Monday, May 30, 2011

Tim LaHaye vs. Harold Camping

I came across this from Tim LaHaye: Is Harold Camping Right This Time? LaHaye states,

www.WeCanKnow.com has well advertised their claim that Jesus Christ will come to rapture believers on May 21, 2011 -- this is not only wrong but dangerous. They also claim that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011-- this is not only bizarre but 100% wrong!

-snip-

You can be sure the rapture will not occur when anyone sets a date because God wants us all to live every day as though Christ could come today. A great motto for daily living is PERHAPS TODAY. For one day it will happen and we don't know when, but we don't want you to be left behind!

Now before anyone begins high-fiving Tim LaHaye, keep this in mind. To my understanding, Mr. Camping did not look around at current events and declare the end of the world. In fact, after one of the last big earthquakes /tsunamis a few weeks ago, I heard Mr. Camping say it had nothing to do with the forthcoming end of the world.   Mr. Camping used his theomatics and quadriga-esque interpretation rather than correlating the news to the Bible.

On the other hand, make no mistake about it, Tim LaHaye is watching the signs of the times to be prepared for the rapture and end of the world.  From the same website (as the link posted above), is this article, Three Signs of the End By Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins:

In our book Are We Living in the End Times? we list many of the signs of the times apparent in our generation. We believe that while no one knows the day or the hour when Christ will return, we have more reason to believe He could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.
Many leading politicians look to the potential of a world government as the panacea that would bring global peace. That is why the United Nations was formed, yet even with its 60-year incapability to bring about peace, it remains the dream of many world planners.
World government is only one leg of the prophesied three-legged stool of end times globalism. The other two are a one-world economy and a one-world religion. The worldwide interchange of goods and services today, along with the current economic chaos, seems a clear signal that the prophecies of Revelation 13 and 18 may be coming true.
The one-world religion is beginning to form but will really come together right after the Rapture when Christ calls His church to heaven to be with Him in His Father’s house (John 14:1-3). Even today Christianity is one main impediment to the forming of a global religion, which will (according to Revelation 17) be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period.
God in His mercy may wait one more day, which in His economy of time is a thousand of our years. But we are instructed to watch and wait for Christ’s imminent return, as if it could be today. Because it could!
We believe every Christian and church should share the Gospel faithfully with as many as possible. Our driving passion is that we don’t want anyone to be left behind.

LaHaye is troubled Camping picked a date. LaHaye though, while not picking a date, has no problem interpreting history and the Bible in such a way as to prove "we have more reason to believe He could come in our lifetime than any generation before us."

Apples and oranges.

26 comments:

Reformed Apologist said...

You can be sure the rapture will not occur when anyone sets a date because God wants us all to live every day as though Christ could come today.

So for Tim L., man can keep the Lord from ever returning by simply setting the date for the parousia for the day after the previous date that was set.

James Swan said...

man can keep the Lord from ever returning by simply setting the date for the parousia for the day after the previous date that was set

That's a great use of Reductio ad absurdum, which points out LaHaye's position, is in essence, not much different than Camping's.

Marcus McElhaney said...

I disagree with Tim LaHaye's echatology's specific points, but I thought that we all agree that Jesus could come within our lifetimes. LaHaye is not like Camping because he is not telling people that there is a certain date and that you are going to miss heaven if you don't believe him. LaHaye may have gotten a lot of details wrong and over-reaches in what he can prove, but I don't think he's said anything heretical, although I don't think his End-times scenario is completely correct.

Reformed Apologist said...

LaHaye is not like Camping because he is not telling people that there is a certain date and that you are going to miss heaven if you don't believe him.

LaHaye is worse. LaHaye says if you miss the rapture you'll have time to repent during the tribulation. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but at least Camping appreciates that when the Lord returns, that's it - no more chances. Both are are in serious error, but as I argued on my site (and I'm not plugging my site here - James knows that), I'm more concerned with guys like Tim L, for he's still part of the Christian church. Camping I liken to Joseph Smith.

Marcus McElhaney said...

I agree that the double Rapture thing is a problem. I totally disagree that there will be two raptures. But I wouldn't lump LaHaye with Camping.

Reformed Apologist said...

Indeed. I agree. The way I see it, Camping is to be considered an unbeliever, which is why I'm more concerned with dispensationalists because they're inside the church. The threat is always greater from within, not without.

Marcus McElhaney said...

Amen to that.

Howard Fisher said...

"LaHaye says if you miss the rapture you'll have time to repent during the tribulation."

The Protestant view of Purgatory.

;-)

Reformed Apologist said...

Howard, I've been thinking that for the last few weeks. Glad you said it!

Ken said...

LaHaye is similar to Hal Lindsay and Jack Van Impe. They keep saying the rapture is very close because of 1948 Israel and the Russian - Persian alliance (Ezekiel 38-39 - in their view) and all the problems and conflicts in the ME and Iran desiring nuclear weapons, etc.

But Harold Camping did say that one of the "signs" was the "Gay Pride" stuff over the past 30 years. (along with his numerology and Gnostic and quad-thingy Origen- like hermeneutics.)

The 27th Comrade said...

James Swan says, "LaHaye though, while not picking a date, has no problem interpreting history and the Bible in such a way as to prove "we have more reason to believe He could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.""

I asked you, James Swan, why this is a bad thing. You didn't answer it when you replied, and I just checked now to see what you added later on, and it is a note that you do not have the time or energy to respond to the points I made. And yet here we are, with a Beggars All front-page covered in lampooning those who hold such positions as you did not have the time to respond to. What gives?

Be ye therefore watchful, also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
And what, instead, do we get from the organised modern theologians? Decrees that such belief is "dangerous".

Of course, LaHaye is foolish for thinking that Jesus cannot come back on a date that someone has set. But this is not why he is being made fun of here. Here, he is being made fun of because of being convinced that Jesus is very likely coming back in our lifetime. What is wrong with that, and can someone show me a Biblical reason why it is wrong? (Should I hold my breath, even for Mr. Swan who, on this subject, has been prolific of late?)

No doubt we are going to see more non sequitur appeals to being sensible, and the creation mandate still being in force, and so on. No doubt good Mr. James Swan is going to avow disinterest in these matters. But let an opportunity to play Pharisee on poor Harold Camping show up, to for once be able to laugh at the heresiarch, and then for once the most-important prophecy of the New Testament will be remembered and blogged about for a whole week non-stop; but only to make fun of the heresiarch. And without people like Camping and LaHaye, the modern and organised theologians would carry on as though the parousia, with which the New Testament is obsessed, is of secondary importance to, say, the process of ordination, or when baptism should be done, or whether priesthood celibacy is allowed.

Reformed Apologist says, "LaHaye is worse. LaHaye says if you miss the rapture you'll have time to repent during the tribulation."

Biblically, why is this wrong? I mean, considering his Biblical defences of it (I haven't considered them, personally).

"The way I see it, Camping is to be considered an unbeliever, which is why I'm more concerned with dispensationalists because they're inside the church."

And Roman Catholics? Are they believers? Anabaptists? Drug-addicted Christians? Non-Calvinist Protestants? Homosexual Calvinists? Non-Denominational believers? If heresy were how people ceased to be believers, the Epistles would never have been written; certainly not with pervasive "adelphoi" in them. The Galatians, are they believers? The Corinthian mfs? And those who, before Paul corrected them, thought that the parousia had happened, are they believers?
Who are you, Reformed Apologist, to sit in God's seat and pass judgement? Those who practice this heresy, are they still believers? Romans 2:1-3.

Ken says, "They keep saying the rapture is very close because of 1948 Israel and the Russian - Persian alliance (Ezekiel 38-39 - in their view) and all the problems and conflicts in the ME and Iran desiring nuclear weapons, etc."

Biblically, why is this wrong? I asked this in a thread where you were active, and you did not reply to it. Now I ask again, but should I hold my breath?

Ken said...

The 27th Comrade wrote:
Biblically, why is this wrong? I asked this in a thread where you were active, and you did not reply to it. Now I ask again, but should I hold my breath?

Because the Hebrew word "Rosh" does not mean "Russia", but "head", "chief", "beginning", "leader". And all the eastern nations that attacked Israel came from the north.

