Just two days ago my friend Nick Booth informed me of the tragic car accident that killed Pastor David Wilkerson and critically injured his wife Gwen.
By late Wednesday night, Times Square Church in New York City announced the death of its founding pastor in a statement from Senior Pastor Carter Conlon:
Pastor David Wilkerson’s was a life fully given for the glory of God and souls of men. He was greatly loved and he will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with the family and we as a church body are committed to standing with them at this time of sorrow.
The Wilkerson family issued a statement after midnight on the World Challenge web site:
We appreciate your prayers and our hearts are sorrowful, yet we rejoice at the joy of knowing David Wilkerson spent his life well. More information will be coming soon. Thank you for your prayers, the statement said.
Alongside founding and pastoring Times Square Church in New York City, Wilkerson also founded such influential ministries as Teen Challenge and World Challenge Ministries.
Though I wear different theological stripes to Wilkerson's charismatic heritage, and though I did shudder at some of his apocalyptic prophetic utterances in the past, David Wilkerson remains to this day as a man who I have deep respect and gratitude for. I am very grateful for some of his sermons that have inhabited my MP3 player in recent years and salute Pastor Wilkerson as an uncompromising voice for Gospel clarity in a wider charismatic movement that has begun to spiral into theological freefall. He was unyielding as an "old school bare knuckle pentecostal preacher" who was unrelenting in his scorching criticism of the entertainment circus that had engulfed the movement he was a part of. It was also David Wilkerson who gave Ray Comfort a platform to speak when he was largely unknown.
I am largely ignorant of the deeper machinations of Wilkerson's ministry, but to the best of my knowledge he remained a faithful preacher of the once for all delivered faith to the day of his departure. A stranger in a strange land who is now no longer in search of the city whose builder and maker is God. The death of David Wilkerson also reminds we strangers who remain, of the great blessing that audio recording is . . .