Well, obviously, there is the whole I-know-more-than-Jesus-thing going on, so he crossed into heretic land pretty early. But just in case you needed additional encouragement to believe that Harold Camping is a cult leader and far removed from orthodox Christianity, there are rather big issues that I haven’t seen anyone else touch on in his theology that tells us that he might as well be wearing a trucker hat reading “I’m a heretic: Ignore me.”
|If Camping’s not off the rails, I don’t want to know where his train leads.
Photo from RGBStock.com by John Nyberg
Camping has, at the very least, three additional doctrines that should cause all Christians to reject his teaching and see him as a heretic, a dangerous heretic with influence and dozens of radio stations, but a heretic nonetheless.
1. Teachings on the church: We are no longer in the “church age,” according to Camping. Once he was removed from his teaching position in a church in the late 1980’s, after it came to light that he was beginning to teach heretical things (shocking I know), he declared that Scripture suddenly taught the church age was over. Now, believers should listen to his radio station and join with other individual Christians who listen to his radio station, so you can get together and listen to his radio station. Somehow it ends up being all about him, doesn’t it?
Why is this heresy? While Camping teaches Christians should stop meeting together as the church now that we are approaching the rapture, Scripture teaches the exact opposite. Hebrews 10:23-25 reminds believers to continue gathering together, especially as we draw ever closer to the eventual, real return of Jesus.
2. Doctrine of salvation: I did not know this until recently, but many of Camping’s own workers do not believe his predictions, upwards of 80%. He refers to them as non-believers and says that they, along with everyone else left behind who does not share his belief about the rapture date, will suffer God’s judgement.
Why is this heresy? Because there is no place in Scripture that could even remotely argue that someone must hold to a specific eschatology, beliefs about the last days, in order to be a Christian and be saved. In fact, numerous letters in the New Testament were written to churches who had wrong beliefs and worries about Jesus’ return.
Some thought that the dead would miss out. Others were worried Jesus had already came and they had missed it. These were churches with people who were following Christ. They simply had wrong beliefs that needed to be corrected, but those beliefs did not mean they were not saved.
3. Beliefs about Jesus’ death: In your mind, picture the most rabidly obsessed Calvinist you know. Not the normal average Reformed guy, who loves Jesus and feels convinced of the TULIP. No, the crazy one that talks more about Calvin than Christ. Yeah, Harold Camping’s harsh theology is crazy Calvinist guy multiplied by 7,000 (one of Camping’s favorite numbers).
For Camping, Jesus’ death was just a demonstration of what had already happened from the foundation of the world. God had already elected the saved from the beginning and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was basically a PowerPoint just so we could see what God had already done.
Why is this heresy? Do I even have to explain this one? Seriously, just read Romans. Yes, the whole book. If you really want to narrow it down, you can look at Romans 5-6.
Christians should make it clear that Harold Camping is not crazy or a cult leader because He believes in the rapture, the return of Christ on the eventual end of the world. Those are all orthodox, historical Christian teachings. The specifics of each one have been and are debated, but that’s OK, too.
Harold Camping is a crazy, cult leader because he believes he knows things that Jesus said man would never know and because he teaches multiple things that are in direct contradiction to the Bible. He can be crazy, cult leader, but he can’t be one and call himself a Bible-believing Christian. That label was raptured away from him a long time ago.