Penned by his son Gary Wilkerson and co-author Scott Sawyer, the life of his dad, David Wilkerson, in David Wilkerson – The Cross, the Switchblade, and the Man Who Believed tells his remarkable story. David himself would never have wanted this book, but after his death in 2011, Gary gathered every possible source, talked to numerous friends and co-workers to assemble this biography.
His youth in a strict pentecostal family as son of a preacher shaped his personality and gave him examples. He started preaching from the local pulpit as teenager and moved to New York from rural Pennsylvania in 1958 to confront the drugs gangs that ruled the streets. It was the scene that gave birth to his most famous book The Cross and the Switchblade, an effective revival, and Teen Challenge. After that he relocated to several other parts of the US, started churches, and preached wherever he could to win souls for God. His prophetic burden, humbleness and obedience helped thousands and thousands to know Christ and repent from their sinful past.
Wilkerson later founded the Times Square Church, currently a non-denominational mega-church of 8,000 members. Gary not only praises his father, but also has many examples of his spiritual struggles, the confusion his choices caused by co-workers, and the impact his life had on his wife and children. The book illustrates the changing personality and evangelical or pentecostal churches throughout the States. Having found rest, rediscovering lasting truths in Puritans’ writings, David lived longer than he himself expected, seeking God’s will until the end. If you only read The Cross & The Switchblade or saw the movie version (starring Pat Boone playing David Wilkerson), or have only heard of Teen Challenge, it’s good to understand the background and let your spiritual life get a refresher.
About the author
Pastor Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the lead pastor of The Springs Church, which he and others launched in 2009 and has grown rapidly by God’s grace. Gary travels nationally and internationally to conduct conferences for pastors, missionaries and Christian workers and to oversee mission ventures including church plants, orphanages, health clinics and feeding programs among the poor and unreached people of the world. Gary and his wife, Kelly, have four children and live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.