Tag Archives: Harold Camping

Holy or Hypocrite?

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benched of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it ‘a den or robbers.’” Mark 11:15-17

An influential Atlanta-based bishop recently reached an out of court of settlement with young men accusing him of sexual misconduct. Although unconfirmed, sources claim the settlement to be $15 million. A recent tabloid television investigation reported the opulent lifestyles of several of America’s most popular television evangelists. One allegedly has a fleet of airplanes (in the name of the search) housed at his personal airport (not in the church’s name) built near his estate. When approached and asked why he had the airplanes, he huffily told the investigator, “That’s none of your business!” Then, there is the preacher falsely prophesying the end of the world.

No wonder the masses have such a negative view of Christianity. Thankfully we, the church, cannot be dismayed or led astray. We who study know that Jesus warns us against false prophets and religious leaders. He teaches us that anyone who preaches against His instruction should not be trusted. His Word has held true since the time He walked among us. And they hold true forevermore.

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. The wealthy have the same opportunity for salvation as everyone else. Unfortunately, with the wealthy, money and possessions become their gods. As is human nature, the more you have the more you want. There are not many people who would willingly give up their luxurious lifestyles to follow the Lord, illustrated in Matthew 19 when a wealthy young man asked Jesus what good thing he needed to do to get eternal life. When Jesus instructed him to sell his possessions and follow Him, the young man was greatly troubled, prompting this response:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

This passage does not mean everyone should sell his or her possessions. We have responsibilities and families to support. However, we should be willing to give up everything for God. There should be nothing separating us from Him, including money. It is impossible to serve two gods.

While I will never doubt the sincerity of anyone’s love for God, I am disappointed in the reported actions of the aforementioned and countless other preachers, pastors and evangelists. Let’s rededicate ourselves to the teachings of Jesus. Let’s meditate on His Word. Let’s be true Christians and not bow down to worldly gods.

Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

With respect to the Johnny Lee classic (from which the title of this post is culled), life is not easy. For as many people who have contentment, happiness and assurance, there are those who are lonely and have a very real fear of the present and future. There are those who are confused and spin their wheels searching for love, a higher enlightenment or just an escape from their lives. These people are often “ripe for the picking”, their desires for something – anything -better than their present situations cause them to follow and place their trusts in the wrong people and possessions.

People can be fallible. Possessions rust and can be stolen. These are things I’ve learned along the way to becoming middle-aged. Below are three more:

1. Just Because A Person Is Old, Doesn’t Mean He Or She Is Wise. Age has nothing to do with wisdom. There are older people who have experienced much but have learned little. I have an older friend whose conversation is the same as mine. By that, I mean she has the same wants, desires and concerns as me. If one listened to a conversation, one would not be able to determine who was the older, more experienced friend. That doesn’t make her a bad person. However, she may not be the one to turn to for wise counsel.

2. If It Walks Like A Duck…. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have denied a person’s faults because I didn’t want to acknowledge who and what that person really was. I also can’t begin to tell you how many times I have turned a blind eye to a situation because I didn’t want it to be true. In both instances, I was the only one who ended up hurt and disappointed. Note: Denying a fault is not the same as overlooking a fault. When you overlook, you are fully aware of the fault, you choose to not notice. With denying, you refuse its existence. Choosing to overlook is your prerogative; denying means you are lying to yourself. Never, ever lie to yourself.

3. Just Because It Is Said With Authority Doesn’t Make It True. One of the first lessons I was taught during my career in customer service was to never stammer or sound unsure when delivering information to a caller. Why? Because sounding unsure of yourself makes the caller doubt what you are telling them. If you have ever had the experience of speaking with a customer service representative in any capacity, then you’ve probably had the experience of being told something that you later learned wasn’t completely accurate. Customer service representatives don’t set out to deliver incorrect information. It can be challenging working with the public and the sheer volume of calls the average center receives can be daunting. In their efforts to maintain the metrics given to them by management, some representatives may provide an answer that was not fully researched or authorized my management. That doesn’t make it right, but it happens. It also happens in your interaction with others – friends, pastors, etc. Always take the time research for yourself any claim or fact you hear.

If you have made it this far in the post, then you may be wondering the inspiration for this soapbox discourse. If you guessed Harold Camping, you are correct. It now seems that since his May 21, 2011 prediction failed, he is now stating, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the apocalypse will occur October 21, 2011. Most of us have discredited this man’s apocalyptic predictions, but he still has a faithful core of followers. I’m sure that as October 21 approaches, there will be yet another storm of media coverage. While these predictions may have directed more people to reading the Bible, they are also leading those who don’t understand what they are reading to worry unnecessarily. Even worse, these predictions are leading some to mock Christianity. Both can lead to dire consequences.

Don’t be led astray. This includes pastors, friends and other trusted individuals. Stay alert to keep disappointment at bay.

Apocalypse Now?

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:4-8, NIV).

If you are reading this then you already know the world did not come to an end on May 21, 2011. In his zeal for Christ, California preacher Harold Camping, the president of the multi-million dollar non-profit broadcasting network and website Family Radio, slipped into leaning towards his own understanding. This tends to happen to those who amass great fortunes and adulation. No doubt, the praise he receives from his fans and followers moved him to sincerely want to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible outside of Christ’s teachings. In doing so, he and many, many other End of Days prophets have discredited the words of Christ and therefore God: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36, NIV). These words, as in everything Jesus taught, should be engraved in our hearts and believed unconditionally. Also, these words alone should be enough to prevent Christians from taxing their energies on predicting the end of the world and instead push us to dedicating ourselves to the tasks with which we are charged: Spreading the Good News across the world and tending the vineyard, i.e. guiding, teaching and loving believers and non-believers alike in hopes of bringing them closer to God.

For Camping’s followers: While it is good to respect and honor our pastors and preachers, remember we should never follow men, only God. As Jesus instructed the religious leaders, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’ for you have one Father, and He is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher, for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12). Don’t let today’s non-event harden your hearts towards Christianity or Christian leadership. Christian leaders hold a great responsibility to accurately and honestly relay the Word, but we, as Christians, also have the responsibility of studying the Word for ourselves. When we do, we are not easily swayed or led astray.

For as much as we should be skeptical of Camping’s Doomsday predictions, the mocking and indifference being shown by the vast majority is troubling. Christ will return and “at that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all nations of earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather His elect from the winds, from one end of heavens to the other….Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come . But do understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you must also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Matthew 24:30-31, 42-44, NIV).

While it is of this world to ridicule those who truly believed Camping’s prediction of the End, he and his followers need our compassion and guidance. Discipline, if any, will come from God.