Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Most Interesting Debate of the Week

On the 28th and 29th of July Dr James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and Harold Camping of Family Radio engaged in 'debate' on the radio show Iron Sharpens Iron. The topic intended for debate and discussion was "Has the Church Age Ended?" Harold Camping argues the affirmative with his only reference being selective eisegesis that he can undertake on the basis of special revelation. A revelation that seems to be revealed only to him. The vagueness of my understanding of Camping's position has to do with the fact that he barely discussed the issue. White, with sound exegesis, firmly defended against the idea that the Church age had ended.

I recommend that everyone download the podcast either from the AOMIN.ORG podcast 'The Dividing Line' or the Iron Sharpens Iron site above.

The first day of debate went well - there was some sort of interaction between White and Camping. However, when we get to the second day...I am speechless. As one would expect from the debate - Camping was to engage with White. However, Camping just used his three minutes each go to 'prove' his 2011 parousia through a one-way speech taking no note that White was even talking! It was amazing - White said some very great things and Camping, relying on premises thoroughly refuted by White earlier, would simply start where he left off with his little introduction. "As we have seen in Mark 4, Jesus spoke in parables" - Camping would then assume this meant everything was a parable which he, as the rightly ordained one, could interpret through the use of number games and other forms of eisegesis. Then throughout his three minute speeches he would repeat "This has been shown from the Bible" whilst making very little reference to the Bible or its context.

Furthermore, Camping employs a hermeneutic of - I don't know. How would one phrase this?
Exegesis requires that we take note of the context - firstly, the immediate context of the writing. However, Camping thoroughly rejects this man-made heresy (as we have established from Mark 4 Jesus spoke in parables) in order to uncover the true meaning. This means removing a word from the immediate context completely and placing the verse arbitrarily in the thematic context of an entirely different verse ANYWHERE in the Bible.

I was amazed that he does not see the folly in this. The Bible is turned into a contextless puzzle that one must reconstruct as they wish - postmodern eisegesis at its best!

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