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Discussion Forum : General Topics : David Wilkerson's VISION

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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4293



While I personally lean "pre-wrath" regarding the initial coming of the Lord (like you say, a different matter altogether), I seem to remember that it was around this time (when he wrote [i]Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth[/i]) that Brother Wilkerson decided to not renew his papers with the Assemblies of God.

In 1984-85, David Wilkerson decided to take a sabbatical from public ministry. His last major message (from my understanding) was [i][url=]Holy Ground[/url][/i]. In that message, he preached to a group of YWAMers about the dangers of the prosperity message, the dangers associated with fame and reputuation, and the need to become entirely given over to the will of God. At the end of this very solemn message, Wilkerson stated that he didn't want to preach again unless he could bring to light "a true representation of Jesus Christ."

As a result, Wilkerson shut down his public ministry. He donated his ministry headquarters in Texas to YWAM. He stopped writing, traveling and preaching at conferences and evangelical meetings. He took a year off in order to seek and know God more adequately. During this time, he found himself visiting the drug infested streets of New York in order to preach to the down and out. And it was during at the end of that year that he felt impressed to write [i]Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth[/i] and eventually return to New York City as a pastor.

David Wilkerson hardly preaches on the specifics concerning the Lord's return. I've heard believers here on SI who have testified that David Wilkerson had turned "post-trib" (although an email from Pastor Neil at Times Square Church refutes that). However, I have heard him talk about how insignificant he views the debate. David Wilkerson has lately maintained that he is "Pan-Trib" -- that is, everything will "pan" out in time. We are simply to maintain as close a relationship as possible with Christ.

Of course, I don't even remember much about his book [i]The Vision[/i]. I read it so long ago, that I don't even remember any references to a pre-trib "rapture." I do recall a few references about his "vision" (or "dream" -- I can't remember) that seemed remarkably prophetic in the sense that they came to pass. In the book, Wilkerson wrote about everything from a vision about the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union to a vision of the advent of cable/satellite television in which people could access pornography on demand. The book, as far as I was concerned, seemed to be an admonition to stay focused upon the Lord because dark times were just ahead.

The book turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the time it was published, I've heard that David Wilkerson was an extremely popular preacher. His books were bestsellers and a movie had recently been made that depicted the events of [i]The Cross and the Switchblade[/i]. After he published [i]The Vision[/i], he carried a stigma that depleted some of that fame. He was labeled a "doomsday prophet" who was, as Krispy said, a little "wacky." Perhaps the book (and vision) served to keep him humble?

That being said, I think there is something to be said about David Wilkerson's long-lasting friendship with Leonard Ravenhill. In fact, Wilkerson became a close friend to Brother Ravenhill following the book. Ravenhill then served to guide and influence Brother Wilkerson for the next decade. The culmination of this came when Brother Ravenhill handed David Wilkerson a copy of Puritan William Gurnall's book [i]A Christian in Complete Armour[/i]. According to Wilkerson's own testimony, this book had a profound impact upon his life. He testified that he realized that he learned more about true Christianity within the first 19 pages of that book than what he had learned during most of his life!

Anyway, I tend to view David Wilkerson through the different stages of his life. Like all of us, he is certainly not the same person he was 15 years ago -- let alone 35 years ago when he published that book. I wonder what his own opinion of the book is since he wrote it so long ago?



 2008/7/9 23:29Profile

Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 1816

 Re: ccchhhrrriiisss

ccchhhrrriiisss wrote
Anyway, I tend to view David Wilkerson through the different stages of his life. Like all of us, he is certainly not the same person he was 15 years ago -- let alone 35 years ago when he published that book. I wonder what his own opinion of the book is since he wrote it so long ago?

I think your observations are right on here. I believe your last question would be a really great question to forward to him and see if he might respond? What could it hurt?


 2008/7/9 23:43Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC


I've heard that Wilkerson is considering another reprint of The Vision. I forget where I heard this (probably on SI?)

