Question: Please watch this videotape of Jack Van Impe and tell me what has gotten into him! He used to be sound in doctrine years ago, but now he praises the Pope as an evangelical Christian, talks as though all Catholics are saved, says he loves the new Catholic Catechism because it is so sound in doctrine. Why has he changed?
Response: Wherever I go, in this country and abroad, I’m repeatedly asked this same question. Jack Van Impe claims to be seen by millions in 25,000 cities and many other countries. Tragically, Jack is without excuse for the misinformation he is presenting to those millions. He claims to have studied Catholicism in detail and to be as well informed on this subject as anyone can be. Yet if he were a paid agent of the Pope, Jack could not do a better job of propagandizing his viewers into Catholicism.
Rexella begins this particular program by enthusiastically saying that Jack is going to give some “shocking and surprising information....You’ve spent a lot of time in preparation for it,” she says to Jack. He replies, “I’ve been collecting articles for over a year. I study between 6 and 8 hours a day. I love to do research work. I finished the new Catholic Catechism...there are 2,850 points and I love much of what I’ve read in there....I just finished 602 pages in the Catholic Encyclopedia, so we know what we’re talking about....” (He never even hints that anything might be wrong.) Jack then says that Paul commands believers to “keep the unity of the Spirit...for there is one Lord, one faith.” The implication is that Catholics and evangelicals preach the same gospel and are united in the true faith. Not so! In A Woman Rides the Beast, book and video, and in past newsletters, we have fully documented Catholicism’s false gospel.
Rexella then says she wants to share with viewers “some of the wonderful sermons Pope John Paul II has been preaching.” The contents of the sermons are not given, but only the titles of some sermons: “Jesus Christ, the way to conversion,” “Only Christ satisfies the human thirst,” “We must preach Christ wherever we live,” “Proclaim Christ, light of all people,” and “Faith is the greatest gift.” Rexella then reports that the Pope “stood in Rome and said, ‘I’m praying that we will have a conversion of this city to Christ.’ ” (The implication is that the Pope means the same conversion to Christ that evangelicals preach, which any ex-Catholic knows is not true.)
Jack then further commends the Pope: “He’s fulfilling what Jesus asked us to do...for Jesus said, in John:12:32, ‘If I be lifted up I’ll draw all men unto me.’ ” (Jack doesn’t tell his viewers that the “Christ” the Pope “lifts up” is the wafer he holds over his head and worships at Mass and that Catholicism’s “Christ” is continuously being sacrificed for sin, in contradiction to the biblical teaching that His sacrifice was completed 1,900 years ago at Calvary: “[W]e are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...[and] after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, [He] sat down on the right hand of God;...there is no more offering for sin” - Heb:10:10,12,18). Jack then quotes many salvation verses from the Bible, giving the false impression that this is the message of the Pope and Roman Catholicism.
Jack Van Impe goes on to say that at the turn of the century fundamentalism was represented by five basic tenets: 1) inerrancy of the Bible; 2) Christ’s deity from all eternity; 3) Christ’s virgin birth; 4) salvation through Christ’s shed blood; and 5) the resurrection of Christ. He then says, “I’m glad that the Pope is preaching these and it’s all in the Catechism...but we’ve not been willing to recognize our Catholic brethren and sisters because of prejudice.” No, it is not prejudice that causes us to oppose Catholicism’s false gospel of works and ritual, but concern for lost souls.
We lack space to analyze the rest of the tape, but it’s in the same vein. As for all five points being in the Catechism, that is not true (Feb. 97 TBC). But it appears to be the case to those who don’t understand the real meaning of the words Catholicism uses. Yes, one can find sound biblical statements in the Catholic Catechism and in what the Pope says; but the same is true of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists and other cults. Consider this ad, which the Mormon Church places in newspapers around the country at Easter:
During the Easter season we again rejoice with all of Christendom, and gratefully commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ....At this sacred season we solemnly testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We know that He lives! We know that because He lives, we too shall live again!
It all sounds so biblical! From this quote, using Jack Van Impe’s method for accepting Catholicism, we could show that Mormons are also our brothers and sisters in Christ. The truth, however, is that the biblical terminology used has a different and unbiblical meaning for Mormons, who deliberately camouflage their counterfeit gospel beneath evangelical language. The same is true of Roman Catholicism.
