On March 9th, I contacted Harold Camping’s ministry, Family Radio, about getting someone from their organization to come onto the Line of Fire with Dr. Michael Brown to discuss the May 21, 2011 apocalypse prophecy they were putting forth. I received a cordial phone call from Tom Evans, Family Radio’s PR Rep, and he said it would be great to have Mr. Camping himself on the program. Below is our correspondence from that point on. Note how they end the last email: “To speak specifically for Mr. Camping and Family Radio, it is our belief May 21st, 2011 ‘is no longer opinion, but a matter of fact. Each person must come to entrust their lives to what God has written in His Word the Bible and plead to him for mercy. Otherwise God will come upon them with unmerciful vengeance on May 21, 2011.'” It is May 21st, 12:24 PM ET at the time of this writing.
Also fascinating is their biblical interpretation methods. Evans states “the typical historical-grammatical method of interpretation used by theologians today is not Biblical. Rather, the only Biblical method of interpretation is ‘comparing spiritual with spiritual'” How does this ‘comparing spiritual to spiritual’ play out in their May 21st rapture prediction? Below is the cliffs-notes version of their prediction I put together based on literature from the Family Radio website:
– Flood happened in 4990 BC
– God told Noah in 7 days the flood would begin, and 1 Day = 1,000 years according to peter, therefore “mankind has seven days or 7,000 years to escape destruction.”
– 4990 BC + 7,000 = 2011
– Therefore judgment day will happen in 2011
Proof 2 (aka “ANOTHER INFALLIBLE PROOF THAT GOD GIVES THAT ASSURES THE RAPTURE WILL OCCUR MAY 21, 2011”):
– “The number 5 signifies the atonement or redemption (that is, Christ died to pay for the sins of those who become saved). This is seen, for example, by the ½ (.5) shekel atonement money which pointed to the atonement in Exodus 30:15. It is seen by the 5 shekels being a picture of redemption, as demonstrated in Numbers 3:47-48”
– “The number 10 or 100 or 1,000 signifies completeness. For example, the Bible speaks of 10 coins or 100 sheep or 1,000 years. God speaks of Satan being bound 1,000 years in Revelation 20:2-3”
– “The number 17 frequently signifies “Heaven.” For example, in Jeremiah God describes the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the king of Babylon. This was typifying the end of the church age, at which time Satan, typified by the king of Babylon destroying Jerusalem and Judah, would rule in the churches”
– Jesus was crucified on April 1, 33 A.D.
– May 21, 2011 is 722,500.07 days from April 1, 33 A.D.
– 5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17 = 722,500
– So therefore “The atonement or redemption demonstrated by Christ’s suffering and death on April 1, 33 A.D. (the number 5) is 100% completed on May 21, 2011 (the number 10) when all the true believers are raptured into Heaven (the number 17). ”
– And regarding the two sets of numbers: “Remarkably this number sequence is doubled, to indicate it has been established by God and will shortly come to pass (Genesis 41:32)”
And these, of course, are the ‘infallible proofs’ that the May 21st prediction ‘is no longer opinion, but a matter of fact.’
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tom Evans
Date: Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 5:07 PM
Subject: Re: Outline of LOF
To: Marcus French <email@example.com>
Not knowing Dr. Brown’s view of Scripture I could not say.
Mr. Camping, and I, believe each letter, word and sentence, in the original autographs, were dictated by God.
The persons God used to record Scripture simply wrote as God’s Spirit dictated to them.
No personal commentary was included in the original documents.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” II Timothy 3:16
Secondly, the typical historical-grammatical method of interpretation used by theologians today is not Biblical.
Rather, the only Biblical method of interpretation is “comparing spiritual with spiritual”
Meaning the Bible is the Bible’s commentary and the Holy Spirit the teacher who must illumine ones spiritual eyes to understand.
We must be given the “mind of Christ” in order to understand Christ’s Word, the Bible.
