I was encouraged this week to read that Harold Camping publicly apologized for his, “End of the world” predictions he made last year. (At the time I wrote about it here.) Using the Family Radio Network that his church owns, he famously guaranteed that Jesus would return on May 21st, 2011. The Media had a field day with Camping’s ultra conservative group and when the Lord didn’t return, Camping, his group, and believers in general all looked foolish. Camping revised his prediction for later in the year and that failed too.
This month Camping made a new announcement that he has no plans, ever again, to predict the day of God’s Judgment. He also issued an apology to listeners, admitting that he was wrong.
“We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours!” The full statement on Family Radio’s website can be read here. “We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically… But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’ (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong.”
“Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible,” Camping says. Though they were wrong, their doomsday predictions directed the world’s attention to the Bible and spurred discussions about the Scriptures among people who might have never heard about Christ, they noted. Still, that does not excuse them, Family Radio acknowledged. “We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.”
I was taken aback by this show of humility and contrition. I have been wrong about tons of things but I don’t think I have ever been bold enough to admit it quite like that, and now that I’ve read Camping’s statement, I think I could be a bit more humble in the way I respond to people I don’t agree with. Regardless of your stance on any given issue, recognizing your place before the God of the Universe is never a bad idea. I do respect that.