M.H. Reynolds, Jr. (1919 - 1997)
© FOUNDATION MAGAZINE Oct-Dec 1995
Fundamental Evangelistic Association
NO ONE CAN DENY that the position and ministry of Dr. and Mrs. Jack Van Impe have gone through a complete change during the last 15 years They admit this change, in fact they boast of it. Mature, discerning believers are understandably asking, ''What has happened to the Van Impe's?" Many of them recall their many years of outstanding evangelistic meetings and citywide crusades. It was estimated that between 1948and 1980,more than ten million people attended the Van Impe crusades and over five hundred thousand made professions of faith in Christ. And, since the beginning of their prime time television specials in 1976, additional millions have been reached with the Gospel message. Up until the time they discontinued their crusades, Van Impe had preached to more people than any other person except Billy Graham. In the early days, many believers supported the Van Impe crusades because he took a stand against apostate Protestants, Roman Catholics, and others who preached a false gospel. He originally maintained a far different and far more Scriptural platform than did Billy Graham whose increasing compromises placed Graham and Van Impe in opposite camps - and rightfully so. However, since 1980, Van Impe has joined Billy Graham and other compromising evangelical leaders in giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ and the Gospel.
Without doubt, Van Impe's knowledge of the Scriptures (he can quote over ten thousand Bible verses with references), and his obvious love for lost souls commended him to all who love the Lord and His Word. Dr. Van Impe once sought to obey the Lord as a fundamentalist by practicing Biblical separation from false teachers, disobedient brethren, and the world. But his position has radically changed during the past fifteen years, and while he still claims to be fundamental in doctrine, it is obvious that he now takes a non-separatist, compromising, new evangelical position rather than the truly Biblical fundamentalist position of separation.
What happened to cause such drastic changes in Dr. Van Impe s position and ministry? His own explanation was given in a book he wrote in 1984 titled Heart Disease in Christ's Body - Fundamentalism…Is It Sidetracked? Dr. Van Impe called it "the most important book" of his entire life and ministry. He said he "spent literally hundreds of hours in research, study and prayer" in its preparation. Specifically, he claimed that Chapter 10 of his book "proves that neo-fundamentalists propagated an errant interpretation of God's inerrant Word."
In the forward to his book, Dr. Van Impe told us that he wrote it for four reasons: 1) The leading of the Holy Spirit, 2) To keep a movement (Fundamentalism) from destroying itself, 3) To save a forthcoming generation of ministerial students (preacher boys) the heartaches and pitfalls he encountered by following fallible men rather than the infallible and inerrant Word of God and 4) To correct the rumors and allegations released by the leaders of neo-fundamentalism against hundreds of brothers in Christ who have been misjudged, mislabeled and misunderstood.
The premise upon which this book is based and from which it takes its title is that the Body of Christ, and particularly the fundamentalist movement, is afflicted with a spiritual heart disease which the author describes as "an appalling lack of love and unity among so many of the brothers and sisters in Christ." According to Dr. Van Impe, the way to diagnose this spiritual disease is to examine the use of the tongue. Dr. Van Impe wrote, "The misuse of the tongue and pen, then, obviously indicates that heart disease exists in Christ's Body, for Jesus said: 'out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, (hatred-l John 3:15) ...false witness, blasphemies.... (Matthew l5:l9)." Thereafter, Dr. Van Impe proceeded to apply this diagnosis to certain segments of fundamentalism which he variously called "Neo-fundamentalism, Militant fundamentalism, Extreme fundamentalism, Errant Fundamentalism and Radical fundamentalism."