Jesus said: “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
See also I Corinthians 2: 1-16
Dr. Brown appears to aggressively defend his beliefs and feels it is his life’s mission is to defend the traditional Christian faith.
He appears to believe the visible Church is worth defending and it is the visible Church for whom God says the “gates of hell shall not prevail”
Mr. Camping believes, as do I, the actual Church of which Jesus was speaking is not a visible institution found in this world. It is rather all those for whom Christ died.
Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world”
I think of the institutional church as merely an empty shell that once contained something alive, but that something was extinguished by God. The light in the institutional Churches which did exist was removed, just as the candlestick was removed by God from the Church of Ephesus.
Christ’s true people, the “wheat” see that God ‘s spirit has left the “midst” of the temple, the visible Church institution, so they “flee”.
Satan was hired by God to silently infiltrate the visible Church and seduce its members, the “tares” who remain.(Daniel 8: 23&24)
Now all that is left in the visible Church are those who presume they are one of Christ’s sheep.
Jesus, sadly will say to them who say “…Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name?…”
“…I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Jesus said: “If ye love me keep my commandments”
To remain in a institutional church of any kind is disobedience to Christ’s command to “come out of her my people” See Daniel 8:23-25, Matthew 24: 15&16 and Revelation 18: 2-7
God often refers to Jerusalem as Babylon and Babylon as Jerusalem interchangeably . See Jeremiah chapter 9 verse 11 and chapter 51: 37
To speak specifically for Mr. Camping and Family Radio, it is our belief May 21st, 2011 “is no longer opinion, but a matter of fact”
“Each person must come to entrust their lives to what God has written in His Word the Bible and plead to him for mercy. Otherwise God will come upon them with unmerciful vengeance on May 21, 2011”
May God have mercy on each of us,
Family Stations, Inc.
To: Tom Evans Sent: Thu, March 10, 2011 1:28:40 PM
Subject: Re: Outline of LOF
Got it. We’ve had participants in the program that have denied even the most basic elements of orthodox faith (see for instance Dr. Brown’s interview with “Jesus was a liberal” author Scotty McLennan here: http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2011/02/16/was-jesus-a-liberal/ ), so I don’t think having different viewpoints is a negative, but if that’s what your ministry wants, we will certainly go forth with a program explaining our view of Mr. Camping’s approach without someone from your ministry to represent his position. Out of curiosity, how does Dr. Brown’s view of Scripture as God’s authoritative, infallible Word differ from Mr. Camping’s (as mentioned in your email)?
—– Original Message —–
From: “Tom Evans”
To: “Marcus French” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 4:14:29 PM
Subject: Re: Outline of LOF
I presented your interview invitation to Mr. Camping and he has declined to be a guest on Dr. Brown’s program.
His past experience with this kind of interview led him to conclude it would be of no value.
Dr. Brown has his position and Mr. Camping has his.
Undoubtedly, this kind of interview would eventually lead to argument, and that would not fruitful for anyone, including your listeners.
It would be one thing if both parties were in agreement, but it is obvious they are not, even upon the most basic beliefs of Scripture and Eschatology.
Please tell Dr. Brown thank you for his invitation.
I do not know how many of our readers have had the same experience, but I certainly have. Now it must be stated that any position on theology must be based in scripture first and foremost. Although spending most of my formative years in a Scofield Bible, within the first year of college I had abandoned Dispensationalism based on a different look at the texts in the Bible. But at this point in my life, I was not able to see some of the implications of my beliefs and their impact on the connection to Israel. Brian Hennessy continues on with his own experience
It didn’t take long to see where the problem lay. At almost every pro-Israel event there would be a time of public repentance for turning our backs – and often our weapons – on the Jews over the centuries. We’d loudly proclaim that “we will never abandon you again.” Either by keeping silent in times of persecution, as so many did during the Holocaust. Or by doctrinally distancing ourselves again through the acceptance of Replacement Theology.
