by Dan Phillips
It is tempting to write “Inadvertently, unintentionally, and by means of contrast” – and let that suffice. However…
First, Harold Camping glorifies God because all things are God’s servants (Psalm 119:91). Camping can’t not glorify God. You can’t not glorify God. You will either glorify Him as His servant, or as His tool; but you will glorify him (cf. Isaiah 10:5-16).
Second, Harold Camping glorifies God because, by his refusal to repent for past false guesses and his insistence on “doubling down” and putting all his weight on yet another guess, he illustrates God’s wisdom in warning us: “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11).
Third, Harold Camping glorifies God, because his arrogant false claim to knowledge he does not and
cannot possess spotlights the humble truthfulness of Jesus, who confessed that “concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” and then admonished us “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-22).
Fourth, Harold Camping glorifies God because his repeated false guesses about the future throw God’s exhaustive knowledge of the future — and inerrant declaration of the same through His genuine prophets — into stark and splendorous relief (Isaiah 41:22-23; 44:7; 46:10; Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
Fifth, Harold Camping glorifies God because, by his repeated predictions despite past humiliation and exposure, he bears out God’s wisdom in warning that you can “Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him” (Proverbs 27:22).
In his book Finally Alive (ch. 3, pp. 48-53), John Piper has a section on the nature and meaning of the New Birth. The excerpts below serve as a sobering reminder of man’s inadequacy, of the fact that we cannot do a single thing to bring about this transformation. From start to finish, God must do it all.
- Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-2). “Dead implies lifeless. Not physically or morally lifeless, but spiritually lifeless… we are not dead in the sense that we can’t sin. We are dead in the sense that we cannot see or savor the glory of Christ… we are unresponsive to God and Christ and this word.”
- Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). “Apart from the new birth, I am my problem. You are not my main problem. My parents are not my main problem. My enemies are not my main problem. I am my main problem. Not my deeds, and not my circumstances, and not the people in my life, but my nature is my deepest personal problem.”
- Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20). “We are not neutral when spiritual light approaches. We resist it. And we are not neutral when darkness envelops us. We embrace us. Love and hate are active in the unregenerate heart. And they move in exactly the wrong directions – hating what should be loved and loving what should be hated.”
- Apart from the new birth, our hearts are hard like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Ephesians 4:18). “At the bottom of our problem is not ignorance. There is something deeper… our ignorance is a guilty ignorance, not innocent ignorance. It is rooted in hard and resistant hearts… we suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Ignorance is not our biggest problem. Hardness and resistance are.”
- Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Romans. 8:7-8). “… without the Holy Spirit, our mind’s are so resistant to God’s authority that we will not, and therefore cannot, submit to Him… and if we cannot submit to Him, we cannot please Him.”
- Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Ephesians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14). “The problem is not that the things of God are over [our] heads intellectually. The problem is that [we] see them as foolish… in fact, they are so foolish to [us] that [we] cannot grasp them… the heart is so resistant to receiving them that the mind justifies the rebellion of the heart by seeing them as foolish. This rebellion is so complete that the heart really cannot receive the things of the Spirit. This is real inability. But it is not coerced inability. The unregenerate person cannot because he will not. His preferences to sin are so strong that he cannot choose good. It is a real and terrible bondage. But it is not an innocent bondage.”
- Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace Him as Lord (John 6:44, 65; 1 Corinthians 12:3). “It is morally impossible for the dead, dark, hard, resistant heart to celebrate the Lordship of Jesus over his life without being born again… we so strongly prefer self-reliance that we cannot come. That is what has to be changed in the new birth. A new preference, a new ability, is given.”
- Apart from the new birth, we are slaves to sin (Romans 6:17). “Until God awakens us from spiritual death and gives us life that finds joy in killing sin and being holy, we are slaves and cannot get free. That’s why the new birth is necessary.”
- Apart from the new birth, we are slaves of Satan (Ephesians 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:24-26) “Our deadness is not unresponsive to the devil. It is perfectly in tune with the devil… the mark of unregenerate persons is that their desires and choices ‘accord with’ the prince of the power of the air. The unregenerate may scoff at the very idea of a devil. And of course, nothing is more in line with the father of lies than the denial that he exists… until God does that that miracle of new birth, we stay in bondage to the father of lies because we love to tell ourselves whatever we please. We keep fondling smooth roaches and warm, fuzzy tarantulas in the dark.”
- Apart from the new birth, no good thing dwells in us (Romans 7:18). “Faith is good. The Holy Spirit is good. The new spiritual nature is good. Growing holiness is good. But in [our] flesh, that is, in the person [we] are by nature apart from the new birth, there is no good thing. All that was created good was ruined by being made the servant of man-centered concerns, not God-centered concerns.”
Striking Hands with the Children of Foreigners – It’s a tough truth, and one that many would rather not deal with: “There is nothing that riles up the crowd more than the thought of actually having a clear separation from those who teach doctrinal error, to mark those who err, to avoid fellowship, or the need to shun yoking with those ministries that have compromised God’s truth, (for the sake of this false unity they purport or peddle).”
Book Review: But God… – Becky reviews Casey Lute’s new book – a book I now very much wish to read.
Don’t Tell Lies, Just Sing Them! – How many of us have been guilty of this at some time or another? “You probably sing a dozen or so hymns a week, give or take a few. How often are you just uttering them, not believing a word you say?”
The End is Near? – An excellent article by Albert Mohler on the false teaching of Harold Camping: “Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives.”
What Should We Learn From Harold Camping? – Another great post about Camping, this time from Gregg.
Roses – Some exquisite photography.
Firm Assurance – A must-read. “We can have firm assurance in every trial because we know, as the old song says, ‘What God Hath Done is Rightly Done’. Let us boast in our great God and lean on the everlasting arms. ”
Stop and Ask Yourselves – Great picture, sobering quote.
Dad & Chocolate Cake – I’d intended to include this hilarious clip in Tuesday’s F&J, but it skipped my mind. Still, better late than never. Enjoy!
“God’s wounds cure, sin’s kisses kill.” ~ William Gurnall