When a Fool Meets a Heretic

If you hadn’t heard of him before, you probably have since May 21, 2011 is now behind us. Harold Camping, the self-described Bible scholar and radio station mogul, proclaimed that was the day Christians were out of here (his understanding of “the rapture”—which is an entirely different matter, by the way) and the day the earthquakes would begin. And then, five months later (October 21, 2011), he said the world will end in judgment. How did he come up with all that? I wish I was kidding but here’s his “proof”—it’s actually a math equation:

Believing that 5 in the Bible equals “atonement”; that 10 equals “completeness”; and 17 is the number of “heaven”—his rapture equation was (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500 days. Believing that Jesus went to the cross on April 1, 33AD, he got out his calendar and concluded: “Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story. It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.” After computing his math, the story was supposed to end on the 722,500 day; declaring it to be May 21, 2011. And if none of this makes sense to you—don’t worry about it; because it doesn’t make sense.

But does he deserve the heretic label for that? Doesn’t he deserve a “mulligan”? The problem is that over the years he has said some other things that push him beyond the borders of orthodoxy. He predicted the Lord would return in 1994; he has said that no was “saved” between 1988 through 1994; and that because the Holy Spirit is no longer working in the church, everybody needs to leave it. That’s enough examples. The guy is a heretic.

And lots of fools have had a hey-day with him. I’m using the biblical definition: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). The fools (atheists) really got a chuckle out of all this. A few of them got together and started a business called “Eternal Earth-Bound Pets: The next best thing to pet salvation in a Post Rapture World.” What these guys did was marketed themselves to Camping’s devotees who were worried about leaving Spot and Kitty behind. For $135 (non-refundable), they contracted to take care of your pet “after you’ve received your reward” and made the “step to Jesus.” I don’t know how much money they made, but their website says they are in 26 states and have employed “40 pet rescuers.”

Some more “fools” gathered at Dorky’s Arcade in downtown Tacoma the night of the 21st. A spokesman for the atheist sponsored “Rapture Party” said in the paper: “If it [rapture] occurs, it’s a good thing for us. We get the real estate and cheap cars, and we won’t have to worry about separation of church and state.” He went on to say that if it didn’t happen, “it’s another egg in the face of those who say the end times will come” (The News Tribune, May 21, 2011, p. A18).

Thank you Mr. Camping; though the egg is on your face, the fools think it’s on Jesus’.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
May 26, 2011


  1. The egg is actually on all Christians faces in the atheists eyes. sad really. We have so many who count themselves among the numbered that are wolves in sheep’s clothing and they are all the public sees.
    A good reminder to be a humble, loving, kind and smart servant of the Lord Almighty

  2. Thanks, Rich, for the perspective. I googled Camping and listened to one clip. That was all I could take. It was like listening to “A Beautiful Mind” without the beautiful or the mind. Alternate reality came to my mind. Cultish. That’s what happens when someone goes out on a limb so far that they no longer are connected to the trunk. Thank you for calling it.

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