Saturday, May 21, 2011

The end of the world...

I am helping myself to our friend Dr. John Stumbo's blog, written yesterday, since 'the world is going to end today'...


I have a book in my library titled 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988. I never read it. But, I like to have it on my shelf. It reminds me of what idiots Christians can be.

Not that I should need any reminders.

Before I proceed, I should identify myself. In case a new reader stumbles onto this blog today, may I clearly state that I am a lifelong follower of Jesus Christ and (sometimes with embarrassment, sometimes with great joy) include myself in the Christian community. I’m writing as an insider.

By now you’ve no doubt heard the news that we’re down to our last 24 hours…at least according to radio host, Harold Camping. At age 88, Harold continues a worldwide broadcast and has studied the Bible longer than most of us have been alive.

If history reveals anything to us, it tells us that just because one has studied a subject at length does not automatically make one accurate.

I believe Camping is wrong.

I believe he’s worse than wrong.

I believe Camping is in the same “camp” as the pastor who burned the Quran, the crazed individuals who bomb abortion clinics or kill doctors, and the venom-mouthed haters of homosexuals.

Let me introduce myself a second time. I believe the Quran misleads millions, abortions are the taking of a human life, and the act of homosexuality is a degrading sin. Yet, I’m convinced that Christians are to love Muslims, abortionists, gays and a thousand other people groups that have different perspectives than ours. I’m convinced that this love should be genuine and tangible … you know, like the love Jesus expressed.

The reason I lump Camping in with these others is because from burning Quran’s to predicting dates, Christians once again come off looking like idiots.

The news media loves these stories. The skeptical community has more reason to scoff. Stand up comedians have an easy night on the job.

And don’t think that people haven’t heard about Camping’s prediction. One of the best ways to know what has the world’s attention is to follow Google Trends. The brains at Google make available to us what are the hottest searches each day. For most of this week, searches like “end of the world may 21”, “judgment day may 21” and “harold camping may 21” have been high on the list.

I’m no expert in Harold Camping’s theology, nor do I care to be. But, from what I understand he came upon his date-setting by using mathematical calculations. These calculations arose from the theory that words in the Bible have numeric value. By putting together three words atonement, completeness and heaven, multiplying them and then doing so again (squaring them) – Waa Laa – the Judgment Day is tomorrow!

Make sense to you?

Not to me either.

But that’s what billboards across the world—from Minnesota to India—are proclaiming: Judgment Day May 21 The Bible Guarantees It.

At least Harold’s Bible does.

Mine says something simpler, “No one knows about that day or hour … therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Jesus in Matthew 24)

None of this would matter much to me if I didn’t fear one thing. I’m concerned that because of people like Harold Camping, many serious minded people will not bother exploring who the real Jesus is.

When they wake up on May 22, I don’t think they’ll head off to find a Christian church. I think they’ll have all the more reason to write off the Christian faith as a myth or conspiracy theory.

The real Jesus—the heaven-sent Messiah come into this world to atone for our sin, conquer death and lead us to the Father—will be missed.

And that makes me sad.

Thanks, Harold.

Next time save your math skills for a Sudoku puzzle, not the Scriptures."

Written by Dr.John Stumbo, May 20, 2011

POSTSCRIPT: It's 6:05 p.m., and here we are, still waiting, but... He IS coming again! May each of us live daily with that expectation motivating us.


Rita said...

Lord come quickly... but I too believe that no man knows when He will come again, so we should be ready no matter what the hour or the day. It is sad that there are people out there that predict such and then have to eat what they say, for there are many who listen.

myletterstoemily said...

what! i had a country french underground bunker! dang.

your wisdom would benefit the church as has e. stanley
jones', oswald chamber's, and c.s. lewis'. unfortunately
they never get the press like the nutcases. poor guy. he
must be tormented in his sleep, that deceived and such
a deceiver.

my hope is in that "when we see HIM, we will be like Him."
OH! that will be glory for me.

enjoy this beautiful day the Lord has made!