"These leaders," Dr. Van Impe wrote, "claim to accept the fact that all brothers are members of the Body of Christ, yet they refuse fellowship to any who disagree with them over any issue, however insignificant. The resulting prejudice bitterness, envy and evil thinking are symptoms of the dreadful and destructive disease affecting the hearts of all those who practice such unloveliness as well as the very heart of Christ." (Introduction, page iv.). On page 25, Dr. Van Impe wrote " I will use the term Neo-fundamentalism to designate an unscriptural movement within true fundamentalism that would rather fight than switch"
Surely no informed believer today could deny that there is a great need for more love within the Body of Christ. Surely no informed believer could deny that every child of God needs to be continually on guard against the wrong use of the tongue which so often results in intemperate, personally abusive words instead of a clear-cut firm exposition of truth and exposure of error. Certainly no informed believer could claim that fundamentalist leaders of yesterday or today have always been above reproach in this matter.
But it is important to remember that the failure of fallible men to properly represent any Biblical position in no way negates the believer's responsibility to hold to that position. Likewise, we should never lose sight of the fact that those who really do "speak the truth in love" are most often the very ones who are accused being "unloving." The apostle Paul referred to just such a situation when he wrote "Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16.
Heart Disease in Christ's Body does contain many things which are scripturally true and spiritually helpful. But the conclusions Dr. Van Impe draws and the advice he gives are basically contrary to the Word of God. While we thank God for the thousands who have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour through brother Van Impe's long evangelistic ministry, we pray that the "preacher boys" and all other believers will not follow Dr. Van Impe in the path of compromise he has now chosen!
In Dr. Van Impe's 1984 book, an amazing inconsistency in his new position became very clear. Having declared in no uncertain terms that the "Heart Disease in Christ's Body" about which he wrote was "an appalling lack of love and unity" among believers, he proceeded to use at least half of his book to unmercifully criticize those he called "neo-fundamentalists." Van Impe not only used intemperate language but also inexcusable exaggeration to ridicule fundamentalists who practiced Biblical separation not only from apostates but also from brothers who walk disorderly. On page 154 he wrote: "If a fundamentalist shares a speaking engagement or time of fellowship with a friend of a friend of a pseudo-fundamentalist, who fellowshipped with a neo-evangelical, he becomes guilty of compromise." On page 158 Van Impe asks, "...how in the name of rationality can the command to 'keep not company' apply to any brother who shakes his hands with the third cousin of a compromiser?" Such exaggerations of the true position of genuine fundamentalism by building "straw men" are not worthy of one who says he is determined to manifest more love and proclaim a message of reconciliation.
With the passage of time, Dr. Van Impe himself obviously recognized some of these inconsistencies in his book. As a result, he revised, renamed and republished his book in 1991 under the title Sabotaging The World Church. In the introduction Van Impe explains: "In 1984, I wrote a book entitled Heart Disease in Christ's Body At that point in my life I dealt with scores of negative issues, reports, letters, and personalities. That era of my life is passed. My battle against religious tyranny has toppled the majority of extreme militants. Thus, I re-edited my book leaving out some two hundred pages of negative experiences and bring it to date by proclaiming hundreds of positive declarations concerning the unity of the body of Christ, the world church, for whom Jesus suffered, bled, and died."
It should be noted that Van Impe in his 1991 book, instead of calling a supposed lack of love and unity a "disease," he now calls it "sabotage." Instead of speaking of "Christ's body," he refers to the "World church," a much broader and more ecumenical term.
While it is true that Van Impe's re-edited, updated book does emphasize many Biblical, positive truths, it simply is not true that he has eliminated most of the negative expressions of his 1984 book. True, he mentions very few individuals by name in a negative way, but note the words he uses to vent his wrath against Biblical fundamentalists. Page 36 says, "...neo-fundamentalist scandal sheets which usually copy one another's rumors about brothers in Christ. These small papers are nothing more than gossip columns produced under the guise of 'defending the faith.'" On pages 38 and 39, reference is made to "senseless criticism" and "prejudiced thinking." On page 47, Van Impe writes. ". . .during the remaining years in the ministry, I want to glorify God by being an example of His love - -striving to promote true Christian unity among all members of His Body. I regret the years I spent bowing to the wishes of a few judgmental men. By accepting the platform of militant neo-fundamentalism, I consigned myself to their disgruntled ranks and forfeited fellowship with some wonderful men of God."
