morning, Ted. Now it’s afternoon, and that thought hasn’t changed.

            @readyourbible – At the risk of starting something, I’m a moderator on another website, and let me tell you, it’s very difficult to have a conversation with someone who isn’t listening. This only frustrates the other party, and then both parties aren’t listening. In the end, one of three things happens:

            a) The parties involved realize there’s a problem and move to resolve it privately;
            b) Neither party realizes the non-communication and just stops;
            c) A mod gets involved and ends it, with a formal reprimand at the very least.

            Just saying. This dance is far too familiar.

        • Verse 26 identifies Jesus as the Son.

          Verse 32 says the Son does not know the hour, only the Father.

          And verse 33 says you don’t know it either.

    • Unfortunately, I see this as the danger of focusing so much on every nuance of the original lanuages, that the overall picture is lost in translation nitpicking. Hermeneutics is a method, but it cannot replace the simplicity of reading the text at face value.

      I also have to take issue with the statement, “I seriously fear God’s word.” There are Christians who actually believe that the KJV version IS the person of Jesus Christ, containing the same supernatural powers that Christ did (all versions pre- and post-KJV seem to be considered as merely man’s effort incidentally). We must be careful to remember that even if a man should be locked away without a copy of scripture, his faith is still intact because it is God through Christ, not scripture, that he has placed his trust in.

      Jesus made this profound statement: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40 ESV). Scriptures are for our benefit, but they cannot save us. They have no blood to shed for us nor did they exist in the beginning. It is Christ who was crucified and raised from the dead and it is Christ that a man should fear, if he fear anyone. Yet, we are free and invited to fearlessly approach the very throne of God Almighty because of Christ (Hebrews 4:16).

      • Mike, this post is a little off topic. For that I apologize. I was simply attempting to apeal to readyourbible.

    • Hey sorry didn’t notice you commented on my comment cause you misspelled my name and I didn’t find it under ctrl-F. I don’t hold a specific hermeneutic approach as being de facto superior to all others, there are many useful ways to study and understand scripture. But for pete’s sake, use one of them, at least! If you hold to something that the Bible directly contradicts (such as predicting the hour or day of Christ’s return) then your method of interpreting the Bible is to make it say what you want regardless of what it actually does say. It’s called Eisegesis. If you’re going to do that, why even bother using the text of scripture at all? It’s not logically consistent. My two cents on reading your Bible.

  28. Here’s a question: How differently would devout Christians behave if they knew Jesus was returning on a certain date? If what pleases God is to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him, do I need to know when He’s coming to judge me in order to start doing that? Am I going to wait till the Day of Judgment to start obeying? What a strange idea, as if God didn’t see my deeds and the thoughts of my heart all the time anyway.

    So what is the purpose for knowing when God is returning? Perhaps He hasn’t told us exactly so that we can be growing in faith, humility, and good works and not be scrounging for inside information. The image I have is of a classroom whose teacher steps out. Who is she going to be more pleased with when she returns — those who quietly got their work done, or those who stood whispering by the door, eye pressed to the crack, to see when she was coming back?

    Chaplain Mike, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Martin Luther say that when Christ came back he wanted to be found planting a tree? Not exegeting, to coin a verb.

    • Of course, what you say is right. If we knew the time and date of his return many professing Christians would be doing nothing (or even acting like the world). Certainly God will judge us for how we have run the race set before us (1 Peter 4:17). Therefore, as Christians, we must practice justice, love mercy, walk humbly before God, fight immoral practices in the world (i.e., homosexuality, false religions, Gaia worship), and bear fruit with the keeping of repentance.

