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Preacher’s doomsday forecast fizzles out … again


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Friday October 21, 2011

Once again, the world failed to end, despite a high-profile prediction from a radio preacher in California.

MSNBC reports

Harold Camping, the 90-year-old leader of Family Radio International, stirred a global frenzy when he predicted that the Rapture would take 200 million Christians to heaven on May 21.

When the Rapture didn’t occur, Camping said he got his Bible-based calculations wrong and revised his prophecy to set the world’s end on Friday, Oct. 21.

But as the day wore on around the world, there was no sign that doomsday had dawned.

Millions of dollars had been spent by Family Radio and its followers to get the world out about May’s date with doomsday. Some quit their jobs, or donated retirement savings or college funds for the more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs that were plastered with Judgment Day messages.

This time around, Camping took a lower profile — perhaps because he was chastened by the mockery he suffered in May, or perhaps because of his health.
Camping suffered a mild stroke in June. [...]

Reuters says

He has largely dropped out of sight since then, and his daily radio program, “Open Forum,” broadcast on more than 60 U.S. stations, has been canceled.

Moreover, there is little evidence that swarms of believers who once fanned out in cities nationwide with placards advertising Camping’s message — some giving up life savings in anticipation of being swept into heaven — were following a new doomsday countdown.

Gone, too, are the billboards posted around the country by Camping’s Family Radio network declaring that Judgment Day was at hand. [...]

Municipal records show that a Sunday prayer group led by Camping, the Alameda Bible Fellowship, has continued to meet on a weekly basis in a large ground-floor room of the Veterans Memorial Building leased by the city Recreation and Parks Department. [...]

Local American Legion officer Ron Parshall, 70, part of a veterans group that meets at the same building in an adjacent room one Sunday a month, said he sees Camping leading his Bible services there regularly.

He said the number of Camping’s followers at the prayer meetings seems to have dwindled since the failed May 21 prophecy — down to about 25 congregants on a typical Sunday — plus about 20 youngsters who attend Sunday school classes in conjunction with the prayer group.

The Associated Press notes

God’s judgment and salvation were completed on May 21, Camping says in a message explaining the mix-up in his biblical math.

“Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on Oct. 21,” he says on the website.

Cult of Christianity

Camping has previously predicted that the rapture would take place on Sept. 6, 1994. When the rapture did not occur, Camping also came up with several alternative dates — none of which were correct.

Given Harold Camping’s unbiblical theology — including his call for Christians to leave the church, as well as his attempts to portray Family Radio as the sole source of religious authority — leaves Christians no choice but to consider him to be a false prophet and a heretic — and to view Family Radio as, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

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