-MY REPLY TO JACK VAN IMPE, By Joey Faust (12-20-03)
-VAN IMPE AND ROME
-WHAT DOES ROME BELIEVE ABOUT PURGATORY?
-THE ADVOCATES OF MILLENNIAL EXCLUSION
-VAN IMPE FORGETS WHAT HE BELIEVES ABOUT MATTHEW 25:30!
-VAN IMPE AND T. T. SHIELDS
-VAN IMPE’S PLIABLE VIEW OF CONDEMNATION
-THE BEMA SEAT ONLY A SPORT’S TERM?
MY REPLY TO JACK VAN IMPE, By Joey Faust
Jack Van Impe Ministries has produced a new video called “The Protestant Purgatory.” It is over 100 minutes in length. The actual video will be available to the public within a few weeks. It would, of course, not be practical to respond to this whole video. But I have done my best to deal directly with the main parts.
A great many of my detractors often read only the first paragraph of each chapter, or the bold headers in my book! In this, I am reminded of the words of George N. H. Peters, who wrote the mammoth, “Theocratic Kingdom.” His tireless research was a great inspiration to me in writing my book. Peters, who contended for the literal Messianic kingdom in the face of much opposition, wrote in his introduction, in 1883:
“The doctrine discussed in the following pages being within the field of controversy…it will become in its turn, owing to its antagonism to the prevailing theology, the legitimate subject of criticism. Of this we do not complain, but rather commend the fact. ‘History repeats itself,’ and in such a repetition we do not flatter ourselves to escape the usual fate of our predecessors in authorship. Indeed, we already have had sad foretastes of the same, confirming the teaching of Scripture, and corroborating the experience of good men, that no exercise of wisdom, caution, and prudence will be able to wholly avert the evil tongues and pens of others….We do not quarrel with those who have inherited a taste for ‘bitter herbs.’ Expressing ourselves candidly and fairly toward our opponents, we dare not return the epithets so liberally bestowed upon us….Simple candor requires us to say, that some of our opponents write against us in a style that forcibly reminds us of the Popish bulls against heretics….But we console ourselves with Rothe’s declaration…’He whose thoughts rise a little above the trivial must not be surprised if he is thoroughly misunderstood by most men.’….HUMAN NATURE ALWAYS PRODUCES A CLASS WHO THINK THAT WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW IS NOT WORTH KNOWING, OR WHO SUPPOSE THAT, FROM THE KNOWLEDGE PROFESSED, THEY ARE EMINENTLY QUALIFIED TO JUDGE OF THOSE THINGS NEVER EXAMINED OR STUDIED. The latter are illustrated by the professor of Church history…who, when questioned as to the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, and the Apologists of the second century, replied, that he knew nothing of the writings, but ‘what with the Bible in one hand, and human consciousness on the other, he knew very well what must have happened in that century.’…..THE TENDENCY [in modern times] IS TO DESPISE LABORIOUS RESEARCH AND TO SUBSTITUTE TINSEL….When the dreams of fallible man, now so universally held as the prophetic announcements of God, are swept away by stern reality…then will the doctrine of the kingdom, as here taught, be regarded worthy of the highest consideration, and then will it also become a solace, hope, and joy under tribulation….”
VAN IMPE AND ROME
Jack Van Impe has greatly departed from his commentary on the Book of Revelation (“Revelation Revealed,”1982). He now perfumes Roman Catholicism, and refers to Catholic priests as “Father” and “Brethren.” In his video, “Startling Revelations: Pope John Paul II,” he proves himself to be one of the greatest promoters of ecumenicalism in professing Christendom today. It is therefore to be expected that he would not approve of my book, “The Rod: Will God Spare It?.” One reason I wrote this book was to help hinder the falling away to Romanism that is rapidly occurring. The second sermon I ever preached years ago contained a long list of quotes from earlier generations, predicting, on the basis of Bible prophesy, that the time would soon come when Protestants would merge with Rome. I soon recognized that so-called “Lordship Salvation” (John Macarthurism, etc.) was greatly blurring the distinction between Rome’s false gospel of works and the true Gospel of eternal salvation by grace through faith alone. One proof of this was that J. I. Packer (who wrote the foreword to Macarthur’s book, “The Gospel According to Jesus”) signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together. It did not take much investigation to realize that one main thing that is driving the “Gospel of works” are the various warnings in the Bible addressed to Christians. In Jack Van Impe’s video against my book, he openly declares that the warnings in 1 Corinthians 6, etc. about the “kingdom of God” are about HEAVEN (instead of the Messianic Kingdom), and that no true Christian can “continue” in sin, etc.:
“…they get drunk, and no drunkard enters HEAVEN. 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 9 and 10…If there’s no change, you’ve never been converted….He that liveth in sin, loveth sin, is of the Devil.”
