January 14, 2002 Richard H. Homeres Family Stations, Inc. 290 Hegenberger Road Oakland, CA 94621 Dear Mr. Homeres, This letter is in response to your inquiry of November 7, 2001, where you stated your desire to air our messages under the new policy of not referring to men by their Biblical titles nor what churches they represent. Recently, we have implemented a policy regarding announcements on the air, stating that the name of organizations, or churches, or titles of the speakers, cannot be included. Because we have enjoyed a friendly and mutually supportive relationship with Family Radio in the past, we wrote to you on November 12, 2001, for more information before our session would make its decision. You passed our letter on to the President of Family Radio, Harold Camping, from whom we received a response dated November 20, 2001. His two page response was accompanied by an eight page defense of his latest teaching and the twenty-three page tract "Has the Era of the Church Age Come to an End?" Part of the information we asked from you was never clearly answered by Mr.Camping. Based on the two letters we received, we wrote to you again on Nov.26, 2001, stating what appeared to us to be your new positions and asking that either you or Mr. Camping acknowledge whether we were correct or not. After waiting six weeks for a reply, we can only assume that your lack of response to our letter means that our understanding is accurate concerning your new positions. Besides the above mentioned policy, Mr. Camping informed us that you will also be editing our sermons to conform to his teaching. He wrote the following, This means we will no longer identify Family Radio's teachings with Pastors or churches. However, if a Pastor or church wishes to continue to assist with the wonderful task of evangelization we welcome messages that are faithful to God's Word. However, we must edit out references to the visible, corporate church. We will not edit our references to the eternal, invisible church because it will always continue. We are very thankful for the messages that in the past we have received from the Free Reformed [sic] preachers. We truly hope that some of these men can continue with the task of evangelizing the world, even though they themselves will not be recognized as a Pastor, and even though their contribution to Family Radio's ministry will not assist in anyway to build up their congregations. Although we have in the past enjoyed the godly music, evangelistic emphasis, and edifying messages on Family Radio, we cannot agree with the current policy which goes against your stated purpose to help the local churches. Daily, Mr. Camping is teaching that pastors, elders and deacons have no authority from God and that God is commanding His people to leave the local church to attend an assembly where there is no spiritual authority or ordinances. In his letter to us he clearly rejoices that already a few churches have seen these truths and have changed from a church with elders and deacons and a Pastor to become a fellowship with no elders, deacons or a Pastor. The question we ask ourselves is, why does the station even want our messages, if Family Radio is ashamed to acknowledge that we are Biblically ordained pastors and represent Scriptural churches? It is clear to us that this new policy of refusing to refer to our preachers as Pastors, refusing to mention the church's name in connection with a message, and editing out of our sermons that which disagrees with Mr. Camping, is an attempt to have us teach the same thing as Mr. Camping. We can under no circumstances allow our teaching to be confused with the latest erroneous teachings of Mr. Camping. Let me briefly address three of the issues that Mr. Camping raises in his teachings that are clearly not in accordance with Scripture. First, he holds that the orthodox, Bible-believing church is dead and given over to Satan. We believe that the orthodox, Bible-believing church is not and never will be given over to Satan. "Giving over to Satan" is the language used by the Apostle Paul to refer to excommunication. Because of unrepentant sin (I Cor. 5:1-5) or blasphemous heresy (I Tim. 1:19-20), Paul gave men over to Satan. In so doing, Paul put these men outside of the church and into Satan's domain. It is true that churches that have turned to idolatry or apostatized from the truth have been given over to destruction, but that is a result of their leaving Christ. God never gives a faithful church over to Satan. By Mr. Camping teaching believers to leave the church, has not the result of his doctrine been that he has "excommunicated" or driven believers from their congregation to the very place where Satan's domain is? It is Mr. Camping who is giving men over to Satan, not the Lord. It is blasphemous to think that our good Shepherd would give His sheep over to the wolf, especially when they are obeying His commands to be in the church (Heb. 10:25). The Scripture teaches that our Lord will never give us over to the wolf or Satan (John 10:11-16, 28-29). Second, Mr. Camping teaches that because the church is dead, there is no longer any authority in the church nor should we keep the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Yet, the Scripture clearly commands Christ's people to honor and submit to the Biblical authority which God has established in the church
(I Cor. 16:16,18; I Thess. 5:12-13;I Pet. 5:1-5;I Tim. 5:17-21; Heb. 13:7,17),
and there is never placed around these commands
a statement that the commands will one day cease. Therefore, by his teaching that we are to leave the corporate church with its Biblical authority, Mr. Camping is leading God's people into sin. This in turn will produce more sin and injustice. For example, how can Matthew 18:15-20 be obeyed when there are no elders or church? Paul does not allow believers to settle sinful differences at the hands of unbelievers (I Cor. 6:1-8). If one negates Matthew 18:15-20, then sin and injustice among God's people will not be addressed Biblically. Similarly, no man has the authority to nullify Christ's ordinances concerning Baptism (Matt. 28:18-20) and the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:23-26). To teach that we can break these commandments is to place oneself above the authority of Christ and the Scripture.
