On the Edge of Insanity
A couple of years back I did a write-up on a book by Jack van Impe titled 2001: On the Edge of Eternity. It gives me a chance to note something illustrative. Before reading his books, I had no idea how — well — insane van Impe was. And yes, the word is hyperbolic here, rather than clinical, but I also feel it is justified. If scholarship were a place, his home would be Bedlam.
Two examples will suffice, though they are typical of what is found throughout the book.
First, van Impe actually takes seriously reports of alien abductions (though he sees them as demonic).
Second, on 3 pages of his book, van Impe lists various uses of “666” throughout the world — ranging from on Arab license plates in Jerusalem to shoes in Italy to the catalog number of a certain floor tile — and takes this as evidence of a massive brainwashing campaign to get the number accepted.
The tragedy that makes it worse: van Impe’s book was published by Word — a reputable press that also puts out scholarly commentaries. Which leads to the question for today: Who is responsible for this insanity?
Van Impe is obliviously and happily promoting an anti-intellectual view that is, in the long run, harmful to the health of the church. He is also using his power as a speaker and evangelist to advance his views, and is declining to use sound scholarship, logic, or reason. I hear a lot about the need for “oversight” over teachers — where have these calling for “oversight” been while van Impe was peddling all this nonsense?
We need to act, and by this I mean more than just not buying books by these teachers; I also mean publishing strong rebuttals, advertising those rebuttals, buying air time and billboards, and if need be, protesting publicly at their events (though it may not need to go that far, given how much more media can accomplish these days).
My own part in this has been to write posts like these — though it has expanded to other media as well, in the form of cartoon videos. As a note on this, cartoons aren’t just kid stuff, as some may think. Back in the 1800s, the famous cartoonist Thomas Nast took down Boss Tweed with cartoons. The latter was once said to remark as follows (edited for our setting):
“Stop them ****** pictures!” Tweed said to his subordinates. “I don’t care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents can’t read. But, **** it, they can see pictures!”
Of course, we’re literate these days, but we have a similar problem called information overload that makes people less apt to read a detailed critique of someone like van Impe. So by the same token, caricatures of harmful teachers like van Impe will certainly have their own effect. (I can envision van Impe as…well…a shrimp waving his many appendages around hysterically with a smile on his face. But we’ll see where that goes. I may have bigger fish — and crustaceans — to fry first.)
Let me put it strongly. I believe that because of their views, teachers like van Impe should also never be allowed to publish with a reputable press. To get their views out, they should be compelled to self-publish, or else publish with some press that produces comparable nonsense. If truly God rather than the dollar ruled, van Impe would never find a publisher. I’m not talking about compelling publisher choice by force,naturally; I’m asking editors and publishers to become more responsible stewards of their Kingdom trust.
Bottom line is…someone has to stop the insanity. That’s one reason I’m so adamant in my own mission.