Apologetics Index

Harold Camping | Family Radio

Information about Apologetics Index research resources This is a continuation of our older entry on Harold Camping
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Jan 23, 2014: Family Radio, founded by the late Harold Camping, says it will continue to “advocate” and “agree with” the views he held. This means that Family Radio continues to be considered theologically a cult of Christianity.

Dec 15, 2013: Harold Camping died on December 15, 2013.

May 21, 2011: As predicted, the doomsday prophecies of cult leader Harold Camping have proven to be false. Again.

Nevertheless, on May 24, the false prophet set a new ‘end-of-the-world’ date: October 21, 2011

As expected, that date came and went as well.

  • Harold Camping (full name Harold Egbert Camping) is the president of Family Stations, Inc., a California-based Christian broadcasting ministry with a worldwide reach.
  • Family Station, better known as Family Radio, is a non-profit organization. Camping is a full-time volunteer, serving without pay as President and General Manager.
  • His daily recorded sermons are translated into 54 languages, then broadcast across the US via FM stations and across the globe via short wave radio.
  • Camping says that he believes the Bible to be the sole and authoritative word of God. But he nevertheless has a number of unbiblical teachings.
    • He teaches the end of the world is imminent, setting the date for the rapture as May 21, 2011 [1] , and predicting that the earth will be destroyed by fire on October 21, 2011 [2] . He previously predicted that the rapture would take place on Sept. 6, 1994. [3]
    • Much of his theology regarding the end times and the date of the rapture is based on numerology instead of the use of sound, Biblical hermeneutics
    • Like others Camping makes a distinction between the “corporate external church” and “all those individuals who personally have become saved.” However, he teaches that, due to apostasy, the institutional church is no longer blessed by God. He claims that God no longer uses local churches, and says that Christians should come out of the churches and not submit to the authority of any church body, but instead meet informally
    • Camping also believes that God has established Family Radio as the sole beacon of truth — ideally suited to spread the Gospel and teach Christians. He has come to this conclusion primarily because Family Radio is doing well whereas, in his views, the institutional church has fallen into apostasy
    • Camping further denies the doctrine of the Trinity, stating that Christ is a mere mode of God, not a different person within the Godhead [Modalism/Oneness heresy] [4]
    • Camping’s false theology is an example of what happens when one places experience over doctrine. By trying to make Scripture fit his views, rather than have his views and experiences tested by Scripture, Camping builds one false interpretation on another. Moreover, since he refuses any type of accountability — along with his rejection of the institutional church — Camping is bound to descend into ever greater error.
  • Given Harold Camping’s unbiblical theology, along with his call for Christians to leave the church, plus his apparent attempts to portray Family Radio as the sole source of religious authority leave us no choice but to consider Camping a false prophet and a heretic — and to view Family Radio as, theologically, a cult of Christianity

May 28, 2011: Judgment Day. October 21, 2011 “universe will be annihilated.”

May 21 is Judgment Day, when “this world will be a horror story beyond anything we can imagine,” [Harold Camping] asserts.

End-of-timers generally have been fixated on the doomsday date of Dec. 21, 2012 – when the “Long Count” calendar of the ancient Maya ends and, presumably, the world with it.

There won’t even be a 2012, according to Camping. His website displays the number with a red slash through it.

In a phone interview last week from his Oakland, Calif., office, Camping warned that those who do not accept his complex calculations, including even devout Christians, will face “sudden destruction” when Jesus returns.

In the late 1980s, he began warning the end would come in September 1994. When Gabriel’s trumpet failed to sound, he revised his dates for several years before dropping the subject.

Now the former civil engineer, who is not ordained, maintains that God has revealed to him the true meaning of many dates and symbolic numbers in the Bible.

Essentially, he argues that May 21, 2011, is “exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C., when the [great] flood began,” and that these 7,000 years mirror the seven days God gave Noah to warn the world to get ready for destruction.

At the end of the new warning period “there will be a huge earthquake the likes of which has never been had in history,” he said in the interview, “and the graves will be opened all over the world.”

Jesus will gather up the saved in their glorified bodies – there will only be about 200 million – and the unsaved will be left to rot into manure. “The Bible uses some ugly language” to describe the end, he said.

Five months later, on Oct. 21, “the entire universe will be annihilated.”

That Christ will return in glory to judge “the living and the dead” lies at the core of Christian belief, and most conservative Christians share Camping’s conviction that the Bible paints an authentic picture of how the world-as-we-know-it will end.

But most also point out that Jesus told his disciples that even he did not know the “day nor the hour” that that will occur.

Quite a few are making a prediction of their own: The sage of Oakland will wake up embarrassed on May 22.

Camping does not intend to be disappointed. He has no plans for May 21 other than to “watch and wait,” he said.

He scoffed when asked how he might feel if he wakes up on May 22.

“I would be disobeying God if I say there’s a possibility of that,” he said. “I mean it with all my heart. There’s no possibility – none, none, none – that it will not happen.”
– Source: David O’Reilly, May 21 is said to be the end of the world, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 17, 2011

Harold Camping predicts end of the world in 1994

Some followers of Harold Camping claim he never predicted that the end of the world would occur in 1994. This outtake from an exchange with the BBC’s Louis Theroux shows otherwise:

Harold Camping Seminar

Dr. James White, Director of Alpha & Omega Ministries, taught this seminar on Harold Camping in 2002 at the Grace Reformed Baptist Church on Long Island.


  1. Judgment Day, Family Radio [Unbiblical teaching. Included as a research resource only]
  2. We Are Almost There, Family Radio [Unbiblical teaching. Included as a research resource only]
  3. In his book, 1994?, Camping stated the end of the world may occur somewhere between September 15-17 (p. 531). He does not know the exact day because Scripture says “no man knows the day nor the hour” (Matt. 24:36). But according to Camping we can certainly know the month and the year that Christ will return. Source: Stephen C. Meyers, 1994? A Summary Critique, Christian Research Journal, Winter 1994.

    Camping actually set many dates for the rapture, including:
    • September 15, 1994, the Jewish Day of Atonement
    • September 25, 1994, the Jewish feast of tabernacles
    • October 4, 1994, the anniversary of Jesus’ actual birthday as calculated by Camping
    • December 25, 1994, based on Camping’s explanation of Revelation 11:10 (people sending each other gifts)
    • February 25, 1995, the Jewish feast of Purim
    • May 3, 1996 Camping explained how the “four watches” alluded to in Mark 13:35 extended the September 6, 1994 date until then

    For a while Camping also taught that September 6, 1994 was the right date after all — but for the beginning of the Great Tribulation, not Judgment Day. But in line with Camping’s theology that would mean the return of the Lord would take place no later than 2008. Source: information gathered by David Rastetter, who operated a website titled, Family Radio is Wrong! [Internet Archive version]

  4. Camping made his denial during a debate with James White, July 29, 2009 [mp3]

Article details

Category: Family Radio, Harold Camping
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First published (or major update) on Monday, July 19, 2010.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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