Eugene Cho

harold camping, rapture, jesus, and randy macho man savage – it’s kinda funny but not really

Update: Umm, the “new” date is supposed to be today (October 21, 2011) so I’m re-posting since in case the world does end or…doesn’t end. Either way, this post will cover the two options and everything in between.

The rapture date and prediction has come and gone.

By now, all of you have heard about the frenzy around 89-year-old, Harold Camping, and his prediction of the rapture to have taken place on May 21, 2011. If I’m correct, this was his 7th 8th official rapture prediction. I’m familiar with him because growing up in the Bay Area, he was conducting bible studies all the time on one of those obscure TV stations.

The media and cultural frenzy around the rapture has been nothing but amazing (if that’s an appropriate word to use). And some of you have sent me some crazy articles and images – like the one above joking that the rapture didn’t take place because of Randy “Macho Man” Savage.” (RIP)

I have to admit. I couldn’t stop laughing…

But all kidding aside, it’s not funny when you consider the number of people this “false prophet” and scam artist has misled. The damage he has done – especially to those who have placed their faith, trust, lives, present, and future with him – are beyond comprehension.

There are also some gut-wrenching stories like this one (from March) about a mom trying to kill her own daughters to spare them the pain of the tribulation – and you realize that in the midst of all the funny comments, this really ain’t no funny matter.

I don’t wish anyone to go to hell for eternal suffering. You see…because I believe in hell and I believe in eternity.

And I do want be careful with my words and need to temper myself before I write anything foolish! But I want Harold Camping and all of us to consider these words from Scripture:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. – Luke 17:1-2

I think this is one example of the consequences and the gravity of those who use their influence, platform, and pulpit – to lead others – whether they be the young, old, impressionable, or vulnerable…astray.

Away from the Truth rather than a deeper relationship and discipleship with Christ.

So, may Mr. Harold Camping come to deep and true repentance because there’s still grace and (ironically) time. But be warned: there are consequences.

Finally, I think of the individuals, families and communities that have been duped by this false teaching and prophet. Back in October 1992, I witnessed another similar movement that actually influenced friends of friends. I was a youth pastor then in Flushing, New York and as I drove away in my car on a Sunday evening (back to Princeton, NJ where I was a student in seminary), I can still recall – with pain and tears – numerous families and individuals that were waiting in street corners for the return of Jesus. Waiting. Waiting. And waiting.

I join with others in praying for the followers of Harold Camping today and in the days to come. We pray for their restoration and renewed hope – not in men, women, and false teachings – but ultimately, in the gospel of Christ.

To you, them, and other impacted by this, I leave you with these words:

“God loves you.”

And those words are Truth and Legit.

And for all of us, consider these words:

In recent months and days, there’s been a great deal of conversations, media coverage, books, tweets, smoke signals, and various forms of communication of Heaven and Hell.

No doubt. Contending for heaven & hell are important. But so is everything in between. Do your contending and…

let’s work together and pursue heaven on earth, too.

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20 Responses

  1. Sejin says:

    Wow, I can’t believe the news article about that woman.

    I’m just wondering how Mr. Camping or others who predict the end of the world would benefit from such guesses because even if they were right they would face the following:

    1. No one would live past that day to give them glory for guessing correctly (if glory and praise is what they wanted).

    2. They seem bound for severe judgment, for doing the opposite of what Christ says (that no one will guess the time or day of His 2nd coming: hence, leading many astray)

    Can you comment?

    • Eugene Cho says:

      sejin:

      couple things that come to mind:

      1) a sense of ‘messianic complex’ – there’s a certain power to think that you have the secret knowledge of something – even if it supersedes the wisdom of scriptures and jesus.

      2) i’ve read varying reports of some serious money he’s brought in from folks to help “fund” this event. some sources have reported as high as 40 million dollars.

  2. Derek says:

    Also not funny considering the Macho Man died in a tragic car accident this week.

  3. Garrett S. says:

    I just wrote about this on my blog.

    I want to bounce this off of you, Eugene, because I believe there is an appropriate time to make fun of claims like this. To cut down, sarcastically, what’s purported to be truth, by men like Harold Camping. I happen to think that the time for sarcasm and joking, however, is over and now it’s time to pick up the pieces.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      i agree. i think there’s a level of appropriateness in making fun (even mocking) such escapades.

      my point though is that in the midst of such stuff, there’s also a great amount of damage and pain.

  4. […] won't get into more details, check out Euguene Cho's take if you're curious to learn […]

  5. catesongbird says:

    Is Harold Camping really a scam artist or is he making these predictions in earnest? I think there’s a difference there.

  6. […] “harold camping, rapture, jesus, and randy macho man savage — it’s kinda fun… (eugenecho.wordpress.com) […]

  7. […] and images — like the one above joking that the rapture didn’t take place because of  Randy “Macho Man” Savage” (RIP). I have to admit. I couldn’t stop […]

  8. […] my recent intense post about the rapture that has come and gone, I thought I’d write about a very light […]

  9. […] my recent intense post about the rapture that has come and gone, I thought I’d write about a very light […]

  10. […] my recent intense post about the rapture that has come and gone, I thought I’d write about a very light topic: […]

  11. hemp says:

    21 2012 – when the Long Count calendar of the ancient Maya ends and presumably the world with it.There wont even be a 2012 according to Camping. This outtake from an exchange with the BBCs Louis Theroux shows otherwise Doctor James White Director of Alpha Omega Ministries taught this seminar on Harold Camping in 2002 at the Grace Reformed Baptist Church on Long Island.

  12. myyellowbike says:

    Whoops, why are these last posts under a different title? Anyway, here I post this tardy note but I grew up listening to short wave radio, BBC, Radio Nippon, Netherlands, Havana and on the short wave with few stations, were some religious stations. So Family Radio was one of them, maybe from San Francisco, affiliates like one at Ocheekobee Florida, these can be found on the web. So my take on Camping is that he at 89 years old was probably erring, I don’t want to say delusional. He may well have believed this. The KTLA story on the woman and daughter is horrible but I would not say Camping is responsible.

    People try to interpret Revelations, etc. and I get that it is a book in the Bible but I would find it hard to ever take anyone’s interpretations of it but I know some people who really really get into it.

  13. Fatimat says:

    Thanks for writing this post. I never seriously considered how Harold Camping’s teachings have influenced other people. I will pray for his followers and that they will find hope in Jesus Christ.

  14. gadberry says:

    Well said Eugene. It’s disappointing that people like this are able to gather an audience, we need to make sure that we are preachers of truth and not get caught up being professional provocitours. Great blog.

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

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