(RNS) — Jack Van Impe, a televangelist who spent decades warning Christians that the end of the world was nigh, has died, his ministry announced on Saturday (Jan. 18).
He was 88.
"The beloved Dr. Jack Van Impe was welcomed into Heaven by His blessed Savior and Lord who he had so faithfully served in ministry for over 70 years," reads an announcement posted on the website for Jack Van Impe Ministries International. "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."
Van Impe and his wife, Rexella, were longtime hosts of "Jack Van Impe Presents," which mixed Bible teaching with a review of news and current events, often linking those events to Bible prophecies about the Second Coming of Jesus. He often ended the program by asking viewers to become followers of Jesus.
Nicknamed "the Walking Bible," Van Impe was known for memorizing Scripture and for his study of Bible prophecies. His approach to interpreting those prophecies is summed up in a statement on his ministry's website, titled "Bible Prophecy and You."
"Current international events reflect exactly the conditions and happenings predicted throughout the Bible for the last days of this age," the statement reads. "Remember that this special message has been given to reveal God’s truth, not conceal it; and to clarify God’s eternal purpose, not mystify it. Millions need to be alerted to the fact that Jesus is coming soon-perhaps today!"
He broke ties with the Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2011, after accusing megachurch pastors Rick Warren and Robert H. Schuller of practicing what he called "Chrislam" — a mixture of Islam and Christianity. The episode with the accusation was pulled before it could air, a decision that Van Impe disagreed with.
"We would not be able to minister effectively if we had to look over our shoulder wondering if a program was going to be censored because of mentioning a name," said Ken Vancil, executive director of Jack Van Impe Ministries International.
Van Impe would later produce DVDs and other materials, warning of what he called the dangers of Islam.
The show continued even after leaving TBN and in recent years appeared on the ministry's website and YouTube. An episode dated Jan. 10, titled "America at War," featured Rexella Van Impe reading headlines about the standoff between Iran and the United States.
"Oh my. Can you believe it?" she said after reading one of the headlines.
The most recent episode of the program featured footage of Jack Van Impe giving a sermon about the seven signs of the end times, followed by Rexella signing off till the next week's program.
"Until then, always remember God cares for you and so do we, so very much."