On their television program of July 23, 1995 (Jack Van Impe Presents), Dr. Van Impe and his wife Rexella went to great lengths in an attempt to justify their move from fundamentalism to evangelicalism. The major portion of this tape has been transcribed in order to give our readers the exact words spoken by Jack and Rexella and their announcer. We have placed in bold type some portions of their most significant statements which will no doubt be alarming to faithful believers as they were to us. It paints the said portrait of what happens to fundamentalists who set their eyes on men instead of looking continually to Jesus Christ and His Word. It has resulted in the Van Impe's twisting, reinterpreting and ridiculing God's commands concerning Biblical separation - commands which He designed for the protection of the believer. It is a real heartache to observe the pride of these formerly humble servants of Christ and note the lack of consistency in their positions and words over and over again.
On the above mentioned telecast, the announcer says, "John Paul II asks for forgiveness. Stay tuned for this and much more on Jack Van Impe Presents."
Rexella-For several weeks now we've been promising to share so startling news with you, and very important news from the Christ community, and I don't think that Jack has ever studied so hard for problem as the one you are about to see right now. And you know Jack, I really admire that. Thank you for spending hours and hours.
Jack-Rexella, I have attempted to read one book a day and have already covered 10 thousand volumes in my lifetime. I used to use Halley's Pocket Bible Handbook and the Two Babylons by Hisslop to knock my brothers and sisters in other denominations and then the Spirit God started to do something in my heart about 10 years ago, and I'm different man, and I,just in the last four weeks, have read 25 volumes on the Catholic Church, and the pope, and here's just a few of them so you know what I'm talking about. So, don't write to me and say, "Hey, you don't know what you're talking about " and try to correct me because know everything there is to know about Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism.
I used to be an opponent and worked against other brothers and sisters in Christ but this book, The Catechism, really opened my eyes. I used to hear it said that Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible. In the Catechism, (this new one), there's seven to ten thousand Bible verses and everything this pope says, even his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope is backed by the Word of God. And, I'm going to say some things that will shock you today. Ten years ago when I started my quest for unity, I lost all my support. The churches cut me off. I faced bankruptcy but God brought us back. I'm willing to pay any price, any price, even if I have to go off the air again, to take this stand I'm going to take today of my love for my brothers and sisters in the Catholic and all the different Protestant churches, if we take our stand for Christ which the majority of churches do.
Rexella-Hmmm, I don't think we'll have to go off, Jack. I think that the people out there really want to know what you have to say on this subject of unity in the body of Christ.
Jack-Well, I know the price we paid before as fundamentalists and I know where I stand now on the Word of God. It's the Word of God, not a man-made label that counts.
Rexella-Before we get into the in-depth studies that Jack has done, I want to just bring to your attention some things that religion, so-called religion, might do. Now, Professor Donald Kagen has long taught a course at Yale University on the Origins of War. With such impressive credentials, Kagen has produced a book entitled On the Origins of War, an excellent general study on how wars start, and you know, friends, I am astounded to know that so very, very many wars even going on right now, are produced by people who are fighting over religion. Religion, Jack!
Jack-I'm sure Kagen's book is great but it can be answered from one verse from God's Word, James 4:1, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members." We lust for power, we lust for fame and I discovered, Rexella, that presently there's 20,728 denominations in the world, believe it or not. I got that figure from Christianity Today. Think of it! 20,728 and in every city in America we have one of the leaders of one of these denominations say, "I'm the only one who's preaching the truth. The other twenty thousand seven hundred and some are all wrong, but we are right." God deliver us from that kind of mentality.
