According to news reports, David Wilkerson, author of The Cross and the Switchblade, died in a car accident in Texas on Wednesday, April 27. May he find peace and bliss in paradise with his Lord.
When I was a Pentecostal preacher’s kid and a student in a very secularized high school (where I was the object of much ridicule for being openly a believer) David Wilkerson’s book and the movie based on it gave me great comfort and some ammunition. I gave a report on the book, the ministry (Teen Challenge) and the man in my Social Problems class. At least some of my fellow students were impressed with Wilkerson and his ministry because of that. (I invited them to a showing of the movie and some came and accepted Christ there.)
I met David Wilkerson once in my hometown when he came to speak at an evangelistic crusade. I’ve always respected him with one exception.
Early during the charismatic movement he predicted (prophecied?)that the Pope would squash the charismatic movement. I heard him say this at a Lutheran Charismatic meeting in Minneapolis in about 1971 or 1972. Of course, that didn’t happen. John Paul II especially warmly embraced the charismatic movement.
In any case, in spite of Wilkerson’s foibles (who doesn’t have them?) he was a great evangelist and minister to drug addicts. He was a major force in my life when I was much younger. He will be missed.