This came out of nowhere yesterday, at least for me.
Televangelist Jack Van Impe has died. The news came just a day after the airing of his most recent episode.
His ministry didn’t give any further details, just the usual Christian platitudes.
Please pray for his beloved wife and lifelong ministry partner Rexella and their families as they grieve this immense loss and for wisdom as she and the Board lead the ministry in the days ahead.
Further details about Dr. Van Impe’s homecoming celebration will be published later.
For years, Van Impe was one of the televangelists whose face was always on late night TV where I lived. He would spout out random Bible verses from his seemingly encyclopedic memory in response to current events, all while his wife hawked their products. They routinely spoke about the impending apocalypse, trashed non-Christian faiths (especially Islam), broadcast ridiculous right-wing conspiracy theories, and showcased Van Impe’s bizarre interpretations of current events.
All this occurred for decades on his show, which was broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. That relationship only ended after they refused to air an episode of his show in which he condemned popular Christian pastors for promoting “Chrislam”… as if Rick Warren had somehow endorsed another religion.
But like so many televangelists, Van Impe will inevitably live on through his ministry’s videos, unintentionally hilarious because they always showed the insanity that can result when you interpret the Bible literally. Like this one, warning everyone about the “time bomb” that would be Y2K.
Looking for something more light-hearted? Van Impe and his wife were also the 2001 recipients of an Ig Nobel award — a satirical science prize — “for their discovery that black holes fulfill all the technical requirements to be the location of Hell.” (That proclamation was made on an episode of his show that I can’t find online.)
You can wish his family well — a loss is never easy — while still honestly saying that he dedicated his life to spreading a deranged version of Christianity that told viewers they should always live in fear, but that the Bible would somehow be a source of solace. But giving people hope while lying about why they need it is hardly a worthwhile legacy.
(Thanks to Christian Nightmares for the link)