April 27, 2011
David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash
David Wilkerson, author of The Cross and the Switchblade and founder of World Challenge Ministries, died in a car crash today, Charisma and CBN are reporting. CBN reports that Wilkerson, 79, was driving and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Wilkerson was driving east on U.S. 175 in Texas Wednesday afternoon, and moved into the opposite lane where a tractor trailer was driving westbound. The truck driver saw the car and tried to move out of the way, but still collided with the pastor's car head on, according to Public Safety Trooper Eric Long.
It's unclear what caused Wilkerson to veer into the other lane. His wife Gwen was also involved in the crash and rushed to the hospital, along with the truck driver.
The church that he founded, Times Square Church in New York City, has more than 8,000 members.
In 2009, Wilkerson posted a message warning of riots, fires, and economic collapse in New York City. CT wrote at the time about why Wilkerson's message received 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.
Wilkerson continued to write blog posts until his death.
Update: Details about Wilkerson's memorial service will be posted on Times Square's website, which states that it will be streamed live.
David Wilkerson has been a top 10 trending topic on Twitter tonight, including tweets from Wilkerson's cousin and Joel Houston, leader of the Sydney-based youth worship band Hillsong United.
Rich Wilkerson: "The term LEGEND is often used to describe a person of extreme influence but what about a man that supersedes superlatives..david wilkerson"
Joel Houston: "The cross and the switchblade was the first book I ever read. Seeded NYC in my heart. So grateful for the life and legacy of David Wilkerson"