      • I’m not on board with you about the fight against immoral practices in the world, Gaia, etc. I don’t think the whole armor of God is meant to be used as offensive weapons. But that’s a digression. How differently would devout Christians behave if they knew Jesus was returning on a certain date? That might form the script for a Hal Lindsey spin-off, but the answer is otherwise another layer of navel-gazing. As if there isn’t more than enough idle speculation about the return of Jesus already. Insofar as the biblical numerologists go, one cannot teach with a Bible in one hand and a math book in the other, without drawing the conclusion that it is largely infused with new revelation from extra-Biblical sources. Secret codes and hidden knowledge. By any such definition, it is error. The synergistic effect of Mayan Calendar, Nostradamus, Ron Brown, etc., no doubt also puts some wind into the sails of Mr. Camping and similar false prophets. Does it draw some of its attraction from a sort of syncretism, or perhaps even have some threads in common to augury or soothsaying? I don’t know; better heads than mine might answer that.

        • If you aren’t against Babylon then you’re part of Babylon. You know where Babylon is headed if you read the Book of Revelation.

    • Damaris: your first paragraph says it all; this fascination with knowing exactly WHEN is exactly a waste of time. Knowing or not knowing should change nothing in how we follow the LORD. We have our orders, they are clear enough. Why would we ask for more, as if that would clarify our marching orders any…… end times fascination, for many, I fear, is one big fat dodge.

      Love your post ,
      Greg R

    • readyourbible says:

      Damaris, the Bible gives examples to your question. Instead of getting philosophical, humble yourself and read Genesis and God’s warning to Lot prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then go read the book of Jonah and ask how different the fate of the Nenevites would have been without God’s warning through Jonah.

      May 21, 2011 is from the Bible. We are told in many places of the Bible to “watch”. The message in our day is one of being broken before God, completely. Don’t trust in your confession (work) of faith to get yourself saved. NO WORK will get us saved. Repent, and come broken before God.

      • readyourbible, you state, “Don’t trust in your confession (work) of faith to get yourself saved.”

        Well, then, allow me to present to you, in the KJV, this following verse:

        “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” – Romans 10:9.

        It would seem, by this solitary verse, that confession goes hand in hand with belief.

      • Warining people to “flee the wrath to come” is one thing. Using specific dates and times, when Jesus told us point blank that even HE did not know the specific hour is quite another thing. Our “watching” does not, I would even say SHOULD NOT, involve just such calculations. Is the student here, Camping, greater than the TEACHER ? I’m thinking probably not. If Jesus explicitly says “No one knows…..” then I’m betting that HE knows exactly what HE is talking about.

        Your zeal is commendable: add knowledge and charity.
        Greg R

    • Demaris asks: “How differently would devout Christians behave if they knew Jesus was returning on a certain date?”

      Well, Camping’s followers “knew” the world would start to end on Sept. 6, 1994. So, I’ll tell you. Some would quit their jobs, the unemployed would not look for jobs, some people would give their entire life savings to Family Radio (never to get any of it back). Some would cancel all appointments for the following week. Some would not plan for normal life at all in case it didn’t happen. Some would be utterly terrified and call the elders and deacons at home at all hours of the day and night, preventing them from getting any sleep. Many would sit outside and watch the stars to see if they would start falling from the sky. You know, just normal stuff.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        At least no women had abortions so the fetus wouldn’t weigh them down too much to Ascend into Heaven. That actually happened in some Rapture Scare in Korea years ago. Kook preacher that started it almost got lynched by his followers after The Date came and went.

  29. Another comic event from Camping’s first failed prediction. His predictions were based on projecting Old Testament dates and timelines forward into the future to get 1994 as the date. So he used the Jewish calendar to figure everything out. Well, the Jewish system had a new day start at sundown in the evening, not at midnight. So, Campings scientific calculator groupies did some research and pinpointed the exact time of day for sundown on Sept. 5 at the latitude and longitude of Jerusalem. They then calculated the number of time zones backward so that we here in the Pacific Time zone would know at exactly what time in the morning that the sun would go out. I forget the time, but it was something like 9:07am.

    Well, they forgot to take Daylight Savings Time into account and missed it by an hour! 😀 Oh, well, it didn’t happen anyway.

