“On May 21st 2011 we didn’t feel any difference… we didn’t see any difference in the world, but we know from the bible that God brought judgment day to bear on the whole world… the whole world is under judgment day. And it will continue up until October 21 2011 and at that time the whole world will be destroyed. God had not opened our eyes yet to the fact that May 21 was a spiritual coming, as we had thought it was a physical coming, but He has come, he has come in the sense that He now has the world under judgment… if people want me to apologize I can apologize yes, I did not have all of that worked out as exactly as a should have... or wish I could have had it…uh... that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not a genius, and I pray all the time for wisdom and when I make an error I admit, I say “yes, I was wrong”… I can’t be responsibility of anybody’s life, I’m only teaching the bible. I’m not teaching what I believe or that I’m the authority, but that this is what the bible says. I don’t have spiritual rule over anybody, except my wife.”OK, so he is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. And is the whole situation deliciously funny? Yes, Hilarious. He is a false prophet and deserves ridicule. But that is not what I want to focus on. I am a very sarcastic person and that is a fault of mine. I eat this kind of thing up because I get to point out someone’s failures which I tell myself I am far from following them into. Of course I have my own problems that I sweep under the rug amongst all my pointing, hooting, and mocking. Mote and beam, you know the drill. So I don’t wish to rub Harold Camping’s nose in his foul hairball he has hacked onto Christianity’s carpet. Anyway, it should be obvious to us all that he is a complete looney. Right? Hmm… But WHY is he a looney? What is at the root? Evangelicals need to ask themselves what is different about Camping’s method of bible interpretation and theirs? I want to argue that no matter which version of sola Scriptura (bible alone) Protestants take, they are solidly in Camping’s “camp” when it comes to method. Coming to a different conclusion does not mean other Protestants are off the hook. You can say all day that you would never predict the rapture day because Jesus says in Matt. 24:36 that we can’t know. And hey YOUR RIGHT! But I want to clue you into the fact that even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. Even Hitler loved his dog. Pretending the bible is all as easy as interpreting Matt. 24:36 is just silly and sad. Yet that is exactly what Protestants think about their interpretive abilities. Reformed Christians generally don’t even believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, so they like to think they are really far from the likes of Camping. But strangely, when they describe their method of interpretation, it will match Camping 100% Here is what I mean. Take a look at the quote I transcribed. This is what Camping says:
“I’m only teaching the bible. I’m not teaching what I believe or that I’m the authority, but that this is what the bible says.”This is EXACTLY what any Protestant would say! “BUT,” says Joe Protestant, “Camping is not teaching what the bible really says! He is taking things out of context and making things fit his preconceived view of things! So there!” Of course, I respond Camping would say and believe the same about you! Because the fact remains that he is using the exact same method you are. Cases like his false prophecy are really easy for you to point at and say he got it wrong, but we all know that there is more to bible interpretation than sensational false prophesies. In the everyday world of the average Christian, there are DOZENS of important doctrinal and dogmatic issues that cannot be pointed at with the same confident finger. What about baptism? Is it a sacrament or an ordinance? Does it regenerate or just symbolize? Is it for or infants or adults? And this is merely ONE important issue that Protestants disagree among themselves about “what the bible says”. And you all use the same logic as Camping; that you are just going by “what the bible says”. And sadly, from personal experience I believe you. I don’t believe you set out to deceive yourselves or anyone else, you just want the truth, and you believe your interpretation is true. You want to submit to what you see as an authority outside yourself (the bible) but what you end up with is some man’s opinion of what the bible says (maybe yours, maybe someone else’s, maybe right maybe wrong). To the Protestant skeptic, I offer proof of this fact: Heretic Test. To prove to yourself your method of discovering truth from the bible is no different than Harold Camping’s method; ask yourself the question “How would my current situation look different if my interpretation were wrong?” That is to say, assuming your current reading of scripture on (doctrine X) is correct, what would be different in your approach/interpretation in a situation where you fell into error? If there is no difference in what you would say or feel between these two situations, then what makes you so sure you are not in grave error? Remember we are talking about method not result. Again, let’s assume for sake of argument one of the following propositions: A. You have properly interpreted the bible and understand what God is saying in His word about doctrine X. B. You have completely misinterpreted the bible and have an incorrect interpretation of doctrine X. Now let’s ask our question. If your current situation is A, what would be different about how you would describe your situation from within situation B? What would you say differently? If you believe you are in situation A at this moment (pick a doctrine), what would you say right now about your own situation that Harold Camping would not say about his situation? (queue Jeopardy music...) Answer? The fact is you would say nothing substantially different from him. You would say you have taken the bible at it’s word, that you have studied hard and asked the Spirit for help, that you had prayed for wisdom, and had gleaned the truth from the bible. In short, you would say you are following the bible. Harold Camping would say the exact same as you. So I ask you, how are you any different from him in this respect? If you can’t point to a difference, then there is none my friend! Tu quoque? As a Catholic, I do not fall into this trap with you. When I look at situation A above, I am using the Magisterium (teaching office) of the Church as a guide. So when I ask the question “what would be different?” my answer is that my doctrine would have to change from that of the Magisterium. For instance, a Catholic CANNOT hold to premillenialism and the usual “rapture” theology it entails. That is specifically forbiden for Catholics to hold that view. So if I were to start believing that tomorrow, I would immediately find a big change in my method. I will find that I no longer am in agreement with the Church on this matter and have either ignored or disobeyed the Magisterium of the Church. The Magisterium of the Church. Bishops of the world gathered at the Second Vatican council. I can then either return to orthodox belief or remain in my heresy, but either way, there is quite a difference in my situation, and I (unlike you) can describe it to you in detail. The Protestant (you) has no such difference. Each doctrinal position he takes will be for the same reasons as the gravest heretic, and both roads are paved with the best of motives and most inocent intentions. The Protestant looks over and sees the heretic saying he believes the bible, the protestant believes the same, and would say the same. The Protestant looks over and sees the heretic claiming the bible as his highest authority (and truly believing so) and the Protestant would say THE EXACT SAME THING ABOUT HIS OWN SITUATION. If you behave like a heretic, talk like one, and can’t tell the difference between yourself and a heretic… then you are a heretic! So Protestants, I suggest you not be so quick to laugh at Harold Camping. You are standing shoulder to shoulder with him under the banner of sola Scriptura, using the EXACT same arguments he does and saying the EXACT same things about scripture he does, so the conclusion is inevitable: you are objectively a heretic just like he is. You fool! Cower in shame before the bishops of the Church Christ founded and repent of your arrogation of authority. There is ONE faith, and ONE, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Crawl back to Christ on your hands and knees and beg his priests for absolution for your schism. Kyrie Eleison!