Question: Enclosed is a booklet by Harold Camping titled, What Must I Do to Become Saved? I would appreciate your opinion about what he says.
Response: Harold Camping is a confused man who is leading many astray. He owns and controls everything that is said on Family Radio Network (40 + stations and 100 + translators). His unbiblical teaching goes out in 23 languages by short wave. Very little outside ministry is aired on his network. He believes that the church replaced Israel and that the Church Age ended in 1988; God is done with organized churches, we are to worship only in our homes, listen to Family Radio, and follow Camping. In these fellowships there is no authority except Camping’s teachings, no baptism, no breaking of bread.
In 1992 he wrote and self-published 1994?, which predicted that the world would end September 6, 1994. When that didn’t happen, he decided (as did Ellen G. White of the Seventh-day Adventists for 1844 and Charles Taize Russell of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for 1874, then 1914), that the date was right but the interpretation wrong. Then, in 2002, Camping published The End of the Church Age...and After. He says the Bible’s meaning is progressively revealed, and much previously unknown is now being revealed through him. The “end of the world” will now be 2011. So says his 2005 book titled Time Has an End: A Biblical History of the World, 11,013 BC - 2011 AD. He’s way off on the “BC” also.
His background is Dutch Reformed and his Calvinism dominates the booklet mentioned: You can’t know whether you are one of the elect for whom Christ died—you can hope you are, but there is nothing one can do about it. Admitting this hopeless fact is required for salvation. He says:
God...can save an elect individual at any time....The only requirement is [to] be under the hearing of the Bible. At the moment of salvation, God gives that individual spiritual ears and a new eternal soul. Thus, a baby [as Calvin said] can be saved as readily as a mature adult....At an appropriate time...God will cause this person to actually experience the wonderful fact of salvation [and] a new resurrected soul.
Under the heading on page 17, “What Must I Do to Become Saved?”, he responds: “I cannot do anything....I must patiently wait upon the mercy of God....It is entirely possible that I, too...could be one of those who are chosen by God to become saved.” He says that verses such as, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” don’t tell the sinner how to get saved. Why? “When God is speaking to unsaved people, He is speaking to spiritual corpses [but] one here, one in another place...begins to believe...finds in their life a strong desire to obey the Bible [because] Jesus [has] created within them a new soul [with] eternal life...because they had been chosen by God from before the beginning of creation.”
So the “good news” we preach to the world is not that anyone may believe on Christ and be saved but that maybe one was elected unto salvation. We can’t know for sure, but if we’re one of the elect, God will give us a new “resurrected” soul and cause us to believe and to love His Word.
Some of the most revered Christian leaders of today teach this same Calvinism but more subtly. We hear, from around the world, of Calvinism infiltrating evangelical churches and causing division. We also hear of many, including leaders, being rescued from Calvinism through reading What Love Is This?