1948 was certainly allowed/ordained by God because it is history and it was an act of human justice to give the Jews a homeland, and a kind of recompense for all the injustices committed against them for centuries in Europe and Russia, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust.

But, to be so sure that 1948/establishment of Israel is a fullfillment of prophesy is another thing that gives me pause. Only a few hundred Israelis even believe in the Messiah Jesus. they were cast out of the land for apostasy and disbelief. (Luke 19:41-44; Matthew 21:33-45) They don't have all the land or all the peace. The promises relating to that seem to bring them back in faith, obedience, peace, no more enemies, etc. The OT promises point to faith and obedience, yet many of the founders of the modern state of Israel and generals in the wars boasted that God did not help them, "they did it themselves" - there did seem to be lots of anger and bitterness against God for allowing the Holocaust.

James S. is pointing out where Gary DeMar is using secondary sources, etc. but his chapter on the Gog and Magog war in "End Times Fiction" is pretty good and he marshalls good evidence that Ezekiel 38-39 were fulfilled future to Ezekiel, but in Esther's day when the whole Persian Empire was against Israel and started to attach, but when Haman's plot was discovered, the King of Persia allowed all the Jews all over the Persian Empire to arm themselves and defend themselves against their enemies.

But the Gog and Magog war is interpreted in Revelation 20 as the final war, not the pre-curser "Armageddon" before the Trib. and rapture. (in the Dispensational view it comes before rapture)

I do think that Christ could come any time, and the "last days" are clearly between the first coming of Jesus and the second coming - Hebrews 1:1-3; I Peter 1:20.

The biggest problem is that he and Hal Lindsay and others have suggested that since 1948, the rapture could come 40 years later (a generation); that is one reason why so many were predicting it in 1988.

Then they changed the dates from 1967 ( + 40 = 2007; more flurry of books). This kind of thing is dangerous because of how it leads some people astray to do unwise things, and not be involved in disciple-ship of people in teaching and reaching out in deeper theological teaching. It tends to be driven by altar calls and methods and "getting people saved" real quick so they can avoid the tribulation. But many nations are suffering under tribulation. The disp. pre-trib thing seems to be an American comfort doctrine.

I don't think LaHaye is worse, as Reformed Apologist wrote, but he has influenced a lot of Christians to view his books as THE right and only interpretation, and there are lots of problems with that scenario.

Ken said...

27th Comrade -
You said you asked me this question before -
I don't remember you asking me this question or dealing with this issue before.

the big thing for me is that Jesus seems to point to Ezekiel 36 and the Holy Spirit and being born again as being fulfilled by Jewish people being born again in His day. (John 3:1-21) "You are the teacher of Israel and you don't understand these things?" - they were already back in the land from Ezra/Nehemiah's return from captivity. Ezekiel wrote during the exile. All through history, some Jews are being born again. The gospel has been going to the nations, and some Jews are being saved all the time - is this the meaning of "in this way" all Israel will be saved? Romans 11:25-26

John also seems to be pointing to Christ as the glory of God returning as the fulfillment of Ezekiel seeing the glory of God returning - John 1:14 -18 - "we beheld His glory", "the word became flesh and tabernacled among us" and John 2:19-22 - "destroy this temple and I will raise it up in 3 days; He was speaking of the temple of His body".

Rivers of living water - John 4:14 and 7:37-39 - could those be fulfillment of the rivers flowing out from the throne in Ezekiel 40-48 ?

Ezekiel 40 calls them "visions of God".

James Swan said...

27:I asked you, James Swan, why this is a bad thing. You didn't answer it when you replied, and I just checked now to see what you added later on, and it is a note that you do not have the time or energy to respond to the points I made. And yet here we are, with a Beggars All front-page covered in lampooning those who hold such positions as you did not have the time to respond to. What gives?

Why are you mischaracterizing my words? This is what I actually said:

"27, I think I'm going to bail on this conversation. I'm losing interest in responding to you point by point over eschatology. I will though probably be doing some eschatology related posts in the future, and perhaps we can take it up again in the future."

There is no "lampooning going on. It was a comparrison of two eschatological systems.

