I remember first hearing Harold Camping back in 1993 when he was routinely interviewed on a local, LA talk radio show. The two guys who did the interviews thought him more of a circus freak rather than a guy with a prophetic message.
At that time, Camping was promoting his 1994? book in which he predicted that Jesus would come back in September of that year. Obviously he was wrong; so he recalculated, began to teach that Jesus was finished with the Church, made himself the “official” radio pastor for his gang of spiritual miscreants who followed him, and then predicted Jesus will return on May 21st, 2011. That’s in a couple of months.
Part of me hopes he’s right, but I doubt it.
All of that to say I was directed to an article providing a little bit of historical background from where Camping came from as a lowly Sunday School teacher to a world renown radio heretic,
The author seems to suggest that Camping’s picking of May for Christ’s Judgment upon the Church and the World had to do with a falling out he had with his home Church that gave him the left boot of disfellowship in May of 1988. It’s an interesting read, to say the least.
I had a bit of a back and forth in the comments with the author, who pastors a Reformed Church in Washington state. I pointed out to him that Camping utilizes the same hermeneutics he does as a Reformed pastor when interpreting biblical prophecy.
The pastor is convinced Camping is promoting nothing more than his brand of Scofieldian Dispensationalism. I mean, certainly no Reformed Covenant Theology loving amillennialist would even think to predict Jesus’s Return. Reformed folks would never make sensationalistic prediction about Jesus returning. That’s a Hal Lindsey sort of thing.
The pastor’s assertion is problematic, because anyone who knows anything about Camping knows he came out of a Reformed background, and is a staunch amillennialist. I can recall him renouncing Dispensationalism when he was interviewed on that LA radio show.
I pointed out to the pastor that if one were to consider Camping’s hermeneutic, it is drawn from the same typological, Reformed Augustinianism that fuels the typical amillennial and postmillennial eschatology. It was certainly evident when Camping debated James White a year or more ago on the Iron Sharpens Iron program.
He claims Camping talks about the rapture, the end of the Church age, and the Great Tribulation, themes he says are only found among Dispensationalists. But just checking my Reformed systematic theologies I have, like Reymond and Berkhof for example, all of them believe in the rapture, the end of the Church age, and the Great Tribulation. They understand these concepts differently in their schemes than what is articulated by Dispensationalists.
Now. Just so I am clear. I am not saying all my Reformed brethren are on the brink everyday of becoming a nut like Camping because of their hermeneutic. I am just saying a heavy emphasis on spiritualizing texts lends itself easily to his way of thinking. And that can be found among Reformed folks just as it is among Dispensationalism.
And, let us remind our Reformed friends of a post I did a number of months ago:
What Dispensationalists Believe.