Yet by embracing a rapture theology, aren’t we already planning to abandon them again? And at a time when Israel and the Jews will need us the most? Worse, we crow about our “saving event” without a blush or a word of apology to our Jewish friends. What must the Jews think? No doubt they are grateful for our present support, but I’m sure they won’t be holding their breath waiting for us to show up once the feathers hit the fan. What is wrong with us? Have we learned nothing from our past betrayals of our brothers? Are we just going to be happy-clappy cheerleaders for the State of Israel as long as the skies are sunny? But when dark clouds come will we quickly start looking for the rapture bus to get us out of here – fast?
Those are sobering words. It is a functional disconnect between theology and relationship. I have said this in conversations with other believers that a “pre-tribulation rapture is anti-Semitic.” Now, those are strictly my words and this observation took over a decade to develop. I say it that way to make us think. A case in point without much personal input is my experience with my father. He had great RESPECT and love for the Jewish people and it is here where I attribute my ‘nascent Zionism.’ Guess what? I know my dad was not anti-Jew, but was his theology? In unpacking some dispensational thought Hennessy reasons
Darby, who is known as the “father of dispensationalism,” believed God has dealt with mankind in different ways in different ages or “dispensations.” Christians belong to the latest dispensation, an age of grace, and are considered God’s “heavenly people.” But the descendants of Abraham – at least those who came before Jesus, plus those who didn’t accept Him as Messiah after He came – belonged to the dispensation of Law and are God’s “earthly people.” The only exception to this rule are Jews who do believe in Jesus. They are counted as part of the Church and those alive at Jesus return can get on the rapture “bus.”
Although he taught that the Church and Israel would always remain separate and distinct, he believed both groups play parallel roles in God’s plan of salvation. And will receive parallel inheritances. That is, he didn’t teach that the Jews had been disenfranchised by the Church, as Replacement Theology taught. But he didn’t see the Church as being a continuation or enhancement of Israel, either.
So maybe I can get my dad off the hook by this logic, but how about those who do not believe in dispensationalism but still have the vestige of a sudden rapture, leaving unsaved Israel behind. If after a thorough look at Scripture you still attest to this view, then I obviously accept that and will not allow us to be divided (Psalm 133). There was never a scientific study done on my part, but via attendance at Messianic conferences, reading Jewish leaders writings and at one time being an active member in a Messianic congregation I observed a trend that they did not ascribe to this view.
The point here is to help define the relationship of the Church to Israel and clarify the roles of Jew (even unsaved) and gentile believer. Also, how do you daily LIVE your life thinking “Any minute I am out of here.” As opposed to preparing your life knowing you (the Church) are required to live through Israel’s ‘darkest hour’ for a divine purpose and witness.
So coming into focus the question is “What does it say to the unsaved Jewish person, when we sincerely want them to see the reflection of Messiah in our life, if we hold to this escapist mentality?” Once again the thoughts of Brian Hennessy:
Therefore, if we are going to be solidly in Israel’s corner as we promised, we can’t also be planning for an early exit. Their fight is also our fight. We must come alongside them, not just as fans, but as family. It doesn’t matter that the majority of Jews do not recognize us or accept us yet as mishpochah. We know it is true! Therefore we have to act in faith and believe we have a stake in this game. The blessings of Israel are something we too will share in if we faint not.
But if we only rejoice over the reestablishment of Israel because it is a prophetic sign that Jesus is coming soon. Or because it is merely an encouragement that if God is faithful to them He’ll be faithful to us. Or because it shows we now reject Replacement Theology, even though we still hold fast to Darby’s Separation Theology – then our Zionism is indeed a hollow shell.
