>If you are reading this, we missed the Rapture

Posted: 21/05/2011 in eschatology, Harold Camping, May 21st prediction


If you are reading this, we all missed the rapture. Harold Camping and the true followers of Christ have ascended to heaven to meet the Lord in air, we are instead here mired in tribulation at missing their warnings. Woe to us, especially the Christians who attend Evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic or any other Church! We are all apostates!!

Unless of course it didn’t happen. Which, as I type this Friday night, am absolutely sure it did not.


Here is something that you may have heard already. First, let’s talk about Harold Camping and his radio show. For one, this is not the first time that he has predicted the end of the world. He did it once in 1994. After a failure like that, one should probably repent, turn off the microphone, and do a little soul-searching before speaking in public again. Instead he revised his predictions. Now, he is on record now for declaring Christianity -those who belong to the church- as apostate and his show alone the voice of salvation in the world. Incidentally, he is also on record for explicitly denying the Trinity in favor of modalism. What’s that? Well, according to Camping, Jesus is not co-eternal with the God-the-Father, but is simply another form of God-the-Father. This is like ice melting into water. That is not the Trinity, and Camping knows this.

In this blog, you are about to read something I have never posted. It is something that I do not like dishing out because it so inflammatory. Yet, it ought to be said here. Please understand, this not hyperbole. I mean exactly what it reads when I say Harold Camping is a damn heretic.

(bring out the comfy chair!!)

So what of his followers? I am sure that after quitting their jobs, abandoning responsibilities, and now looking like fools, they will probably be so mad that they’ll not only abandon Family Radio, but also burn Harold Camping in effigy. Actually, that’s probably not going to happen either, and here’s a historical precedent why.

In the book Influence Robert Cialdini related the story of a few end-times cults in the American mid 19th century. Let’s play “guess who”: A prophet made a prediction of a date and time. The prophet gathered followers who sold their land and abandoned their livelihoods. The day passed and nothing happened. The prophet revised the date. The followers did not dissipate, but instead their numbers grew. This process happened at least one more time. You know this group today as the Seventh Day Adventists.

If you are like many people, you either scratching your head or screaming “what the fuck?!” right now. Yet from that book, we see that this is an example of psychological consistency and social proof. As soon as someone makes a verbal or written commitment to something, they are likely to stick with in even when that commitment is shown to be completely misguided. It is the same tendency that keeps women in abusive relationships. It was also used by Chinese captors to brainwash POWs of the Korean War. Social Proof augments this. As long the entire group keeps saying the same mantra -especially if they are led by a charismatic leader- everyone will believe that the continued behavior is right and nothing is going wrong. How powerful is social proof? Two words: Kool Aid.

So in the case of Camping and his ilk, they are almost certainly going to wash, revise, and repeat. They will likely (and this Christian will add thankfully) further distance themselves other Churches. Why will they do this? Because in order to do otherwise they would have to admit to themselves that they behaved really, really, stupidly.

Now to be clear, Camping is close to Dispensationalism so his views are similar to what many Evangelicals believe. However, Dispensationalism does not deserve to be lumped in with Camping’s little cult. Camping used numerology to come to his conclusion. As far as I know, Dispensationalist do not do this.

Despite that, I am certainly not a Dispensationalist. As far as I am concerned, there is no coming Anti-Christ, Black Helicopters, parenthetical “Church Age”, or world exiting rapture. Yes, Camping is the lunatic fringe of American religiousity. His approach to scripture is an embarrassment and a travesty. Yet, one dispensationalist told me they guess when it comes to interpreting the Bible. Is that any better than numerology?

Regardless, Camping and his ilk are likely marching on and it won’t be long before we hear the prophetic revisions. I wonder if Camping is going to claim direct inspiration from God next time, assuming he hasn’t already. While he does so, I’ll be happy to attend a May 22nd Sunday service. There, with others, we will all contemplate the intrinsic goodness of God’s creation and the saving work of Christ within it. May God’s work continue in the World!

Thanks for reading, comment, and your reposts.

  1. Dan says:

    >I want to thank you for not lumping me in with the Camping camp. This would have been a great opportunity for you to take a cheap shot to my ribs and you didn't. I appreciate that, friend. I'm not sure about the guessing thing either. Too many dispensationalists forget about witnessing in favor of figuring out who the antichrist is. That is also sad. Anyway, good post!

  2. Jin-roh says:

    >Dan, your welcome. I'm glad that I tried to be fair. It is only by the grace of God. Incidentally, I actually need to read something by a popular dispie on dipsie hermentutics sometimes. Maybe it will make good reading on a plane flight back from the ROK. So please, let's discuss sometime. I can't comment much more, as I just got away from a going away party and am just little buzzed right now.Yeah… lutheranism for the win!

  3. Dan says:

    >If you want, I'll email you my paper on the rapture. I'm not famous, but I did research some! Let me know.

  4. Stephanie says:

    >I like you Joel. 🙂

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