This is, of course, similar to the Augustinian view upon which Romanism was founded. While it is unlikely that a true believer will be entirely fruitless, the judging of fruit becomes subjective. And we can actually lose the things we have wrought (2 John 1:8). Therefore, the Bible plainly teaches that a Christian can be “unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 3:15, Titus 3:14, 2 Peter 1:9, 1 Corinthians 3:3, etc.). He can DESPISE (ignore) God’s chastisements (Hebrews 12:5). Therefore, if he continues to ignore God’s verbal and physical warnings, he will meet with greater chastenings at the Judgment Seat (2 Corinthians 5:9-11). Thus, eternal salvation is free by grace through faith alone. But the Millennial Prize is through works (2 Timothy 2:12).
Years ago, I began to collect the sayings of all the popular preachers and Christian celebrities (Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Packer, Macarthur, and dozens more), and I found that EVERYONE of them openly declared that a person knows he or she is a Christian by inspecting his or her FRUIT. After years of street ministry, I also found that it was almost impossible to find people who would believe that all they had to do was believe the Gospel to be saved in eternity (John 3:16). When questioned, almost all were basing their assurance on their works. In this climate of works, all Rome had to do was to begin to use “evangelical” language, and multitudes of Protestants and Evangelicals would be glad to unite and confess that there really is no difference in their views concerning the actual Gospel. While it might seem to some that applying the warnings to true BELIEVERS in a temporary sense (during the Millennium) is “similar” to a Catholic purgatory, it is, at the same time, actually LIGHT YEARS away from the false, Catholic “GOSPEL.” But when people attempt to distance themselves from “Purgatory” in a reckless manner, they end up having to move closer to Rome’s gospel of works (which is not a Gospel!). When one side goes up, the other side goes down! This is why some of the greatest defenders of the true Gospel, and some of the most able and vocal opponents of Romanism (in doctrine and prophecy) also applied the warnings to true believers (while holding to eternal security). They may have looked like they held a “sort of Protestant Purgatory” to their detractors, but they sure were FAR from a Catholic view of justification! All of this is documented in my book. Therefore, by defending the true, Biblical application of the warnings to Christians, and listing the abundant historical support for this view, the GIFT of salvation in eternity may be properly DIVIDED from the PRIZE of Millennial reign. Romanism and the ecumenical priests of Protestantism are thwarted by the consistent hermeneutic which recognizes this distinction throughout the Bible. This is why the Gospel-back-loaders, Gospel-front-loaders, and the ecumenical celebrities are all screaming the loudest against my book. When the warnings are rightly applied, the axe is applied at the root of their doctrinal trees. But let us begin evaluating the actual video transcript.
WHAT DOES ROME BELIEVE ABOUT PURGATORY?
JACK: “A few weeks ago God burdened my heart to preach on the Beam Seat of Christ, when rewards are going to be given to the faithful, and to call it a form of Protestant Purgatory. But then, God is always on time. I received a book hundreds of pages long called, ‘The Rod’ by J.D. Faust [shows book-cover on screen]. And lo and behold in the book he mentions that there were 300 scholars, and he gives the names, and I recognize many of them who covered 100 years of history and actually preached that those who were not right when they die, or who did not suffer for Christ while on earth, are during the thousand year reign of Christ placed into the underworld where there is fire.”
RESPONSE: My quotes actually span 2000 years of Christian history, not just 100 years as he states. The clearest explanations concerning what happens to unfaithful Christians are given during the first 300 years of Christian history, and then also during the 100-year period from about 1850 to 1950. Therefore, the golden ages of premillennialism and literal interpretation were also the ages when Millennial Exclusion was clearly seen. Yet, if Jack Van Impe studied my book as he claims, why does he leave out the early church writers? And why doesn’t he tell the reader that practically ALL of the premillennialists BEFORE the 19th century (1500-1800) believed that only martyrs and those with a “martyr-spirit” reigned with Christ during the Millennium? The Biblical teaching of Millennial Exclusion was revived and developed out of Mede’s selective resurrection in the 17th century, the same way the rapture was developed from Mede’s (and others) earlier “rapture” concepts.
JACK: “Well I kept reading that book, and I delved into it, and was literally shocked at what I had read. And Rexella, God said. ‘That’s why I gave you the title ‘The Protestant Purgatory.’ Now they constantly say this is not like the Catholic Purgatory, but as I’ve studied it, it is. And we want to delve into this now, and give you something to think about.”