    • Steve, your personal insights have been invaluable in this discussion. Again, thanks.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Reminds me of the 1975 Rosh Hashanah Rapture Scare. They had not only the date but the time calculated out to the second — Sunset in Jerusalem at Rosh Hashanah for the Jewish calendar year beginning in 1975 (whose number numerologically translated to “Messiah”). Also had the Next Seven Years choreographed out almost to the minute, every jot and tittle Proven From Scripture.

      Back in 1975. It is now 2010.

      (Several years after the fact, the story got out that the 1975 Rosh Hashanah Rapture Scare was actually started (and calculated out) by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and was then plagarized directly by the Evangelicals, though by then nobody would admit to it.)

  30. TJ Wallin says:

    I’m going to make another appeal for this Christian community to show some love AND tolerance for our brothers and sisters in Christ: we know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers: 1 John 3:14. I don’t know Mr. Camping (I’ve never even heard of him before this recent post) but I believe he’s probably sincere in his belief that the world will end on a certain date. I presume that he and most of the folks on this board probably agree on the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith like the Trinity, Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, Christ’s bodily resurrection (see the Apostles or Nicene Creed for the rest). How about we spend some time rejoicing in those fundamentals and agree to disagree on everything else? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have some lively discussions on those other topics but how about we end the ridicule and the name calling?

    • Uh, TJ.

      Mr. Camping is the one who called all current churches, pastors, and leaders instruments of Satan and instructed all believers to flee their congregations to focus on the Bible and Family Radio alone. If that’s not cultish behavior that should be opposed and called out, I don’t know what is.

      • Mike,

        I agree that is extreme from Harold Camping. I would even downright say that is not charitable from a Christian point of view of bashing all current pastors and churches as instruments of Satan. However, if Mr. Camping does hold to the fundamentals of the historic Christian faith we can only give him the benefit of the doubt and consider him as a brother in Christ (just like we receive KJV-only fundamentalists as brothers and sisters in Christ even with their aberrant view of Scripture).

        • Have I anywhere questioned his salvation? That’s not an area where I pronounce judgments.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I would like to point out that when I was getting spiritually abused by an aberrant Christian Group in the Seventies, groups like that would always slip by the Christian Cult Watch groups.

          The reason being that Christian Cult Watch groups of the time defined “cult” entirely in terms of aberrant/heretical theology. While they were parsing doctrines and theology word-for-word and letter-by-letter, they would completely miss the abusive control-freak behavior that was going on. Their tunnel vision on theology enabled several groups with “Orthodox” usually Extreme Evangelical) theology to slip through who were as abusive on their members as any “Cult (TM)”. And the not-a-Cult leaders had no problem using their Certification as Not A Cult but Truly Christian to keep their victims whipped into line for their Sin of Rebellion Against God.

          One of these was “Koinonia House Christian Fellowship”, Whittier, CA, circa 1973-76. All the abusive controlling/isolating behavior of a Cult (TM) — including extreme separation from anyone outside the Fellowship up to attempts at sealed compounds within apartment complexes and/or converted old houses — none of the Cultic (TM) theology.

    • Jonathan says:

      Wallin, the Nicene Creed says, in part, that Christ “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.” The return of Christ is thus a basic fundamental of the Christian faith. Camping’s pathetic predictions strike at the very core of this fundamental by misleading people about the timing and circumstances of Christ’s return. Thus, Camping is committing a grave public sin about a fundamental of the faith, for which Christians have every right to just as publicly rebuke him — as a heretic.
      Apparently, Camping is under the authority of no ecclesiastical structure, which potentially could reign him in. He’s a one-man show. Therefore, rebuking him here is about the only way to warn others against his folly.

      • Excellent point about Camping’s autonomy. This seems to be BOTH the cause of , and the result of, going so far astray. No moderating voices (that we all need) to help guide the way. I think this has been played out repeatedly in church history and is a loud commercial for real, practical accountability.