For example, in the new Catechism which Jack commends, one finds that “God’s saving plan was accomplished ‘once for all’ by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ” (par 1067). That sounds good, but other sections in the Catechism declare that the benefits of that “redemptive death” are kept in “the treasury of the Church” (Vatican II) and are dispensed in installments in exchange for good works, sacraments, rosaries, inter- cession of saints, purgatory and indulgences. There are endless steps one must take for salvation. The same Catechism clearly states, “Outside the Church there is no salvation” (par 846). But Van Impe doesn’t inform his viewers of such Roman Catholic “damnable heresies” (2 Pt 2:1).
No Roman Catholic is allowed to believe the salvation verses Jack quotes so earnestly, yet he implies that they do. It is against church dogma to accept Christ’s promise that whoever believes in Him “shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn:5:24). New York’s Cardinal O’Connor (The New York Times, 2/1/90) admits what Van Impe conceals from his viewers beneath the false impression he presents:
Church teaching is that I don’t know, at any given moment, what my eternal future will be. I can hope, pray, do my very best—but I still don’t know. Pope John Paul II doesn’t know absolutely that he will go to heaven nor does Mother Teresa of Calcutta....
But the Bible says that those who believe in Christ know that they have (present possession) “eternal life” (1 Jn:5:13). Cardinal O’Connor, the Pope, Mother Teresa and Catholics in general don’t believe the gospel that saves, and it is a fraud for Van Impe to pretend that they do. According to Peter Kreeft in Ecumenical Jihad, Catholics don’t even hear the gospel from their church. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church anathematizes all who believe and preach the true gospel: “If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law (baptism, the Mass, etc.) are not necessary for salvation but...that without them...men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification...let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, 7th Session, Can. 4). Jack is not telling the truth about Roman Catholicism!
The very Catechism which Jack says he knows so well states that “the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation” (par 1129). Why doesn’t he expose this perversion of the gospel and warn Roman Catholics that their Church is leading them astray? Instead, he encourages lost souls to continue in their error!
Jack quotes Ephesians:1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood,” and gives the false impression that this is what the Pope and Catholicism teach. In fact, they teach that redemption was not complete at Calvary, but is in the process of being accomplished through Roman Catholic rituals: “For it is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, the work of our redemption is [being] accomplished” [Vatican II, p 1]. Jack is covering up Catholicism’s errors.
Yes, the Pope’s sermon titles sound biblical. And we can find selected quotes from the Pope that sound quite evangelical, as we can from Mormon and other cult leaders. But Jack is obligated to present the whole picture, and he does not. Why doesn’t he let us know that the Pope rejects as heresy the “widespread idea that one can obtain forgiveness directly from God” and insists upon confession to a priest (Los Angeles Times, 12/12/84)? Jack doesn’t believe that! Then why doesn’t he point out such errors, instead of praising the Pope as an evangelical? Why does he suppress the truth about Roman Catholicism and pretend that it proclaims the true gospel? Why?
The very Catechism Jack praises calls Mary “the Mother of God” and declares that it is to her that “the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs....” (par 971). Surely Jack does not believe that Mary can protect all Catholics from all dangers they face and supply all their needs! To do so she would have to be God! Then why does he not, for the sake of the millions of souls he is addressing, expose and oppose such teaching?
Rexella and Jack refer repeatedly to the Vatican newspaper, L’ Osservatore Romano, as though it were biblical. They ought rather to expose and oppose its heresies, such as the Pope’s speech reported in the 1/1/97 edition supporting Rome’s dogma that Mary is co-redemptrix with Christ, having united “with her Son in His redemptive sacrifice... [as] her Son’s faithful co-worker for the salvation of the human race.”
Brother Van Impe owes it to the Lord and to his vast audience to present the full truth about the false, anti-Christian gospel the Pope and his Church preach. Why doesn’t Jack quote the Pope the many times the alleged Vicar of Christ has warned Catholics against evangelicals and their gospel? Either Jack has not studied Catholicism to the extent he claims, or he is, I regret to suggest, withholding the truth about it. Either way, the results are tragic!