Mr. Camping's teaching is certainly contributing to and has become a part of the antinomian spirit of our age.In addition, if believers set up a fellowship with no authority (Pastor, elders, or deacons) and with no ordinances (Baptism or the Lord's supper) as Mr. Camping instructs, they are guilty of the sin of Jeroboam who made his own religion to replace God's (I Kgs. 12:25-33). To replace a Biblical church with a parachurch organization is clearly apostasy. Where is the Biblical command to elect a president or vice president in place of a Pastor or elder? This exhortation comes from Mr. Camping, not God. Mr. Camping appeals to his figurative interpretation of the Olivet Discourse as his reason for disobeying the commands listed above. But there is no Biblical mandate to take the Olivet Discourse figuratively. When our Lord said on an earlier occasion that the temple would be destroyed and rebuilt in three days, the Holy Spirit records "but He spake of the temple of His body" (Jn. 2:21). Yet, we have been given no divine interpretation to tell us that the Olivet Discourse is to be understood in a figurative way. It is, therefore, purely a man's interpretation of the passage in which he has forced upon the passage his own peculiar perspective. This corrupting of the passage results in a supposed command to leave the church, but it is in reality the command of Mr. Camping himself. On the other hand, historical accounts inform us that the Romans completely destroyed the temple in AD 70. This destruction took place after they had first desecrated the temple by offering forbidden animals, such as pigs, in sacrifice. Then they completely dismantled the temple so that there was not one stone left upon another and thus fulfilled our Lord's prophecy (Matt.24:1-2). While some of the walls in the city itself were not totally destroyed, such as the Western wall, this does not affect the fulfillment of Matthew 24:1-2, because those walls were never a part of the temple buildings. Finally, the Romans built a shrine to Jupiter on the very spot where the temple had stood. When the Muslims later moved into Jerusalem, they built the Dome of the Rock on the sight where the temple and shrine had been.
The temple area has been trodden under foot of the Gentiles ever since AD 70. It is also interesting to note that when the city was being surrounded by the armies of the Romans, there were Christian believers who "fled to the mountains" and by hiding in Pella were spared the horrible slaughter of the Romans. This passage is a wonderful proof for the exact fulfillment of divine prophecy and ought to give us encouragement that the rest of the prophecy concerning Christ's return will also be fulfilled. But even if Camping's spiritualization of the Olivet Discourse were allowed, we would only be back to the need for believers to leave apostate churches. Immediately before this prophetic discourse, our Lord stated that the leadership in Jerusalem had clearly rejected Christ and was being left desolate for her sin (Matt. 23:34-39). Our Lord, therefore, would only be teaching that people were to leave apostate churches. There is no command in the OT or NT to leave the orthodox, Bible-believing church and to forsake its authority or ordinances. It is interesting to note that all parachurch organizations, such as Family Radio, have a man-made structure and authority. We believe that this is proper and right. But for the sake of argument, it would be easier to show that the authority over God's people in a parachurch organization is wrong, than it would be to negate the clear teaching of Scripture concerning the authority in the true church. Now that Mr. Camping has declared there is no authority in the church, will he equally declare that there is no authority in the running of his parachurch organization? We do not think so. Such a decision would destroy a ministry used of God in the past. But while he will not make such a pronouncement about his organization, he does not hesitate to attack the corporate church which is the living body of Christ. Third, Mr. Camping implies that unless we agree with all of his interpretations, even on minor issues, we are guilty of making "high places" or abominations that will bring the wrath of God upon the whole corporate church of Christ. In contrast to his teaching, we find in the OT that the high places were where pagan gods were worshipped and represented a complete apostasy from Jehovah. The term "high place" was never reduced to a mere doctrinal difference of opinion among God's people. It was never even a misunderstanding of the Biblical teaching on divorce. The high place was idolatry and an abhorrence causing the eternal destruction of the soul. II Kings 23:13 states very clearly the nature of the high places in Jerusalem. And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. Furthermore, the LORD never overlooked the sins of those kings who worshipped at the high places. He punished them with different types of judgments throughout the history of both Israel and Judah. But not all the kings in Judah worshipped at the high places and at least two kings, Hezekiah (II Kings 18:4) and Josiah (II Kings 23:13,19-20), tore down the high places. These kings were blessed in their reign and, in Josiah's case, did not receive the wrath prophesied for the past sins of other Kings. Since the days of the Apostles it has always been true that when a church turns to other gods (i.e. "high places"), Christ has judged that particular church. But the true church will not be judged for the apostasy of others, just as Josiah was not judged for the apostasy of Manasseh (II Kings 22:15-20). In other words, we believe there has never been, nor will there ever be, a mysterious judgment from God falling on the true church of Christ. We firmly believe that Mr. Camping, who was wrong in his teaching that Christ would return for his church in 1994, is also wrong in his teaching that the church is dead. Outside of the cults, he is the only one, in almost 2000 years of church history, who has taught that during the tribulation period we need to leave orthodox, Bible-believing churches. And even he never taught this until recently. Family Radio now reflects that it is following his unbiblical views when he, as the President of Family Radio, is allowed to make his pronouncements and all who disagree with his destructive errors are silenced by editing their messages. In short, because Family Radio is now articulating a policy the intent of which is to destroy the local church, we acquiesce to your refusal to broadcast our messages and request that you return our messages immediately. Pastors John Greer and Stephen Hamilton are in agreement with our position stated in this letter, and they also request that their messages, as well as the messages by the Rev. James Beggs, not be aired but returned immediately. We will make known to our members and supporters your new policy and why you have removed us from Family Radio. We can only hope that the Lord will hasten the day when many who are connected to Family Radio will no longer have their hearts grieved by the unscriptural errors mentioned above. Sincerely, Mark Allison John Greer Pastor of the Pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church Free Presbyterian Church in Malvern, PA in Ballemena, N. Ireland Rhett Dodson Stephen Hamilton Associate Pastor of the Pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church Free Presbyterian Church in Malvern, PA in Allentown, PA William Pehlert Kevin Sargent Clerk of Session in the Elder in the Free Presbyterian Church Free Presbyterian Church in Malvern, PA in Malvern, PA John Mulholland Elder in the Free Presbyterian Church in Malvern, PA cc: Harold Camping David Morrell Richard Van Dyke Bill Thorton Matt Tuter Mike Zeimann Charlie Manute
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