Archive for the ‘Dave Wilkerson’ Category

There are some people who are such a part of the landscape of your life that you scarcely notice them…till they are gone. I was surprised at the tears that came flooding to my eyes to discover that Dave Wilkerson died in a car crash in east Texas 6 hours ago—at the age of 79. Like many others, Dave Wilkerson was one of my earliest Christian heros. I remember watching “The Cross and the Switchblade” as a little kid in our church in Ajo, Arizona, and I recall how my mother tried to shield me from some of the more graphic scenes. My little sister’s earliest crush was on Erik Estrada, the guy who played Nicky Cruz.

Much later, I subscribed to his newsletter for a few years. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but I always respected him. He was TRUE to the core….TRUE to what knew. He wouldn’t budge on many cultural issues. When churches all over the country were bending over backwards to make themselves pleasing to the crowds; creating a cheap circus atmosphere of smokecreen entertainment and godliness-is-a-means-to-get-rich-quick schemes, David was one of the few who had the courage and the clout to boldly denounce it—as well as the heart to weep over it. Yes, he wept over it, and if there is one picture I have of him in my mind, it is a man walking through the streets of Times Square…and the streets of American Christianity…and weeping.

As I said on my Facebook post, in reference to Dave: “What did you go to Times Square to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet…”

Some say he saw and spoke too much of gloom and doom and perhaps he did. But at least he had the honesty to not sugar-coat the reality that he lived in and the things that he saw. Never one to paint white wash over a tomb, he called things as he saw them, even when it made him out of step with the many in the church world. There are many who would have gladly been a part of “Team Wilkerson,” that is, if he hadn’t refused to endorse or come to their charismatic parties. He was like the austere grandfather whose respect did not come easily, but when it came it was genuine.

Perhaps it is just because I am on another continent, where Christianity (or at least a multitude of aberrant forms of it) has been imposed upon the masses, that I am recognizing more than ever that there are so few people who really preach JESUS. (Referencing Jesus a few times in a few sermons while expounding on pet doctrines is NOT the same thing as being His witness). I see the sick results of American Christianity all over the place here—where it has, in some places, grown into something that is “twice the son of hell” as what it was on the other side of the ocean. But those who planted it bear much of the responsibility of it.

I suppose if there is one main thing I learned from Dave Wilkerson, it is that the call to Christ is a call to the cross and a call to holiness. It is a call to truth in the inward parts. It is a call to loyalty to the Son of Man. It is the simple and firm belief that Jesus is enough. In a world that is inundated with religious games and shenanigans, where people are drowning in the barrage of truthless words that spew from the mouth of the serpent, Dave Wilkerson stood as one full of fresh air. He stood upright as a sign and a wonder in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation. May God raise up many, many more with that same spirit.

This is an addendum, but I want to share a dream that I had about him in 2008. I had just moved to Richlands, NC and in my first month or two there I had several colorful and interesting dreams. In one of these dreams, I found myself in a large camp of army tents that were all clustered around a giant race track. I knew my tent….It was a tent that represented the present truth God had made real to me, and in my dream I was sitting and talking with Kelley Varner.

As I looked around this giant field, I saw that there were army tents everywhere, each representing a different truth or movement in the Body of Christ. I was soooo excited to be in this place, where I could mingle easily and freely with others in different tents, and so I took off walking. The racetrack was long and the army camped next to it seemed to go on forever….tents were stretched out far into the horizon.

I went into a tent that was not too far from the one I was in, and who should I meet there but Dave Wilkerson! (At this particular time in my life I had not thought about Dave in a long time, so it was strange that he should have showed up in my dream). As soon as I saw him in the dream, I felt an incredible love for him just wash through me. I cried out, “Oh Dave! How great to see you!” and I threw myself into his arms for a hug. He seemed happy to see me too, and we talked just like old friends—with twinkles of joy in our eyes. After a moment, I remembered the tent from which I had come and I began to compel him to come with me. “Come with me, Dave! I have something to show you! I want you to meet Kelley Varner!” That was pretty much the end of the dream, at least as much as I can recall.

I remember sharing this dream with Joann Varner one day and she surprised me greatly by telling me that Dave Wilkerson and Kelley Varner had actually been friends in the 80’s and that Dave had treated them very kindly and flew them out to Texas so that he could talk to Papa V…Joann was pregnant at the time, and Dave generously paid for the birth of Joy Beth. (This may be a story that the Varners would prefer to tell and so please forgive me if I am intruding by sharing it). I only mention it to say that though very different in some ways, these two men also had much in common. Both operated in a holy boldness that completely transcended the fear of man. Neither were out to win popularity contests but both would have gladly laid down their life to bring the Body of Christ into maturity (and lay down their lives, they did). They revealed the Father’s love, the tough love, the ruthless love of God that unyieldingly wants the highest and best for all His children and will not settle for less. I am grateful for their influence in my life.

And so I say again, that there are far too few people in the earth who live like this—who love like this. May God raise up many more in the spirit of Dave Wilkerson and Kelley Varner!!!!! I am sure they are enjoying their time together in the new realm which they now occupy. 🙂


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