And, actually, I did reply to you in the other blog post. You've chosen to not accept that response. Why? I have no idea. Then I mentioned the topic would come up again in future blog posts (like this one). That's "what gives."

As far as I can tell from your words, you've not learned from history that judging the end of the world based on interpreting the events in your lifetime is a futile endeavor.

My paradigm is to simply live each day as if it's my last, all to the glory of God. That is a lot harder than trying to figure out who the antichrist is, when the rapture will be etc. Post-mil? Pre-mil? A-mil? My paradigm covers them all.

James Swan said...

But Harold Camping did say that one of the "signs" was the "Gay Pride" stuff over the past 30 years. (along with his numerology and Gnostic and quad-thingy Origen- like hermeneutics.)

I did not hear that from him. Thanks.

James Swan said...

Here, he is being made fun of because of being convinced that Jesus is very likely coming back in our lifetime.

If I was making fun of LaHaye, you would know it. It was comparing his view to Camping's. Comparing two views is not making fun of either Tim or Harold.

Neither Tim or Harold are wrong by thinking Jesus could return in 2011. What makes them wrong in my book is the reason they arrive at that conclusion.

Camping arrived at it by theonomics and mysticism. Lahaye arrives at it by a dispensational hermeneutic.

What is wrong with that, and can someone show me a Biblical reason why it is wrong? (Should I hold my breath, even for Mr. Swan who, on this subject, has been prolific of late?)

There's is nothing wrong with one looking forward to the return of Christ. Could be today, or tommorrow. My problem is with the theological paradigm Lahaye uses. I hope you can see the difference.

By the way, as I scrolled through your comments, I noted a number of insults directed toward me. Why?

Ken said...

Camping talked about "Gay Pride" and homosexuality as a sign of the end on Six Days left on Ezekiel thirty three 3 you tube.

http://www.youtube.com/user/EzekielThirtyThree3?blend=5&ob=5#p/c/A20F6CAA97F88C38/7/yVLILkRon-U

The 27th Comrade said...

Hello, all,

Ken says: "Because the Hebrew word "Rosh" does not mean "Russia", but "head", "chief", "beginning", "leader"."

All Hebrew names have a meaning that is not a proper noun. Woe to all prophecies, if having another meaning renders a name to be a null prophetic pointer! Cush means "Black". Israel means "Struggler-with-God", so woe to all prophecy about Israel!

"And all the eastern nations that attacked Israel came from the north."

My understanding was that they were talking about what will happen, not just what happened. Even so, the biggest player in the Middle East after the USA is China (due to her oil-thirst).

"But, to be so sure that 1948/establishment of Israel is a fullfillment of prophesy is another thing that gives me pause."

Maybe I am naïve, but I am never going to see a country re-created from the scattered 2000-year-old remains of its former inhabitants, complete with a resurrection (literally) of its language and traditions, and not see the Hand of God. If anything at all ever fit the prophecy of the valley of the dry bones, this certainly is it. Then again, I may be just naïve and easy to awe, but I have seen languages vanish irretrievably in one lifetime. 2000 years is another issue.

"Only a few hundred Israelis even believe in the Messiah Jesus. they were cast out of the land for apostasy and disbelief."

God keeps His promises to them not because of them, as He repeatedly said, but because of Himself. They were stiff-necked and stubborn when they were there, they are still stiff-necked and stubborn now that they are back.

"The OT promises point to faith and obedience, yet many of the founders of the modern state of Israel and generals in the wars boasted that God did not help them, "they did it themselves" - there did seem to be lots of anger and bitterness against God for allowing the Holocaust."

Well, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ! Even the prophet Habakkuk, a righteous man, he of the "the just shall live by faith" fame said some pretty uncharitable words to God in the heat of the moment. But me, I see this gathering of them as a step, at least, towards their almost-collective turning towards justification by faith.

"This kind of thing is dangerous because of how it leads some people astray to do unwise things, and not be involved in disciple-ship of people in teaching and reaching out in deeper theological teaching."

Yes, date-setting is not just dangerous, if even that, but also contrary to a simple truth that Jesus laid out: regarding that Day, everybody is ignorant. Even the formulæ and so on. But I am wary of the fact that, though this is also the most-important prophecy of the New Testament, it only ever comes up on so educative a blog as this when it is time to laugh at the heretics.
Little wonder it is left to the heretics to get the headlines regarding the parousia; at least they are (correctly) fanatical about it. Those who do not consider themselves heretics, on the other hand, wail loudly only in response. This is, in the same vein, far from being "involved in disciple-ship of people in teaching and reaching out in deeper theological teaching."

The 27th Comrade said...

"... but he has influenced a lot of Christians to view his books as THE right and only interpretation, and there are lots of problems with that scenario. "

I am yet to see a preacher who does otherwise. There is nothing wrong with that scenario. It is the best scenario, if he has the truth.

"I don't remember you asking me this question or dealing with this issue before."

I may be remembering another thread we were taking part in, and confusing participants, but I remember an earlier thread related to Camping, where I wrote some questions to someone (you, I believe), and I got a response, but the questions were ignored. Unlike most people who ask them here, I do not usually intend for them to be rhetorical, so when I ask them and they remain hanging, it feels wrong.

""You are the teacher of Israel and you don't understand these things?" - they were already back in the land from Ezra/Nehemiah's return from captivity."

No, Ken; John 3 doesn't bother with the Second Coming. It is about the First Coming, explicitly. "For the Son of Man did not come to judge the World, but that through Him the World might be saved." But these end-times fanatics are talking about the Second Coming. So that cannot be an answer to their queries.

"The gospel has been going to the nations, and some Jews are being saved all the time - is this the meaning of "in this way" all Israel will be saved?"

No, there is a reason the rejection of Jesus by the Jews seems to be different from the rejection by Gentiles. It is "to the lost sheep of the House of Israel" that He came. So that, instead, "I shall call my people those who are not my people" is a significant issue. The Christianisation of the Jews is not on par with the Christianisation of the Gentiles. For the Gentiles, it is a grafting-in; for the Jews, it is as it should have been in the first place. Hence Romans 9-11 and the many tears that mark it (regarding the Jews) and the emphasis on the fortune of the believers (regarding the Gentiles). And also that same part of Romans looks celebratorily to the day the Jews will be folded into knowledge of their Messiah; that has no parallel in the Gentiles' ascesion to Christ (as Paul emphasises there as well).

The 27th Comrade said...

James Swan says, "Why are you mischaracterizing my words? ... There is no "lampooning going on. It was a comparrison of two eschatological systems."

Well, I asked a few questions that were explicitly marked as not being rhetorical. They got no answers, and yet the things I asked about are here being treated in the same way they were being treated before, without any answers. If not lampooning, then perhaps spite and condecension? I asked, for example, why it is more-important to worry about the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament (which I know that you build your theology on), and yet not worry about the most-important prophecy of the New Testament (which you only blog about while mentioning "Camping" more-often than you mention "Jesus"). I asked how people would know the signs of which Jesus spoke, if they did not read the Bible with the news(paper), and you didn't answer me. I asked you why the "signs" are always interpreted (by you, as I infer) to have to be superlative, and you did not answer me. Does that sound like a petty question? If it is, say so and I'll leave off it.

"And, actually, I did reply to you in the other blog post. You've chosen to not accept that response. Why? I have no idea."

Perhaps because I found that the questions I asked (even those few I singled out!) were not answered, yet a whole new bunch of eschatological mockery had been added to the front page. I like Beggars All, and if you wrote about your eschatology (or Luther's!) and filled a front page with it, without waiting for Camping to be wrong, I would appreciate it. But this that I see is in bad taste. Of course, that is just an outsider's criticism. "The heart is deceitful above all things; who can understand it?" And "Every man's way is upright in his own eyes." But there you are.

"Then I mentioned the topic would come up again in future blog posts (like this one). That's "what gives."

The topic will certainly come up again, since Camping is not yet dead, and he leads you on your way in this respect. But obviously I asked silly questions that merited an answer even less.

"As far as I can tell from your words, you've not learned from history that judging the end of the world based on interpreting the events in your lifetime is a futile endeavor."