No, we must be in this for the long haul. We must be one with the Jews, come what may, and trust we will rejoice with them at the glorious deliverance our God has promised to perform for us. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity; to give you a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
One need not have special revelation or any particular spiritual belief to know that what happened in Arizona was wrong in the worst way. We instinctively and rightly recoil from the thought of it, no matter where and how our morality is founded. Yet whether we consciously intend to or not, we not only react with revulsion, but also a question… what does this mean? Just as we know instinctively that it is wrong, we also know that it carries meaning. We want and need to interpret this event and what it means in our time, as well as what our response should be.
To the New York Times’ Paul Krugman and other similarly minded thinkers, the meaning is to be found in calling out right-wing political commentators for creating a climate of “hate” towards Democrats that is so dreadful that folks like Krugman “expect[ed] something like this atrocity to happen.” Our response to these murders, we are told, should be to call “all decent people” to “shun” the “likes of [Glenn] Beck and [Bill] O’Reilly.”
FoxNews and Drudge Report, on the other hand, seem to interpret this event as an anomaly we can safely attribute to the strange delusions of one mentally disturbed individual (while also throwing in that he was a “left-wing pothead” in order to curb the attacks coming from outlets such as the NYT). How is one supposed to react to the “Scary Freak” shown in the screenshot below taken from the Drudge Report homepage? Obviously, the intent is to disassociate this man not only from conservatives, but seemingly from all of us! The response they are advocating seems to be a very practical one, that we should improve our governmental mental health system so that people like this are identified, hospitalized, and (perhaps) medicatedbefore they act out in this way.
While the conservative reaction described is more to the point (and certainly better factually attested and reasoned), I believe that the liberal attempt to interpret the event as part of a larger reality is right on, even if their conclusions are not. The NYT’s Krugman was right when he said:
It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.
Yet he was wrong in his analysis of what it is in the national climate that bred events and minds like this. The problem goes much deeper than right-wing rhetoric aimed at the left (as an aside, it should be noted that the left is often as bad as or worse than the right in their demonizing of the opposition, as discussed on yesterday’s Line of Fire episode). In fact, it goes much deeper than the New York Times, or FoxNews, or the Drudge Report are willing (or trained) to go. Krugman is right that there is “sickness” permeating our society, but the sickness is not only in “them” (to Krugman, the right), and it is not only in “him” (to Drudge, the shooter). No, the sickness is in us, all of us!
The nation’s sickness is an evil more real and devastating than any of us realize, and when events such as what happened in Arizona occur, we must discern that rather than some anomaly perpetuated by one angry or disturbed soul so utterly different from the rest of us (some “Scary Freak”), this evil is a public manifestation of a larger reality. We are in a sin-sick society that has cultivated a loveless, godless, and purposeless culture that provides its youth with precious little reason to live beyond the pursuit of immediate pleasure and the numbing of one’s pain. Is it any wonder that it is in the midst of this sort of environment we find young men that for whatever reason (be it mental instability, social rejection, or beliefs/ideologies) are neither enticed by the allure of pleasure, comfort, or societal status, nor intimidated by the punishments that can be leveled upon them by society’s social and governmental structures, turning their inward rage and hostility outward? While we ought to be shocked by this act, we ought not be shocked that a deluded young man living a meaningless, purposeless life in a meaningless, purposeless society, committed an act of meaningless, purposeless violence.
In addition to the immediate, visceral, and pragmatic response we should have to a tragedy such as this, there is a deeper reality we need to enter into in order to extract the meaning of something of this horror. What is the meaning of this tragedy? And what should our response be? Whatever the specifics of this particular case may end up being, and to whatever extent Jared Loughner was affected or unaffected by this age in the midst of his apparent delusions, I would submit that to look into the face of the “scary freak” pictured on Drudge above, or at the pictures of Virginia Tech shooter Seng Hui-Cho or Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold below, and look away without sensing a need to desperately change the culture we’ve nurtured is to see but not understand, to hear but not perceive. These were not individuals motivated by greed, or ideology, or so many other things that make (at some level) sense to us. There’s something desperate, something pathetic in their lives and actions.