What's wrong? I'll tell you. Jesus detested some of the leaders of His day. He didn't speak out against the publicans as sinners. He had a heart for them but, oh, He talked against the denominations, and at that time they had the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians and the Essenes but the Pharisees were the fundamentalists, as the Islamic and some of the Christians, and they were constantly bitter, always finding fault, always trying to tear everyone apart so Jesus, in Matthew 23 beginning with verse 1, used their denominational label to rebuke them in front of a great multitude and in verses 13,14,15,16, 23, 25, 27, 29, eight times. He said, "You scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites. Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites," calling them by their denominational tag.
Look at chapter 23 verse 14. He said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widow's houses, and for a pretense (show) make long prayers: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." Verse 15 says, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, (convert), and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Wow, what preaching from the lips of Jesus! And when He gets to verse 33, He says, "You serpents, you generation of snakes (religious leaders) how shall you escape the damnations of hell?" Because they were always promoting bigotry, prejudice and hatred. How true.
You know what Jesus said in Luke 6 verses 27 & 28, this ought to be all of us in our daily actions with people, even if they're not Christians, even if they're not of our religion, Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. Bless them which curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
Rexella-I have here an article which says, "Satan cannot get to us if we really and truly love. He can find no foothold, It is when we are critical, antagonistic and uncharitable that he is able to swiftly move in and affect all" (Pope John Paul 11). We need that love, don't we?
Jack-Look, please, forget your theological moorings. Forget your labels. Let's base our Christianity on what this Book says. Jesus said. This is the proof you really have it. I don't care if you are Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Christian Reformed, Catholic "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another" John 13:35.
Dr. Van Impe then quoted numerous verses of scripture that emphasized love, then continued to say . . .
The Holy Spirit penned those words, and who is your brother? Jesus said in Mark, the third chapter, "Whosoever shall do the will of God is my brother and my sister." That's a great definition. If they're Christ's brothers and sisters they better be ours. Let's forget our labels-over 20,000 of them and come together in love and the pope has called for that, as we're going to see in a moment. But, Rexella, the fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22). When we really are dominated, controlled, motivated by the Holy Spirit, love comes forth.
Jack then says sarcastically-
Oh, yea, but over there in the book of Jude 1:3 we are to earnestly contend for the faith; yes, but we're not to be contentious - mean, bitter - and when we do take a stand for the Faith, we're to speak the Truth in love. Eph. 4:15. Listen, some of you great defenders of the Faith who will have nothing to do with any other Christians because they disagree on some secondary point. Ha, can you have any sacrifice in your life that's greater than dying for the cause of Christ? Of course not. Listen to 1 Cor. 13:3, "Though I give my body to be burned (for Christ) and have not love, it profits me nothing." This is zilch - zero. That's what Christianity is all about. Not your ravings and rantings about orthodoxy and interpreting every little word according to your viewpoint. God forgive you.
Rexella-That's a very, very good check - loving. We're going to take quick break right now to tell you how to receive our offer of the week and we come back we're going to talk about the pope's apology but first, Jack, you might want to say a word about our offer of the week.
Jack - This pope loves people. He's issued an apology. You'll get weak when you hear it. It's so moving. At the same time he's having problems with some of his bishops who no longer believe what he's trying to do or no longer back him. In this book I read, the Pope tells of why held this emergency consistory to get in cardinals who will elect a pope who believes what he does rather than a liberal, and even this pope believes that the next pope could be the anti-pope of the final days. Amazing how he and I agree. All right, we'll take a quick break right now. offer titled "Pope John Paul II. Startling Revelations."
Announcer-This pope is burdened about the future of his church. In this stunning video, Dr. Jack and Rexella Van Impe, following hundred of hours of research, present the 264th pope's astonishing views concerning his church's global disobedience wracked by defection and gross betrayal of Christ by some of its bishops. Discover the most shocking news in 2000 years of Christianity. In this one hour 40 minute video "Startling Revelations - Pope John Paul II," the Pontiff's thirty incredible revelations will stun you, especially his alarming warning about the next pope. The Bible predicts that a final global religious Judas will rise from the seven hills of Rome. Pope John Paul II believes that moment is near. Discover the most stunning news ever released. Learn the Pontiff's prophetic views on this astonishing and exciting video "Startling Revelations-Pope John Paul II." The incredible revelations of the 264th pope will stun you. His predictions regarding the return of Christ and the end time-millennial game are astonishing.