RESPONSE: Yes, my view is “like” Catholic purgatory in the sense that it is a temporary punishment. But it is no more like the Catholic purgatory than the Biblical ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is “like” the Catholic mass! It is no more “like” the Catholic purgatory than the Saturday door knocking ministry of our churches is “like” the J.W.’s door knocking! The purposes and details have all been corrupted by Rome, as we will show. My book documents in detail the RISE of Rome’s purgatory OUT of the writings of the early Church fathers, of which the earliest held to entirely different ideas than Rome’s later perversion. I cannot improve upon the words of a recent letter, which sum up the issue:
“Mr. Faust, our in-house library has recently obtained a copy of ‘The Rod, Will God Spare It?’ It appears to be an interesting source of historical and bibliographic information on this subject. I am currently doing a study on the subject of purgatory, so I found Chapter 9, ‘A Protestant Purgatory?,’ very useful…The argument of my study will run something like this: 1) The Word of God speaks of the kingdom reward and dispensational punishment. 2) Although many early church fathers were not as explicit on this teaching as we would like, what they did say indicates that they believed something like it. 3) Some “fathers” deviated from the truth fairly early, and… (a few centuries pass here) 4) The heresy of purgatory is formalized. 5) Then the Reformers, as Lang said it, failed to ‘rescue the wheat from the chaff.’ Today’s evangelical Protestantism has, in fact, burned down the whole barn.” (John Campbell, Anaheim, CA)
Van Impe leaves out the historical facts, and is simply building upon the point that our view and Rome’s view both utilize possible temporary punishment. Yet, Van Impe himself will later state some obvious differences when he tells us that he would much rather go to Rome’s purgatory than suffer Millennial Exclusion! We think Van Impe should fear God and repent of his ecumenism, and get back to his earlier fundamentalism. Perhaps it was the weakness of his own “Bema Seat” view that has allowed him to practically kiss the toe of John Paul II without trembling before our Lord who is a consuming fire! The Bible teaches that we may lose more than rewards. We may actually RECEIVE for the wrong which we have done (Colossians 3:24-25, Luke 12:5, 46-47).
REXELLA: “Very, very interesting, believe me….Normally, when you think of Purgatory, you think about the denomination, the Catholic Church. And, uh, Jack, because I think we do MISUNDERSTAND what they believe, maybe it would be good to share with us, EXACTLY; now you read the new, updated catechism…so you know exactly what they believe about Purgatory. Share with us, will you please?”
RESPONSE: They are seeking to protect and sugar-coat Rome’s Purgatory from the documented facts in my book.
JACK: “There are 2865 different points in the new updated Catholic Catechism, and I read it through twice, and I was amazed at some of the things I found, because WE have TOTALLY misrepresented many of our BROTHERS in the Catholic Church, and what they really teach; and Purgatory is one of them. For instance, the Catholic Catechism, point 1030, concerning Purgatory states: ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven.’ Father Charles M. Carty and Father L. Rumble, add: ‘Purgatory is not a final destiny. Every soul that goes there is saved…Purgatory is not a place for repentance, but for purification.’ Rexella, as you can see, we have often misrepresented what Catholics REALLY believe about Purgatory. Many teach that they go there until all the venial sins are burned away and then they can go to Heaven, because that is how they obtain their final salvation. It is only, as the catechism says, for the elect; for the saved, to become purified.”
RESPONSE: Let us look at his words again: ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship are indeed assured of their eternal salvation…’ The actual Catechism reads: “1030: All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but STILL IMPERFECTLY PURIFIED, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” Can Van Impe really be unaware that the words ‘die in God’s grace and friendship,’ refer in Roman Catholicism, to WORKING to be eternally justified? In Rome’s system, one does not ‘die in God’s grace and friendship’ by believing John 3:16!:
“2068: The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians…the Second Vatican Council confirms: ‘The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord…the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that ALL MEN MAT ATTAIN SALVATION THROUGH faith, BAPTISM AND THE OBSERVANCE OF THE COMMANDMENTS.’
“1023: Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ…”
Is it not clear that in Catholicism there is no clear distinction between positional and practical sanctification? I, and every other writer I have quoted, believe that once a sinner places his trust in the Blood of Jesus for eternal salvation, he is at that instant declared perfectly righteous in the eyes of God. And this righteousness of Jesus can never be lost by any works or unfaithfulness. However, God deals with the saved sinner as a “son.” And a “son” in the New Testament sense will never be totally forsaken by God. Yet, he can be chastised and temporarily banished from the prize of the Millennium. In Catholicism, eternal salvation is by grace through works. And Purgatory is simply one final act of suffering by which a “believer” gains the RIGHTEOUSNESS to enter God’s presence for eternity. To be found “worthy” of Purgatory, a person must first WORK his way to “salvation”:
“162: Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We CAN LOSE this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated….it MUST be ‘working through charity’…”
“1993: Justification…is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, AND in the cooperation of CHARITY…”
“2020: Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us THROUGH BAPTISM…”
“161: …without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who ENDURES to the end.’”
“1815: The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But ‘faith apart from works is dead’: when it is deprived of hope AND LOVE, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body.”
Van Impe is attempting to argue that Rome now teaches that Purgatory is for the “saved,” and not for the lost, so they may earn salvation by suffering. Yet, nowhere has he proven that Rome does not view purgatorial sufferings at redemptive and atoning, in the same manner as baptism or charity:
“2460: …Work united to Christ can be redemptive.”