There’s a deeper response called for, and it starts with a call for all of us to repent before the living God for cultivating the culture we abide in, asking the author of life to change us from those that sit idly by as generation after generation comes through the societal “system” we’ve set up without having any sense of meaning and purpose beyond the things of this world. There is a stream of true life available to all, and we must be ones that testify to its reality in our generation. We must be the “salt-seasoning” of our society, with a “saltiness” born from deep and real encounters with the Messiah. “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.” This is our divine responsibility… let’s not miss this.
The Manhattan Declaration iPhone/iPad app has been pulled from the Apple Store because gay activists had been complaining that it was ‘homophobic.’ According to the Manhattan Declaration site:
The Manhattan Declaration app was accepted by Apple and rated as a 4+, meaning it contained no objectionable material. Yet Apple pulled the app shortly after a small but very vocal protest by those who favor gay marriage and abortion. These groups claim that the Manhattan Declaration promotes “homophobia” and that its supporters are “anti-gay.”
A recent show from the Line of Fire with Dr. Michael Brown focused on the issue, and included a look into the hypocrisy of Apple’s stance. Click here to listen.
Sign the petition to Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc., to restore the Manhattan Declaration App by clicking here.
Dr. Brown will be discussing last night’s debate with Bart Ehrman at Ohio State University today on The Line of Fire. Click here to listen live between 3-4 PM ET: http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/
You can join in the discussion either by calling in during that time at 866-348-7884, or via the comment discussion on the Line of Fire website.
Update: Martin Ssempa provided some in depth analysis of the show on his blog here.
The interview with controversial Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa on the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill is available here: http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/03/11/march-11-2010/. Various gay activists were invited to participate in the discussion, but declined. Jim Burroway, one of the individuals that declined, had this to say about Ssempa:
There is a reason we don’t take the word of liars like Martin Ssempa at face value. The man of “the Word” willfully misrepresents the very words of the “Kill the Gays Bill” — yes, I said it again — and what they really mean. That’s why we have the full text of the bill posted here (PDF: 847KB/16 pages), straight from the official governmental Uganda Gazette in which all bills are published before being voted on. We posted the full text of the bill for a very simple reason — so that you can see for yourself exactly what the bill says.
Ssempa, on the other hand, is too cowardly to post the text of the bill on any of his web sites. And the truth is he can’t, because if he did those very words would show Ssempa’s followers exactly what a compulsive liar he really is. He cannot post the bill, and he desperately hopes that nobody else reads it to learn what it actually says.
“Liar”? “Cowardly”? “Compulsive liar”? Listen to the interview below, and decide for yourself if Ssempa is indeed all of these things.
A Ugandan Pastor named Martin Ssempa will be appearing on Dr. Michael Brown’s live radio program, The Line of Fire, on Thursday, March 11th, from 3:00-4:00 PM, EST, discussing the Ugandan ‘anti-homosexuality’ bill. Dr. Brown will be taking calls during the program at 866-348-7884. Listeners will be able to listen live online by clicking HERE. The program will be available to download shortly after it airs.
Editor’s Note: To listen to Dr. Brown interview Jeff Johnston, the man who’s story is told in the ad, click here.
An ad submitted by Love Won Out to a San Antonio newspaper was rejected for being offensive. According to CitizenLink:
Newspaper Rejects Ad for Love Won Out Conference
Leading up to Saturday’s conference in Texas, Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out team attempted to place an ad in the San Antonio News-Express.
But the ad — which features the testimony of Jeff Johnston, who used to identify as homosexual but no longer does — was rejected and deemed offensive.
Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media relations at Focus on the Family Action, said the newspaper clearly has a double standard.
“There are a number of ads in the Express-News that are very offensive not only to Christians, but to families,” he said. “Ads for strip clubs and lingerie models, to name just two.
“With those kinds of ads, they don’t worry about the offense to the community, but in this case, the story of a man who says, ‘I used to be gay and now I am not,’ is somehow deemed to be offensive.”