Jack - Now, Pope John Paul II was not the first to speak about ecumenicalism and unity. Actually, Pope John 23rd was the first to speak about it. But, as you well know, this pope continues the theme so very, very much. In fact, we cannot remain separated. This is his cry and from the Vatican Magazine-"that they may all be one." Now, inside of this magazine he carries on the theme, "This task I cannot carry out by myself." He's saying this, of course, to his cardinals. And, then another cover, "For the sake of Unity in a dramatic gesture and ending centuries of Christian division, Pope John Paul II offers to change the way papacy primacy functions. Can the papacy change? A very big question."
Rexella-He says, "yes, I will even pass out authority to bishops, to others if we can unite in Jesus and be one."
Bible believers should not be deceived by this amazing offer of Pope John Paul II to change the way papacy primacy functions. Why? Because the pope, like so many other religious leaders, often has entirely different messages for different groups. As one example of this duplicity, note the following statement of Pope John Paul II contained in the Roman Catholic publication Catholic Moment (9/10/95):
"Christian unity will not become a reality unless all churches accept "the authority Christ entrusted to St. Peter and his successors. Unity in Christ is based on following His will.
This unity will not be fully manifested until all Christians accept Christ's will for the Church and acknowledge the apostolic authority of the bishops, in communion with the successor of Peter.
The Church is also catholic [universal], although its universal dimension must be constantly strengthened through missionary activity, adaptation to various cultures and an ecumenical outreach to other Christians...The Church's structure of authority and service, based on Christ's mandate to Peter and the other Apostles, is an essential part of fidelity to Christ's will.
What a contrast and contradiction! Yet, Dr. & Mrs. Van Impe were completely taken in by it. Now we return to the transcript of the Van Impe tape.
Rexella-Alright, and now, the article that I promised you. This is from Inside the Vatican. "Today I, the pope, ask forgiveness Today I, the pope of the church of Rome, in the name of all Catholics, ask forgiveness for the wrongs inflicted on non-Catholics during the turbulent history of these people. May this day mark a new beginning in a common effort to follow Christ; His Gospel; His law of love; His supreme desire for the unity of those who believe in Him that they may all be one." John 17:21 is the verse that he quoted. What a moving message.
He did go on by saying this, "I say to you, the faithful of the Catholic church, and to you my brothers and sisters of the other churches and ecclesiastical communities, mend your ways, encourage one another, live in harmony and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you" (2 Cor. 13:11-13). He constantly quotes from the Bible This is probably one of the greatest confessions that's ever been made.
Jack-I tell you, I wanna weep, it's so moving, and I want to ask for forgiveness too. In 1976, I was invited to Scotland to be the evangelist for the World Congress of Fundamentalists. It was headed up by Ian Paisley as far as the European segment was concerned and this is the man who often leads the Protestants to the front and they kill one another-a minister of the Gospel. When I was there, I was to preach a sermon on Dangerous Evangelism and knock Billy Graham, because he would often unite with Catholics. I couldn't do it. While I was there, I constantly heard the speakers, Ian Paisley and his associates, call Catholics rats, papist rats, and I came home 19 years ago and I said there's something wrong with what I've got. I searched my heart, the Lord changed me, and I lost my support. For years I faced bankruptcy but then we came back and started preaching love because of saying we should love our Catholic brothers and sisters and all Protestant brothers and sisters who are washed in the blood of Christ. I paid this price. But the Lord made something out of me and I wrote this book Sabotage in the World Church. I had 400 verses on love. I had 50 command words to love one another, work together. This is based on Scripture. The Bible means what it says.