Vee said...

Why am I laughing? Thank you for an extremely cogent piece. Loved it!

Debbie Petras said...

I so agree with you Sonja! I mentioned this a bit in my Laced with Grace post on Thursday. No one knows the day or the hour. But we should always be prepared.

People like Harold Camping give fodder for the world to make fun of Christians, especially when they wake up the next day still on this earth.

Thank you for speaking your mind here and for sharing the Truth.

Love you sis,
Debbie said...

Oh you just wrote my son and my conversation...which came after I asked for him to bring me his camera tomorrow...where he laughingly said, "Mom you won't need it because we won't be here!" My reply...oh I remember this when I was a teen and it was 1980!...the year I married.
So I will be at our church service tonight...our regular time, and if they Lord calls us home, I will meet Him in the sky....if not, I will be praising Him and hearing His word.

Have an awesome weekend...

Debbie said...

Amen to this, and I'm glad you found and posted it! I had thought of addressing this over on my blog but hadn't been able to find the words so well as this.

No one knows the hour.
It will, indeed, come like a thief in the night.
And it WILL come.

I agree with him in comparing this Camping fellow to the quran burner.

Kathleen said...

You know what they say about brilliant minds :)

"I’m concerned that because of people like Harold Camping, many serious minded people will not bother exploring who the real Jesus is."

This about sums up my feelings, as well.

Back to the business of love-filled living,

Debbie said...

Oh I just couldn't agree with all of this more. It is just downright sad that soo many could be deceived by this, and that AGAIN it has the potential to make the whole Christian community look so bad. IF the Lord should come today, praise God...and IF not then we will go on praising Him until He does....Have a wonderful week-end!

Farm Girl said...

I totally agree with this article and every thing in it but I have had fun with this this week because I have had people want to talk about why someone would say this and how can you know. The same thing happened in 1988, we got to share Jesus with our whole block back then, we opened our home to everyone on our street and they all came. It was exciting.
I love it when people like Harold Camping makes my life easier, because then I can open the Bible and show them Matthew 24,
The world is white with harvest we just need workers and I for one love to say, Lord, send me.
Exciting times are these.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Sonja, amen! I'm just sad that so many kids got caught up in all of this...shame on him!

Debra said...

Amen and amen! I don't know why someone who claims to be a christian would do something like this. I guess extremeism can be found anywhere!

Marsha Young said...

Oh, Sonja - What a good post to share with us! Thank you.

Yes, Camping is a wing-nut who gives the rest of us a bum rap. This crazy stuff was so widely communicated this time around (I mean HOW many times must we go through this nuttiness?) that even the S.F. Giants sportscasters were joking about it on the game last night. AAARRRGGGHH!

Thanks for a note of sanity. And thanks for your fun comments on Spots and Wrinkles.

Felisol said...

Dear Sonja,
I wasn't aware of this new horror show until I found it on your blog.
It has been done repeatedly through history.
What I find remarkable is; don't these people know that they can die any moment? Nobody has a promise about a life tomorrow here on earth.

The old saying about living as if every day were my last still stands.
There will not be much talk about killing time if we start thinking that way.

Old father Luther said back in the 1500th century. "If I knew I should die tomorrow, I'd still plant a tree today." My mother (86) is living after this rule. She has already set bulbs for next spring.
Have a blessed Sunday 22 of May.
From Felisol

Crown of Beauty said...

thanks to Harold Camping there are more cynical people in the world today...

This is an amazing post.

Kathleen said...

I just had to run on over to let you know I'm still here :)

Patrinas Pencil said...

Never crossed my mind until mid morning - I remembered the date - so texted my daughter (in fun of course) to see if she was still here. I didn't want to be left behind :)

A couple of weeks ago, I went into dad's room to take him a snack and his chair was empty! I had forgotten that I laid him down for a nap. He never naps - so I thot he had been raptured. However, I was still here :) It was so funny. I think I'm getting old.

Patrina <")>><