Thursday, May 19, 2011

Within These Next Few Waning Hours

I suppose it is possible this could be the last post, a time I should be saying goodbye, so long, been nice to know you, my friends, what with Judgment Day coming by the weekend. And if I believed that this would be so, then this would be such a piece.
But I don’t believe it.
Still I am disturbed by some of the mocking comments being made about those who do.
It especially bothers me to hear a Sunday sermon opened this way: “Just so you know just in case the crazies are right and we don’t get to see each other next Sunday … listen today like this is the last day [here]”
The objection is not to simply say, “In case this thing happens, and we are not here another Sunday,  listen as if it’s true.” My objection is referring to these people as “crazies”.
As a Christian I will tell you what I believe. I believe in a God who created the world and universe. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in the Virgin Birth. I believe in the Bible. I believe in the Resurrection. I believe in salvation and a Judgment Day. I believe Jesus will return as He said He would, and following the daily news and seeing how events are occurring and the world is lining up; I believe that the Second Coming is not far off.
I presume this is what many Christian preachers also believe. So are we the “crazies”?
I would never call someone of faith a crazy or a nut case or a wing nut because they believe something different than I.  If someone professed to being Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or Atheist (and yes Atheism is a matter of faith), would you dare to call them “crazies”? Obviously I believe they have placed their faith in the wrong beliefs. If I did not, then I would be a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Hindu or an Atheist.
Obviously I believe Christianity it true. Otherwise, why would I be a Christian?
But because I disagree in where someone else has placed their faith, does not mean I think they are “crazies”.
I do not think Howard Camping or all these many people who have accepted his claims that May 21, 2011 is Judgment Day are nuts, nor do I think they are stupid. I just think they are wrong. If you have read the material put out by Camping you would not find some rambling mad utterances. It is very structured and intellectually presented. It is even convincingly logical, given Mr. Camping’s interpretation of Scripture. It is very understandable why many people would be willing to embrace it as the truth.
On the Family radio site there is a countdown clock. Today it reads “2 days to go”. But given Mr. Camping’s forecast of how it will begin, it is in reality just a bit more than one day away at the time I am writing this. It is his stance that a great rolling earthquake will begin at 6:00 PM on Saturday, May 21. It will begin in the South Pacific and will follow the time zones around the world, quaking in each area at their hour of 6:00 PM.
If this part of his prediction is true, then we here in my part of the country will know if it is happening sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 PM Friday evening. Why? Because it will already be 6:00 PM Saturday in the South Pacific just over the International Date Line. Of course if nothing happens at that time, it will not necessarily mean Judgment Day will not come on Saturday, only that this part of his calculation is wrong.
Of course, I expect nothing to happen, no worldwide earthquake, no Rapture, no Judgment Day…not yet.
If I am wrong and they are right, then nothing I have wrote matters. If they are right and I am wrong, then I will be among those facing condemnation by God, for that is what they believe. They believe if you cannot accept that Saturday is Judgment Day it is because you are not truly saved even if you think you are.
However if they are wrong and I am right, then on May 22 we are going to have a mass of disappointed and disillusioned people around this world, not the least of which will be Mr. Camping. This will not be something to gloat about. These will be people on the verge of losing faith in anything and some may be facing a very uncertain future. Some of these people have spent their finances and now will face difficult times. Some have split their families and will need healing. These will be people we should not mock, but instead show compassion for, reach out to with love and understanding. We should be prepared to help them back to faith in something and lift them up from their folly back into a life of true hope.
These people are not “crazies”, but like many, many others, they are just folks who lost their way for a while.


  1. FROM GREG at Jesus is Wonderful Blog

    Great post, Larry, though you scared me at the beginning there. :) I've read Camping's stuff on his site, and while I agree with you that he writes well, his way of computing the date is extremely suspect, at best. The short of it is that he nit-picked a few of the significant numbers in the Bible and multiplied them together.

    I think the reason Jesus made it clear that no one would know when the end will come is so that things like this would not happen. I also have been thinking about those who have caused great harm to their finances and relationships, not to mention the suicides that are likely to occur, as a fallout from this. Also, Atheists and people of other religions are eating this up as just another example of how crazy we ALL are. The bottom line is that we should all be living as if today if our last. I just read today that it is estimated that someone dies every 12 seconds. So in the time it took me to read your article and respond, today proved to be the last day for a couple dozen people. We should all be ready, my friend. :)

    I'm glad you posted again, and I will try to find some time to do the same.


  2. Greg,

    Absolutely the enemies and critics of Christianity love this stuff. But I expect that. It bothers me more that people who are wondering about their faith and beliefs become confused or reject the truth because of things like this. Also the media, even people who normally are not putting down people of faith get caught up in making fun of this without knowing all the facts. I view these things as a tragedy for many people who put their trust in false prophets. I don't think Camping is hoaxer or a scam artist or anything. I think he really believes what he writes and its going to be hard on him as well. He is 89 years old. Once he was fairly respected and in a Reform Christian. Back when I came to Christ his radio station was highly regarded. I don't know what happened to him. I think it is a caution to us who do spent time studying scripture, that we don't read something in that isn't there and then go off on a tangent.

    I was going to comment on some of his suppositions, but I thought it would make the post too long and really better done separately if I did.

    Thanks for your comments.


  3. FROM GREG at Jesus is Wonderful

    Yup, I also think he and most of his followers are sincere about this. Like you, I am in prayer about them handling it well, if the prediction doesn't come true. It did occur to me that maybe he's doing this for publicity (as Paul said, either way Christ is preached), but as you pointed out, the prediction not coming true is likely to push a lot of people away from the true faith.

    Camping is a bit snooty about it, though, by claiming that those who don't know the date and those who are affiliated with an organized church are going to hell. I've never heard of him until this week (though I knew about the prediction for a couple months now), but I'll be praying for him and his followers.

    I truly appreciate your insights and fellowship, Larry. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry and family.


  4. Greg,

    I don't know why things went this way with Camping. Forty years ago he was very much a proper Christian. He was in a church called the Reformed Christian Church and along with a Baptist and a Presbyterian bought a radio station and turned it into a multi-station network broadcasting Christian hymns, Bible readings and preaching the true Gospel. But somewhere he got off on this alternate stuff. I don't think he's looking for publicity. His radio network depends strictly on viewer donations to broadcast and I suspect both listenership and donations will greatly drop off after this weekend.

    As far as you and I going to Hell, you can breath a sigh of relief. Camping also teaches that the wicked do not go to an eternal Hell after judgment, but simply cease to exist. They are dead with no consciousness whatsoever.