The Holy Spirit declares in Eph. 4 beginning with verse 3, we are to "Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. For there one body, and one Spirit, One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God al father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all ." I wasn't doing that, I was dividing the Christians. I ask for your forgiveness. Till I die I will proclaim nothing but love for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, my Catholic brothers and sisters, Protestant brothers and sisters, Christian Reformed, Lutherans, I don't care what label you are, when you come to Christ and trust in the work at Calvary's Cross, this Book says, which I recorded in my Sabotaging the World Church, that we are one body "For by one Spirit are ye all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13). We a one family. For we are all one in Christ Jesus - all the children of God Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26). We have one label-Christian (Acts 11:26) and we are members of one citizenry-Heaven (Phil. 3:20). Oh, folks, I wish I could get into all the verses I was preaching in those days because I was brainwashed that we should "Mark them and avoid them" (Rom 16:17 We were to come out from among them and be separate (2Cor.6:17) we were to rebuke them (Eph. 5:11) and withdraw ourselves from them (Tim. 6:5) and to have no fellowship with them (2 Tim. 3:5). But in this book I wrote, through 65 theologians covering 100 years that these interpretations were wrong and I called the chapter The Errant Interpretation of the Inerrant Word. And we've all been washed in one blood (John 1:7), we're all redeemed through that Blood (Eph. 1:7), we've all been reconciled and all have been made into new creations through Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). Rexella, what really moves me is that when we come to Jesus, immediately we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet.1:4). God comes in, Christ comes in, He comes into the heart of Catholics, and Lutherans, and Baptists, and Pentecostals, and with God in us, partakers of the divine nature, we can fellowship with one another. God forgive us! Look at me. I'm not going to ask you to pray to get saved today. I'm going to ask you to pray and ask God to forgive you for your bigotry. Heavenly Father, thank you for this message. I needed it. Change me Lord. Help me not to listen to bigoted religious leaders, but to your precious Word. I love you Jesus. I love all those who love you in all denominations. Make me different from this day onward. In Christ's Name, and in the name of unity I pray this. Amen.
Rexella-Amen. And you know, Jack, there are so many other Protestant ministers who are doing the same thing as you, like Bill Bright of Campus Crusade, and Chuck Colson. Southern Baptists are trying to unite the body of Christ, those who really know and love the Lord.
Jack-Rexella, I was deeply moved as Pope John Paul II opened his humble heart of love to all of us. Billy Graham calls him the moral voice of the 20th century, and I agree.
Earlier this year, a pastor who was alarmed by statements made on Dr. Van Impe's programs and videos which were favorable to Pope John Paul II and the Roman Catholic Church, wrote asking for an explanation. In response, this pastor received a letter written and signed Personally by Dr. Van Impe. The following statements were contained in this letter and are reproduced as further sad evidence of his present unscriptural position, teachings and fellowships:
Recently you wrote requesting an explanation concerning my programs and video about Pope John Paul II. Let me explain my position.
First, we adopted, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a news style format which reports the headlines as they appear. God's blessing up this presentation, in the form of souls saved as well as organization growth, has been phenomenal. But there is more.
Ten years ago I was a very bigoted person. In crusades, I boisterously belittled personalities and denominations if they disagreed with my prejudiced viewpoints. Then the Spirit of God began convicting me about my unscriptural attitude and the error of my judgmental pronouncements. The blessed Holy Spirit emblazoned I Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 4:3-6 into my soul and showed me that my disobedience of these commands demanded a change. In my quest for God's will, covering months of soul searching and tears, I wrote a book entitled Heart Disease in Christ's Body. Recently I edited and renamed the volume Sabotaging the World Church. I'm enclosing a copy as a gift to you, so you might better understand my position in these last days.