Jimmy H

 2008/7/10 7:57Profile


Would you mind elaborating about what exactly you think is "wacky" from Set the Trumpet to thy Mouth?

Oh boy... been a long time. This may not be the book I'm remembering, but I do remember it was Wilkerson... but anyway, there was part of it where he spoke about going to a Christian concert and seeing demons coming out of the speakers and stuff like that.

The concert he was referring to was Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart, and tho they ceased to be a band before I was saved, I do have most of their music... since he is a good ol' southern boy. :-) Read a lot about Mylon over the years, and he was radically saved. In the past few years he's wandered off into WOF... but I find it hard to believe that demons were coming out of their speakers back in the late 80's early 90's.

There were some other things like that too that just didnt sit well with me. I'm not saying Wilkerson was lying, I dont think he was. I just think he has an over active imagination, like many in Charismania.

And you have to keep in mind, I read this right after I was saved and was heavily involved in Charismania at the time... and I thought Wilkerson's "visions" were a bit kooky. Thats saying something because back then I was very spiritually gullible.

I'm not discounting Wilkerson completely. Just saying that my first impressions of him were not favorable, and I am very VERY careful about who I promote to people.

And everytime I mention it someone sends me an email or PM about The Cross And The Switchblade. Yes, I get it... I know all about it.


 2008/7/10 10:03

Joined: 2008/1/23
Posts: 33


Hey Krispy,

I agree with you that Wilkerson's report of demonic activity at that Mylon LeFevre concert was bizarre... but I'll give you my 2 cents about that. First off, I have liked Mylon's music since the early 90's - never heard of him before that. But I believe the music I've heard from him him is inspired and that he is a good Christian man. That's why I was a little shocked to read of this incident in his past with Wilkerson!

But I realized something... even good men can get sidetracked and out of balance. I do believe that there are satanic influences in some of the "heavier" Christian music today, even when the people are good, strong Christians themselves. We all do that in various areas of our lives from time to time. We give in to worldliness and let bad influences come in and take over in the work we are attempting to do for God.

I think of pastors whose ministries are infiltrated with pride. Can you not "see" demons all around them as these once humble servants are now hindered with prideful arrogance? I have seen it. I think this happens with people whose ministry is music. Occassionally good men in ministry of all kinds get side-tracked and become influenced by satan.

From what I can tell, Mylon has gotten back on track. I wouldn't be surprised if what Wilkerson spoke in truth about the demonic activitiy didn't HELP him to get his music back into God's will! I'm happy to know there are some men who are willing to stand up and tell the truth about these influences coming into the lives and ministries of Christians. I know I have been to a Christian concert before where I felt there was satanic influence and worldliness that was not appropriate. I am not as bold as David Wilkerson to point that out but I'm thankful that he did and that he helped Mylon Lefevre to see the light of truth.

Ok, I'm stepping down off my soapbox now. Hee hee


 2008/7/11 10:32Profile

Joined: 2008/1/23
Posts: 33


I would really like to see that happen. I would love to hear Wilkerson's own interpretations of what has come to pass since he wrote it.

I'm startled by some of what he said about homosexual activity (especially in the church.) About how particular denominations will welcome them and put them into leadership positions and celebrate homosexuality. I just can't imagine anyone in the 70's nailing that the way he did unless God revealed it to him.

The chapter about the nations being set on Israel's destruction also interest me. Especially with Iran testing missles and promising to wipe them off the map. The book reminded me of the prophecies that Israel will be "indestructible" when it is attacked by enemies and I'm just fascinated to see what will happen when they are indeed attacked. That one Biblical prophecy in itself should be enough to show the world that God is real and the Bible is true when it happens.

Anyway, thanks for everyone's insight on this topic. Does anyone know David Wilkerson's status now as far as his heatlh and his ministry? Is he still preaching? Most of what I hear or see of him was recorded years (or decades) ago so I wasn't sure if he was still doing much these days.


 2008/7/11 10:40Profile


I guess we differ... I never thought Mylon's music was off track.

