Harold Camping, whose been allowed to keep his Open Forum slot on Family Radio despite his false prediction, was confronted Tuesday by a former follower who pressed the radio preacher to admit that he was a false prophet.
An unidentified caller rang into Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio’s “Open Forum” program and shared that he had spent thousands of dollars on billboards, mail-outs, and tracts to warn about the May 21 Rapture, as predicted by Camping.
“I’m not mad at you, or I don’t blame you. I did it of my own free will and it’s not your fault. I’m not calling to complain about that,” clarified the self-described “May 21ster.”
“But I will say that me, you, all May 21sters are false prophets because we said that the Rapture would occur on that day and it didn’t. So I can’t understand why you are still on the radio talking about all this stuff because at this point nobody can believe anything you or I say,” said the caller, who was interrupted by Camping at that point.
Camping is president and co-founder of Family Radio, a Christian radio network with some 66 stations in the United States. He had wrongly predicted that the Rapture and worldwide earthquakes would take place on May 21 at 6 p.m. local time. When his prediction failed to take place, he came out and claimed that Judgment Day did come on May 21 – it just came spiritually instead of physically. Then he set a new date for the Rapture and the End of the World, Oct. 21, 2011.
Previously, the radio broadcaster and self-taught Bible teacher said the Rapture would occur on May 21 and the world would be completely destroyed on Oct. 21.
People who believed in Camping have lost their entire life’s savings, some quit their jobs, and in a few extreme cases – there were several people who attempted suicide before or after the May 21 date because of his prediction.
Just like in his first post-May 21 press conference on May 23, Camping refuted Tuesday accusations that he was teaching false Bible messages.
Camping after cutting the caller off, pointed listeners to Deuteronomy 18:20 for the definition of what a false prophet is, saying that a false prophet is someone who presumes that what he teaches came from God when it did not.
He also asserted that it was God’s good plan that Judgment Day came spiritually on May 21 rather than physically. Had followers put out billboards that Judgment Day would come spiritually, no one would listen to their warning. But because they said Judgment Day would come physically, people all over the world took notice of the message.
“The net result is the whole world has become frightened and heard the word of God … and Judgment Day is right from the word of God,” said Camping. “And many people, we don’t know who they are or where they are, are now praying and crying out for mercy as they listen carefully to that warning. And many of them have become saved.”
It’s notable that in the “Open Forum” program last Thursday, Camping suggested that since the spiritual Judgment Day already came on May 21, it may be too late for people to be saved after that date. He told followers that their focus should be “to feed the sheep” rather than handing out tracts and evangelizing at this point.
After quietly listening to Camping’s explanation, the caller again pushed the point of them being false prophets.
“I told people the Rapture was going to happen. The Rapture did not happen. To me, that is a major, major, major false prophet,” insisted the caller.
Camping shot back, “That is by your definition. That is by your definition. That is our problem, a lot of times we come along with definitions and ideas that are out of our own minds but God has given us the Bible as the truth. If your definition of a false prophet is correct, there would not be a pastor in the world, not one in the whole world, or a Bible teacher, who we could say is not a false prophet because nobody understands everything that God has put in the Bible.”
The persistent caller, however, kept arguing with Camping over the definition of a false prophet.
Camping ended that call by saying, “Alright. OK. Well then if you want to be happy with that you are a false prophet and that everybody else in the whole world is a false prophet, well then be that. But that is not based on what the Bible is teaching.”
Camping, 89, has made two previously wrong end of the world predictions besides the one on May 21, 2011, one in 1988 and the other in 1994.