by Bill Randles
Therefore you shall say this word to them:
"Let my eyes flow with tears night and day, And let them not cease; For the virgin daughter of my people Has been broken with a mighty stroke, with a very severe blow." (Jeremiah 14:17)
Dave Wilkerson, a major Christian voice for our generation has gone on to be with the Lord. He and his wife Gwen suffered a head on auto collision, thus far she survived but is in critical condition.
What can I say of such a formative influence in my own, and our generation’s life? The Lord used Wilkerson to reach so many thousands and hundreds of thousands.
People by the millions have been touched by his book, “The Cross and The Switchblade”. The book is the testimony of Wilkerson’s transition from a country Pentecostal preacher in Pennsylvania, into an inner city shepherd to vicious street gangs, drug addicts and lost and forgotten people.
Who can’t be affected by the story of the humble small town pastor, opening an issue of Life magazine, and weeping over the picture of convicted but unrepentant teen murderers in the jungle like slums of New York City?
God alone knows how many have been led to saving faith by reading that book, or who have received the call of God’s mercy to bring the gospel to drug addicts, and street people because of that testimony. I recently showed the Movie featuring Pat Boone and Eric Estrada to our Youth group, and was struck again by the power of the story.
Out of Wilkerson’s work on the streets of New York city, came Teen Challenge, the singularly most successful drug rehabilitation program in existence. Totally Christ centered, unabashedly evangelical, Teen Challenge truly works wonders in lives to this day.
To the thousands of addicts and family members ravaged by the drug scourge of the 1950′s-60′s and up to today, Teen Challenge served as a beacon of hope and of salvation, seeing them through drug addiction, and into full, productive and Christ centered lives.
Wilkerson was the prophetically inclined elder preacher to a whole generation of those of us who came to Christ in the turbulent sixties and seventies. He ever reminded us, by his preaching and example, of what following Christ truly is all about!
When other Pentecostals were drifting into the “faith/prosperity” heresy, Wilkerson sounded the alarm. When Christians lost sight of reaching the lost, and sought to make a comfortable, crossless Christianity, Wilkerson’s voice rang out.
Who hasn’t had the experience more than once, of opening one of Wilkerson’s mini sermons in the mail, and realizing that God was speaking directly to your own current situation?
Time and again a Word from ‘brother Dave’ has actually proven to be a Word from God himself speaking into a situation or an attitude, or giving a comfort, encouragement or exhortation. I thank God for this brother, what a gift He was!
God raised him up in an especially turbulent time. To this rebellious generation, wracked by a complete satanic social and cultural transformation, including a sexual revolution, a psychedelic drug soaked consciousness revolution, and a defection by many Christians from “the old paths”, Dave Wilkerson was a powerful , pleading voice.
But what affected me the most about brother Dave, was his broken heart. This man wept for the church, for the ministry, and for the glory of God. Have you ever actually heard him preach? There is communicated through him a deep, profound, mourning , as he pleads, urges and exhorts his hearers to keep faith with Jesus. I am reminded of Jeremiah, or of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, when I hear sermons like this, A Call To Anguish, and this, Where are the Praying People? .
Like the ancient prophets, Dave Wilkerson was in holy horror also at the apostasy, and the defection of ministers and Christian alike. With tears in his eyes he would mourn over ruined ministers, and congregations across the land, which had contacted him in desperate letters, pleading for prayer.
Whether it be by the false money preachers, the outcome of the sexual revolution, the decayed standard of Christian teaching, the neglect of holiness, Wilkerson’s heart was truly broken by the ruined lives left in the wake of these disasters.
Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom. (Lamentation 2:11-12)
The tears flowed because of Love, for God, his glory, and for his bride.
Dave also wept because he had been shown things to come. He saw that the ‘good times’ wouldn’t last forever, and warned about the tribulations to come. He saw the baptism of filth, the moral rot, the fires, riots and persecutions coming to complacent America, and cried out about it, in spite of laughter and rejection.
Who weeps for us these days? Who will cry tears over our current state in the church ? Who now will openly confront the wolves, calling them out, exposing them to his own hurt? Who now will confront those ruining God’s church to their face? Do we know what we no longer have?
God bless you brother David, Take your rest in peace!
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