Monday, May 23, 2011

Failed Rapture Notice

A friend of my husband got this email, and I thought it was pretty funny. Did anyone else get it?

ADDENDUM (5/28/11):

Since the above was admittedly a poor excuse for a blogpost, I figured I would add the following comment on the subject of Harold Camping that I posted on Thoughts from a Sandwich this morning. (Parts of the main post are in red and my response is in black.)
Aren’t [Christians who believe Jesus could come again any time and urge you to "get right with God," yet criticize Camping by stabbing out Matthew 24:36 like a weapon] committing the same error, albeit with slightly less precision? They know it could happen today. Yet, ironically, by such knowledge, seem to have eliminated today as a possibility, pursuant to their own Bible verse.
Most Christians didn’t eliminate May 21, 2011 as a possibility. We just didn’t think it was any more likely than, say, May 25, 2011. It’s the difference between expressing confidence that someone is going to win the lottery and being so confident that I will win the lottery that I take out a loan and spend the money in anticipation.

And Harold Camping’s antics have about as much in common with the position of Christian orthodoxy as the behavior of the Heaven’s Gate UFO cultists had in common with the statements by Stephen Hawking that aliens probably exist somewhere. Whether or not Hawking is right, his statement is not worth laughing at because he has good reasons for saying that. This would be even truer if scientists actually discovered evidence of extraterrestrial life. The fact that most of the people who talk about aliens have been kooks wouldn’t then render scientists kooks.

I know that the idea of Jesus coming again as described in the Bible is bizarre, because something like that has never happened before. But quantum physics is bizarre and so is Big Bang cosmology. The question is whether we have good reasons for accepting those bizarre things as true.

And since Christians have good reasons for believing that God exists and that the Bible is God’s word, and the Bible is very clear that Jesus will come again, our belief is reasonable. However, Camping’s was not—he used completely random calculations to arrive at his date, going against Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32, and Acts 1:7. What he did has little to do with Christianity—he will now simply take his place in history (once again) as one of a number of failed apocalyptic preachers, not all of whom were Christian.

Yes, he’s right that every day is a good day to get right with God, and in his case that would mean the humility of admitting he was completely wrong (rather than just changing the date) and taking some responsibility for the people he mislead.

Has Jesus been waiting around for 2000 years for people to stop remembering he is coming back? 
I wonder if he regrets putting that clause in the contract….
Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10 say that the Gospel must first be preached to all nations. That probably has happened by now, but it was certainly not true in the first century when those words were written. So that is a fulfilled prophecy.

The description of the church in Revelation 7:9 has also been fulfilled: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and people and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.”

There are Christians around the world of all nationalities, races, languages, and cultures, and the Bible is the most translated book in the world, continuing to be translated into new languages all the time.

In the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). Surely He wouldn’t come again before that had been accomplished?

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