“That date has not one stitch of biblical authority,” Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. “It’s like a fairy tale.”James White debates Harold Camping (includes additional refutations of Camping’s unbiblical theology)
The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011.
The Mayans and the recent Hollywood movie “2012” have put the apocalypse in the popular mind this year, but Camping has been at this business for a long time. And while Armageddon is pop science or big-screen entertainment to many, Camping has followers from the Bay Area to China.
Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he’d found: The world will end May 21, 2011.
This is not the first time Camping has made a bold prediction about Judgment Day.
On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping’s believers gathered inside Alameda’s Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven.
But the world did not end.
James Kreuger, author of “Secrets of the Apocalypse – Revealed,” has been studying the end of times for 40 years and is familiar with Camping’s work. While Kreuger agrees that the rapture is indeed coming, he disputes Camping’s method.
“For all his learning, Camping makes a classic beginner’s mistake when he sets a date for Christ’s return,” Kreuger wrote in an e-mail. “Jesus himself said in Matthew 24:36, ‘Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only.’ ”
• Camping’s Family Radio is, theologically, a cult of Christianity.