3 Things We Can Learn from Harold Camping

Posted: October 28, 2011 in current events, eschatalogy, false teaching, history

Mere Orthodoxy:

#1. Knowing church history can save you time, money, and pain. 

G.K. Chesterton succinctly said that Christian orthodoxy was ‘practical as potatoes.’  Traditional Christianity is a wealth of wisdom, not only the timeless doctrines, but the timeline of experiences.

It’s just plain helpful to know what the church has done in the (distant and recent) past.

Even if tradition is not always right, it can help us intelligently set our bets for good odds. Evangelical Christians are rightly wary of Tradition with a capital “T”, lest it dare to usurp God’s Word. But all Christians can and should be nourished by church history, just as they learn last week’s news, or the history of the United States, or of Europe, Rome, Greece, and the world…

#2. Even if some man knows the day or hour Christ will return, I personally (probably) don’t. 

The second lesson we can learn from the Camping situation is not to be too sure, lest our surety leave us under-prepared for the second coming.

The traditional view about the second coming (to say nothing about pre-trib, post-trib, etc.) is that Jesus’ return will be unmistakable. Now, the first coming was not very obvious. After all, it took some of his disciples months to recognize that he was the Christ. So I wonder whether I can be absolutely certain whether the second coming will be frighteningly, startling, undeniably easy to recognize. I’d like to play it safe and remind myself that “many will be deceived” so I can be on my best guard…

#3. Be prepared!

Without personally knowing the hour, without being ignorant of church history, the only conclusion is this: I must be prepared daily. That’s the beginning and end of this Harold Camping madness. The next date will and there will be another swell of emotion, fear, laughter, hope, anger, cynicism, and many dollars spent–or maybe Jesus will return tonight.

James reminds us not to say ““If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” To do otherwise is to “boast in arrogance” (James 4). So Camping’s next day may not arrive. Either way, Maranatha!


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