Mar 16, 2009

Sorry Dave, Your Visions Aren’t Needed

By Todd Strandberg

I have received dozens of emails concerning the prediction made by David Wilkerson, pastor of Times Square Church in New York. Because several news organizations have featured his doomsday warnings, I thought I should comment on them. Here is what Wilkerson posted on his blog:
"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.

After pulling the fire alarm, Dave gives us this dire prediction:
"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."
I have a big problem with David Wilkerson's so-called visions. This is not the first time he has warned of calamity coming to America. He has a rather long track record of making these predictions.

I first read of his fetish for prognostication from a book he wrote entitled, The Vision. Published in 1974, it claimed that America was headed for calamitous horrors in the near future. Several times in the book, he said his visions would occur within the next decade. He also linked a number of current events to the end times. Here are some of his failed predictions:
  • Marijuana will be legalized.
  • Nude dancing in church will become popular.
  • We will see “Satan evangelists” witnessing to people.
  • Bands of homosexuals will roam the streets, raping people at will.
  • A new drug will cause teenagers to become more sexually active.
  • Environmentalists will come under heavy criticism.
  • Storms with huge hailstones will kill thousands of people and cause massive damage.
  • The U.S. dollar will collapse.
  • There will be a major famine in America.
Wilkerson was wrong because his forecasting was heavily tied to trends of the ‘70s. For example, the drug culture and the sexual revolution were both peaking as he wrote this book. One of his most glaring errors was predicting economic calamity right as the stock market was bottoming out in the ‘73-‘74 recession.

For the latter part of the ‘80s, I was on Wilkerson’s newsletter mailing list, and I remember him continuously spouting a stream of doom and gloom predictions. His forecast of immediate pending calamity continued into the ‘90s as well. Here is a quote from a prophecy dated September 7, 1992:
"I have had recurring visions of over 1,000 fires burning at one time here in New York City. I am convinced race riots will soon explode! New York City is right now a powder keg - ready to blow!...federal and State Welfare cutbacks will be the spark that ignites the fuse. Next year, New York City could have over 100,000 angry men on the streets, enraged because they have been cut off from benefits....Federal troops will have to move in to restore order. New York City will have tanks running down its avenues....Churches will be closed for a season because it will be too dangerous to travel about. Fires will rage everywhere."
I could go on, but my main concern is not the validity of Wilkerson's visions. What troubles me is the harm these personal predictions do to the end-time message. Here is a disturbing remark I found on a secular message board:
"A man of god. That's nice. I'm a man of my gods. And I can tell you, my gods have no plans to destroy the United States or the world. I can tell you that my gods assure me Wilkerson's god is just another tribal god and doesn't have the pull Wilkerson attributes to him. So I've given Wilkerson's words due consideration and filed them away appropriately, the same place I'm filing this thread - in a hole in the ground."
Even if David were a true prophet of God, I'm not sure his predictions are needed at this point. The prophecies in the Bible have never been wrong, and they provide a clear warning to everyone that the tribulation hour is near. The frequency of the birth pangs is the most unmistakable indication that the return of the Lord Jesus is coming soon.

One of these pangs is violence. Jesus prophesied that as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days just before His return. In the days of Noah, “the Earth was filled with violence" (Gen. 6:11).

Just this past week, three major events confirmed the trend toward violence in the last days. On Sunday, an Illinois pastor was murdered while standing in his pulpit; on Tuesday, a man went on a shooting rampage in Alabama that left 10 victims dead; and on the same day, a teenager killed 15 students at a school in Winnenden, Germany.

There is one good thing to take away from Wilkerson's visions. He confirms the validity of Bible prophecy. Despite his best effort to anticipate world events just a few years down the road, he failed miserably. The biblical writers blindly penned their prophecies thousands of years ago, and their work perfectly matches the events of our day.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Related Links

A Thousand Fires to Engulf New York - Bible Prophecy Today
Testing David Wilkerson's Prophecy -
David Wilkerson Prophecy - Right Pundits
What You Need to Know about David Wilkerson's 'Urgent Message' - Christianity Today