“The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil”(Isaiah 57:1 NIV).

When I heard the news of David Wilkerson’s passing I could not help but stop in stunned silence mixed with personal sadness at this loss in the Body of Christ. I had the privilege of meeting and personally interacting with him at a memorial service for a personal friend and family member of his. His conversation to me was a personal benediction to my own life.

I have been reflecting on the words of his great namesake in the scriptures, David, that “a great man in Israel has died”. David Wilkerson now belongs to that great “cloud of witnesses” mentioned in Hebrews chapter eleven. The likes of him will not be seen for a long time. And yet his light still shines in the midst of a dark and difficult world, offering “a new and living way” in Christ.

He was truly a great general of God’s Army. His call for holiness and righteous living did not make him popular with those who preached a false gospel of “fullness of bread and ease of living”. He gave no quarters for those who lead God’s people down paths of spiritual slackness, compromise or defeat. He knew that the scriptures taught “Be Ye holy for I am Holy, says the LORD”(1 Pet.1:16) and that “without holiness no man would see the Lord”(Heb. 12:14 ). He founded and led one of the truly great churches, TIME SQUARE CHURCH, in one of the darkest corners of the globe, New York City. The church continues to attract over 8 thousand people weekly to a message of faith and hope in God, through Jesus Christ.

He was a great man of prayer. If anything challenged others toward seeking the heart of God on a daily basis it was his deep commitment to abide in the presence of God. He never ceased to lead by example, coming “boldly” and making daily use of “the throne of grace”(Hebrews 4:16). He believed that the real strategy to change our society and the world did not come from bankrupt governments, crooked politicians or corrupt businessmen, but men and women of faith who found God “on their knees”.

He was a pastoral leader to other leaders. In addition to agonizing over weak and even fallen spiritual leaders, he was known to provide biblical counsel, and godly encouragement to many. His daily writings were an inspiration for many to trust God in the midst of hard times, heartache and difficulties. Through God’s Promises, he sought to guide the flock of God to still waters and green pastures, to graze and lie down, even in the midst of the enemy’s taunts and insight to fear and despair. David was personally generous to provide spiritual resources for young ministry, helping them grow with solid meat in the things of the Lord. He even reprinted godly resources in order introduce them to a spiritually malnourished new generation of young leaders.

He was a man full of compassion. His well known classic story of The Cross and The Switchblade has been read in homes around the world. His work with troubled youth involved with drugs, gangs and violence led to the founding of Teen Challenge and youth ministries. He personally and quietly has cared for the poor widows. His message seemed tough and at times hard to bear in a religious, godless society, but because his message was backed by the love of God and a godly example, thousands of lives were rescued from the jaws of death and hell.

He was a man of vision. He was a “seer”, like the prophets of old, giving warning of impending judgements and events coming upon our world. He not only saw destruction, but gave instruction as to how God’s people could heed the warning and avoid coming disaster. As in Noah’s day, many mocked David’s warnings, but our present day News Reports have been God’s vindication of his servant, proving the reality of many of his warnings.

May he rest in peace from all his labors. The scriptures say, “Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his saints”(Ps. 116:15). When Elijah was caught up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elisha was there to pick up the mantle…The mantle of David Wilkerson is falling to the earth. Will this new generation see it and dare pick it up?

Copyright© Walter Fletcher Jr., 2011. Permission is granted to reproduce this article free of charge, provided that it is not altered in its original form and content. Please direct all correspondence to


%d bloggers like this: