Christian Network Tells TV Host: Do Not Criticize Christians We Like

I’ll be the first to admit I watch those Christian TV shows that always seem to pop up when nothing else is on — there’s no better form of entertainment. One of my favorites is Jack van Impe because he talks about current events while spouting out every Bible verse he can think of that vaguely connects to that topic.

And he believes Jesus in coming back soon! Today’s headlines prove it! Just look at the horrible things going on, all signs of an impending apocalypse! (With no hint of irony, van Impe recently called out Harold Camping for giving a specific date.)

Also, his wife’s name is Rexella. Bonus points for that.

Last week, van Impe was crusading against “churches that have lost their way and four well known leaders that [sic] are promoting Chrislam — a uniting of Christianity with Islam.” You can hear the audio (MP3) and see the video (MP4) of the episode. The relevant part occurs around the 18:00 mark.

Surprisingly, Rick Warren and Robert Schuller were among the leaders promoting what van Impe thinks is false Christianity. It seems both men spoke to Muslim groups about how the two sides could work together for the common good.

Blasphemous, right?

Here’s what van Impe said about it on his show:

… Schuller was a speaker for the Common Word conference while Warren spoke at an Islamic event in Washington, DC last year. Wherever Chrislam or its equivalent are promoted, Christians should run for their spiritual lives and I’m really gonna spend time on both of these men for the entire program next week.

That pissed off Trinity Broadcasting Network, which airs Schuller’s show “Hour of Power.”

They aired the episode on Monday, June 6th. After they heard what he said, they chose not to re-air it on Wednesday, June 8th.

According to van Impe, TBN punished him for his comments:

On Wednesday afternoon we received a call from Matt Crouch of TBN informing us that they would not run that program, despite having aired it Monday evening. The reason he gave was that we specifically mentioned Rick Warren and Robert Schuller and that it is TBN’s policy that broadcasters are not allowed to rebuke other ministries. This is a rather hypocritical statement in light of the fact that they have never said anything in the past when we have rebuked others such as Bishop Spong, Bishop Pike, and in the past few months Harold Camping and Rob Bell.

So TBN’s policy is that True ChristiansTM cannot rebuke other True ChristiansTM. What an awful policy. Not that all Christians are automatically BFFs with all other Christians, but if you do something wrong, wouldn’t you want people closest to you to call you out on it?

Not only did TBN not re-air the program, they decided to move van Impe’s program to Friday night, which has a smaller audience, and they told van Impe they wouldn’t air any more of his infomercials (in which donors to his ministry would get a free DVD).

Van Impe has vowed to fight back:

I immediately called our Media Agents and told them that I no longer wanted to air my program on Trinity Broadcasting Network; we will take the tremendous amount of money that we were spending there to obtain new stations that will allow us to continue to reach every square mile of America with the truths of the Bible without this network.

We will be sending a letter out to all of our Partners very soon that will go into more detail as well as sharing how after 23 years of building an audience in the same time spot; they were going to move us to Friday nights where the audience is 25% less — and they stated this was a mandatory move — no exceptions.

Over at Gay Christian Movement Watch, they’re appalled by TBN’s move:

The idea that a Christian network, ANY Christian network, would pressure a minister of the gospel in what they can or cannot say, should concern all of us who value God’s word…

I contacted Paul Crouch Jr. seeking a comment for this article and was given this reply, “We choose to lift up the Lord, not chastise others. That’s not our calling. If [van Impe] needs to do that, he can buy time on secular TV outlets.”

Man, I hope he does… his stuff is hilarious. Beats Jay Leno any night of the week.

I love watching from the sidelines when Christians argue with each other over who’s a better Christian…

  • qo

    Hemant: (With no hint of irony, van Impe recently called out Harold Camping for giving a specific date.

    One thing we have to give Camping credit for (versus Impe/Rexella and all the other End Times Cheerleaders) is that at least Camping’s claims are testable/falsifiable :-)

  • JD

    I wouldn’t be surprised if pretty much every major network has policies like that, either written or unwritten. They need their income, so having a network’s different shows criticize each other like that can cause problems.

  • Cortex

    I’ve always thought they were the cutest Christian pundits. They were fun to watch back when I lived in a place where I could pick up more than one channel.

  • http://www.andrewmartens.com/ Andrew Martens

    One of my teachers in high school (this was a private Christian school) loved to show episodes of Jack van Impe’s show. Even 16, 17 years ago, van Impe was still going on and on about how “the rapture is coming any day now!”

