A few days ago Dr. White mentioned some NPR broadcasts commenting on Harold Camping. These brief clips can be found here:
Is The End Nigh? We’ll Know Soon Enough
Divining Doomsday: An Old Practice With New Tricks
I’ve been following the Harold Camping situation closely. In my area, Family Radio has had a large presence. I can never recall a time when there was no Family Radio. It’s always been there, same spot on the dial, the same music, the same Mr. Camping. Over the years I’d tune into to Open Forum from time to time. No matter where my theology was at, I could never follow his explanations. Then I eventually embraced Reformed theology. Listening to Mr. Camping then became a bit more interesting because I was told he was a Calvinist. I’d listen in with different ears. Sure, he’d say some Reformed-type of things, but the hermeneutic was… wacky. If Camping was Reformed, it certainly sounded a lot different than R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur.
So here I am now, listening almost exclusively to Family Radio. We all know the hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel. A few weeks back I heard Family Radio play a version with different lyrics about judgment day. The familiar chorus has been altered in this way: “Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel” is now: “May twenty, first, two thousand eleven.” Here is the mp3: O Come May 21. It’s an unbelievable irony when I stop and think about it. I’m willfully suffering through some of the same music and excessive broadcasts of Harold Camping. Since I’m not certain if Family Radio will continue after this week, the thought of not having Family Radio has produced a slightly melancholic feeling. It’s kind of like a store that’s always been on the highway, and then one day it’s gone. It’s not like you cared for the store, but it’s something you’ve always known. Those of you who’ve moved away from your hometown know what I mean. When you come back, you see the passage of time by what isn’t there.
That Family Radio may disappear off the dial is also a blessing. When I think of all the lives Camping has ruined, I’m disheartened. The Reformed community should have tried to pull his plug years ago. But since he often put forth conservative old fashioned religion, many of the Reformed tolerated him. Even churches that I love and respect tolerated Camping and broadcasted their church services on Family Radio. His hermeneutic alone should have provoked Reformed congregations to not associate with him. But, Camping was “conservative” and conservative people sometimes embrace being conservative more than they do proper Biblical hermeneutics. For some, it was more important that Camping spoke against divorce, homosexuality, and worldliness. How does he interpret the Bible? Who cares? This sort of free pass from serious Reformed people always bothered me. Now we’re seeing what happens when the importance of correct exegesis is ignored.