A Mental Exercise for Christians: Was Harold Camping a False Prophet?

Why should we care about the religious broadcaster Harold Camping? Because Jesus advised us at Matthew 7:15, saying: “Be on the watch for the false prophets.” 

Harold Camping gives us a good test case of one who not only didn’t qualify as a ‘faithful and discreet slave’, but one who was in essence, a false prophet. By performing this exercise in regard Camping, we can safely examine what it means to be a false prophet without the blindspots we might have toward any group we might happen to be affiliated with. By going through this exercise, we will be more equipped to spot false prophets,

But was Harold Camping a false prophet?

The May 1, 2014 Watchtower says, “RELIGIOUS LEADERS sometimes predict tragic worldwide events to warn mankind and gather followers. Doomsday prophet Harold Camping and his disciples widely advertised that the earth would be destroyed in 2011. Needless to say, the world is still here.” 

This article further says, “Human predictions are often based on such factors as scientific research, analysis of available facts and trends, or even bogus spiritual insight.”

Therefore, Harold Camping was indeed a false prophet who used ‘bogus spiritual insight’ to make predictions that did not come true. The question we should all ask ourselves is: are there other religious leaders or organizations out there that have done the same thing?

If you have time, please watch the above video with the following questions in mind:

  • If Harold Camping uttered a false prophesy, how would God and Jesus view this?
  • Does Harold Camping deriving his prediction from calculations or ‘misplaced expectations’ based on Scriptural interpretation rather than claiming inspiration, make him less of a false prophet?
  • Was he not simply just “keeping awake” rather than “sleeping”?
  • Should Harold Camping have tried to calculate God’s timetable?
  • Where the Apostles at Acts 1:6,7 like Harold Camping, proclaiming a worldwide campaign that set definite dates regarding the times and seasons of God’s timetable, or did they simply direct a question toward the person who would know best?
  • After the Apostles learned that it did not belong to them to know, did they go ahead proclaiming their own predictions anyway?
  • If it did not belong to the Apostles to know God’s Times and Seasons, why did Harold Camping think it belonged to him?
  • Could Harold Camping then be considered a faithful and wise servant of God?
  • Was he faithful to God’s word which precludes making false prophesies?
  • Was he wise in doing so?
  • Was he giving the right sort of food at the right time?
  • What did this prediction show in regard Harold Camping’s credentials as to being a unique messenger or channel of communication from God?
  • Should those that listened to Harold Camping have demanded ‘more than the usual’ of him?
  • Should they have continued to follow his teachings?
  • If he had been shown to be a false messenger, could he later have become a true channel of communication from God?
  • Could they expect someone who proved to be a false prophet to suddenly become a true prophet?
  • Even though Harold Camping directly apologized, calling his predictions a “sinful statement” and publicly asking God for forgiveness, should he have stepped down as a teacher?
  • What was his responsibly to the followers who emptied their bank accounts and quit their jobs to help spread this message?
  • Even if he truly repented and they forgave him, would it follow they should have kept following him as a credible teacher of God’s word?

One comment

  1. peely says:

    These are very pertinent questions to ask ourselves when considering the spiritual food served within the Organization.

    I can’t recall if you related this quote from the Watchtower in your video but it is good to repeat:

    “IDENTIFYING THE “PROPHET” — “So does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet?…This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses…Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it,” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197)

    Deut 18:22 – If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

    Because Satan transforms himself into an angel of light we can easily be deceived into spiritual complacency.

    2 Cor 11:19,20,4 – You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

    We are in a battle of truth against lies; thank you dear brothers and sisters for aiding in bringing the Truth of Christ to light.
    Christian love,

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