Not to get off track, but the reason Mylon left Christian music was because of health problems stemming from all the drugs he ran thru his body before he came to know the Lord as his saviour. It didnt have anything to do with David Wilkerson.

He is now a preacher... associated with Kenneth Copelands "ministry". And because he is, and he now preaches WOF... I dont recommend Mylon's preaching either.

During his music ministry he wasnt WOF, and he says that today. He was on track back then, and his heart for God and evangelism back then shows thru the music. I think Wilkerson was way off base on this one.

Now... as I said before... I do not call Wilkerson a false teacher. Never have. I simply said that because I think some things he has said are "whacked"... I personally do not go out of my way to recommend him.

Thats just me being very careful about who I recommend to people. I've have lived to regret recommending different preachers and ministries to others.


 2008/7/11 10:42

Joined: 2008/1/23
Posts: 33


Ooooooh. I didn't know any of that about his association with WOF or Kenneth Copeland. That just makes me sad.

 2008/7/11 11:43Profile


Yea... he wasnt WOF back when he was recording. However, he had a heart attack in 1992 (or 1991?) and he truly was miraculously healed... but he attributes it to having been introduced to WOF doctrine thru Kenneth Copeland just after his heart attack.

So now he proclaims the same health and wealth "have enough faith and you'll be healed" heresy as Copeland.


 2008/7/11 11:51

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4293


Hi Krispy…

I flipped through my copy of [i]Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth[/i] last night, but I didn’t find the story that you described. However, I do remember reading about it somewhere. In fact, if I remember correctly, I read it in an old Christian magazine that I found at a yard sale. I don’t remember David Wilkerson naming any names in the article (such as Mylon LeFevre and the Broken Heart), but I do remember the story about the rock concert.

I remember Wilkerson talking about people smoking cigarettes – and even marijuana – at that particular concert. He said that people were pushing him, lighting up lighters and cursing. While he said that the music certain drew the people of the world, he questioned the effectiveness of a rock concert to have lasting impact on the soul. Yes, some of the things that he said (about demons coming out of speakers [don’t know if he said that he SAW these or SENSED these things]) was certainly open for debate. But I think that I remember him speaking about a cop who was working security who said that these sorts of problems were associated with Christian rock concerts at that particular arena.

I have to admit that the story was very much “out there.” The story of just how “demonic” the events of the concert were is certainly open to debate. Personally, I don’t agree with much of the Contemporary Christian Music. However, it has less to do with the music that they produce than it does the motivation and underlying principle behind the music and its industry.

Most of the music produced by CCM artists, in my opinion, is motivated by the artists’ own musical preferences and the desire/need to create music that conforms to the customers’ musical preference – all in a desire to SELL. A secondary desire, to a much lesser extent, seems to be a desire to use music as a means to evangelize. Another far more dangerous desire lay in the desire of certain musicians who want to achieve fame and “stardom” with their art. I feel that all of these motivations are less than ideal (as well as contrary to our call as believers).

Music is a language. I feel that it can be corrupted – just like our speech can be corrupted. I can use my voice to grumble, complain, mumble, sneer, whistle, ogle, stutter, or even curse. However, I want to avoid meandering into a scientific foundation as to why some music can be considered “sinful.” The bottom line is that I want the Lord to “be with my mouth” (as God told Moses on Mt. Sinai). In a similar manner, I want God to be with my musical skill. Like David, I would rather my “hands lose their skill” than to forget or forsake God with my play. In fact, I would prefer to honor God’s preference for my music than to selfishly play according to my own self-interest or musical preferences.

To this end, I think that some “Christian” music is worse than some secular music. Controversial? I know that sounds hard to understand – but it is even harder to explain. I believe that music that is inspired by a desire to suit the musician’s own desire (not necessarily for rock-n-roll, but for fame, fortune or even personal musical taste) might have a more troublesome root than a man who writes a love song to his wife or song of affirmation to his child. The Song of Solomon, after all, is a powerfully romantic love song that never mentions God (at least, in a direct sense). The primary examination of music, in my opinion, should be regarding the root causes and motivations of that music.

