(Photo: The Christian Post/ Hudson Tsuei)
Harold Camping has shown a sign of repentance for his failed apocalypse prophecies. As The Christian Post reported Sunday, Camping has issued an audio address made available via the Family Radio website, in which he apologized for saying that people who did not believe his May 21 doomsday would not be saved.
"Incidentally, I have been told that I said back in May that people who did not believe that May 21 should not be the rapture date, probably had not been saved," Camping said. "I should not have said that, and I apologize for that. One thing we know for certain, is that God is merciful, merciful beyond anything that we would ever expect."
While some Christians have expressed gladness that the Family Radio president is showing signs of dropping his practice of trying to predict the rapture date, many remain skeptical, and some are still angry at the Bible scholar for the damage he has caused.
Many CP readers seem eager to accept Camping’s apology.
“As Christians [we] should have been praying for him all along and not laughing at him or speaking evil of him," wrote commenter Angie Provitt.
Another commenter, John Fagbola, wrote: "This man has shown some humility and repentance and people still want to have his head? (…) If you call yourself believers, I don't see an example of your belief in the foundation of your belief, which is LOVE.”
Melissa Bloniarz wrote: "I think that the fact that he actually apoligized for this is awesome [sic]. (…) None of us are safe from Satan's deceptions & lies. I really think this guy believed all this and he wasn't trying to hurt anyone at the time. I also think Satan took advantage of the fact that he was well known and would reach alot of people with his radio show."
But some readers expressed anger and impatience with Camping as well as with people’s willingness to forgive him. Some commenters even suggested that Camping only decided to apologize because of his advanced age, knowing he might not have a lot of time left ahead of him.
“Because of his predictions, there are people severly struggling right now," John Joseph Cina of New York said, referring to Family Radio supporters who spent their life savings to fund a national campaign warning the world of a May 21, 2011 doomsday. "Right this very minutes, completely broke [sic]. He says 'I'm sorry' Well, that's nice of him. He's now telling his followers that ‘we’ can never know anything, only god knows.......That is exactly what rational people have been saying all along."
"How convenient for him that he only apologizes after he was shown yet again to be off his rocker," commented Dale Richner.
Camping did bring financial calamity on some people following the failed prediction of May 21, when Family Radio organized a multi-million dollar advertising campaign for which the non-profit radio ministry solicited donations and in which some people invested all their money.
Many CP readers remain skeptical about whether Camping is really repentant. That is mostly due to one segment of the radio host’s address which suggests he might not be done with practicing his methods, despite having had retired from ministering in the church.
"Amongst other things I have been checking my notes more carefully than ever," Camping said in the audio message. "And I do find that there is other language in the Bible that we still have to look at very carefully and will impinge upon this question very definitely. And we should be very patient about this matter."
In the address, Camping also said that "we must continue to look to the Bible."
"This is not a real apology," Evelyn Marie wrote. "He's saying this because he has to now, and he's already made his money off of the venture so there's no harm in sort of admitting that he was wrong."
Yet, some signs of Family Radio backpedaling its approach to the rapture and the world's end are visible. When Camping's final doomsday predication failed on Oct. 21, Family Radio removed its teachings regarding the failed May 21 rapture from its website four days later.
As CP also reported Oct. 24, 2011, according to a member of Camping’s church, who spoke with the California radio evangelist and his wife in person after Oct. 21, Camping has decided to retreat from public life and "retire."