Family Radio has announced that it will stop airing past shows of its controversial former president and co-founder Harold Camping in October, after decades of his voice being a prominent presence in its broadcasts.
Camping served as president of Family Radio from 1958 until his death in 2013. He garnered controversy for his doomsday predictions and claiming that all churches had gone apostate.
Tom Evans, president and general manager of Family Radio, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday that after Oct. 7, the radio station will no longer air Camping’s programs.
“We decided as a team, as a board of directors, and as the leadership team to remove all of Mr. Camping’s teachings,” said Evans.
“Family Radio has come out of self-imposed isolation and we’ve repented from many of our former positions, date-setting the end of the world and all that, as well as the condemnation of the church.”
Evans explained that Oct. 7 will be the last day that Camping’s “Bible Class of the Air” program would be broadcast and that by Oct. 8, Family Radio was going to halt using excerpts from Camping’s “Open Forum” call-in program.
Evans told CP that they were removing all of his content because even among the less controversial programming, “so much of it still contains elements that are very difficult.”
“Rather than dwell in the past, it’s time for us to move on and come into today. What can we do today as a ministry to encourage the Body of Christ? And that’s really what we’re focusing our attention on,” Evans said.
In December 2013, Harold Camping died after decades of overseeing Family Stations, Inc. and Family Radio. This included overseeing a nightly call-in program called “Open Forum,” where anonymous listeners asked a wide array of questions about the Bible.
While most known for his multiple failed end times predictions, Camping also garnered controversy in Christian circles for his claim that the institutional churches of all denominations had gone apostate and that the faithful should leave said churches.
More recently, Family Radio has made an effort to move away from what Camping taught. They have established relationships with multiple ministries.
In April 2017, Family Radio added programs from Parkside Church Senior Pastor Alistair Begg and the young-earth creationist organization Answers in Genesis.
Dale Mason, vice president of Media for Answers in Genesis who oversees distribution of their radio program, explained to CP in an interview last year that the relationship with Family Radio began in March 2017 at the NRB Convention in Orlando, Florida.
“We discussed the possibility of having our daily — Monday through Friday — one-minute radio feature air on Family Radio, now that we knew it was under new leadership. And then we sent the program director a sampling of our programs,” said Mason.
“They were so excited about the content, which focuses on making the Bible our absolute authority as believers in Jesus Christ, that they created room for it in their schedule and, at no cost to AiG they are broadcasting Answers with Ken Ham five times per day.”
Evans told CP on Thursday that they continued to forge new partnerships with other ministries, including the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and an agreement to air John MacArthur’s “Grace to You” program in October.
“We’re now turning from being critical of the church to now how can we embrace and encourage the church of Jesus Christ here in this world,” Evans said to CP.
“We are trying to ask, as we go out, as we meet with pastors, how can we help them, how can we help them in what God has called them to do.”
Regarding the upcoming “Grace to You” program addition, Evans explained that it stemmed from Family Radio reaching out to MacArthur’s ministry.
“They mulled it over and we met with them here, they came to our headquarters here in Alameda and they visited with us,” Evans noted.
“They had some reluctance because we were still airing Mr. Camping. And I very much respect that ministry and the stand which they took … they have since now opened their doors to us, and they are welcoming us as a partner with them in ministry.”
Family Radio’s recent decision to remove Camping’s programming from their stations next month stands in contrast to their initial support for keeping his content on the air.
In an interview with CP in January 2014, Evans, then assistant general manager, said that little would change with Family Radio’s content.
“[Family Radio] will not be altered or changed as a result of the death of Mr. Camping,” Evans said at the time, adding that there is “no one who has the biblical foundational understanding that Mr. Camping had.”
In his interview with CP on Thursday, Evans responded that he had since changed his views on Camping’s teachings because he “began to study the Scriptures.”
“I began to re-examine all of Mr. Camping’s teachings, in particular the end of the church age,” said Evans, who explained that this re-examination came when he was preparing “a message and a teaching” for a fellowship that Camping established.
“I became increasingly more uncomfortable with many of the presuppositions that Mr. Camping used as well as the scriptural presuppositions, and began to more and more come to see that the whole basis of those doctrines, including his timeline from the New Testament forward, I no longer agreed with. I no longer saw them as being scriptural.”