As far as I can tell from your words, no prophecy where signs are mentioned should ever be looked-forward-to. In that thread, I mentioned the Jews missing their Messiah, even though the prophecies spoke of Him. You happen to accept these prophecies about Him. Yet you do not respect the prophecies said by Him! If this should be a futile endeavour, better that futility than your certainly; not unlike "I speak perfect Chinese, because I never utter a word of Chinese."
So, a question (since, at least, you are responding here): at which point in history should one look at one's lifetime and interpret prophecy? You celebrated the ad absurdum that someone did on LaHaye, but I hope you survive this one.

"My paradigm is to simply live each day as if it's my last, all to the glory of God."

You lie.
Are you sure that you expect to wake up with Jesus on Earth, and that you are surprised every morning when this is not the case?

"That is a lot harder than trying to figure out who the antichrist is, when the rapture will be etc."

It is certainly harder; that is why you don't do it. (Your blogger account has drafts, and you have plans for tomorrow.)

"Post-mil? Pre-mil? A-mil? My paradigm covers them all."

I guess it does cover them all. A pity you don't follow your paradigm.

The 27th Comrade said...

"It was comparing his view to Camping's. Comparing two views is not making fun of either Tim or Harold."

Although that comment was aimed at some other commenters here, you are complicit in making fun of Camping, at least; someone else did make fun of him. Even so, you did join in, and not just as host, and I will confess a sadness when you descend into the less-scholarly chuckling. The better response, I feel, would have been perhaps to dredge out Luther's finest eschatological screeds, and deploy Ken on the Islamic understanding of it (the Mahdi, et cetera), and John Bugay on the Roman Catholic perversion thereof ... that kind of thing, rather than this.

"What makes them wrong in my book is the reason they arrive at that conclusion."

In which case, of course, you are wrong, not least because if you were right, Paul would be wrong. And Paul is right, therefore you are wrong.
What makes them wrong, in my book, is setting a date.

"By the way, as I scrolled through your comments, I noted a number of insults directed toward me. Why?"

There were no insults directed toward you. Care to point out any? I did note, however, the rather rigid language, so I put "good Mr." before your name in a certain instance, to blunt the javelin; look, and you will see.
Also, it is only in reference to LaHaye that I said "foolish"; I bet that is not what you are protesting.

Ken said...

27th Comrade wrote:
No, Ken; John 3 doesn't bother with the Second Coming.

I never said it did. The point is that Ezekiel prophesied of the return to the land during the exile in Babylon [ read the historical background and dating of the book of Ezekiel]; and they DID return and rebuilt the temple, etc. Herod later expanded the temple.

Jesus came and taught on the new birth and clearly is pointing Nicodemus to Ezekiel 36 and rebuking him for not understanding that what He is talking about is the promise of Ezekiel 36:26-27. see larger context of verses 23-28 and the fact that 2 Corinthians 6:16 quotes Ezekiel 37:26-28 and applies it to the church.

1948 may be a beginning stage of some future en -gathering/restoration of Israel - I will grant you that - I am confident that God is going to do something glorious among the Jews before the Second Coming of Christ. God is not finished with the Jews for creating true faith in Yeshua Ha Mashiakh. Yes, I agree with that.
Matthew 23:39 (but see larger context of 23:36- 24:3; also Romans 11:11-15 and 25-26; Matthew 19:28

Ken said...

God is not finished with the Jews for creating true faith in many more of them, in the Messiah, Yeshua Ha Mashiakh. (Jesus the Messiah in Hebrew English transliteration) before the Second Coming.

ישוע המשיח

James Swan said...

I guess it does cover them all. A pity you don't follow your paradigm.

27th Comrade: Any more insults, and your posts will be deleted, here and in the future. I've allowed quite a number of less-than-charitable comments from you already. Please discuss your views respectfully.

If you have a problem with this, you can start your own blog, or join a forum somewhere else.

James Swan said...

In which case, of course, you are wrong, not least because if you were right, Paul would be wrong. And Paul is right, therefore you are wrong.

Are you a Dispensationalist?

The 27th Comrade said...

"Are you a Dispensationalist?"

No; I am not consistent enough to have an -ism. I have found that -isms cause people (read: me) to dig in and defend, when they (read: I) should be more-open.