Years ago (think me as a twenty-year-old Protestant fundamentalist) I was somewhere in northeast China with a covert mission team. In the apartment where we were staying, I was rifling through a storage room and discovered a handful of dusty videos. One of them was a full-length video production by Jack and Rexella Van Impe
. (I know, his poor wife's name just begs for commentary.) Bright red lettering splashed across the cover read something to this effect:
'IF A MASSIVE PORTION OF THE POPULATION OF THE PLANET HAS SUDDENLY DISAPPEARED FOR NO APPARENT REASON AND YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY, WATCH THIS VIDEO.'
Of course I stuck it in the VHS. It began with Jack and his drenched-with-mascara-and-hairspray wife intoning something along the lines of, 'If you are watching this, viewer, then the world's news agencies are probably broadcasting alarming headlines, informing you that tens of thousands of people across the world have suddenly disappeared without reason. The purpose of this video is to explain, to those of you who were left behind, why this has happened. ' Most of you are probably familiar with fundamentalist 'rapture' theology, and I needn't get into it here. The Van Impes made a cottage industry out of this stuff.
I only convey this because there are rumors that the couple has converted to Catholicism. Eric Svendsen of 'Real Clear Theology' bemoans
, 'You foolish Van Impes, who has bewitched you!' (note the latter revision
). This has yet to pan out: I haven't yet seen anything on their official website. If so, this may be the most unlikely conversion I've seen in my lifetime. (Hat tip, Bill Cork