Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What Should We Learn From Harold Camping?

Harold Camping is a false teacher. Harold Camping is a heretic. Harold Camping of Family Radio, Oakland, CA is leading people into deception and lies of the Devil. Before you cry foul, Paul made it very clear in a number of places including Romans 16: "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV) The KJV is a bit stronger when it says, "mark and avoid..." (Let me add I don't think his false teaching is motivated by greed)

Paul gave explicit instructions to both Timothy and Titus to stand against false teachers. The New Testament is replete with warnings and admonitions to avoid false teachers and false doctrine. We are told to be wise, to be sober, to study, and to exercise discernment. We are warned in a number of ways to determine, detect, and defend against those who rise up and teach false doctrines.

There is a most amazing passage, at least amazing to me in I Corinthians 11:19. "For there must be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul made it clear that heresies are ordained of God for the express purpose of showing to us who the true teachers are.  As much as my heart grieves for Harold Camping and for all of the concern for his soul that I have, I thank God for him. I thank God that as God ordained him to be a false teacher for the purpose of showing those who are true teachers of the Word of God. Having said that I think are at least seven lessons that we can learn from Harold Camping, False Teacher. They lessons are as follows:

1.  We need to constantly be reminded that the Lord Jesus can return at any moment. There are no signs nor warnings to precede the catching away of the church. Any moment the bridegroom can return for His bride and we need to be ready. We need to believe this. We need to live like we believe it. We need to live like this fact is true.

2.  We need to preach coming the coming judgement of God on this fallen world. Judgement will begin with the people of God, the Israelites. It will continue upon this earth and upon the unrepentant and wicked nations of this earth. God will one day pour out His fury, His full wrath, and judgement on this earth and the inhabitants that refuse to repent. People are asleep and the church has fallen asleep. Judgment is coming, repent and be saved!

3.  We need to stop being side-tracked. We need to stop being side-tracked over whether we have contemporary or traditional songs, series on how to be sexually fulfilled in marriage, how to have better this and that and preach that Christ is the only Ark that will save us from the coming judgement of God. We need to exalt the name of the Lord Jesus Christ above all things.

4.  We need to study diligently and handle the word of God very carefully. It is God's word. It cannot be handled flippantly, incorrectly, or inaccurately. The Word of God needs to be given the authoritative place in our lives and churches that it once held. The bible is the word of God, not a book of suggestions and theories on how to have the best life now.

5.  We need to plead with every friend, family member, every neighbor, co-worker, and stranger to be saved, to save themselves from this untoward generation. Yes, God is sovereign over salvation, and I don't back down from the Doctrines of Grace, but unlike some I don't know who the elect are and not being hyper-Calvinist I am going to preach the gospel to every creature.

6.  We need to stop being so cowardly and mealy-mouthed and make it clearly known who the false teachers are. Mark them and avoid them. Charge them as Paul said to Timothy to teach nothing but sound doctrine. Reject false teachers. The Doug Pagits, Joel Olsen's, Brian McClarens, Perry Nobles, and the TBN crowd are false teachers. Run from their teachings.

7.  We need to remember that we are in a war. Satan will camouflage himself and parade about as an angel from heaven. Demons impersonate people. Devils tell lies. We are not doing battle with flesh and blood but with spiritual enemies, principalities, and demons. Put on the full armour of God! Stand ready for battle.

There may be many more lessons that we can learn from this false teacher. We can certainly start here. I take no pleasure in writing this post nor reminding you that Camping is a false teacher deceiving those whom follow him. My heart breaks for his deception and the deception of his radio audience. His passion and sincerity does not belay the fact that he is a deceiver. Why do I think he is a false teacher. Let me give you four quick and short reasons.

1.  He has set a date before and was wrong. No one knows when Christ is returning for His church or to establish His Kingdom.

2.  He has spoken against the church of Jesus Christ, whom Jesus Himself said would be forever victorious and even the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The church is triumphant and is the instrument that God uses today to carry out His perfect will. Yes, many individual, local churches are a mess.

3.  He has allegorized scripture rather than utilizing proper rules of hermeneutics for interpretation. He has mishandled the most precious word of God. He has failed at the task of interpreting the Scriptures.

4.  He has twisted various scriptures to say what he wants it to say in order to prove his point. He has read into Scripture rather than allowing it to speak clearly.

One final thought. How do you know I am not the false teacher and Harold Camping is correct? I will be here, Lord willing, (I could die at any moment) on the 22nd to share the good news of the gospel with anyone who would love to visit with me.


Patience said...

Well said, brother!

The points you made should be remembered by each person frequently.

I must admit I feel rather convicted about point 5. I do tend to use God's sovereignty as a bit of an excuse not to be more bold. Perhaps I should reverse it and think of it as somewhat of a comfort. God's sovereignty should be enough to give me courage to spread the Gospel message.

Cathy M. said...

Great post! May all false teachers be so clearly exposed. May Christians be so firmly established in the Word and in good churches that they aren't distracted by such vain fellows.

Michael Wright said...

Amen, we would do well to keep those points in mind. I need to, at least. I liked point 4, mainly because I've seen that happen so many times, watching people twist the Scripture so terribly...ugh, it's terrible. As for point 5, I was raised in a "soul-winnin'" Baptist atmosphere, and I can say that when you realize God's sovereignty, it only adds to that fire for witnessing. It's a whole lot stronger than the other stuff, lemme tell you.

Well said, keep on going.

Michael Wright said...

Let me just clarify, I'm not anti-baptist at all, I still go to a Baptist church, I am just anti-easy-believist. (1-2-3 repeat after me, sinner's [devil's] prayers, etc.). Spurgeon was a Reformed soul-winner, we can use that as an example.

Michelle said...

Great post...and I've already decided the world can't end...we're having a community yard sale this weekend. :)

IanH said...

It sounds like he has a lot to be held accountable for!

RonJoeWhite said...

My heart goes out to all the people that work within the Family Radio organization who have been deceived by their CEO.

Most of Family Radio has good programing except for HC. Once he is gone maybe God will give FR another chance? I hope so.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Some good points to tkae in and remember,


the Ink Slinger said...

Tell it like it is, brother! :)

Penned Pebbles said...

I Corinthians 11:19 is most amazing and very personal. It has helped me a lot. Blessings!

Persis said...

Excellent points, Gregg.

Rhomphaia (Sword) said...

Thank U brother Gregg for the post.
You are right- NAME THEM.

Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Now- we'll be blamed for causing the divisions- because we'll be 'stirring the waters'.... but it is these false teachers who are causing the REAL divisions by teaching things contrary to the Word of God.

Anonymous said...

I gave you a link because this is an excellent article.

And now for something a little different: A Facebook prank. But people have to hurry, it's only good for a few hours today.

When it's 6 PM in your area (after all, God observes human time zones and the rapture is based on them), deactivate your account and pretend all the Christians are gone.

Less pranky: After that, use it for a teaching lesson on "What if it did happen? Are you ready to face judgement?"

Sharon said...

Excellent post, Gregg. Your points are so important! Thanks for addressing this on your blog.