What You Need to Know about David Wilkerson's 'Urgent Message'
What did David Wilkerson say that got so many people talking?
I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to send out an urgent message to all on our mailing list, and to friends and to bishops we have met all over the world.
AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE — EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US.
For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires — such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.
There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting — including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God's wrath.
Aren't such prophecies relatively common online?
Prophetic words in general are not very rare. For example, you can subscribe to Charisma magazine's "Prophetic Insight" newsletter to get the latest messages from those who say they have a message for the church directly from the Lord. The newsletter tends more toward the "words of encouragement" prophecies than "end times" parsing, though you can find lots of those newsletters online, too.
Are most of the other prophecy newsletters as calamitous?
Actually, Charisma's latest "Prophetic Insight" seems to be a response of sorts to Wilkerson. "Contra the doom-and-gloomers, and despite my own emotional pull to hit the panic button, America will not collapse economically or politically," wrote R. Loren Sandford, pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver. "We are not under judgment. Destruction is not just over the horizon."
If prophecy is so common online, why is this getting so much attention?
Wilkerson has more credibility and name recognition than many other online prophets. He is the author of The Cross and the Switchblade, one of the most popular books in evangelical history. (It ranked #32 in Christianity Today's list of "Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.") His Teen Challenge ministry is very prominent in discussions of drug treatment and social service partnerships between church and government. And Times Square Church, which he founded, reportedly draws 8,000 people weekly and is known for its many social service ministries.
Still, Wilkerson's message probably wouldn't have received as much notice without the Drudge Report prominently promoting it at the top of its page under the headline: "Famed pastor predicts imminent catastrophe."
What does Wilkerson say people should do about his message?
There's "no need to hide. This is God's righteous work," he said. But he added, "I give you a practical word I received for my own direction. If possible lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries, and other essentials. In major cities, grocery stores are emptied in an hour at the sign of an impending disaster."
Doesn't that sound like the warnings about Y2K that some Christian groups were giving in 1999?
Many critics think so. "It does not resonate with my spirit when he claims that God told him to 'lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials' because when disaster comes 'grocery stores are emptied in an hour,' " John Piper wrote on his blog. "God might have said this. But it doesn't smell authentic to me. Too prudential. Too reminiscent of the embarrassing Y2K excesses. … [M]y own effort to be discerning says: Stick with the Bible, David. It is scary enough. And it is absolutely true. And your credibility will never fall."