I’m deeply saddened to report that one of my greatest influences in this life has went home to be with our Lord at 88 years old. DR. JACK VAN IMPE was a nationally-acclaimed preacher from my State of Michigan. He was instrumental in keeping me grounded in God’s Word over the course of the past 15 years since I first dedicated my life anew to God. He is the one that inspired my deep interest and love for Bible Prophecy, and I would never have started this website nor written my books if not for his influence.
I have admired some other preachers in this life but, no doubt, I credit Jack as my spiritual father in the Lord. I grew to love his dedication to Biblical doctrine, his boldness, and stance for the truth – especially when he was pretty much “blacklisted” by the mainstream Christian television community (namely TBN).
He was once told by that huge Christian network to tame his preaching, especially when calling out false prophets in our Faith; but he refused to be silenced and accepted being cancelled by the network – rather than to ever compromise truth.
He endured death threats by Islamists, battled countless health issues, and lived solely on his Social Security check each month for the remaining years of his life – rather than live off donations to his ministry. A far cry from how most big name preachers live today.
He was known as “the Walking Bible,” and rightfully so. Dr. Van Impe committed more than 15,000 Bible verses to memory. The millions of viewers who watched his television broadcasts of “Jack Van Impe Presents,” with his wife Rexella, were amazed at his astounding ability to quote relevant Biblical verses off the top of his head. Not only could he effortlessly quote verses word for word, but he would also quickly tell you the exact chapter and verse.
He was also a world-renowned Bible Prophecy scholar, devoting over 70,000 hours to studying and interpreting the prophecies of God’s Word. There has never been another man of God quite like him, and there may never be. Jack was one of a kind.
For over 40 years, his program was viewed on both nationwide and local television networks in every State across America. Near the end of his life, he achieved his goal to broadcast – either by radio or television – in all 247 nations of the world.
His radio ministry launched in 1971, with the broadcast of one of his most popular sermons – “The Coming War with Russia.” He was well ahead of his time, and the Spirit had definitely revealed the future to him, as that sermon is more relevant in our day than it ever has been – almost 50 years later! He has also released dozens upon dozens of video teachings, from which I have learned so very much. Regarding any Biblical subject that you have ever wanted to know more about, there is a 99% chance that Jack has released a video teaching about it during his ministerial career.
After his father had come to Christ when Jack was a boy, Oscar Van Impe left behind a life of nightclubs and alcohol for a life of missionary work and the Bible. When Jack was 17 years old, his parents left their family home in Detroit, Michigan, to embark on a missionary trip to their homeland of Belgium. Jack had to grow up much quicker than most young men at that age, and had to work many different jobs to pay the family’s bills.
All the while, he loved playing the accordion, which he had learned from his father since the young age of 5. He was invited by the legendary evangelist, Billy Graham, to play music in Billy’s Youth for Christ rallies across Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Jack performed both music and missionary work for Graham’s YFC rallies.
It was during the years of those rallies that Jack had met and began dating Rexella Shelton, a fellow Christian musician and singer. Not long after the two were married, in 1952, they became inseparable in their Christian ministry. Jack would preach or play music, while Rexella would sing and play the piano.
Jack would eventually drop the accordion to fill his hands solely with the Holy Bible as a preacher instead of the popular musician that he had become. Not long into his life as a preacher, he became known for his “altar calls” – in which he would lead many souls to Christ. Early on, some head pastors of churches where Jack would speak had a problem with some of his preaching.
They felt that he would scare off the congregation with his bold style, because he wasn’t afraid to speak out against “sin” or “worldliness.” In a surprise to the pastors, Jack was leading more of those congregations to Christ in one night than the pastors of those churches had in years.
During the 1960s, the Van Impes were travelling across the United States and Canada in church crusades. In the late 60s and early 70s, they would begin participating in crusades across the globe. In 1975, Jack and Rexella taped their first television special; and, over the next few years, they had produced nearly 20 prime-time specials.
Jack and Rexella continued to hold crusades across America until 1980. It is said that ten-million people had attended their citywide crusades, with 600,000 souls being saved. Jack then turned his attention to mass media in order to lead the lost to Christ – through his new weekly telecast, “Jack Van Impe Presents,” and through books and videos.
Jack has penned around two-dozen books on Bible Prophecy. In 1988, Jack Van Impe Ministries was reinvented through the new television format for their weekly series. That is the “JVI Presents” that most of us are familiar with today, feautring Jack and Rexella behind a network news desk.
One tidbit a lot of people don’t know about Jack and Rexella, which makes me love them even more, is that they had a deep love for cats (I’m a kitty dad myself). In some of their videos, they share stories and pictures of their beloved pets.
In his life, Jack received doctorates from over a dozen Christian colleges and seminaries.
After 50 years of ministry, Jack was asked if he would retire anytime soon. His response was –
“It would be a crime to even think of retiring. Besides, I love what I am doing – ministry is my life!”
Amen. Over two-decades later, he kept his promise. He never retired from the Lord’s work, even when so many urged him to do so because of his age and deteriorating health in his later years. All the way up until the end, ministry was his LIFE. And because of that, millions of other lives were changed, and saved. Over 7-million have come to Christ through his ministry.
No other preacher, throughout the course of my life, has ever preached with as much fire and conviction concerning the Rapture and Christ’s return. No other preacher in my lifetime has preached the Word of God more boldly or faithfully than Dr. Jack. I pray that I can carry the torch of his Biblically-sound, uncompromising, and bold style of preaching until the Lord calls me home someday.
He never got to experience the Rapture that he so faithfully preached, but I am happy that he finally gets to see our Lord Jesus face to face. It is what Jack had been looking forward to throughout his 70 years of ministry. I have no doubt that our Lord is saying to him, as we speak, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The world has lost a champion of the Faith, and another legendary preacher. I send out prayers for peace to his wife, Rexella, and his entire family.
This week’s episode of “The Signs of Our Times” on YouTube is dedicated to this spiritual father of mine (and of so many others). You can watch it here –
Going forward, I will put even more hard work and study into the new YouTube series, in the hopes of keeping the legacy, memory, and teachings of this Bible Prophecy legend alive.
I know that I’m not alone when I say…
I’m gonna miss you Jack. Kiss our Lord’s feet for me. I’ll see you when I get there brother.
I will KEEP LOOKING UP.
IN MEMORY OF DR. JACK VAN IMPE (1931-2020)