        Greg R

    • readyourbible says:

      Amen TJ. Here are some of the main teachings that stem from Harold Camping’s studies:
      1) Christ is eternal God… there are many verses to show that Christ and God are one.
      2) Christ’s death at the cross was a demonstration of how he paid for our sins before the foundation of the world.
      3) We are currently in the 23 yr great tribulation period, which will end with Christs return next year.
      4) Faith is a work, and there is absolutely no work anybody can do to get themselves saved. The churches have recipe for salvation that build around YOUR good works.
      5) Death to the unsaved = annihilation, not eternal damnation.

      I happen to agree with him on these, based on the discernment that Christ has allowed me to have in His word. I will absolutely repent if next year comes and goes… but the paths drawn from scriptures are compelling and scary.

      • readyourbible, while I may disagree with Camping on some issues, and admittedly am a little bit frustrated by such teachings, the main concern I have is that so many of these doctrines may turn out to be false, especially with their being so specific about times and places.

        I admire your willingness to “repent if next year comes and goes.” It shows you are at least are willing to abandon false teaching if and when those teachings are proven false.

        I will leave the point by point debate to others and humbly pray that God reveal the truth to us all.

      • #john1453 says:

        Also, the Apostle Paul was pretty clear that faith is not a work.

        The concept that Christ paid for our sin before the foundation of the world is, to put it mildly, unorthodox and nontraditional.

        Christ and “God” are one? Who then is God? God, in traditional orthodox theology is not equivalent to the father or to the spirit but is used to refer to the triunity as a whole. So, effectively, that statement is saying “Christ and the trinity are one” which does not make any sense because Christ IS one of the trinity.

        Three strikes for Camping, I’d say he’s out.

        But because Camping makes up his own rules, and because he’s never called himself out even after numerous failed predictions, I’d say it’s safe to assume he doesn’t play by the three strikes rule, so . . .

        Annihilation, though within the pale of orthodoxy is not the mainstream traditional view.

        23 year tribulation period? Sheesh, I even own Jack Chick tracts and dispensational comic books and I’ve never heard of that one.

        So, Camping scores five for five–strikes that is.

        Down and out for the count.

        regards
        #John1453

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          23 year tribulation period? Sheesh, I even own Jack Chick tracts and dispensational comic books and I’ve never heard of that one.

          Maybe he figured he had to do SOMETHING original to stand out?

    • TJ,

      Camping and his group revised the creeds and confessions to fit their own belief system. That’s what the Tuesday night bible study in his living room was specifically about while I attended.

  31. readyourbible says:

    @MWpeak

    Thank you for the Romans 10:9 verse. We must search ALL scriptures for doctrine and reproof. I don’t believe that we can pluck a verse for our convenience. I am aware of main stream belief. Many churches will admit that there is no work we can do to get ourselves saved, but then turn around and say that “faith is NOT a work”. And yet we read in two places that faith is indeed a work, 1 Thess 1:3 and 2 Thess 1:11.

    1Th 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.

    In order to reconcile this, it must be understood that Christ did 100% of the work for our salvation, and ones faith is a RESULT of that work. You can confess away with your mouth, but Christ will not listen if you think that confession will get you saved.

    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

  32. Readyourbible —

    You said faith is a work, and works cannot save us. Are you saying that faith then is no part of salvation? It seems you are, and yet I’m sure that you know the Scriptures well enough not to suggest that. Help me out if I’ve misunderstood.

    • I know someone who no longer believes he is a Christian who said that salvation is by works because faith itself is a work. *shrug* It was just an observation.

    • readyourbible says:

      As I stated: Faith is a RESULT of our salvation. I have family in the churches, and this bothers me, because what their church has is a “do it yourself” gospel… you come follow our confessions and creeds, and we’ll show you the recipe for salvation. This frightens me, because Christ clearly teaches that faith is a work. And from a Biblical perspective, believing and faith are both work. The same Greek word in the new testament, “believing” is the verb form of “faith”. I am not a teacher folks… I am the student, reading the scriptures seeking edification from the scriptures. God bless.

