‘The Walking Bible’ televangelist Jack Van Impe dies at 88

"In addition to eschatology, Van Impe's ministry focused on Scripture memorization and evangelism. He had an impressive evangelistic ministry in large crusades and in partnership with well-known ministers including Billy Graham Sr., Charles Stanley, George Sweeting, and others." - Christian Post

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Aaron Blumer's picture


There were some problems with Van Impe's ministry, and criticism could be constructive, but for the sake of his friends and family let's keep it positive.

What I can appreciate is the influence Van Impe had on me personally as a kid when we went to hear him preach (in a stadium) in Flint, Michigan. What he did for me (along with others I heard growin up) was help shape my instincts for how to speak to audiences and keep their attention while you make a case for what you believe you need to communicate. He was passionate, dead serious (though included humor), and used Scripture constantly. I was too young to be thinking much about proof-texting and how that can go wrong, but what I did get was the rhythm of supporting claims with Scripture--and the concept of synthesis: considering, and connecting, many Scriptures on a topic in order to paint a big picture view of the whole teaching.


Mr. Ed's picture

I do not have a copy of this book of his from 1984 time frame, but I believe this was his answer to those that wanted to control him fearing he was becoming too eccumenical.

I did enjoy hearing him in Pittsburgh, PA, Green Bay and Racine, WI many years ago.  Not only was he the walking Bible, he played a mean accordian or as he called it an acorrdorgan (not sure of the spelling on that).  His wife Rexella was a fine singer, I did not care too much for her co-hosting of the TV show.  

Aaron Blumer's picture


I read Heart Disease also, not long after it came out I think. I was in high school at the time and hadn't given much thought to ecclesiastical separation before.

At the time, I thought he had some legitimate gripes (about the blacklisting he said was going on), though I thought he was interpreting several NT separation passages too narrowly. I'm not sure I'd still think so today... 

The book raised important questions for me. 

dcbii's picture


I heard him preach in the 70's when I was a teen.  Obviously, there was a lot I didn't know about ecumenicalism, proof-texting, etc., etc., but he did know how to keep my attention, and he used scripture liberally that he was able to just quote from memory.  Regardless of whatever problems he may have had, he had a positive influence on me at that time.

I read "Heart Disease..." after graduating from BJU, and (operating from a 30+ year-old memory here) while I thought at the end he was just blasting away at various fundamentalists, I, like Aaron, thought the book made some good points and was worth reading, especially since I read it shortly after the whole BJU/blood/MacArthur controversy.

Dave Barnhart

Ron Bean's picture

This is the guy who put "sensational" in dispensatonalism for me. His penchant for finding prophecy in the news fascinated me when I was a new believer. I also remember "Heart Disease", written after he incurred the wrath of his fundamentalist brothers in Christ for some of unwise associations, evidently made without their permission. In retrospect he had a point in that, in our heyday, we weren't exactly known for our love for one another unless they were exactly like us. (BTW, Rexella's voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard.)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan