This article was taken from a email list in which Ken Janney was defending the truth that ALL churches are not apostate, and that Harold Camping has departed from his own teaching.


 

I certainly do believe that there is great apostasy today. I believe that the Bible teaches us to depart out of any church or fellowship that teaches a Gospel of works and this is characteristic of most today. Check Galatians 4:25 for this definition of the Jerusalem we are to flee.

You are correct in your original assessment of my position: I do believe that the interpretation regarding ALL churches being apostate is in error. I believe it is a misinterpretation of the Scriptures. My original question was because it is my observation that Mr. Camping is looking for a historical meaning in the third level of interpretation. He has stated in his booklet on "First Principles of Bible Study" on page 73 in the Conclusion the following:

"The Bible FREQUENTLY has three levels of meaning. The first is historical; the second is moral or spiritual; and the third is that which relates to the ESSENCE of the Gospel of SALVATION. For these reasons, a Bible translator (I believe this word would more correctly be teacher) must be EXCEEDINGLY CAREFUL that, in his desire to make plain the historical or moral teaching of a verse, he does not obscure or remove the spiritual or Gospel meaning. In relation to the third level, any spiritual meaning found within a passage must be in agreement with these three principles: 1) The deeper, spiritual meaning must relate to the Gospel of SALVATION. 2) The spiritual identification of elements within the parable or historical account MUST have Biblical validation. 3) The spiritual conclusion MUST BE IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE THAT CLEARLY RELATES TO THE NATURE (not the METHOD) OF SALVATION." (Emphasis mine) (all statements in parenthesis are mine)

Several have been against the "depart out" teachings as currently taught because it makes the essential Gospel one of having to do something in order to be saved (in other words, to be saved, although this isnt supposed to necessarily guarantee salvation, we must depart out). Others have defended the "depart out" teaching on the grounds that it is not the essence of salvation, but the METHOD that God uses to bring salvation. If you believe it is not the essence of salvation, but the method, we should be able to see this on the first or second level of interpretation and should NOT be looking for it on the third level. This is the complete reverse of the actual situation. By doing this, we replace the TRUE Gospel message of salvation with a NEW Gospel of works.

The Gospel message that is gotten on the third level of meaning of this "Depart Out" Gospel is not the same Gospel of Grace message that Mr. Camping has derived from the Book of Ruth, or Proverbs 31 or the raising of Lazarus. This should be very apparent. To those who would state that the whole Bible is the Gospel, while this is true in one sense, it is obvious when studying the word "gospel" and comparing Scripture with Scripture that this word is used in a more specific way. It is quite apparent that Mr. Camping at one time was very aware of this, at least at the time he wrote "First Principles of Bible Study". Since he is no longer following these guidelines, were they unbiblical to begin with, and if they were not, then why are they being abandoned?

In this same book on the principles of Bible study on page 57, Mr. Camping gives these CAUTIONS:

"Is it dangerous to attempt to discover spiritual meaning within the Bible? Will this lead to fanciful interpretations? Would it be better to leave this idea and cease from any attempt to find the Gospel declaration on every page of Scripture?

These are serious questions. We never want to read anything into the Scriptures that God never put there. As we seek out this third level of meaning within the biblical account, it is important to remember these three rules:"

Then Mr. Camping goes on to give the three rules he repeated in the Conclusion section cited above, only in more detail. One thing of additional note he states under point three which he states on page 58 is:

"If we reach a conclusion that is contrary to the teaching of the rest of the Bible concerning salvation, we immediately know that we have not correctly understood the spiritual meaning of the passage."

Then he goes on to state (Please read carefully):

"If these three rules are carefully observed, we will be on safe ground as we study the bible to discover its deeper spiritual meaning.

DO WE RUN GRAVE RISKS IN ATTEMPTING TO SPIRITUALIZE STATEMENTS OF THE BIBLE? Some have done this and they ended up with wrong teachings concerning the message of salvation. We must be exceedingly careful in how we deal with the Holy Scriptures. The word of God is never to be considered a mere plaything of men.

MANY HAVE EXPRESSED THE FEAR THAT SPIRITUALIZING THE BIBLE WILL LEAD PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE TRUE GOSPEL. THIS CAN HAPPEN ONLY WHEN WE VIOLATE THE THREE RULES OUTLINED ABOVE. IF THESE RULES ARE STRICTLY FOLLOWED, THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION CAN BE NOTHING BUT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES."

It is apparent as we read all of the RW e-mail on this current teaching that there is much confusion and disagreements even among those who agree with the basic teaching. It is also apparent that the basic Gospel of the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible defines it when comparing Scripture with Scripture is no longer the focus of attention. I would appeal to all to consider these points and observe that Mr. Camping himself has departed from his own set down principles and has not heeded his own warnings. It has been the observations of many of us that many have gone astray over the years in what they see the third level of spiritual meaning is. An example would be those who have taught that there are no such things as angels, that they are all references to our fleshly nature. They derive this from the third level of meaning, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. The problem is that they ignore what the Bible says in the first and second level of meaning, in other words, the historical or moral or spiritual levels that are right on the surface. This is another principle that is being violated in this current teaching, and Mr. Camping has condemned the teaching about no angels as heresy. Those who came to this conclusion that there were no such things as angels are using the same hermeneutics as Mr. Camping and others are using in this current "Depart Out" teaching.

A seeker after truth,

Ken and also

By God's marvelous Grace,

Donna

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