“980: …Penance is NECESSARY for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism…”
“1031: …The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent.”
“1475: In the communion of saints, ‘a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, THOSE WHO ARE EXPIATING THEIR SINS IN PURGATORY and those who are still pilgrims on earth….Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.”
“620: Our salvation flows from God’s initiative of love for us, because ‘he loved us and sent his Son to be the EXPIATION for our sins…” [Now notice the use of the word "expiating" in #1475 above.]
“1472: …GRAVE SIN sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the ‘eternal punishment’ of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory…”
Therefore, every professing Catholic must endure unto the end in abstaining from “grave sins,” or he will be incapable of eternal life. But the little, “venial” sins must be EXPIATED (i.e. atoned for!) in purgatory.
We have thus far only dealt with the Catechism, and it can already been seen that Van Impe’s whole argument is very deceptive. He does not tell his audience that Rome DEFINES dying in “God’s grace and friendship,” as getting baptized and remaining FAITHFUL to the end in what she defines as good works!
Now compare Rome’s system to what I (and the scholars whom I quote) believe. We believe that by grace through faith alone in the Blood of Jesus a sinner is forgiven and declared righteous positionally. He will never perish in eternity and is absolutely assured of eternal salvation, regardless of any grave, mortal or venial sins. To walk with His Lord in fellowship (here and in during the Millennial age of reward), the believer must obey God’s commandments and keep himself unspotted from the world. He should confess his sins to restore fellowship (not relationship) whenever he falls. If he refuses the reproof and correction of the Bible, he will receive chastisement. If he despises (ignores) chastisement, and does not repent, he will reap what he has sows, both in this life, and then later at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Yet, the suffering of temporary chastisements do not in any manner earn eternal salvation or purge away the eternal penalty of sin. Jack Van Impe finds my view to be similar to Catholic Purgatory because he appears to have adopted the Augustian system of salvation (Rome’s view), and is unable or unwilling to see the difference between “enduring to the end” to be eternally saved, and “enduring to the end” to please your Father in Heaven and be crowned with a Millennial Prize.
REXELLA: “You know I like that, don’t you? I mean, I always thought that Catholics believed that some of the people who went into Purgatory, could not even be a Christian, but go there, and be prayed out, by some loved one, praying for them here on earth. That’s not what this says. Everybody in Purgatory, according to the Catholic theology is a CHRISTIAN….”
RESPONSE: Yes, “everybody in Purgatory, according to the Catholic theology is a CHRISTIAN – that is, a “Christian” who has been baptized, abstained from any mortal sins, performed penance, confessed to a priest, and died in a Catholic “state of grace” with only SMALL sins left to be EXPIATED in Purgatory! According to the Bible, believers who break the “least of the commandments” will be the LEAST in the Millennial Kingdom (Matthew 5:19). They do not go to Purgatory! Believers who break the big commandments (such as seen in 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5 and Ephesians 5) will miss the Millennial Kingdom. Rome (and Augustine) says they will be eternally punished! And what the BIBLE says is a “believer” is one who receives the free gift of eternal salvation, who does not put his or her trust in anything other than the Blood of Jesus (not church, baptism, charity, enduring to the end, sacraments, priests, mass, confirmation, Mary, saints, alcoholic wine, etc.).
JACK: “Right, right. And of course MANY Protestants disagree with praying for the dead…Martin Luther opposed indulgences; but the POINT is, it is not to become saved, it is for the saved. Now, when we get into the Protestant Purgatory, from the book, “The Rod,” by Faust, we’re going to really be shocked.”
RESPONSE: What Van Impe calls “the saved” in the above quote are people who only committed “venial” sins, were baptized, abstained from mortal sins, and endured in a “state of grace” by working for salvation as good Roman Catholics! Van Impe appears to be doing his best to paint the Reformation as a minor argument over indulgences, but fails to mention the millions of Baptists and other “heretics” who died at the hands of Rome for these little “minor” points!
REXELLA: “I’ve been very, very amazed to know that there have been renown men in the Protestant arena that believe in a kind of Protestant Purgatory….You are going to be as surprised as I was when Jack came to me with a certain book, and you can see it on the screen right now, ‘The Rod’ by J. D. Faust. And there is a question mark under that title, ‘Will God Spare It?’ Now he lists in this book 300 men or so who believed that there was a kind of purgatory, or at least I would call it a purgatory, for the Protestants, who are not totally right with the Lord, when they die….And according to some of the other theologians he will be quoting in this book, there is a temporary punishment for unfaithful Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and during the Millennial Kingdom. Punishment. I never heard of that Jack. So actually, it’s a kind of Protestant purgatory. A punishment for unfaithful Christians. Boy, would you please share some of this right now?”
