Friday, May 13, 2011

Judgment Day

Unless you have recently crawled out of a cave, you know that Mr. Harold Camping has predicted that Judgment Day will occur on May 21, 2011. Mr. Camping leaves no room for doubt. On “Open Forum,” his radio call-in program, he has stated that it is as certain as the virgin birth or the resurrection of Christ. Billboards around the country announce the date and claim “The Bible guarantees it.”

Smarter people than I have written critiques of Camping’s claims and the hermeneutics he uses to arrive at his conclusion. He is extremely harsh towards those who do not hold his views, calling them deceivers and false prophets. On the outside chance he is wrong in his predictions (hear the sarcasm in the voice), will he admit to being a false prophet? That is unlikely, since he has made similar predictions at least twice before. No doubt he will revise his figures and be just as dogmatic about the next date. No matter, you must admire his chutzpah. But when his “judgment day” predictions prove false, what will scoffers think of the Bible since it “guarantees” that it will happen on May 21? No doubt his caricature of truth will be the only one that some people will ever consider.

This is a good time for us to remember Millard Erickson’s counsel to avoid the extremes of “eschatomania” and “eschatophobia.” Erickson coined this phrase in his Introduction to Christian Doctrine. He describes the term like this:
One pastor is reported to have preached on the Book of Revelation every Sunday evening for nineteen years! Sometimes the teaching is augmented by large detailed charts of the last times. Current political and social events, especially those relating to the nation of Israel, are identified with prophecies in Scripture. As a result, some preachers have been caricatured as having the Bible in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other. Hal Lindsay’s Late Great Planet Earth is a noteworthy example of this type of “eschatomania (p. 374).

Eschatophobia is the reaction to the opposite extreme. It is unfortunate that some tend to avoid this truth that Scripture calls “the blessed hope.”

So, as long as people are making money on eschatology, why not me? I am making available “Harold Camping End of the World Tour” T shirts. Let me know if you want one, but get your order in before May 21.

1 comment:

nath99 said...

Did anyone see the picture of the controversial billboard that was recently put up by another spiritual group near Family Radio’s headquarters? It directly challenges them about May 21. Here is a picture of it: