Saint Wilkerson promoted to Glory. He will serve with God for an Eternity.


His Prayers Answered, Evangelist David Wilkerson Has a Divine Hit Running on the Great White Way

It’s a glitzless Broadway production with free admission, an unpaid choir, a hodgepodge of instruments for a band, and a lead performer who mostly stands in one spot behind a Plexiglas lectern and talks. Not your typical theater fare, yet since David Wilkerson took over the stage of the landmark Mark Hellinger Theater last March, it’s often been SRO in the 103-seat house. Nonetheless, says the minister of the Times Square Church, “We’re not trying to pack seats. We’re trying to pack our hearts with Jesus.”

An evangelist and co-author of The Cross and the Switchblade, a best-seller (15 million copies in 30 languages) about his work with New York gangs in the ’50s, Wilkerson, 57, has received mostly favorable notices since he took over the revered Hellinger. “SRO for Jesus on Broadway,” blared the New York Daily News, and Variety announced, “That old-time religion books Hellinger.” Wilkerson finds the showbiz lingo understandable. The Hellinger has showcased such musical hits as My Fair Lady, Sugar Babies, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and—appropriately—Jesus Christ Superstar, and its marquee once boasted the names Katharine Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison.

Now the marquee proclaims NONDE-NOMINATIONAL TIMES SQUARE CHURCH. THE REAL REVIVAL ON BROADWAY! And the house attracts a mixed bag of congregants ranging from middle-class families to the homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts and AIDS sufferers, all drawn by four-a-week, 2½-hour services and no-nonsense sermons. “I never considered myself a great preacher—I’m a communicator,” Wilkerson says, and his low-key approach sharply contrasts with that of other evangelists. A few years ago he warned his friend Jimmy Swaggart that he feared God was about to shut Swaggart’s flamboyant act down, and he now says that all the fundamentalist “one-man shows are over. The people won’t have it.”

Taking a $56,000-a-year salary, Wilkerson lives with his wife, Gwen, 57, in a two-bedroom Manhattan apartment, drives a three-year-old Honda, and employs a church staff of 30, paid from $2 million in annual collection monies and gifts from wealthy donors. “People watch the kind of car you drive,” says Wilkerson, whose four children are ministers themselves or are married to ministers. “My wife doesn’t have a fur, and we both dress modestly. We know we are in a glass bowl.” So, often, are his parishioners: Much of his flock is ragtag, and they receive their pastoral counseling on the grubby streets of Times Square.

Wilkerson’s origins never suggested he was headed for Broadway. The second of four children born in Hammond, Ind., to Rev. Kenneth and Ann Wilkerson, he was raised in Barnesboro, Pa., in a home “full of Bibles” and began preaching at 14. He was not allowed to go to movies, and only Christian music filtered through the family’s clapboard house. “They called me Screechin’ Deacon,” he recalls, adding that other children hassled him because he was skinny. “Later that did something for me in feeling for the oppressed.” After high school, Wilkerson tried Bible college but dropped out because “it was boring. None of the other students were serious about the ministry.” In 1953 he married Gwen and took Pentecostal pastorates in Scottdale and Philipsburg, Pa. Then a 1957 LIFE story about a polio-stricken boy who was killed by gang members in New York changed his life. “I heard an inner voice say, ‘Go and try to reach those boys.’ ”

Moving to New York, Wilkerson started Teen Challenge, a drug, alcohol and evangelism outreach program that he ran for 14 years and which now has 110 centers nationwide. In search of a wider ministry, he moved to Tyler, Texas, and founded a similar organization, called World Challenge (he is still its president), doing street ministries in New York in the summers. The sudden explosion of crack use brought him back to Manhattan full-time in 1987.