My recent "Jack Van Impe Presents" television series and the video "Startling Revelations: Pope John Paul II" regarding the views of the current Pope in light of Bible prophecy, reflect my scriptural commitment. Any teaching of any group with which I disagree on issues other than the doctrine of Christ are dealt with in detail in our teaching tapes, such as my four-hour video or cassette series entitled "
Alleged Errors, Mysteries and Contradictions in the Bible."
We praise the Lord for His blessings upon our growing international outreach in these last days. Due to this marvelous expansion, however, many of the stations and networks have strict guidelines which prohibit any religious broadcaster to make negative remarks about any individual or group. One network, covering two hundred stations and tens of thousands of viewers, cancels the program of the week if I even mention a cult by name. Thus, if I do, no one hears that program or the call for salvation that week.
Beloved, pray for me that I will always be tender and submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I want to win souls and pour the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit on the entire body of Christ.
To conclude this analysis of the changes which have occurred in the Van Impe's message and ministry the past 15 years, several things should be considered:
1. Calling attention to statements made in his books and telecasts which contradict important Scriptural principles for the believer's fellowship and ministry is not a manifestation of hatred or bigotry, but of genuine Christian love. God instructs His leaders to, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." 2 Tim. 4:2.
2. When I heard Van Impe say that during the days of his fundamentalist ministry he had been "brainwashed" by Scriptures such as Rom. 16:17, 2 Cor. 6:17 5:11; I Tim. 6:5, 2 Tim. 3:5. I could hardly believe my ears. All of these Scriptures clearly teach Biblical separation. Those who seek to carry out God's instructions are not brainwashed - they are simply obedient Christians.
3. For all believers to manifest a spirit of love is certainly emphasized in Scripture. However, a detailed study of God's Word on these subjects will reveal genuine love is not manifested by Dr. Van Impe and other evangelical leaders. Why? Because genuine love moves the undershepherds of God's flock to warn the sheep about the wolves in sheep' s clothing within the flock (Acts 20:26-31). Dr. Van Impe refuses to do this any more.
4. When it comes to the question of Christian unity, a careful study of the Word reveals that any supposed unity which joins believers with unbelievers is forbidden. True unity requires both the positive and negative aspects of fellowship. The Bible repeatedly enjoins unity based upon truth but strongly warns about unity based upon compromise. For decades, ecumenical, liberal religious leaders have sought to forge an unscriptural unity, misusing, twisting misinterpreting and misapplying Scripture. How doubly sad it is therefore to find Dr Van Impe and other leaders disobeying the Lord in the same way and rejoicing unscriptural unity with false teachers, disobedient brethren and the world.
4. Many of the things the Van Impe's say and write since they jettisoned Biblical fundamentalism for compromising evangelicalism are a real heartache to all who truly love them. We pray, as do many others, that they may indeed be submissive to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We know God can change their hearts and cause them to resume a fully Scriptural ministry.
The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer, once a staunch fundamentalist, capitulated to compromising evangelical movement in much the same fashion as the Van Impe' did. In the early days, I enjoyed wonderful fellowship with him, but when he embraced new evangelicalism, our fellowship was broken. I still loved him and prayed for him, but could only warn as I did on several occasions that he had chosen and unscriptural path. Thankfully, in the last few years of his life and ministry, God helped him to see the dangers which had been wrought because of evangelical compromises. He became ill but asked God to help him write a book which would warn others of what he was now discerning. God granted his request. In the last book he wrote and published, The Great Evangelical Disaster, he expressed great concern over the way in which "evangelical accommodation" on so-called secondary matters had now led to doubt or denial of major doctrines of the Christian faith. Sadly, Dr. Schaeffer's warning came too late to help his son, Franky, who later joined the Orthodox Church - a false church which preaches a false gospel.
In what may be the last days before the return of Jesus Christ, let us all "search the Scriptures" continually, gladly accepting and teaching the precious truths of God's Word and encouraging fellowship with those of like precious faith, while at the same time speaking the truth in love to fellow believers who need to be informed and warned about the dangers of compromise.