      • I believe I can relate on this sense of “do it yourself” salvation. When I was more in line with Southern Baptists of the “primitive” kind, I hated liturgical, mainstream churches because I felt their confessions and their liturgies and creeds were all just hocus-pocus magic spells to get them into heaven.

        But I realized that while there are actually individual doctrines that teach that prayers, creeds and sacraments are spiritual and affect a person’s station with God, most creeds and confessions are merely an attempt to provide structure and clarity to what is already believed.

        For example, in a wedding ceremony, a man utters vows to stay loyal to his wife, to have and hold, in sickness and health, etc. Do the words he utters magically make him a good husband? Absolutely not! They are a confession of what he already has, love for his wife.

        So the creeds and confessions have no power of their own. They merely reflect a Christian’s efforts to work out his salvation, fully aware that salvation has already come from God alone and not through anything he has done (it is by faith through grace that he is saved and not by works).

        It is easy for a Christian in any denomination, be it Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Catholic, to put their faith in a sacrament or a bible or a relic. Idolatry is an equal opportunity destroyer and the temptation is always present., regardless of the church or teacher. And churches and teachers themselves can become idols.

        Creeds and confession should serve as commonly understood statements about the faith. They have no blood and cannot save a man, but they can, when read, they enrich a man’s understanding of his faith.

        Personally, I keep a single verse of scripture in mind that is the beginning of clarity for me: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 ESV). When temptation strikes, I go back to that, read it out loud and pray. Voicing it out loud has a profound effect in my ability to humble myself before God and resist the devil.

        • Donald Todd says:

          There is a disconnect here. The word “sacrament” involves the idea that Jesus Himself is present in the medium, be it the water of baptism, the bread and wine of communion, the oil used for confirmation, in the marriage vows freely given before God, and so forth.

          If Jesus is actually present in those items, then those receiving the sacraments are receiving Jesus. Receiving Jesus as He permits cannot by definition be idolatry.

          Unfortunately, the further one is removed from the most ancient churches, the more one either has no recognition of “sacrament” or is unwilling to believe that Jesus can be physically present in the water, bread and wine, oil, etc.

          You also identified the real problem with one word in your missive: “Personally.” You have decided that you are personally responsible for making these determinations and decisions. The interpretation belongs to you. You are the arbiter of Truth.

          This is the result of that problem: If everyone is free to make his or her own decision, then we have the alphabet soup spelled out in the Yellow Pages under Church.

  33. TJ Wallin says:

    Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will never die.” I am proposing that for just a little while, that the bride of Christ look at herself through that lens and forget all the other divisions. There are many denominations that claim to have an absolute lock on God’s truth and that many or most of these folks say the rest of us are going to hell if we don’t sign up for every fine point of doctrine. Does it really matter if we disagree with our brother on the age of the earth, the time when Jesus will return, infant baptism or whether musicians should sit in the choir loft during worship. With every blow that we return and every curse we utter, we tear the church body further asunder. I know that someone else invariably starts these fights but we all just keep pouring it on when they do.

    Now maybe this Camping fellow is a bona fide angel of darkness that needs to be opposed, but this blog seems to find an awful lot of those folks. I have a close friend who attends a fundamentalist church that is devoted to “finding and marking false doctrines and teachers”. You’d be amazed at how much error they find with Catholics and Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Christian Missionary Alliance and Evangelical Free. Imagine the resources that they devote to this purpose. Now, what does the church gain if I or anyone else opposes him? Jesus said something about turning the other cheek…I wonder if some of you might consider taking that advice every now and again. Just a thought.

    • IM is in no way a “watchblog.” Usually it’s targeted by the watchblogs! But we do have a “lover’s quarrel” with a lot that goes on in evangelicalism, and don’t think it is breaking the law of love to call out the crazies every once in awhile.

      • It’s a matter of becoming an equal opportunist. My understanding is that there’s a difference between open contempt and a family debate.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And “Crazy Uncles” can be lots of fun at family reunions (“GIT ON THOSE TELEPHONES!”) as long as you take them in small doses and keep them away from sharp objects.