After moving his church in and out of several New York buildings, including Town Hall, Wilkerson spotted his current pulpit about the time bad reviews and attendance were threatening the theater’s then occupant, the superbomb musical Legs Diamond. Hoping it would fold, he even mingled with theatergoers on the street, savoring their grumbles, and when Legs closed after three months, he got the house. So far, the new bill has been a big hit to a growing congregation, and Wilkerson hopes his home is permanent. “We have in our hands one of the prime theaters in America,” he says, “and I think God says, ‘If I can trust you with the poor, I can trust you with the Mark Hellinger.’ ”

—Ron Arias, Gavin Moses in New York

Comment by Adamantine:

I found this article from 1989 which speaks to the authenticity of the man. That does not take away my criticism of him that one should not publish books called “The Vision ” and then say one is not a prophet. I was in the process of discussing this criticism of him when he died. In the meantime this is another part of the evidence that he was a true Christian. I will return to the discussion of the prophetic angle at a later point.


12 thoughts on “Saint Wilkerson promoted to Glory. He will serve with God for an Eternity.

  1. I agree Adamantine, on your evaluation of his prophecies or whatever he called them. He did some good work for the Lord, but also many of his prophecies put many young believers in fear mode, and I did not like that one bit myself. From the 70s on until recently I disagreed with many of his words, including the ones that the godly would be trembling in fear or something like that. I think it was his 2009 one about New York burning or something.


  2. John had a vision. He wrote it down. It is full of fearful words. He never claimed to be a prophet. Today we know it as Revelation.

    Almost 2000 years later another Godly man lived whose life never reflected anything more than the fear of God. He had a vision. He was so troubled by it that he prayed for weeks to ask God to take it away from him as he knew it will make a fool of him. (This is documented) He wrote it down, preached, available to download for free and published a book not to make money, but purely for someone who wants it in written form. Today we know it as The Vision. Some love it, some hate it.

    I will defend David Wilkerson until the Lord shows me that His servant was planning to mislead people by this book. I also believe that Past Wilkerson would have withdrawn the book if he had any doubts in the past 38 years about his vision.

    And I also wonder how many of those who criticize the book has actually read it…?

    I will never endorse any so called prophecies or visions on this site. I am totally against the prophetic movement in the church. This one is different,


  3. I read it- what he said was supposed to happen didnt. its been too long, he said soon, next few years, stuff like that.

    he said the big thing would be porn parties for mainstream america, stuff like that. ok lots of porn but not like he said.


  4. How soon is soon? How long is the next few years.

    In the next few years, if the Lord does not come soon, up to 90% of people alive today will be dead. Am I wrong? No. Did I put a time limit on my statement? No. Can I say that soon (in the next 80 years) my statement will come true?

    He also talks about nude dancing in the church, but it will not be wide spread. I have read about it about 2 years ago. It did happen 36 years after his vision.



  5. Goodness, Adamantime, talk about being critical and cynical. Rev. Wilkerson–a great man of God who did great things for countless numbers of people–is not even buried yet but that doesn’t seem to stop you from your contined and relentless character assassinations against him. You do that with such grave, too, and in a wonderfully crafted ‘passive/aggressive’ manor….”This man was authentic and did some good things buttttttttt, he also profited financially from his visions” Get off the crackpot, Adam. Rev. Wilkerson’s ‘visions’ and/or ‘warnings to humanity’ made up about .0000000000000001% of everything he did under the sun. To be so nitpicky concerning this wonderful man who devoted so much to the service of others around the globe really makes you appear shameless in my eyes.

    I thank God He gave me the gift of discernment and the ability to use oversight during my stay on earth. To me, some things are just not worth getting all worked over.

    Rev. Wilkerson did not ONCE in all the 12+ years I have spent reading his books, listening to his sermons, or reading his monthly pulpit series mailings, give me reason to be fearful from anything he said.

    I just get past the fact that anyone would want to be so negative about such a small part of something such a great man of God did or said. That approach really does detract from the numerous and tremedous contributions Rev. Wilkerson brought to this world while he was walking with his Lord. If that’s how you roll though Mr. Mantine, then so be it. I ain’t mad at ya, life is too short!!

    Glory Be to King Jesus!


  6. unless your making excuses for him, how long do you think -a few years – is??

    other places he said ‘in the coming decade’ – thats either in the next 10 years, or in the 80’s, whichever.

    that’s long gone


  7. I am not going to re-read the book to answer your second statement. If you can give me an indication on what chapter or page he made the “decade” statement, I will look into it.

    I am not making excuses for him. I worship God, not man. I do not idolize a christian leader. I am merely defending a fellow Brother in Christ. It does look like no one can come with anything better that “a few years”. Noah preach for a few years before the flood came. Jesus warned that soon Jerusalem and the Temple to be destroyed. There are many more examples in the Bible. Did anyone put a specific end date to the prophecy? Did God EVER put a expiry DATE on a prophecy? No. It expires when it is fulfilled.


  8. Praise the Lord for watchmen on the wall! Thank you Lord Jesus, that when you move your watchmen to pass on an important message to your people your timing is not our timing, for if that be case the case, we might not have time to prepare accordingly, and in our humaness ‘get our houses in order.’

    Imagine a world where the Lord moved one of His servants on earth to convey a vision/warning/Godly message and there wasn’t enough time for the flock to process and/or act on that information before the ‘modern day Noah’s flood’ came.

    2 Peter 3:8:
    But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    Isaiah 9:6-7 (New International Version, ©2011)

    6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
    He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
    establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
    The zeal of the LORD Almighty
    will accomplish this.

    Some 600-700 years passed from the time of Isiah’s prophecy to the time it was fulfilled by Christ’s earthly ministry.

    If say for instance a Godly man such as Rev. Wilkerson spoke about something the Lord had put on his heart, and that something didn’t exactly come to fruition for some decades that passed, how big a deal is that really in the spectrum of time and space as it relates to the complete picture of the age of grace? We are living in a time where people are ‘wanting it done now’ or ‘ expecting it to be completed now.’ This is not a realistic expectation when we compare God’s timeframes to ours.

    I’m going to stop here because my heart is telling me there is no need to go on defending in anymore, for any more reasons, a great man of God such was David Wilkerson was. I just want to say in closing that I can’t wait to hug him in eternity and thank him for all the wisdom he bestowed upon me personally in so many formats by the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ as Christ saw it fit to use Pastor as a vessel of truth.

    I love you Jesus and thank you from my heart for everything You did through Reverend Wilkerson.


  9. Comment by Adamantine:
    I was critiquing him at the time of his death and his passing does not require any sort of need to cease a discussion of him. Rick Joyner is another apparent man of God who has also said decidedly prophetic things and yet said he is not a prophet. I did not choose Joyner as the prime target of my critique on this site because that would have been too easy as it seems more are less impressed with him than with David Wilkerson. It was years ago that I became unhappy with Wilkerson stance on his economic prophecies. He has been wrong for nearly forty years as it relates to the economy. He wrote a series of economic books predicting economic wreckage for the USA in the 1990’s and they were wrong. I then found his sermons from the 1970’s saying similarly in a manner then that led any reasonable person to expect in the next few years the culmination of the economic judgments .Wilkerson was wrong there again. Remember secular writers were writing similar things at the same time he wrote his works and where they were wrong the secular world held them accountable. God is no respecter of persons and I do not think we need to be either. Wilkerson was certainly a man of God and one who saw what will come to pass some day for NYC and the USA. The way they were presented by his books proved him to be wrong as a prophet however. Possibly he presented his “prophecies inaccurately.
    We all know and some knew before Wilkerson that judgment was coming on the US and even NYC. There is a decided incongruity between what he said, what was said as if it were prophecy, what did not occur, what has occurred and his claims to not being a prophet. I think people need to be clear about making prophetic statements such that they can be seen to be right or wrong. This in between never never land is not God honoring. Quit trying to turn Wilkerson into a man above critique. In this area I believe his behavior was wrong. He was also a man who was in the kitchen and could stand the heat. Others need not act offended that someone (such as me) might think he was not correct in everything.


  10. I still cant find my book. it was something about the coming decade riots and stuff all over south america, and ‘killer storms’ like every couple of days all over the world.

    but if you paid attention to ‘the coming decade’ why not the ‘next few years’? that’s closer?

    Bible prophets gave times sometimes – they always fit the fullfillments – always.


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