Let Us Not Have Another Harold

We are living in a time when the consciousness of the end of the world not only grips the community of faith, but also the world at large. Political and economic chaos characterize our news reports, and the recent applications made in comparing Russia and China to Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog have again raised fears that these events are indicators that mark the end of the world.

Wild eschatological interpretations and predictions of Christ’s return have always been a problem since Christ’s first coming, and I fully expect another great prediction of the end of the world will soon be upon us to the disillusionment of many. We seem ripe for another big prediction.

With these things in mind, I provide a brief history of the rise and fall of Harold Camping with the goal that the church would not get caught up in our turbulent times with predictions of Christ’s return and irresponsible eschatologies that have the consequence of taking believers away from their purpose on this earth. As Jesus said, “No man knows the day nor the hour.”

The present generation always needs a fresh reminder, in the face of eschatological confusion, of the mission to which we have been called, namely, “that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness,” and then, at a time only known by the Lord, “the end will come.” Hopefully, knowing the history of Harold Camping will keep us from the doom of repeating this sad error.

The Rise and Fall of Harold Camping

Harold Egbert Camping was born July 19, 1921 in Boulder, CO. His family later relocated to the Bay Area in California and became members of the Alameda Bible Fellowship (CRC). After World War II, Camping founded his own construction company, later to sell the company and join in a collaborative effort to purchase Family Stations, Inc.—a California religious based broadcasting network. Following a series of business deals and a mounting multi-million dollar surplus, Camping was able to expand Family Radio throughout the United States, also buying time on foreign stations around the world, translating his teaching into over thirty foreign languages.

In 1961 Camping started the Open Forum, a weeknight call-in program devoted to answering questions about the Bible. Camping soon gained a Reformed voice over radio that was widely influential in the Christian world. Reformed believers, excited that the doctrines of grace and hymns could actually be heard on a radio station, sent in thousands of dollars to support the efforts of Camping. Many people who had never heard of Calvinism and the Reformed doctrines were brought to faith in Christ through the teachings of Family Radio. Read more»

Chris Gordon | “The Forgotten Story Of Harold Camping” | April 5, 2022


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One comment

  1. As of late I have been studying 1 Corinthians, and have been arrested at Paul’s remarks in
    Chapter 4: “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light things now hidden in the darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”

    Perhaps because of their preoccupation with “glory”, this church seems to have convinced itself that “glory” is not only attainable in this present age, but that it is justified to demand the removal of any element that would seem to negate this thesis. Hence the ill-treatment of Paul, whose scorecard wasn’t very impressive.

    I think we witness this demand in our culture with the onset of “cancel culture”, shaming, and demands for re-education sessions. The cry is “Justice NOW. Change NOW. Condemn NOW. With the widespread influence of Critical Theory, this is a quasi-religious narrative.

    But I don’t think we’re as quick to recognize the Red Guard when they’re dressed and carrying a Bible like us. But the voices are paired with those of the culture. “You need to repent NOW! You need to change NOW. We need a better pastor NOW. We should inaugurate the future NOW. We can read the divine tea leaves NOW.” And so on. The irony of all this is that a church, or its pastor, or its board is usurping the kingship of Jesus, and utterly blind to it.

    Way more than my two cents, I know! Feel free to take it FWIW. Cheers!

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