  • Richard Wade

    Not that all Christians are automatically BFFs with all other Christians, but if you do something wrong, wouldn’t you want people closest to you to call you out on it?

    No, you wouldn’t if you’re a Christian network. This isn’t about getting something right, it’s about keeping the audience in a trance. Pastors arguing with each other or calling each other out for transgressions wakes people out of their trance. Shhhhh. You’ll wake the children. Pastors are supposed to just sing their lullabies. Christian organizations are notorious for failing to police their own ranks and for soft pedalling their disagreements. It’s far more common to see them blissfully ignoring their controversies than to see them slugging it out. That loses membership.

  • Ken McKnight

    After the failed prediction in “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988″ (written by an ex-NASA engineer), I can specifically remember hearing Van Impe saying that it was looking more and more like the Rapture was coming in 1996.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    Gay Christian Movement Watch? Yuck. According to them, Robert Schuller counts as pro-gay because he dodged a question once, and his hostility towards homosexuals is only lukewarm.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    what Richard said. this is a problem for the TV christianists because it makes little old ladies like my granny-who sent them $100/mo until she had to go to the nursing home and my mom took over her finances and put a stop to that crap- cry and become upset. if she’s upset by what she sees on TBN, she changes the channel to the cooking shows. the christianists can’t have that.

    shut up and smile, that’s what they are being told. sing, put on some more eyeliner, but don’t make my granny unhappy or you’ll have to give up those private planes and multimillion dollar mansions from which you “minister.”

  • Rest

    The latest Christian TV I love watching for comedy value is It’s Supernatural! hosted by Sid Roth. It’s so damn kooky and fake, I can’t believe that people take it seriously. It’s like a wacky Christian version of that late-night paranormal radio show, Coast to Coast AM. The last show was hilarious. Roth suddenly claimed to hear from God and demanded that a viewer watching with a back problem to stand up in their chair because “Sid Roth heard from God!” The way he looks at the camera as he spouts his crap is priceless.

    But the all-time classic so far has to be the episode with Kati Souza, who claims to be able to ascend into the glory cloud, a kind of spiritual vending machine in the sky. You have to see it to believe how bloody insane this really is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pudb4lgEW0E

    I posted the URL to part 2. If it doesn’t work, do a YouTube search for “souza sid roth.”

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I’ll be the first to admit I watch those Christian TV shows that always seem to pop up when nothing else is on

    Have you considered using the “Off” button?

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Jack van Impe is my hero of crazy. I’ve been watching him on and off for years. My favorite moment was when he was positive that the EC (not the EU) was going to invade Israel because the EC was about to reach the magic number of 13 countries. He was like a machine gun spouting out very bible reverse. Of course he rarely actually said the complete bible verse and never justified why the bible verse supported his thesis. But he was sure that the end was near, and his wife smiled and agreed with him the whole time. Of course, with a couple of days after expanding to 13 countries, the EC expanded to 17 countries. Apparently with 17 countries, the EC couldn’t invade Israel. Between him and Jack Chick I am not sure who is more awesomely crazy. And almost twenty years later, I’m still waiting for the end.

  • mingfrommongo

    Here’s one of Jack Van Impe’s earlier predictions:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfCk-lG5XAo

    He was wrong then, too. Rats.

  • Kurt

    …infomercials (in which donors to his ministry would get a free DVD).

    This is exactly like what most stores call “selling DVDs,” except without getting taxed on the profits. I’m just sayin’.

  • http://fallenfromgrace.net Bruce Gerencser

    I heard Van Impe at a crusade when I was in High School.(1973) He was predicting that the US would be taken over by Russia by 1976. The Bible College I went to was a short drive from Van Impe’s headquarters in Troy, Michigan. A number of students worked for Van Impe. In the 1980′s Van Impe came under increased criticism from fundamentalist Baptists. He wrote a book titled Heart’s Disease in Christ’s body. In the book he criticizes the judgmentalism in fundamentalism. Seems he has forgotten what he wrote 30 years ago.

    I would be quite happy if every religious channel went off the air.

  • Karen

    For all those of you that think what Jack is saying is false, wait and see for yourself. Everything that he said will happen, is already happening and it is all based on the Bible. You will all believe some day when you see millions of people gone, but at least you will know where we are.


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