James R. White
Reviewed by: Alan D. Strange
Date posted: 06/25/2006
Dangerous Airwaves: Harold Camping Refuted and Christ's Church Defended, by James R. White. Published by Calvary Press (www.aomin.org), 2002. Paperback, 144 pages, list price $13.99. Reviewed by OP pastor and teacher Alan D. Strange. (This review First appeared in the Mid-America Journal of Theology.)
James R. White has a solid reputation as a refuter of heresy of various stripes. In this book, he takes on Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio, a lay speaker/teacher who in earlier years encouraged listeners to Family Radio to affiliate with biblical, Reformed and Presbyterian churches. Not any more. Camping now urges no one to associate with any church, teaching instead that the "church age" has ended. Camping has apparently arrived at such a conclusion by the application of an allegorical hermeneutic that has led him into increasingly wild numerological and bizarre eschatological speculations.
In the last year or two, Camping's method of interpreting the Bible has prompted him to assert that the church as a visible organization is passe', and that, consequently, the officers and ordinances of the church no longer possess validity. This leaves us in an ecclesiological no-man's-land of "fellowships of believers," a situation perfectly suited to our currently anarchic church landscape.
White exposes Camping's methodology, showing that he characteristically wrenches words out of context and that he reads the Scriptures through the lens of an approach not taken from Scripture, but imposed upon Scripture. Camping claims that he is not following tradition, confessions, or anything but "the Bible alone." Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is White's expose' of this claim: Camping has adopted an approach to biblical interpretation which is highly idiosyncratic and singular. He comes up with things "from" the text that no other competent exegetes have ever found there. Then he loudly proclaims that he is following the Bible alone, even as have other heresiarchs who have denied cardinal doctrines of the faith.
Camping, however, as White points out again and again, does not follow the Scriptures at all, but concocts fanciful interpretations out of a fevered imagination that he claims to be a "spiritual" approach, but which is more akin to a kind of gnosticism. Camping typically asserts that "x means y." Then he proceeds forward, building on that with more and more assertions, alleging logical connections. Meanwhile, the thinking Christian is still contesting his ground assertion that "x means y."
The book is replete with examples of Camping's eisegesis. To give an example, a fascinating, if more minor, one is Camping's assertion that "causing people to fall backward to the ground is equivalent to calling down fire from heaven" (see pp. 80-83 for the full context of this discussion). To put it another way, Camping's alleged exegesis of passages that purport to demonstrate the end of the church age is nothing more than a seemingly endless series of non sequiturs.
Camping, in his attack on the church, is like a man who would pretend to praise me while slandering my wife. I am not pleased with someone who would commend me and condemn my wife. Much more so, our Lord Jesus Christ is not pleased by one who would profess to love and serve him and who would at the same time vilify his precious bride, the church. White ably refutes the illogicality of this one who has, sadly, in rejecting the church, apostatized, as one who "went out from us" (1 John 2:19).