There’s still time to register for the conference, which takes place Saturday at Westover Hills Assembly of God in San Antonio.
The conference is led by those who have overcome homosexuality and other experts from across the country. They will share the hopeful message that change is possible for those dissatisfied with living homosexually, and offer encouragement and practical help on how to love gay-identified relatives and friends without compromising biblical truth.
After numerous calls and emails to the newspaper from the public, Focus on the Family released the following responses to the answers the newspaper was putting out:
Paper That Rejected Love Won Out Ad Not Telling Whole Story to Readers
The San Antonio Express-News has been inundated with calls and e-mails from subscribers upset that the newspaper rejected an ad Focus on the Family sought to place announcing its Love Won Out conference this Saturday, April 18. Many who have contacted the newspaper’s publisher, Tom Stephenson, have received in return what can only be described as misleading e-mails.
To get the truth on the record, Focus on the Family Vice President of Media and Public Relations Gary Schneeberger offers the responses below to Mr. Stephenson’s claims:
Tom Stephenson wrote: Thank you for writing and for giving me a chance to set the record straight. I don’t know if you have seen the ad in question or not but I suspect you have not. I say that because none of the people I have asked had seen the ad and have been relying on information working its way thru the airways and cyber space to lay criticism at the feet of the newspaper.
Gary Schneeberger responds: It is true, many of those who contacted the paper late last week had not seen the ad. But they did hear the text of it, thanks to KSLR radio host Adam McManus, who read it in its entirety on the air. The ad is nothing more than a photo of a smiling Jeff Johnston of the Love Won Out team accompanied by his story of how he used to struggle with same-sex attractions and was able to overcome them through prayer, counseling and events like Love Won Out.
Also, it bears mentioning that it is unusual, to say the least, to criticize people for not seeing an ad – when you’re the one who refused to let them see it.
Tom Stephenson wrote: Here’s what I can share with you. We received a request to run an ad promoting a conference on April 18 for Focus on the Family. We rejected the ad as presented and offered to work with the organizers to come up with alternative ad copy. They rejected that offer.
Gary Schneeberger responds: This is not entirely accurate. It is true that the paper rejected the ad, but there was no attempt to “work with” us until after Mr. Stephenson was inundated with phone calls from upset subscribers. In fact, Mr. Stephenson initially refused to discuss the reasons for his refusal of the ad with one of our senior executives.
Tom Stephenson wrote: We reached out to them a second time and again offered to run an ad promoting the conference. In fact, we offered to run two ads for the price of one. We have not heard back from them on this most recent offer.
Gary Schneeberger responds: The “second” attempt was actually the paper’s “first.” Their offer to reconsider the ad was, according to a publisher’s representative I personally spoke to, contingent upon our “reeling in the copy” of the ad and “focusing it more on the event.” I asked if that meant removing Jeff’s personal story and the word “homosexuality” from the ad. I was told “yes.” We declined the offer because to make the changes they demanded would have rendered the ad meaningless. Love Won Out is about precisely what the ad reflects in its original form – the hope that people can overcome their same-sex attractions.
I was further told that the reason the paper wanted the changes made was because “there is a homosexual community (in San Antonio) and they will be offended” by the ad in its original form.
Tom Stephenson wrote: Sorry for all of the misinformation regarding this ad but I must tell you we have repeatedly reached out to the organizers of the conference to come up with an ad that works for both of us. We are very willing to accept advertising promoting their upcoming conference.
Gary Schneeberger responds: It is not untrue to say the paper is “willing to accept” advertising promoting Saturday’s Love Won Out event. What Mr. Stephenson is not saying, however, is that it will only accept such advertising if it does not include Jeff Johnston’s story of overcoming homosexuality – and that’s like saying he’ll only accept advertising for Wheaties if they drop their “Breakfast of Champions” slogan.