I watched Harold Camping respond to reporters yesterday after the earthquakes and the rapture never came on May 21st. The poor reporters didn’t have a chance. Harold has been answering questioners like them for years. At the end of the interview he thanked them for being so gracious. They didn’t rattle him at all.
His answer to their main question was that everything occurred spiritually. There was a spiritual earthquake. He hasn’t given up. The world’s going to end in October. He’s sure of it.
Harold claims to know all this from his calculations from the bible. He’s also dead against the Christian churches–all of them–which he says are inhabited by Satan. All you need are the bible and Harold for going through this world and getting into the next.
In one way, Harold is a perfect example of why we need churches. He’s also an example of why private interpretation of the bible is rejected by the Catholic Church. Once you say that every individual has the primary role in interpreting the bible, you are on the way to creating as many churches as there are people like Harold.
The other danger Harold illustrates is that he make the bible he holds on his lap the sole authority for everything spiritual. Yes, it’s God’s word. But where did that book come from, you want to ask him? It didn’t appear mysteriously from heaven. It was a book that came from believers. Parts of it were “memoirs of the apostles,” parts of it were “writings of the prophets,” letters from Paul and others. It’s a library of different experiences and expressions.
You need a living church to help you interpret it and give you balance. You need a living church to express and develop its wisdom. You need more than Harold.