RESPONSE: The debate over Millennial Exclusion often dominated prophetic conferences. There has obviously been a great cover-up or at least a repainting of Christian history. But I must confess that I have a bit of trouble taking the above words seriously. Is she shocked at punishment? Why, THOUSANDS of those associated with TBN and her program are Charismatics and Catholics. They ALL believe that a believer can not only be punished, but punished ETERNALLY for backsliding. It is true that hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism have both adopted a sort of antinomianism in modern times (where you have to curse Jesus or something really horrible and continue in it to lose salvation or lose assurance that you are a true believer); yet, in principle Charismatics believe in a loss of eternal salvation. Why then be shocked at an unfaithful believer being punished for only 1000 years? Shouldn’t she have rather said, “Jack, I have heard of going to Hell for eternity if you backslide, and MOST of our viewers hold to this view, yet isn’t this very MERCIFUL? Imagine, an unfaithful believer only getting punished for 1000 years when we have trillions times trillions of years to spend with our Lord in bliss and glory!” But she did not say this. Instead she was amazed. I continue to be amazed as well at how slow people are to believe our Lord’s warnings and RIGHTLY harmonize them with His promises concerning eternity.
JACK: “And that they’re punished for 1000 years in the underworld, where there is fire. And they call it Millennial Exclusion. Listen. On page 408 in the book entitled “The Rod,” J.D. Faust states, ‘People in Rome’s purgatory suffer to become a child of God…’ Untrue as you just heard.”
RESPONSE: This is from the glossary, and I am using “child of God” in a Biblical sense. Rome’s “child of God” at times means every person in the world, and at other times means those people who have been baptized in the Catholic Church, and are therefore working their way to final salvation. My language here could have been better. But Jack is trying to imply that Rome’s “child of God” and the fundamental Christian’s “child of God” is the same. They are not the same.
[See part 2]
MY REPLY TO JACK VAN IMPE, By Joey Faust (12-20-03)
THE ADVOCATES OF MILLENNIAL EXCLUSION
JACK: ‘This denies the Gospel.’ Yes, if it were so, but it isn’t. ‘On the other hand, the doctrine of Millennial exclusion protects and guards the Gospel, since the various warnings to believers are not applied to eternity, but only for 1000 years.’ Uh. Big deal. Only 1000 years of suffering. At least you can get out of the Catholic purgatory after some prayers. You can’t get out of this Millennial Exclusion thing for over 1000 years. God help us. To me Rexella, this is nothing but a Protestant Purgatory. Nevertheless, some 300 scholars, covering 100 years of history proclaimed this, both in America and Canada. Let’s continue. Who backed it? Dr. George W. Dollar, author of ‘A History of Fundamentalism in America’ promotes the book stating, ‘God’s going to send all the wicked, lazy, unprofitable Christians to outer darkness for 1,000 years, and there shall be a gnashing of teeth.’ Dr. Donald W. Gilmour III of Dallas Theological Seminary, states, ‘These truths have been held and taught throughout Church history.’ Watchman Nee warns: ‘To lose the crown is to lose Kingdom entrance.’ W. F. Roadhouse (1875-1951), and D. M. Panton (1879-1955) both declare, ‘Christians who do not repent before they die will be briefly punished at the Judgment Seat and the excluded from Christ’s future 1,000 year Kingdom.’ G. H. Pember (1837-1910) wrote, ‘Surely if they leave the world fully justified, but incompletely sanctified, it follows that they shall be hurt of the Second Death, though only temporarily.’ Yes, but that still amounts to a thousand years, Rexella. I don’t want any kind of that ‘temporarily’ believe me. Continue. Paul Rader, founder of the great Tabernacle in Chicago, said: ‘Everything that has to do with the 1,000 years must meet the most terrific fires of testing. Only that which can pass through the fiery test at the Judgment Seat can be admitted into this thousand years of Millennial splendor.’ Never thought that that man would teach something like that.”
REXELLA: Right, right.
JACK: What a great man he was. Oswald J. Smith of the People’s Church in Toronto Ontario for over 50 years and a personal friend, said: ‘If we suffer we shall reign with Him. This was the great motive to the Christians of the early church. Pastor D. M. Panton, widely known writer, and diligent student of prophecy spoke of a select or partial rapture and a partial reign.’ And the Dr. Smith continues, ‘This view I must say, I have no hesitation whatever in accepting.’ And what did Dr. Panton, and Dr. Smith believe? Whew! Panton OPENLY taught that, ‘Some Christians that miss the Millennium will be temporarily punished in the fiery underworld according to their works.’ Imagine!….J. D. Faust, in his book, ‘The Rod,’ again writes, and I believe this to be in total error, ‘Christians are warned about the danger of being temporarily hurt by this Lake of Fire…The fires of the underworld are real and terrible. And the disobedient Christian that does not repent in time may temporarily experience the fires.’”
RESPONSE: When I wrote my book, I wrote it to be read, not flipped through. I was unaware that there would actually be people that would critique the book without reading it through from left to right. In this I was green to the world of public controversy. In my book, I make a clear distinction (clear to anyone who reads it through) between the Lord’s fire at His Judgment Seat in the sky (which proceeds out of His mouth and throne) and the banishment to the underworld. In earlier editions I refer to this fire at God’s throne as “The Lake of Fire,” since, as I show in my book in LATER becomes this Lake at His second coming to destroy Antichrist. Careless critics, who assume they can understand a book by reading bold paragraph headings, miss the fact that I make a distinction between the Lake of Fire and the underworld (Hell). And I say carnal Christians are chastised momentarily by the Lord’s BREATH (and I provide full Biblical documentation), and then banished to the underworld throughout the duration of the Millennium. Detractors look for the most shocking quotes they can find. In my book I quote Govett and show some evidence that the Sea of Glass is the Lake of Fire at an EARLY STAGE. Critics often leave out much explanatory material – probably because they don’t read it in the first place! I boldly confess what any edition of my book asserts, that: Unfaithful Christians who do not repent are in danger of being slain by the Lord’s fiery breath at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and then being banished for 1000 years in the underworld according to their deserts.
JACK: “‘The underworld is the dark realm in the heart of the earth that the Lord uses as a prison until after the Millennium. It is under the earth. It is the same as Hell or outer darkness, and all unfaithful Christians will be imprisoned in this underworld until after the Millennium or after the thousand years. The suffering there will be according to their works. There will be differing degrees of chastisement.’ David Regan calls this a sort of Protestant Purgatory. And well he should Rexella, believe me. Stephen S. Craig in 1916 stated, ‘The prospect of punishment after death for some who are ultimately to be saved, savors of the Roman doctrine of Purgatory, where the fire purges.’”
RESPONSE: Craig was an advocate of Millennial Exclusion, and the above quote doesn’t belong to him. Van Impe has been very sloppy quoting from my book, and he has been twice as sloppy in refuting it. The above quote is actually by G. H. Lang who then goes on to show the DIFFERENCE between the views.
JACK: “J.D. Faust, in his book tries to put down some fundamental dispensationalists to try to prove they’re wrong, and states, “Now, there’ve been many dispensationalists who have not embraced selective resurrection or Millennial exclusion at the Judgment Seat. Among them were Doctors J. M. Darby, J.H. Brooks, C.I. Scofield, Clarence Larkin, and E.W. Bullinger…”
RESPONSE: Throughout this review, Mr. and Mrs. Van Impe will imply that I have stated that I am not a dispensationalist, and that Millennial exclusion cannot be harmonized with such a view. Of course, this all depends upon what one means by “dispensationalist.” My actual words were as follows:
“Within the confines of dispensational premillennialism there have been many advocates of kingdom exclusion. Many of these writers will be examined in the next chapter. Robert Govett (1813-1901) issued his futurist commentary on the Book of Revelation in 1843. Within a decade, he was also combining this literalist and futurist view with the doctrine of the pre-trib rapture (partial) at the secret coming of Christ. Govett is therefore one of the earliest writers to actually place in print the combination of these views. He was also one of the chief defenders of millennial exclusion. Many that held that true believers could be excluded from the pre-trib translation, the millennium (or both) used the term ‘dispensational.’ J. R. Graves entitled one of his books on rapture exclusion, ‘Dispensational Expositions of the Parables and Prophecies of Christ.’ H. W. Fry’s book, ‘God’s Plan in the Bible’ taught the danger of exclusion from both the rapture and the mil-lennium. It claimed to be a primer on ‘dispensationalism’ and was endorsed by Bullinger and many Darbyites! It is therefore erroneous to equate dispensationalism with only the views of Darby. He was simply a leading figure in a broader movement. At the time, prominent pastors such as Charles Spurgeon named Govett and Pember (both advocates of millennial exclusion) as the leaders in the movement. James Grant (1802-1879) gives Govett the principle credit for publicizing dispensational views. In America, the premillennial futurism of Joseph Seiss was certainly at the forefront of dispensational scholarship and influence. It is true that there have been many dispensationalists who have not embraced selective-resurrection or chastisement at the judgment seat (e.g. J. N. Darby, J. H. Brooks, C. I. Scofield, E.W. Bullinger, C. Larkin, etc.). Even so, such writers are only part of the history of dispensational thought. Many came from Reformed backgrounds and were inclined to teach that all true Christians are faithful Christians. They were therefore forced by this view to apply all the strong warnings to false professors. This argument was unacceptable to many premillennialists who argued that such a practice undermined literal interpretation itself.”
This is very different from how Van Impe paints the partial quote of my words.
