The strange case of Harold Camping

Published in SATS ‘Pastor to Pastor’

Harold Camping is the Calvinist radio Bible teacher based in California. He has sprung to notoriety by predicting that the Rapture would occur at 6 pm on 21st May, 2011. The day has come and gone and the Christian world is left puzzling over the question of how he could have got it so wrong.

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Apart from radically reinterpreting Jesus words, that no one knows the day or the hour, as applying only to the disciples of His time, Camping fell on the sword of his faulty interpretive method. He uses and abuses a method commonly referred to as allegorical interpretation, but he is not the only teacher who does this. Several years ago I heard the leader of a major church group preach on how the twelve gates in the walls of ancient Jerusalem each stood for a particular church age. He went around the gates in a clockwise direction and concluded that we were currently in the age signified by the Dung Gate – phew!

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Camping uses an extreme form of allegorization but there are several variants in today’s church, and so it would be useful to examine the issue and come up with a balanced approach to biblical interpretation

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Christopher Peppler

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.