          • Donald Todd says:

            I will speak to this as a Catholic who left Protestantism/Pentecostalism.

            The Church sees validly baptised Christians (the unitarian formula and water) as brothers and sisters in Christ. That baptism includes all the benefits described as coming from baptism that Catholics have. The church/sect/congregation using the word baptism may or may not be associate it with the word sacrament, but the trinitarian formula and the use of water make it effectly the same.

            The Catholic Church has denied some people access the sacraments (think Luther, Calvin), but their actual eternal situation is left to Christ Jesus Who is the judge. He makes the ultimate call as He is the one Who is able to see in our hearts.

            Our disagreement/s involve many things, but our call is that of Jesus Who came to “save” the world, not to condemn it.

            No one should water down their dogmatic understanding to create unity. One should be open to the argument (made in charity) that the position might be open to question.

            I keep watching what is occurring and I am seeing something relatively new based on posts at this site. My previous recognition was that people are moving toward the older Churches (think Catholic, Orthodox) or toward the more individualistic congregations (think Baptist, Pentecostal, “non-denominational”), and away from the older mainline churches, think Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian.

            Now I am seeing at least a bit of movement toward the the Lutherans who sit in a quasi-sacramental place short of the Catholics and Orthodox but much closer to us than to the individualistic congregations. (If asked where this is really going, perhaps the most current directory of religious participation would be a better indicator than me and whatever shortsightedness I bring to the table. My observations are not scientifically made.)

            It is fascinating. Rites and creeds have meanings. The repetition is meant to identify one’s place. Step out of the world for a while. Use the measured cadence of the rite to open oneself up to God. Use the penitential rite. Hear the readings. Participate in the Eucharist. Remember that love of God precedes love of neighbor. Go back out into the world and take some part of what happened to you with you in your daily life.

            People moving to the older Churches, and that certainly includes the Lutherans, get the benefit of those rites and the remembrances and creeds that go with them.

            However, as this item started out, one is supposed to remember that Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn it. Perhaps a bit of that consideration is due as we attempt to present a defense to each other and the others we meet outside of here.

    • TJ: I appreciate your spirit and your goal of not seeing the body of Christ incur further injury. But…it’s not my cheek Camping is smiting, if it were, I could really shrug it off, not big deal. By calling out ALL other churches as having gone wrong, Mr. Camping is following in the footsteps of Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, and many others. That’s serious stuff. I’m not likely to pursuade an avid Camping-ite, but maybe someone, somewhere is sitting on the fence about some of these things, so I (we) speak out. I take little joy in this, and my goal in life is to make the SON visible , as best I can. I’m all for “majoring in the majors”, but this man has drawn more than a couple into major error. That demands some kind of response, as far as I understand our role as followers of Jesus.

      May we stay teachable and leadable;
      Greg R

    • TJ, it’s not “Is Harold Camping actively working for Satan”. It’s “When people either purporting to be Christians or actual Christians start drawing up timetables for the end of the world, and buttress their arguments by showing proofs from Scripture, and these prophecies are wrong time and time again – then what kind of witness is that to the world?”

      Why should any sceptical-minded unbeliever believe me when I show him the miracles in the Gospels as proof that Christ came to us, when a line of self-anointed prophets have used the same Scriptures to prove the world was definitely going to end in 1840/1914/1990/2000/take your pick?

      • Excellent points on why error must be refuted, publicly; and in Camping’s case , there is no denominationaly board or group of wise “others” who can step in and say “hey….wait a second…” Our concern is not only for the damage done to Campings’ “camp” (pardon me), but a general confusion at large that affects our social witness.

        Again, well said, Martha
        Greg R

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        What always got me was when you had two kook preachers quoting the same chapters-and-verses to PROVE two completely-opposite things Ex Cathedra.