REXELLA: “Well you know what, when Jack came to me, and he read that script to me, that he just gave to you, I wrote down several questions. I said Jack, I just have to ask you these questions. And I think maybe there are questions GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND, as he read this to you from the book, ‘The Rod,’ by J.D. Faust. This was my first question to him. And it was from a quote, Dr. George W. Dollar. He’s a great theologian….Now Jack, friends, I have heard, and I am sure you have heard the term outer darkness, and you’ve also heard gnashing of teeth. But I’ve never heard it applied to Christians!”
RESPONSE: So she’s never heard of the Methodists, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, Salvation Army, Assembly of God, Nazarene, Church of God, etc.? What does she mean that she has never heard outer darkness applied to Christians? It is probable that the majority of the people in her audience have preachers who apply it to CHRISTIANS – yet they refer it to absolute eternal punishment. Yet, the timing is the Second Coming of Christ. And premillenialists believe that Jesus comes to set up His MILLENNIAL Kingdom. What occurs to the banished servant AFTER the Millennium is not stated in the text. Yet, elsewhere we are assured that he will be raised up on the Last Day.
VAN IMPE FORGETS WHAT HE BELIEVES ABOUT MATTHEW 25:30!
REXELLA: “Uh, you know you’ve got to rightly divide the word of truth if you’re going to understand all the dispensations in the Bible, and who it applies to. Does this [Matthew 25:30] apply to Christians?”
JACK: “Absolutely not Rexella. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, study to shew thyself approved unto God…watch it. Rightly dividing the word of truth. Now to WHOM was the text given? To WHOM does it apply? Well in MATTHEW it has to do with the King, and the coming of the King….And it is the Gospel of the Kingdom of Matthew 24 verse 14. S Matthew 8:12, chapter 22:13, and CHAPTER 25 VERSE 30, IS TALKING TO THE JEWS, NOT TO CHRISTIANS. Oh, if people would only rightly divide the word of truth….”
RESPONSE: Van Impe next goes into a lengthy exposition on crowns, etc. to which we will return momentarily. However, during this exposition, he quotes EXTENSIVELY from Matthew 5-7 and applies this material DOCTRINALLY to believers! But what happened to his above view that “MATTHEW” is only for the Jews? Now watch how Van Impe ends this exposition:
“Oh, I want to be with that crowd. Oh how I HOPE it’ll be true Rexella, THAT JESUS WILL LOOK AT ME AND SAY, ‘WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, Matthew 25:21.”
Rexella then adds: “I’m sure he will Jack. I’m sure he will.” Van Impe later continues to apply Matthew 25 to HIMSELF. He can’t get away from it:
“Oh, I want my Savior to say unto me in that day, ‘Jack, well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ But the point is if he [Paul] could LOSE IT. YOU CAN. Live the life!”
Not to be outdone, Rexella ends the video with an appeal TO BELIEVERS:
“I’m talking to Christians first of all…the challenge today that Jack has presented to US, is to HEAR THE WORDS FROM HIS MOUTH, ‘WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT.’”
Now my question is this: Does Matthew 25:21-30 APPLY to CHRISTIANS or not (according to Van Impe)?:
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Did not Van Impe confess TWO TIMES (even telling us the verse, “Matthew 25:21″) that he wants Jesus to say these words to him as a FAITHFUL servant? Yet, we are to believe that if he is UNFAITHFUL (which he assures us is a possibility since he states that Paul was concerned about it), that the VERY WORDS OF JESUS, IN THE SAME CONTEXT DO NOT APPLY? Why are we told that Matthew 25:30 does NOT apply to Christians, but to Jews, but that Matthew 25:21 DOES apply to Christians? It is clear that Van Impe HAS NO CONSISTENT interpretative key concerning the warning passages EXCEPT ONE: IF HE DOESN’T LIKE IT, OR IF IT’S TOO OMINOUS SOUNDING, HE GIVES IT TO THE JEWS! Van Impe quotes the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and applies it to modern Christians. Yet, in this very same commission our Lord commands His disciples to teach the GENTILES all the things He has commanded and taught His disciples! And that He will be with them unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). There are NO words in the later Epistles which negate or change our Lord’s warnings to His disciples (Matthew 25:30, Luke 12:47, etc.). On the other hand, there are many passages in the Epistles which CONFIRM them (1 Timothy 6:3, 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, Hebrews 10:27, Colossians 3:25, Ephesians 5:5-7, etc.).
VAN IMPE AND T. T. SHIELDS
REXELLA: “As Jack mentioned, he is a dispensationalist….Many of the names you read, Jack, to us a moment ago, back you up on this. Men like Doctors Darby…and then T. T. Shields, of course he really put this down by saying you’d need a psychiatrist if you believed it. We don’t go that far.”
JACK: “Oh no. I still love my brothers in Christ. But that was T. T. Shields. He was a fiery warrior for the Lord in his day.”
