The Baffling World of Jack Van Impe

by Todd Strandberg

On the April 15-16, 2000 viewing of "Jack Van Impe Presents," Michigan's most famous prophecy speaker made what would have to be called his most zealous defense of Catholicism to date.

Normally, Jack Van Impe just injects a few positive remarks about the Pope or other Catholic issues that cause many of his viewers to want to pull their hair out. His mid-April show must have left some folks completely bald, because he devoted the entire program to talking about his new gospel of love.

Jack constantly tries to portray the debate as being one of love vs. hate. Jack claims to "love all the brethren"; however, those who lack his same spirit of love are strongly condemned as being guilty of "bigotry." With love comes truth, and while the idea of love is certainly abundant in Jack's thinking, biblical truth is greatly lacking.

The Bible very clearly says we should continually watch for false doctrine. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:17-18).

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test, judge] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

Like most traditional Protestants and Evangelicals, I have always had great reservations about many of the Roman Catholic Church's teachings. Here are just few areas I have trouble with: viewing Mary as some sort of semi-deity, considering the Pope infallible, praying for the dead, holding to the doctrine of purgatory, believing that grace is administered through the sacraments, taking part in the idolatrous veneration of statues and images, considering Church tradition as equal to the Bible, and confessing to a priest to regain salvation.

I was quite amazed to hear Dr. Van Impe’s reasoning for giving the Catholic Church the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval." The following headline statements by the Pope were apparently all Jack needed to hear: "Our mission is founded on Jesus Christ"; " Make Christ the Savior known to all"; and "Join the universal pilgrimage to Christ."

My goodness, by using such an amazingly flimsy standard of scriptural adherence, he could easily declare the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, and most Muslims to be true believers. For many years, Jack has taught that, during the tribulation, most religions and denominations are going to be part of a Harlot Church that will be led by the Antichrist and the False Prophet. I'm totally baffled to see him now promoting a type of unity that can only lead to the very apostasy he once claimed to warn against.

Millions of Christians rely on Jack to be their prophetic watchdog. I think the value of his services is made very doubtful by his inability to see the errors of the ecumenical movement. If a Christian writer was a professing homosexual, you could probably guess it would be highly unlikely that he'd be publishing any comments that warned of the evils of the gay agenda.

You would think the immense size of the Roman Catholic Church and the large amount of political power that it wields would give Van Impe some amount of pause. It would be pure folly to think that a religious organization with 800 million members and a leader who stands alone in the volume of news coverage he receives would be left out of a global religious alliance.

Van Impe had previously stated that the next Pope would likely be a "defector from the faith." He based this prediction on a prophecy by an early church leader named St. Malachi, who said from his time period of 1143 AD, 111 additional popes would hold office before the return of Christ. We’re now at the 110 mark.

In one of his more recent statements, Jack asserted that the last Pope would only be around when the Antichrist comes. He adds that the cardinal who is next in line to succeed John Paul II is also expecting the beast.

Van Impe has the privilege of being one of the nation’s most-watched prophecy speakers. He also has the dubious honor of being one of Satan's leading targets for deception. Jack is clearly guiding his ministry down a very dangerous path and I see no sign that his descent into ecumenism is slowing. A year from now, we might find his program hosted by Father Jack Van Impe.

The ultimate tragedy will come when Jack reaches the point at which he devotes the majority of his time attacking those who stand in the way of his "unity at any cost" message. In what has to be one of the most ironic twists of fate, Jack is becoming an active participant in the type of Bible prophecy that he once abhorred.

We are entering very perilous times, folks. I am quite appalled at some of the statements being made by the leading "men of God" today. Apostasy is sweeping the Church and the ease with which this infection is able to spread to men whom I would have thought to be immune has made me very watchful of my own steps.

The cries of "judge not" or "touch not God's anointed" are being constantly made by those who twist the Gospel. I do not view myself as a professional Bible apologist, but I do know enough about Scripture to affirm that every Christian leader needs to be held accountable for his words and deeds.

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal 6:1). "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

Revelation 3:10-11 holds what I believe to be a prophetic promise by our Lord Jesus of the coming rapture. There is also a warning to every believer to hold fast to what we have spiritually.

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thes. 2:1).

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).