        “That boy ain’t right.” — Hank Hill

  34. We may have a problem with Christians whose ideas provoke the word “kook,” but I for one am thankful that we are all arguing about the timing of Christ’s return as opposed to Christ’s return itself.

    For me, the kooks are the guys who my claim that Jesus was an alien or the various Davinci Code conspirators or “Satan cults control the world” silliness.

    Christ is coming back. We all seem to agree on that. If I’m wrong, correct me.

  35. The topic of Harold Camping is a tough one for our family. My father has not set foot in a church in 10 years because of Mr. Camping. He has now realized that the majority of Christians find Camping’s credibility laughable, so now, my father is attempting to pass off the knowledge and research as his own.

    I suppose Mr. Camping should be rather thankful that these aren’t the old days when false prophets, at God’s mandate, were stoned. He wouldn’t have been around to make his 3rd (4th? 5th?) prophecy.

  36. I think my chances of just picking a date out of the air and saying, “This is when I GUESS that the world as we know it will end and Jesus will return” are just as good as these guys scouring the Bible and doing all this “fancy math.” So…in 3482 at 1:46 a.m., the world will end. See, it doesn’t have the same bite when it’s not going to happen in what you think will be your lifetime.

    Jesus says no ones knows when it will happen, but that won’t stop people from guessing. If my mom told me when I was a girl, “I bought you a great present but you will never know in advance of receiving it what it is and you will never know where it is hidden” I would probably still attempt to guess what it was and I would probably still look for it. UNLESS I am one of those people who like total surprises and then I would be happy just to wait. In reality, I would try guessing but I wouldn’t look. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

  37. Okay, I had to make this contribution to the debate. I’ll be run out of here on a rail afterwards on a range of charges from bad taste to heresy, but I cannot resist. I wish to call this “If Catholics wrote the “Left Behind” Novels” and now I will run away very fast:

    http://johncwright.livejournal.com/325100.html?view=11038956#t11038956

  38. Martha…here is a novel for YOU or someone else to write: God decided that one of the original apostles will never die until Jesus returns and heaven and earth and become one. That apostle, as you may very well guess, is John. So John affects all of Christian history, but “behind the scenes” as it were, because people do not KNOW that he is John the apostle. He always stays, let’s say, around 75 years old. He moves from one society and one country to another. He is seen as a wise man and advises popes and others that have a major influence on the progress of Christianity throughout time, making sure that the original message of Jesus and his Kingdom is always true. The Census never catches up with him, so we don’t have to worry about him having a social security number or anything like that! He does what Jesus told him to do…enters homes and stays there for a while until he is ready to move on. Maybe it would make a good movie or T.V. series!

    • Joanie,

      I just wish that I had the ability to write that kind of story. It could be very, very good.

      • Anna, I think it could be a good story too. I don’t have the ability to make the dialogue sound real. It could be interesting in that you could take events that happened in Christian history and put John as an “actor” who helped to create how things turned out. Think of the various councils that have occurred and put John there somehow. I think I would leave out the robots, ninjas and whatnot that Martha is mentioning below! 🙂

    • An excellent idea.

      Now we just need to work int the robots, ninjas, vampires and werewolves, not to mention zombies – every popular novel needs zombies! – in order to keep it from getting too fantastical 😉

    • I’m about to delve into ScriptFrenzy on April 1, and this is such a tempting little plot for my script. My mouth waters at the awesomeness!

  39. ‘didi, I was going to ask what ScriptFrenzy is, but I looked online and found it. Sounds interesting! Have a great 30 days of writing and let us know what you produced when you are done.

    (Chaplain Mike, I know we are way off-topic, but most folks have now gone on to other things, I am sure, so thanks for allowing us this little tangent.)

    • ….shoot, connect the dots and have watchblogging doctrine police zombies……peeved that their eschatology and nervous systems are way out of whack…….

      Greg R

  40. Elizabeth R says:

    But… but… isn’t 7 the Number of Completion? (I’m latching on to a very small part of a very wrong theology, I know).