It seems that a this whole deal with some guy (Camping?) predicting a rapture today has become quite a distraction for many. Will you be found ministering to the lost and equipping the saints? Or will your Lord find your breathing out sarcasm, being sure that your Facebook status is the funniest or most biting?
So I ask: what will you are doing when Christ returns? Assuming His second advent is imminent (whether you believe in a rapture or not), will he find His servant busy doing His will?
Let’s consider Jesus’ own words of warning:
Matthew 24:44-51 ESV Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It seems to me that the point of the story is quite clear. If you are a servant of Christ, (and you are, whether you acknowledge it or not if you are indeed born-again), then you ought to be doing your master’s work, AT ALL TIMES. Although the Lord maintains a right to hold His enemies in derision, I’m not convinced that is our role. And even if it is, I’m not sure the complete outward mockery of this man and his predictions is warranted.
Camping is either an immature, undiscipled and poorly led Christian: a brother to whom we owe our love and compassion, or he is a non-believer; someone who is hellbound in his sin, as you once were. Jesus said, Matthew 7:1-2 ESV “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Here is what I consider to be a rare reasonable application of this scripture (rare in terms of the percent of times this scripture is used compared to the percent of times it is used correctly.)
Now let’s be clear – I see no problem with disagreeing with Camping. In fact, I do. I do not believe the rapture will occur today, and I find it unbiblical to set a date. His actions are vile as I believe he twists scripture and blasphemes God in so doing. This might be considered “worse” than the whole 2012 movie craze, because this man actually comes in the name of Christ.
But mocking and scoffing? How is that what you want to be caught doing? Please, dear Christian reader: WE FAIL ENOUGH. We all constantly bring shame to our Redeemer with our lack of faith at times, our submission to the flesh and lack of control of our tongues. In our private lives, none of us behave as well as when the pastor is around. Why is it that the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ on me all the time doesn’t have the same tempering effect on my demeanor as knowing a church member might see does? Are you any different?
We have one of the biggest, most publicized “events” in a while. It is enough alone to EASILY spark conversations about the gospel and the return of Christ. Non believers DO NOT CARE, nor do they NEED TO KNOW whether you are a pretribulational amillenial bapticostal lutherpiscopal. Non believers need to know that you also believe Christ is returning, and that they now have a chance to repent of their sin and believe the gospel.
I’m all for funny jokes. I enjoy them especially within the confines of private messages with like-minded believers sometimes. But your public profile, your Facebook status – trust me – your non-believing friends are watching, waiting to tear down your perfect savior because of the faultiness of His followers.
I pray that this post embodies the scripture below for those of you who disagree with me. I encourage you to follow the same:
2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Prove Camping wrong if you must. Protect the flock! (as endangered as they really are 🙂 – but please, don’t let this give power to your flesh. That arrogant, prideful, self-righteous section that is still there, even in the Spirit indwelt believer. Starve your flesh, and the Lord’s Spirit will direct your paths.
If my words offend you, I will ask you to consider Galatians 4:16 ESV Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
And consider the following that a dear brother brought to me recently: slander – even if TRUE – is quite firmly described in scripture as unwise and unloving. If the end of your rope is that you are sure you really need to warn people of this guy, at least consider your method and the grace your lips ought to be seasoned with. I mean, how much more of your time was spent berating this guy and his notions than praying for him? Why not give the guy as much time before the throne of grace as you gave the time you are taking to mock him and his ideas?
I am all for warning the brethren, just not the mocking type. And it seems the author of Proverbs isn’t either.
Proverbs 10:18-19 ESV The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool. 19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 11:9 ESV With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
Proverbs 11:13 ESV Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
Proverbs 12:18 ESV There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 13:3 ESV Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Proverbs 15:4 ESV A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 16:5 ESV Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 16:7 ESV When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
In the love of Christ, I send this as a warning to myself and all of us who have been consigned to proclaim, teach and protect God’s Word. Let the love of God and for men reign in your heart, being happy for opportunities to suffer shame for His namesake. Acts 5:41
Michael – right on, brother! I’ve found that the last couple of weeks this has been a great discussion starter. I’ve been carrying a picture of camping’s billboard in my pocket and then simply walking up to people and asking “can I ask you a question, have you seen this billboard?” I show them the picture. Then I ask, “do you think judgment day will be May 21?” regardless of their answer I can quickly ask, “if not May 21st, do you think there will be a judgment day someday?” Boom – we are in a spiritual conversation. No mocking camping. Just going straight to the scripture. In a sense, it is the same as starting in the natural (billboard) and swinging to the spiritual.
Justin Edwards says
Amen, brother – I was not aware you had a blog, glad I found it today through your fb post earlier. I stand with you in regards to how we react to this. I am not innocent in witholding any mockery of Camping, but as these last couple days have come to pass, especially as today as worn on, I have felt a pit in my stomach and my heart has sunk as to the level of mockery I am seeing among not just non-believers, but believers. I am eager to reach someone who has been deceived by this madness. I actually had the opportunity to share the gospel at a restaurant with an employee who was watching the clock for 6pm to roll by. Praise God for that!
As far as Camping himself is concerned, I think we can be confident he is not a Christian as he preaches another gospel. He is no different than Rob Bell in that regard. Camping added requirements to salvation by teaching one must believe judgment day to be on May 21st in order to be saved. He has also blasphemed the Bride of Christ for whom Jesus died as he claimed no believer is within any local church today. Unless he repents, I believe it is he who the true prophets speak of, who has reserved for them the blackest darkness forever.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus as we eagerly await Your return!