I know that there are a lot of believers who are adamantly opposed to secular music simply because it doesn’t mention (or is not directed toward) God. However, it is funny that some of these same people embrace some examples of “Christian” music that is not directed toward God, or only mentions God as a concept or in passing. Or often, the music is written first (with no lyrics) and is only combined with lyrics later. What makes music (without words) to be “holy?”

I will say this: As a musician, I often write songs that are birthed only after long nights of prayer. In fact, I have some songs that were created WHILE I was praying! I even titled some of them “Prayer for (enter name)” and “Cry for (enter name).” There aren’t any words in these songs; they are just music compositions that express my prayers with the language of musical notes. Interestingly, I often “sense” that same sort of feeling while playing the song today as I did when praying back when I wrote it. When I play those songs today, it almost feels as if I am praying for that person or group again.

Back to topic: Last night, as I read through some of the chapter on music in [i]Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth[/i], I noticed that David Wilkerson indeed takes an extremely hard-line stance on music that he feels conforms to the patterns of this world. While I might not agree with everything he says, I do agree with the heart of his message. Wilkerson seems impassioned that much of today’s “Christian” music (especially rock-n-roll) serves to rob God of the glory that He deserves. Instead of presenting God a pure sacrifice via a “new song,” many Christian “artists” simply present music that smells almost as if it regurgitated from the stomach of this world. The motive is too often (but not always) fame, fortune or an attempt to “evangelize” the world through music (with the explanation that other forms of evangelism just don’t work for some young people).

I was saved as a teen. At the time, I had everything in the world that I could want. I was smart, popular and quite talented. My parents required that I attend Church while living under their rules (thankfully), so I also had quite a bit of experience in the Church. The thing was that I didn’t really believe in God. Sure, I went to quite a few Christian rock concerts at our large A/G church. But I just saw it as a cheap imitation for secular music. I thought of it as a bunch of Christians who liked that type of music a lot (along with that type of industry). While they were probably good natured, their music and often hidden message just didn’t matter much to me. In fact, I heard quite a bit of justification for Christian rock music that was more along the lines of justifying the behavior of rock-n-roll music fans as “normal” and that Christian musicians were effectively catering to an unsaved demographic that wasn’t going to change any other way.

In the chapter dedicated toward music, Wilkerson argues that it comes down to the root of the problem. Is our music an [u]attempt[/u] to conform to our own desires or tastes (or the desires and tastes of this world)? Or have we freely given those things to God? To this extent, I agree with Wilkerson. He mentions that, for some, rock music is an addiction. To offer a religious version of this music is effectively like offering Methadone to a heroin addict. Yes, it can possibly take someone off of an addiction to Heroin, but it simply redirects their addiction to Methadone. The root of drug addiction is the physical or mental lust for the effect produced by the drug – and not by the drug itself. This is why treatments that call for “substitute drugs” just don’t work very well. This sort of justification for Christian rock (as a primary means of evangelism for today’s youth – or – as a substitute for the entertainment of this world [which is more along the line of how I think that it is viewed by youth]) is a lot like those who tried to create “Christian” soap operas, “Christian” movies, or even “Christian” night or comedy clubs. It is, effectively, an imitation of the fads and forms of entertainment that are fashioned by the world.

That being said, I don’t think that God will judge music simply because of its tune, rhythm or the instruments used to produce it. Like I was trying to say, I think that God looks much deeper – to the root of motivation and inspiration. I don’t judge a baby simply because he uses his mouth to drool or utter words of nonsense. I don’t judge a child because he gets on a piano and bangs the keys as eloquently as the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. I think that the question is much deeper: Have we laid ALL of our personal desires upon the altar? What is our motivation? What is our purpose? Is the music that we produce the result of simple, innocent expressions of faith and thoughts…or ideas (even about God) wrapped up in our own selfish tastes and preferences? There is some music that I listen to that would probably draw immediate fingers of spiritual indictment by some very good and sincere believers. While I don’t care for most of the modern songs, there are still some that have “spoken” to me. But I have noticed that most of those songs are not the ones that conform so easily to the shifting sands of modern “taste and preference.” My favorite musician, by far, is Keith Green. Before I came to Christ, I wouldn’t have EVER listened to a Keith Green style of song (or voice, for that matter). But his music and lyrics strike a passion in my heart for the things of God!

