Harold Camping Dies At Age 92

Image: Harold CampingAccording to a statement released by Family Radio, Harold Camping (1921–2013) has died (HT: Sarah Pulliam Bailey—Her RNS story)

When the internet became available to the public, after connections became fast enough to allow pages to download in less than 30 minutes, (for you young’uns, there was a time when the internet had no pictures or video, just black and white screens and text and before that there was no internet at all—some of us even had modems with no one to whom to connect!) there was a utopian hope that it would lead to a new age of independent, de-centralized truth-telling. That has happened in some measure but what typically happens is that the myth-making happens more quickly than it once did. I don’t know whether it will be so in this case. Harold embarrassed the Christian faith for decades and provided much fodder for late-night comedians, so perhaps not. Late in life he finally did repent of the foolishness of predicting the date of Jesus’ return but the damage had already been done: millions of dollars wasted, churches damaged, and lives ruined.

When I pointed out the truth about Clark Pinnock right after his death, it was called tasteless and I was denounced by some of the nice “Top Men” of the evangelical publishing-industrial complex. In this case, however, lest the myth-making and post-mortem evangelical beatification occur, here is a round-up of HB posts (and podcasts) on Harold Camping:


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  1. Should the major narrative of Camping’s errant ways be the value of Presbyterianism? Let’s re-write his life. First, he aspires to be a minister and properly goes to a reputable seminary. I think there was a nearby seminary called Westminster Seminary. Perhaps in the course of that education he becomes more aware of proper hermeneutics and confessional Reformed Theology. Then he is properly examined about his views within a denomination and thereafter is accountable to them when he strays.

    And then, what if his audience was more attuned to such things? Before going all-in on his message they first inquire into his training and denominational affiliation. Perhaps great error and scandal are averted.

    Chis Gordon blogged this angle a few years back.

    Coincidentally (?) you recently blogged about a “pastor” in Seattle that never went to seminary, never got examined by a denomination and is not much accountable to anyone. And, yes, there are very concerning things about Mark Driscoll’s ministry – beware, pastor-celebrity fans.

    • That is amazing and tragic. I did not know nor even consider how far-reaching Camping’s deadly false teachings could extend.

  2. Dr. Clark, you wrote: “Late in life he finally did repent of the foolishness of predicting the date of Jesus’ return but the damage had already been done: millions of dollars wasted, churches damaged, and lives ruined.”

    You are spot on that the damage has already been done, but can you provide me with documentation that he actually offered a genuine, credible profession of repentance (in the biblical sense of that word), rather than simply a half-hearted “oops” apology? (Of course, Camping’s repentance would be cause for rejoicing, as the repentance of any sinner, no matter how degenerate, is a cause for rejoicing among the angels.)

    If Camping had genuinely manifested true repentance (“repentance unto life”), then it seems to me the fruits of such repentance would have included the following: (1) A public recantation of his false teachings (including his blasphemous attacks against our spiritual mother, the visible church) and an earnest plea for forgiveness from the many whom he misled; (2) A willingness to re-join a faithful expression of the visible church and to quietly, humbly submit to the discipline and instruction of its pastor & elders; (3) A permanent cessation of all his teaching and writing activities (i.e., a willingness to permanently shut up), and either a closing down of or a radical restructuring of Family Radio so as to secure that only sound, orthodox teaching is presented to listeners.

    If the above was not true in the case of Mr. Camping’s alleged “repentance,” then we might call it an “apology” of sorts, but I don’t think we should dignify it by calling such a sham “repentance.” As you know, real repentance (biblical repentance) produces real fruit.

  3. “I believe that he issued a statement. I take your point. His change of mind did not meet those conditions, however.”

    Thanks, Dr. Clark. That was my understanding as well. I don’t mean to come across as nit-picking about this.

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