RESPONSE: They forget to tell you that Shields became an AMILLENNIALIST and had departed from premillennialism when he made the statement about Millennial exclusion. Pink attacked Millennial exclusion, and then also became an amillennialist. John Wilmot also attacked it and then left his premillennialism. The system of literal interpretation leads one to Millennial exclusion. This is why Robert Govett, a foremost defender of Millennial exclusion, shocked the world with his Revelation commentary called: “The Revelation of St. John, Literal and Future,” in 1843. This is why I have a chapter in my book called, “Safeguarding Literal Interpretation.”
VAN IMPE’S PLIABLE VIEW OF CONDEMNATION
JACK: “…because we became the righteousness of God in Christ we can have NO future suffering in a place called the underworld…for 1000 years. Because John 3:18 adds he that believes in Christ is not condemned.”
REXELLA: “Thank you so much Jack…”
JACK: “[To the Christian] Your’e not going to get away with your double standards! I’m watching. I’m keeping track. And some day, YOU’LL FACE IT ALL. The Bible teaches that? Yeah. 2 Corinthians 5 verse 10. We must all, that’s BELIEVERS, appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad. I emphasize good or bad. Somehow we’ve come to a day and age, and I used to teach this but I’ve changed my mind about it, that the only thing that will come up at the Bema Seat happens to be the sins of omission….I believe we’re going to be judged for everything, good or bad….That’s why so many are going to be ashamed when they see Christ, but they’ll be there!….We’re going to have to give an account of everything we did, especially that which was never forgiven….’The next verse says, knowing the TERROR of the Lord…we persuade men.’ This is not going to be a Sunday school picnic….There’s going to be TEARS…. I hear people say, Oh boy, when we get to Heaven its going to be wonderful…there shall be no more sorrow…neither shall there be any more tears [Rev. 21:4]. But you’ve got your verse in the wrong place. That’s not for now. It’s not even for the 1,000 years….FOR THE SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION, AND FOR THE 1,000 YEARS, FOR A TOTAL OF 1007 YEARS, BELIEVERS STILL WEEP. NOT CONSTANTLY. BUT SPONTANEOUSLY…. BECAUSE THEY FAILED HIM.”
RESPONSE: Van Impe (like most modern commentators) appears to simply take the warnings he likes. He does not think that crying often on in shame for 1007 years contradicts the “condemnation” of John 3:18; yet, he believes any other type of physical manifestation or pain (such as stripes or temporary banishment) does contradict John 3:18. But the context of John 3 is eternal salvation. No believer will be eternally condemned. Yet, 1 Corinthians 11 shows that believers may be made sick or KILLED in this life for their sins. There is no denial of John 3 in applying this principle of chastisement (as the Bible does) to the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Millennial Kingdom (which are in temporal time, and are said to end). This argument is made repeatedly in my book. If believers may be made sick or slain in this life, in the day of God’s patience, how much more can they be chastised when “judgment” must begin at the house of God at the Second Coming (1 Peter 4:17)? Van Impe attempts no interaction with the main proof texts and arguments in my book.
THE BEMA SEAT ONLY A SPORT’S TERM?
Van Impe makes much of “Bema Seat” being used in Greek games:
JACK: “God allowed him [Paul] to use a SPORT’S term when he came to that judgment of the believer’s service, and called it the BEMA SEAT….Why?”
RESPONSE: Van Impe leaves out that the word means JUDGMENT and is used in the Bible for Pilate’s Judgment Seat. Our Lord’s crucifixion was certainly not an olympic GAME!:
John 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the JUDGMENT SEAT in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
[o oun pilatos akousas touton ton logon hgagen ecw ton ihsoun kai ekaqisen epi tou BHMATOS eis topon legomenon liqostrwton ebraisti de gabbaqa]
Acts 25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s JUDGMENT SEAT, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
[eipen de o paulos epi tou BHMATOS kaisaros estws eimi ou me dei krinesqai ioudaious ouden hdikhsa ws kai su kallion epiginwskeis]
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the JUDGMENT SEAT of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
[tous gar pantas hmas fanerwqhnai dei emprosqen tou BHMATOS tou xristou ina komishtai ekastos ta dia tou swmatos pros a epracen eite agaqon eite kakon]
So we are to believe that the Judgment Seat of Pilate and the Judgment Seat of Caesar can deliver the death penalty or stripes, but the Judgment Seat of our Lord (who is a consuming fire), which uses the same language, is only a SPORT’S TERM!
My own conclusion is that Van Impe does not know in a systematic fashion what he believes about the warnings, and that all this is new to him (as he confesses). He simply knows that he doesn’t believe what I believe (or what the great men whom I quote believe). He is probably still in shock that so many men believed something that he has never even heard of before. I pray he will reconsider these things. And I do pray that he would distant himself from Rome’s false Gospel and declare plainly to his audience that Roman Catholicism will damn people eternally, and that IDOLATRY is not simply a minor, doctrinal detail. But such boldness and plainness of speech comes with a price. yet, our Lord is able and willing to make up any losses a hundredfold!