Harold Camping is a sad person we should pity. It’s one thing to be wrong; it is quite another to show arrogance in disavowing the Word of God. In Camping’s situation, he has shown dangerous arrogance in predicting something Jesus clearly said we could never know—the exact day of His return. And the fallout from Camping’s arrogance could be far reaching. The FCC, in its thirst for greater power and control, did not need a new excuse to look at ways to gain more control over a free media. With their call for “diversity boards’, localization legislation and the so called Fairness Doctrine, the FCC has been knocking at the door the past decade looking for an excuse to exercise greater control of media. And Camping just might have given them the excuse they wanted. Look for calls from the FCC and Congress to investigate Camping, charging that he violated the public’s trust.
You know, there is a strange irony in the Federal Government accusing anyone of misusing the public trust–the same Federal Government that has us almost 15 trillion dollars in debt. Camping’s arrogance and carelessness might indeed usher in new FCC controls that could have negative impacts on religious radio and media as a whole. But I see nothing that would indicate that Camping did anything illegal—unless stupidity and arrogance have now become federal offenses. Harold Camping is a very sad, prideful man. He claims to be a Christian teacher, yet he clearly predicted something that no Christian has the right to predict. And the people who gave all their money to support him have only themselves to blame. But that is not how things work in America these days. If someone is harmed, even through their own bad decisions, someone else must be at fault. So, look for lawsuits to be filed; Congress to investigate; and the FCC to offer to jump in and protect the public’s interest.
But the real damage done by Harold Camping is this: There are millions of lost people in the world who need the hope of Jesus Christ. And one day Jesus will return to judge and condemn the wicked. Camping and others who act in arrogance make the task of reaching the lost a little more difficult. But even in this, there could be a Romans 8:28 moment. Perhaps one of the reasons we have been ineffective in reaching the lost is we rely on our own skills and talents, instead of totally relying on the Holy Spirit to lead us and speak through us. Perhaps there is a little Harold Camping in each of us—trying to do something only God can do. I don’t know the exact date when Jesus will return. But Jesus did say we could know the season if we stayed in God’s Word and observed the times. Well, I truly believe we are in the season of time when Jesus could return any day—and there are neighbors, family and friends who do not know him. The harvest is great, but the workers are few. It’s time for us as disciples of Jesus Christ to get serious about the Great Commission. Pray for the wisdom, power and discernment of God’s Holy Spirit so we might become effective witnesses for Jesus. He is returning—maybe very soon—and it is our duty as His disciples to share His message of salvation with the world that hates Him and us more with each passing day.