I read an interesting thing in chapter dealing with music in [i]Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth[/i]. David Wilkerson said that he noticed that, even at evangelic Christian concerts, you almost never hear the band or singer playing an upbeat rock or rap song just prior to an invitation for salvation. What do they play? Ironically, they usually play a worship song (or, at least, a much slower and more understandable song). Wilkerson suggested that the reason is that even those Christian rock musicians recognize the type of songs that both strike the emotions needed for contemplation. Upbeat, fast-paced rock or rap music just doesn’t provide the atmosphere in which people expect to stand before God. He has a point, and this really made me think. Would the faster rock or rap music actually [i]hinder[/i] a person from drawing close to God? I don’t pretend to know the ultimate answer to such a question, but it is something to ponder.

I noticed a funny thing the other day. I listened to a group of “oneness” believers at a local UPC (United Pentecostal Church) explain to me the underlying “sin” of a man who wears a college t-shirt and cargo shorts. Depending upon who was talking, these believers said that my clothes appear either “feminine” or “worldly.” Even after I explained that my t-shirt was a free gift when I graduated and the cargo shorts are because it is just so hot in south Texas, they still told me that I was in danger of standing before God in clothes that resembled the fashions of this world. After our chat, some of the guys went to Church in order to practice with their Christian rock band. Go figure.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to get off track here. I just wanted to say that I have read the article that you mentioned (about Wilkerson’s experience at a Christian rock concert). I can’t say that I believe it – and I can’t say that I totally reject it either. As understanding that I feel that I am regarding music, I have literally sensed something wrong at some rock concerts. I have been a member of a youth group in which the musicians and teenagers were bored senseless even during times of upbeat praise and worship. You couldn’t get these teens to stand up or sing. But once the rock music played, they were the first on their feet! I watched those teens for years…and wondered whether this music had any effect on the souls or spiritual maturity of such teens. It seemed like the only time they were motivated toward the things of God was while playing or listening to that music. So, in a sense, I certainly share the concern of Brother Wilkerson.

This topic, of course, was about Wilkerson’s book [i]The Vision[/i]. I think that it would be helpful if we remember the nature of man – regardless of who we are speaking of. When I met Leonard Ravenhill shortly before he died, he told me what he said would be the greatest piece of advice I might received: TEST EVERYTHING. He said that I should test everything that I read, hear or see. He said that I should do so – regardless of the source. This is a tall order. I am drawn to messages by men of God like Leonard Ravenhill, A. W. Tozer, David Wilkerson, Carter Conlon, Neil Rhodes, etc… Sometimes, it is difficult to understand just how “human” these wonderful men of God truly are. They are, after all, [u]MEN[/u] of God – and not GODS amongst men.

These men are(and were) just as fallible and prone to error as we are. And, of course, we should realize that they were maturing too. This is difficult, sometimes, because we have a collection of sermons from a long period of Leonard Ravenhill’s life. But I venture to guess that Leonard Ravenhill experienced the same mountaintops and dark valleys that we each experience along our pilgrimage. Men like Ravenhill and Wilkerson were also maturing…and each sermon represents a different stage of that maturity. Of course, truth is eternal. The truths and passion spoken by Leonard Ravenhill in the 1950s and 1960s is just as relevant today. However, perspective is fleeting. It is possible (and perhaps [i]probable[/i]) that their perspectives on certain things changed over time – as they drew closer to the knowledge of Christ Jesus as a result of their walk with God. May God help us understand the difference.



 2008/7/11 14:50Profile

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