Jack Van Impe is originally from Troy, Michigan. Jack toured with his father across Michigan and other areas of the U.S. performingaccordion duets until the age of 17. He was greatly influenced by his father's missionary work and service to the Bible.
Jack graduated from high school in 1948 and entered Detroit Bible College (which later became William Tyndale College). He put himself through school by organizing concerts, rallies, and preaching to other students. He began his profession as a church preacher in 1948; earned his diploma in 1952.
After meeting his wife, Rexella, Van Impe packed his bags and traveled around the nation as an "ambassador of Christ"; his nationwide tour attracted many followers. By the early seventies, he had a syndicated radio show based solely on biblical scripture.
Jack claims to have logged over 70,000 hours of Bible study (approximately eight years worth) and he also claims to have memorized 14,000 verses of scripture. Jack frequently mentions his own nickname "the Walking Bible." He does this so often, one has to wonder if the title is self-anointed.
I've met Van Impe a number of times, and I know from seeing him in action that he's a very gifted man. He has a super memory that allows him to instantly recall vast quantities of scripture, and he has the ability to relate complex Bible prophecy issue to the common listener.
I used to listen to Jack and Rexella's prophecy program each week. In the late 80's my cable provider didn't have a channel that carried Jack Van Impe Presents." There was a low powered Christian TV station that carried the program. I was able barely tune the program in on a small Back and white portable TV.
Van Impe claims to be a "walking Bible" in his ability to memorize scripture, but unfortunately, he is a walking disaster area when it comes to common sense. Time and time again, he has made errors in judgment that defy the most basic rules of logic.
Everything about Jack's program was great up until the mid 90's. It must have been around that time that Jack suffered a condition that left him mentally impaired. I'm thinking he must have suffered something like a stroke, a head trauma, or a pro-longed near drowning.
For some strange reason Van Impe began endlessly praising the Pope and all things related to the Catholic Church. In the October-December, 1995 issue of Foundation Magazine, Jack is quoted as pleading for fundamentalists to "...forget your theological moorings. Forget your labels." He goes on to praise Pope John Paul II, and commends the Pope's plan for unity among all "Christians" and the establishment of a "world church."
I was so shocked by one reasoning Jack used to defend Roman Catholism,I realized I could no longer trust a man that was able to make such a huge error in judgment. During one program, he gave the Catholic Church the Van Impe seal of approval simply based on his observation that the New Catholic Catechism cites 5,000 to 6,000 verses of scripture.
"We [Roman Catholics & himself] agree on the great fundamentals of the faith, ...I've been reading the Catholic Catechism, 2,865 points, backed with 5,000 to 6,000 verses of Scripture. This is the Word of God. Of course there are some things where I don't agree. But I find many of these things in our Protestant churches as well. But this thing blessed my heart. This piece of literature, saturated with the precious Word of God."
Van Impe made no mention of a laundry list of problems Protestants havetraditionally had with the Catholic Church: viewing Mary as some sort of semi-deity, the Pope being infallible, praying for the dead, the doctrine of purgatory, grace being administered through the sacraments, the idolatrous veneration of statues and images, church tradition being made equal to the Bible, and the doctrine of confessing to priests as a means of regaining one's salvation.
Jack Van Impe has now begun to compromise the faith beyond the issues related to the Catholic Church. About 20 minutes into the March 1, 2003 airing of the weekly prophecy program, Jack all but declared Islam to be equal to Christianity.
He first said that Islam teaches love and all the bad elements are from the sect of Wahhabism. This has to be one of the most ridiculous remarks I've ever heard someone make about the Islamic faith. Wahhabism is only dominant on the Arabian peninsula. Its influence is almost nonexistent in the rest of the Middle East. It is true that Osama bin Laden comes from Saudi Arabia and is Wahhabi himself; Wahhabi extremism and radical ideas of purity have obviously influenced him considerably. Dozens of other Islamic groups teach hate, and they have zero connection to Wahhabism.
Van Impe might as well be saying that Hitler's book Mein Kampf also teaches love. I don't see how Jack can look into the camera and say, "Let's believe God-either the Koran or the Word of God" when you have the Koran making inflammatory statements like:
"Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them"(Surah 9:30).
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"(Surah 8:12).
"Do not take the Jews and Christians for friends"(Surah 5:51).
"They denied the truth and uttered a monstrous falsehood against Mary. They declared: 'We have put to death the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God.' They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did...they did not slay him for certain. God lifted him up to him..." (Surah 4:157-158).
"The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: 'Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'" (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176).
Because Jack Van Impe is a big player in Bible prophecy, I've received several angry emails from people who blindly defend him. I've come up with a reply that mutes most of my critics. I tell them to pick a point at which they would have to withdraw their support from this man once he crosses that line.
There is no such thing as stationary apostasy. If you don't think Jack's approval of Islam is bad enough now, wait until he declares Mohammed or Mary to be on equal footing with Jesus. For those folks that said Jack would never declare the Bible and Koran to be generally interchangeable-your wait is up.