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Harold Camping: Family Radio

I have spent some time in New Jersey recently on business, and ended up listening to local radio as I always do. I’m fascinated by the American Christian media matrix generally and I’m always grateful for a chance to dip into the local media landscape outside my home turf here in the Southwest. Sometimes my rental car comes equipped with a satellite radio receiver, and I’ll dip into the religious programming on SIRIUS/XM. There’s FamilyNet [link], which is typically as bland and corporate as can be; it’s sort of the Wal-Mart of evangelical radio. There are two Roman Catholic channels: The Catholic Channel and EWTN. And there’s occasional programming with religious discussion on OutQ Gay Radio, POTUS Politics, and SIRIUS Patriot, but it is rarely worth chasing, and it’s more about “what does group X mean for public policy?” anyway.

Sometimes however my rental car doesn’t have satellite radio and once I’m more than ten miles from Newark-Liberty International Airport the media landscape thins out a bit and I can pick out WFME 94.7FM Newark, a Family Radio station [link]. This is the New York City market station for Harold Camping’s Family Radio.

Harold Camping has recently gotten a lot of attention online and elsewhere for having called a date for the Rapture [link] in 2011; I believe he has also called a date for the end of the world in 2012.

The programming on WFME is an interesting mix; without its focus on 2011 it might have come right out of the 1950s. The music is very conservative, mostly settings of Scripture passages with piano and organ accompaniment; conservative refugees from the worship wars might find it refreshing. There’s traffic and weather in the morning, and in the evening there’s Open Forum, where Camping himself takes questions from listeners, mostly in written form, and on most topics Camping’s responses are a bit authoritarian but otherwise conservative and orthodox. He tends to take a very literal approach to Scripture and presents fairly linear arguments sprinkled with appeals to authority, as one might expect from someone with a background in the Christian Reformed Church [link], a Dutch Reformed offshoot, and a degree in engineering.

His otherwise linear, fairly modern approach to Scripture makes his Rapture call, based on his own numerological calculation [link] surprising.

As a modern Christian, with as I’ve noted elsewhere, a foot in the premodern world and a foot in the modern world, I’m put off by allegorical teaching (e.g. taking as the basis for a sermon the idea that Noah’s dove is a representation of the Holy Spirit) and numerology. I realize, though, that many other orthodox believers throughout Church history have found it helpful, etc. so I tend to leave it alone unless and until other believers attempt to make it definitive and normative. In other words, I’m inclined to say Camping’s entitled to his own opinion until he starts declaring those of us who disagree with him apostate.

Which is pretty much what he’s done. I happened to catch an 11PM show earlier this week where another voice (not Camping; I have no idea who) was dealing with the objection that “no man knows the day or the hour” of the Rapture. He also gave a date for the end of the Church Age (coincidentally it was in 1988, the same year Camping left the CRCNA) and said that everyone who is affiliated with a local church when the Rapture comes will be left behind. In other words, now that the Church Age has ended anyone who is still in church is apostate.

I suppose that would be an explanation for why it’s so difficult to find a good church these days. I doubt he’s right, though.


  1. Donn
    November 3, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Camping did this, predicting a date, in the mid-1990’s I believe as well. Why he still has anyone listening to him is beyond me. Shame on him, of course, but shame on others who buy what he’s selling.

  2. Vivi
    November 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I have been trying and trying to get someone who has heard of Camping, to give me their unbiased view point of 2 Thess. 2:1-12.

    I have listened to Camping before, and I don’t know whether his 2011 teachings are on point or not, but whenever I ask people about 2 Thess 2,(and I have asked a lot of pp.), there is usually a rant againt Camping as being a false teacher, and hardly a scant comment about the Thess. scripture.

    Because I worry about camping being a false teacher myself, I have step away from listenting to his connect-the-scriptures diagram that he says proves 2011. I found myself looking at his view of the material verses allowing the spirit to open my own understanding.

    Stepping away from Camping has caused me to be much more purposeful in studying God’s word myself. As a result, I find 2 Thess. 2:1-12 VERY interesting. These 12 verses itemize step-by-step what happens right before Christ returns. It talks about a general apostasy, and it talks about the man of sin taking his seat in the temple. Does anyone see this???

    I don’t know if Camping is right or not. To me, it doesn’t matter as much whether the date is 2011 or 20011, the key thing I got from all of my study of scripture is that per 2 Thess. 2, right before Christ returns, Christ will take himself out of his house and let Satan rule there as a precursor to the retur of Christ.

    These scritpure state this activity as all a part of the big master plan that is supposed to play out — just like Christ coming to the Jews and they did not believe his to be God’s son was a big part of the master plan, as a mechanism for the Gospel to be broaden from just the jewish world to the entire world.

    If you read 2 Thess 2:1-12 and you take a pen and paper, and ask and answer these questions:

    1 – What “TIME” do these scriptures say all of this will take place?
    2 – list step-by-step what these verses say take place during this period
    3 – Read VERY CAREFULLY the verses that talk about the “son of perdition”, what the son of perdition, wants, what the son of perdition, does, and WHY the son of perdition does what he does.
    4 – KEY!!!! Who allows this to take place?
    5 – How does all of this come about?

    If you carefully read these verses and ask and answer these questions, it won’t matter so much whether 2011 is the end or not. What will matter is you will have an understanding of a critical step that takes place with God’s people right before Christ returns. Then the question becomes, not is it 2011, but, has this taken place now?

    Special Note: Paul instructions to the Thessalonians implies they will know when these items occur, so I do not think this is a cloaked series of occurences. Paul tells the Thessalonians this info as a means to give them the data they would see and thereby know the time was near.

    Would anyone or all please read these scriptures and give me your insight as to what they say to you?

    Lastly, I am not a camping follower, please don’t approach with a “shoot it down” tactic just because his name is mentioned here. Could you Please just read the verses and tell me what you think?


  3. Keith Reyes
    November 30, 2010 at 1:41 am

    I, too have examined these verses numerous times and seen the situation is dire for Christianity, the church and especially non-believers. Camping aside, all believers should be very concerned with the current state of doctrinal purity and faithfulness to God’s Word. Our churches have become man-centered rather than God centered, preaching about how to resolve conflict, balance finances, or preaching a prosperity/health gospel in lieu of teaching about God, His attributes and His glory.

  1. November 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm

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