Saturday, May 21, 2011

Of Prophecies & Truth

Yesterday I heard about Camping's prophecy.  I don't watch the news so I am almost always the last to know.  Here's the thing...this all started for me when I saw a post on a friend's facebook that made me think she was having weird suicidal thoughts.  Then I saw another post talking about going to heaven.  At that point, I next saw something about the world ending today.  This is when I took to google and sought to figure out what exactly the weirdness was about.  I found it quickly.  Camping has a prophecy.  I read a few different sites about his prophecy.  I watched a video of him giving the prophecy too.  This is what I
my insides were getting twisted.  I felt scared.  I felt anxious.  I began questioning whether or not I was truly "saved" or just under an American delusion that my simple and premature beliefs were enough to be a follower of Christ.  I was confused.  I was worried.  Then I realized, I was understanding.  I was understanding first hand what the people who follow Mr. Camping have felt.  While there are certainly some of his followers who are the arrogant type of Christian that is like, "well I deserve my reward!  I can't help it if you never chose to believe in God!!".  These people make me ill on another level.  But there are the majority of his followers.  Those people who are likely good hearted, God-loving, believers in Christ who have allowed themselves to believe on man's proclamation of the day and hour of the rapture.  I read Camping's argument of why he has been shown the day and hour.  If I was not blessed with a husband who is a theologian, friends who are theologians too, and a deep hunger for absolute Truth, I would maybe be easily fooled too.  So here is what I realized.  I realized that all those years that I thought maybe God was trying to be "testing" of us by not letting us know when Christ would return, perhaps he was sparing us from all these feelings I was experiencing on behalf of these other people.  I believe God would not want His children to experience the severe and extreme fear, anxiety, arrogance, doubts, or confusion of knowing the exact day or hour.  I am thankful I had those feelings.  Sometimes I misread my empathy.  This time, I think I learned a bit more about humanity and God's grace.  I began to feel sadness for those people following Camping's lead.  Mr. Camping, who has studied the Bible in the King James Translation for years and years, is not a theologian.  He is not trained in the understanding of the Word of God.  He does not understand the contexts of the information laid out in the Bible.  He seemingly has never studied the Apocrypha.  He does not know the Greek or Hebrew languages the Bible was written in.  He is not qualified to tell the world that he alone has discerned something that; 1) No theologian has ever been able to discern, and 2) not even Jesus and His angels know.  I began to shake my head at the intense FEAR that Mr. Camping was instilling in people.  I am disgusted at the amount of Christians who buy into a prophecy that is so against the Word of the Living God.  Do they really think that suddenly God has decided to revoke His own word at the last minute to lift up Mr. Camping and debunk His own Holy words??  Thankfully, I believe the answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY NOT. 
I am posting a few key points from a world-wide respected theologian, and a man my husband looks up to, Dr. Ben Witherington.  I will also include the site where you can find this helpful reminder of Truth.... 

" Here are my top ten reasons why you should pay exactly no attention to Mr. Camping and his false predictions:
No. 10— Every such prediction since the time of Christ has had an 100% failure rate!   That should have put a stop to theological weather forecasting, but alas, pious curiosity knows no bounds
No. 9— There is no basis for such a prediction. Even if you believe in the modern notion of a pre-trib or mid-trib rapture  (and I definitely don’t), the New Testament tells us nothing at all about when exactly  it might happen.   Camping’s computations are based on his own flawed assumptions not only about the Bible but about the 21rst century.
No. 8– You shouldn’t trust any such predictions that come from someone who can’t even read the Bible in its original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, but instead bases his predictions on some English translation. As I like to say, there are no infallible English translations, and every translation is already an interpretation of the original.
No. 7  There have been earthquakes, wars, famines, screwy weather, and distressing political and economic events in every age of Christian history. There is nothing special or unique about 2011 when it comes to those things.
No. 6 Biblical prophecy in any case doesn’t work like Mr. Camping thinks it does! The Bible does not give specific details about events transpiring 2000 years after the writing of the Bible.  As I like to put it— God reveals enough about the future to give us hope, but not so much that we don’t have to live by faith every day.  Imagine for a moment what would happen if we all actually knew what Mr. Camping says he knows— the specific date of the eschatological come to Jesus meeting— well then we wouldn’t have to be particular good or pious day after day,  only at the very end of the process right before May 21rst.  ‘Sin in haste, repent at leisure’ would be the motto of a world that knows in advance the day of its demise. Fortunately,  God has not revealed any such date.
No. 5— Prognostications and calculations are a human activity based on human reasoning about the Bible and current events. They are an attempt to get hold of or control over the future, so we can plan ahead.  God doesn’t allow us to control our futures. He reveals enough to give us reason for great expectations, but not so much that we have a basis for precise calculations.
No. 4— Jesus quite specifically said he was coming back like a thief in the night, a metaphor applied also by Paul and in Revelation to this event.  The whole premise of the metaphor is that Jesus would show up at an unexpected and surprising time, a time when know one would be looking for him or knew he was coming.
No. 3— The Bible specifically warns against people like Mr. Camping.  They shouldn’t be listened to, they shouldn’t be given a following, they shouldn’t be give media attention (but sadly all of this has happened).   Even when the 12 asked Jesus for more specific information about the timing when God would do the rest of the eschatological things, like restore the kingdom to Israel  Jesus warned “It is not for you to know the times and the period set by his own authority”  (Acts 1.7).  Jesus is not just talking about the future of Israel, he is talking about the whole future eschatological scenario including his own return which as Rom. 11.25-27 makes clear is linked to the future of Israel.   We should have listened to Jesus!
No. 2— It’s just bad theology to listen to folk like Mr. Camping— there is plenty of zeal, but it’s not according to knowledge.  You shouldn’t listen to any preacher who says he knows more than Jesus.  Here is what Jesus said about his own return—- “Of that day or hour, no one knows,  not even the angels in heaven, not even the Son,  only the Father”  (Mk. 13.32).  If God only knows, then why should we think any of us know?  If Jesus says during his earthly ministry even he didn’t know the day, why should we combine arrogance with ignorance and insist we do?
No.1–  If you’re determined to listen to bad rapture theology and false predictions then at least apply some critical thinking to what is being said.  Why would God, who wants us to live by faith and not by sight every day of our Christian lives (see Hebrew 11– now faith is assurance of things hoped for, and a conviction about things not seen!!! Not in evidence, not predictable), take away our reason to continue to trust God EVERY DAY, by giving us a due date for the end of all things?  This doesn’t even make common sense, never mind Biblical sense.  So my word to one and all is the words of my granny—- When it comes to Mr. Camping and his ilk— don’t be so open minded that your brains fall out.  You shouldn’t go Camping on May 21
P.S.  We need to pray for all those poor gullible souls who have managed to ruin their lives, and will discover they have done so,  on May 22, by following Camping’s advice."
Dr. Ben Witherington's Blog on Camping's Prophecy 

1 comment:

  1. April I hope you don't mind me sharing this on fb but I really think others need to read what you have written about.