He is still coming back
This last week has seen quite the brouhaha over Harold Camping’s well publicized journey into disobedient absurdity. Many have undertaken to point out that absurdity, but my main concern is that Mr. Camping’s efforts have only “given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme.” (2 Sam 12:14) Cynical unbelief does not require much to pat itself on its back for its prideful rejection of anything to do with God. Finding someone identified with Christianity who makes claims about Scripture in violation of Scripture only fuels their ridicule.
Now I was all prepared to add my two cents worth to the verbiage, but then I found two posts (by the same author, no less) that said almost all that needed to be said.
One more note: I know what people mean when they call Camping a "false prophet." He is not a false prophet, he is a false teacher. It may seem like an academic distinction, but it is an important one. Teaching falsities concerning prophecy does not make one a false prophet. Camping is not claiming to have direct personal revelation apart from Scripture, as far as I know. That is not what he does. Camping is not claiming to produce Scripture. What Camping does is to twist Scripture (2 Peter 3:16). There is a difference.
As Mr. Phillips correctly observes, Mr. Camping’s prediction was not in the form of an alleged new revelation, but an interpretation of pre-existing revelation. Thus, the veracity of the original revelation is not necessarily diminished by his foolishness. They are two separate things, albeit related.
But more importantly, Mr. Phillips shows us how this incident actually does bring glory to God and confirms the veracity of His Word in ways that are unintentional, unconscious, and in spite of Mr. Camping himself. In fact, he delineates seventeen such ways! For example:
Second, Harold Camping glorifies God because, by his refusal to repent for past false guesses and his insistence on "doubling down" and putting all his weight on yet another guess, he illustrates God’s wisdom in warning us: "Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly" (Proverbs 26:11).
This may sound harsh in a politically incorrect way, but truth is truth.
Or how about:
Fourth, Harold Camping glorifies God because his repeated false guesses about the future throw God’s exhaustive knowledge of the future — and inerrant declaration of the same through His genuine prophets — into stark and splendorous relief (Isaiah 41:22-23; 44:7 ; 46:10; Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
I strongly encourage you to look up those passages, particularly those in Isaiah. Now one of my favorites:
Fifth, Harold Camping glorifies God because, by his repeated predictions despite past humiliation and exposure, he bears out God’s wisdom in warning that you can "Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him" (Proverbs 27:22).
While I would again encourage you to go to the above link and read them all for yourself, here is the last one:
Seventeenth, Harold Camping glorifies God by how his hopelessly (and oft-rebuked) muddled hermeneutics highlights the perspicuity of Scripture and the validity of a normal, grammatical historical theological approach — so much so that Christians of all traditions are publicly affirming the clarity of the dominical word, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. …Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:36, 42).
Thus, the bottomline is, God’s Word still stands. One sinful man with his wishful thinking and false teaching does not invalidate the mass of evidence indicating that this particular book is uniquely “God breathed.” (For those who doubt this, I invite you to fit the evidence I’ve presented in my other unfinished series on apologetics which starts here. Deny the data at your own risk.)
Oh, and yes, Jesus will still return someday to call His own to Himself and usher in His millenial kingdom. But we now know it won’t be next October!