Friday, May 13, 2011

Sermon Preview--Duct-Tape Your Mouth

Perhaps you've seen the billboards that say, "Judgment Day, May 21. The Bible guarantees it!" It's eye-catching, to say the least. Apparently, signs like this are all over the world, on billboards, internet ads, even on RVs. Who is behind them? Apparently, a minister named Harold Camping has spent over $3 million to propagate this message. Who is he, and why is he so sure this present world is over in a little more than a week? The following is a quote from yesterday's God Issues blog by Jim Denison:

Mr. Camping is a self-ordained minister with no theological training. He arrived at May 21, 2011 by studying carbon dating, tree rings and other data to determine that Noah loaded animals into his ark in 4990 B.C. Since "a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (2 Peter 3:8), the seven days it took Noah to load the animals represents 7,000 years. Adding 7,000 to 4,990, we arrive at 2010. But since there is no "year one" in the Bible, the correct year is 2011. Noah's flood began on the 17th day of the second month in the Jewish calendar, a date which Camping claims corresponds to May 21 on ours.

Camping earlier predicted the Rapture for 1994, but asserts that he now has new information. He apparently knows more than Jesus, who stated that "no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36).

It baffles me that any Christian could listen to a man like this. But mainly, it makes me angry. People like this, who speak in an arrogant, unbiblical way about God bring such disgrace to Christianity. Even worse are TV preachers who make pronouncements of judgment after a major disaster. In Scripture, God's prophets FORETOLD judgment, for the purpose of eliciting repentance (and therefore salvation) from people...they didn't dance gleefully on the graves of disaster victims for the purposes of getting on Larry King Live and selling a few books. Whenever this happens, I find myself thinking, "I hope I'm there when these people face THEIR judgment before Christ." And then the Spirit reminds me...I've disgraced Him too, more times than I'd like to know. I've spoken rashly, arrogantly, and unbiblically about the One True God.

This week, we'll take a quick break from the parables of Jesus, but we'll stay on the subject of humility. We'll be considering the story of Job and his three friends. For 36 chapters, they engaged in a heated dialogue on the subject of who God is and how He works. Who was right? And how can we avoid mis-speaking when it comes to the most important subject of all?

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