Tag Archives: 2011

Jumping through Hermeneutical hoops with Harold Camping

“The Bible guarantees it,” is the slogan you see plastered on billboards, signs, cars, tracts, and different kinds of literature. So what exactly does the Bible guarantee? Well, according to Harold Camping’s hermeneutic the Bible teaches that on May 21, 2011 Jesus Christ will return in Judgment ushering in the rapture of all believers and the end of the world.

Upon what basis does Harold Camping support his prophetic claims? Sound exegesis and hermeneutics? Nope, but rather using an allegorical and numerological interpretation of certain biblical texts coupled with his wild-eyed imagination, Mr. Camping is able to come up with his theories. It is a method of interpretation that tends to neglect the original intent of the authors and attempts to find hidden meanings or symbols behind certain words and numbers. This is grounded on the fact that Jesus himself spoke in parables, therefore everything we read in the Bible is to be understood in a parabolic sense. Is this a valid method of interpretation? Did Jesus and the apostles employ this method? Did anyone throughout church history ever use this method?

The problem with Mr. Camping’s hermeneutic is that it ignores the different types of literature that are found in the Bible. Yes, it is true Jesus spoke in parables, but it also true he spoke plainly and direct. Paul likewise spoke in a normal plain sense especially when we read the didactic passages found in his letters. One needs to realize that the Bible is a book filled with different forms of literature such as didactic teachings (teachings that are meant to teach or instruct), parables, poetry, history, apocalyptic, etc. But to single out one form of literature and make that the standard for interpreting every single passage in the Bible is to turn on its head the original meaning of the text that was intended by the original author.

Just to give you an example of Camping’s teachings, he believes that by using his method of interpretation the Bible clearly shows that from the date of the flood in Noah’s day (which nobody knows the exact time and date when it actually occurred) all the way up to May 21, 2011 marks approximately 7000 years. What does 7000 have to do with anything? According to Camping, in Genesis 7:4 we read “For yet seven days, … and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” Camping draws a connection between the seven days mentioned in Genesis 7:4 and Peter’s statement in 2 Peter 3:8, which states “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” So in Genesis 7:4 seven days really means seven thousand years. But upon what exegetical basis can anyone make that parallel? Is that really what Peter meant? I suggest to you that it is not. Just reading the context of 2 Peter you can clearly see that Peter is making the point that Christ can return in any minute in light of the many scoffers who continually make a mockery of the Christian’s belief of the second coming of Jesus Christ. There is nothing in the text or context that allows anyone to make the parallel Camping is making. Moreover, verse 10 says that “the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”, but apparently this thief has already been caught by Harold Camping if we use his hermeneutic.

According to Camping, the church age ceased to exist on May 21, 1988 and the Spirit of God is no longer present in any church today. Therefore, Mr. Camping exhorts all believers to abandon their churches (since there are no more true churches post May 21, 1988) and proclaim the Gospel. Evidently, the Gospel according to Mr. Camping is to tell everyone that Judgment Day is coming May 21, 2011. Was this the same Gospel that Jesus and the Apostles preached?

How does Camping know all of this? Well, it is because Harold Camping is the final authority for anything he claims. His view on the church is clearly in opposition to what the Scriptures actually teach about the nature of the church. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us not to forsake the assembly; Ephesians 5 reveals that Jesus gave Himself up for the Church; Paul instructs Timothy in 1 Timothy on how a local church should function. How do these passages square up with Mr. Camping’s ecclesiology?

Now obviously this is not the first time someone makes outlandish claims such as the ones proposed by Mr. Camping, but how many people actually buy into these claims? Moreover, how many Christian can give an adequate response to these claims? For a more in depth analysis of Mr. Harold Camping and his teaching I have a provided a link that contains an audio debate with Dr. James R. White and Harold Camping that addresses this particular issue. With all that being said, let us remember the words of Jesus, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:36, 42-44)”

Here is the link to the debate between Dr. James R. White and Harold Camping: http://aomin.org/

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Gerard Butler to Play ‘Machine Gun Pastor’ in Film

Gerard Butler, the star from the films 300, Law Abiding Citizen, and Gamer will be starring in the upcoming new film “Machine Gun Preacher.” The film is based on a true story of a preacher who protected children in Sudan named Sam Childers. This is quite the interesting role for Gerard Butler, considering the type of movies he usaully does; let’s be honest, they are far from being Christian despite being good movies. Surprisingly, the cast also includes Eagle Eye star Michelle Monaghan. The Christian Post gives us the details, check it out:

“The Bounty Hunter” star Gerard Butler will play the role of the drug-dealing biker who turns into a gun-toting pastor that defends children in the new film “Machine Gun Preacher.”

Based on the true story of Sam Childers, the movie will capture how he changed from a violent, high school dropout who started using drugs at age 11 to a Christian preacher that protects Sudanese children from the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army.

The film will begin shooting in early July, according to Variety magazine.

Last year, Childers spoke to The Christian Post about his incredible life carrying an AK-47 in rural Sudan and caring for orphans while promoting his book Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.

“I don’t condone violence at all,” Childers responded when The Christian Post asked about his use of heavy firearms. “I don’t believe in violence but at the same time I don’t believe that children should be raped, murdered, or cut up.”

“I look of it as a self-defense and I look at it as I’m helping God’s children,” he explained. “I’m not a person out to murder. It’s not that I like hurting anybody. But at the same time these people need to be stopped.”

The unconventional American pastor has spent most of the past 12 years in Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda building the Angels of East Africa Children’s village and rescuing children from attacks by the LRA.

In the book, he recalls gruesome scenes after LRA raids that included smelling the burning of flesh and saving a woman drenched in her own blood from a breast that was half cut off by a machete. He said the crazed rebel group often even forced victims to engage in acts of cannibalism and children to butcher their mothers.

“I loved fighting then. And I still love fighting now. The difference is today I’m fighting for the children and families God sent me to protect,” Childers wrote in his book.

Childers rededicated his life to Christ at a revival meeting in 1992, a few years after his wife, Lynn, also accepted Christ as her savior. Both Lynn and their daughter, Paige, are involved in the ministry in Sudan.

The film “Machine Gun Preacher” is expected to be released in the fall of 2011, according to Lionsgate entertainment company.

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