Last week, my wife and I were motoring through Portland, OR, on our way to Sunriver for a retreat. We came upon a caravan of four RVs all decorated with the same message and paint scheme. Each vehicle contained the same simple message, The world will end on May 11, 2011. “The Bible guarantees it!”
Carol and I had three reactions to the message. Our first thought was, “When the world ends, you can bet it won’t be on May 11, 2011. Mark 13:32 says that no one knows the day or hour, not the angels, not even Jesus, only God himself.” Our second thought was, “Can we buy your house on May 10? You won’t be needing it.” Our third reaction was, “It figures, they have California license plates.”
After returning home from our retreat, I decided to visit the website listed on their RVs, familyradio.com. I was dismayed to read the heresy taught on their pages and the misuse of Scripture to back up their positions. They use a convoluted math formula based on an obscure prophecy to arrive at setting May 11, 2011 as the beginning of judgment. When questioned about the verse, no one knows the day or hour, they misinterpret Jesus’ response to the question in Acts 1:7 and say that only applied to the disciples. Misusing Ecclesiastes 8:5 as a prooftext, they claim they have the wisdom to understand what God’s plans are.
Based on reading the message on their vans and doing a cursory reading of their website, I am dismayed by their heresy. Granted, I have not talked with them personally. But I am bothered by both the content and the tone of their message. One, they are misusing and twisting Scripture for their purposes. Two, their message is one of judgment rather than of grace. Third, they tend to turn people off rather than attract them to the gospel. Fourth, they convey an attitude of pride and secret knowledge. Didn’t the apostles Paul and John warn against that very attitude?
We need to preach the truth of Scripture (2 Timothy 4:2), but we need to handle it accurately (2 Timothy 2:15).