What Do You Say to a False Prophet? – Harold Camping

I wrote a letter to 89 year old Harold Camping, President of Family Radio, who stampeded thousands, perhaps millions into being absolutely  certain the Rapture would take place May 21, 2011.   If he reads it at all, it will likely not be before Monday, the 23rd.

He is but one of the more egregious examples of what can happen when people are contemptuous of the voice of community and tradition in interpreting Scripture.  Such people sometimes end up going to extremes, and are usually the last to know.

I sent this letter by email on Friday afternoon, May 20, 2011.  I hope he gets thousands like it.

Mr Camping.

I began listening to you on WFME when I first came to faith in Christ in the early 1960’s. I also knew the engineer at your station in San Francisco at KEAR when I lived there in the 1980’s. I am familiar with your patient style and your voice of authority on Open Forum.

By the time you read this, you will know that you have led many thousands astray and undermined their faith in the clarity of Scripture because they trusted you and your absolutist word about what the Bible says. This is most serious: there are people who will abandon the faith now because they trusted in you, took extreme actions on the basis of your interpretation, and are now confused and disillusioned about the authority and truth of the Bible, which you have so grievously misrepresented.

In addition, “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Millions will now laugh at biblical faith because they KNEW what you did not know even before May 21: that you were self-deceived.

The Bible says that in the last days there will be many deceivers, deceiving and being deceived, who shall deceive many.

I know you don’t want to be one of them.

Brother Camping, it is time for you to repent, and here is what you must do, in my opinion.

You must submit to some ecclesial authorities, preferably from the Christian Reformed Church from which you schismatically departed, or a community of like weight which is not indebted to you as is your Board, and, confessing that you lack the capacity to rightly discern the truth, ask them to teach you again the elementary things of the Word of God. Mr Camping, you know the Bible well: but you are deeply deceived as to how it is to be rightly divided and interpreted. And you are deeply deceived and deceiving about the Church and about ecclesial structures. All of that has become crystal clear with the dawning of the sun on May 22.

Many thousands have been damaged by your proud, even if sincere, folly.

Please repent as publicly as you have deceived the masses. It is the least you can do.

For your soul’s sake, for the sake of many thousands of others, and for the name of God, please.

S. Dauermann, PhD


About Stuart Dauermann

The blog of Rabbi Dr. Stuart Dauermann, teacher, mentor, radio talk show host, denizen of Los Angeles, and a visionary with a long career in Messianic Jewish activism. You can hear Rabbi Dauermann as he hosts Shalom Talk, a weekly radio show, and even listen online at ShalomTalk.com. Rabbi Dauermann spends time traveling nationally and internationally, and throughout the year is in Israel as a Scholar in Residence at the MJTI Jerusalem Center. He has plenty to say about Jewish-Christian relations, the need for shalom in the world, and the agenda of Messiah, the Son of David.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What Do You Say to a False Prophet? – Harold Camping

  1. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Great letter!

  2. Elliot Klayman says:

    According to the Festinger model of failed prophecy, the group will rationalize and actually renew their evangelistic false prophetic efforts, if in fact, they have a strong sociological support, which it seems they do. So, they might say that the rapture did occur and that it is a “spiritual rapture,” something like Jehovah Witnesses in the early 20th century; or that the group was able to stay the judgment due to their “righteousness;” or some other rationalization and justification, as in the case of Shabbatei Zvi. One thing is for sure. For the 70,000 people in the world who died yesterday it is the end of this world, and Mr. Camping did not help them in their spiritual journey.

    • Thank you for an informed response, Elliot. Camping may also simply tell his people, with great piety, “I trust the LORD will forgive me. Being a sinful man, I must have missed a key calculation.” A friend sent me a link purporting to be a WRITTEN response broadcast on You Tube, in which Camping admits his folly and resigns from ministry. However, that posting was dated May 20, so it is certainly bogus, as Camping was still waiting for his fulfillment on the 21st. The posting also uses colloquial language (“should’ve”) and rambling syntax uncharacteristic of Camping, as is evident from examining scores of pages of his writing on his website.

  3. Debbie Summers says:

    It is a great letter. I hope Camping reads it and takes it to heart. I find it quite unfortunate that many sold houses, quit jobs and some may lose their faith. Probably, many will revise the prophecy and set a new date. Besides feeling sorry for those who believed this, I have found myself wishing that Hashivenu and MJTI had 100 million to get out their message. The mainstream media coverage of Camping was incredible.
    I also wish that Messianic Jewish believers didn’t believe so much in the more general ideas of the rapture. So many Messianic Jews have revised their theology and moved toward seeing the Jewish people as us not them – but too many still have a “rapture exception” and believe that the non-Yeshua believing Jews must by necessity be left behind when the Rapture occurs. I long for the day when that segment of their theology gets revised,too.

  4. Moritz Benecke says:


    I want to introduce myself, because otherwise my english and my opinion might be misunderstood. I am a young german, through my family deeply involved with messianic jews and I have many friends among them, in Germany as well as in Israel. I want to tell you, that I admire your letter for how modest it is. I especially think, that the part where you told him about the false prophets, is very effective. If I were in the situation in which Mr. Camping finds himself now, I would do as you said. I have been a believer in Yeshua Hamashiach since I was 12. I even learned the biblical hebrew and koine greek to read the Bible in original text. I think that the signs for the coming “end of the world” are clear (Israel is a nation again!) and that we draw near it (obviously as time doesn’t go backwards), but I still say we can never know. It is written that we shouldn’t even dare to predict it. And I will not do such a thing. I will have my alarm installed though, for the moment the “thief” comes in the night, for it could happen any moment, even on October 21st as Camping is saying now. Yes as of now on May 24th he just calls “miscalculation” again, like he did back in 1994. I am really sad, that he either didn’t read your letter or that it was just like raindrops on an umbrella to him. I hope and will pray, that the LORD will show him the true way.
    But now I have still a question left. I cannot find explicit sources about the whole “rapture” thing in the bible, that states what many american preachers (and some german ones, too) say: That when Yeshua comes back he will first swipe us all from where we are standing and bring us immediately to heaven. I think that we have to live through the end times and maybe even become martyrs or somewhat, I don’t know truly and it confuses me, that many believers are so divided about this subject. Normally I have a somewhat socratian (“The only thing I know is, that I know absolutely nothing.”) stand about all this: “I don’t know what the LORD exactly wants to do, and I will never truly know unless HE tells me directly. So I should just trust HIM, that whatever HE will do, it will be good.” What I mean by that is, that I want to fully trust the LORD in this and give up every doubt about what is going to happen to
    me and the world at large. I only want to know now: Is there explicit truth in the bible about the rapture? For I cannot find any, but seeing as I am only 26 and haven’t had all the experiences you might have had with our LORD, I thought I ask you.

    I wish you GOD’s blessing and will pray further for the cause of the messianic jews.
    Greetings from Germany
    Moritz Theodor Benecke

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *