"One fateful night in 1958, a skinny country preacher named David Wilkerson opened a copy of LIFE Magazine to a picture of seven teenage boys on trial for murder.
As he looked at their desperate faces, a sudden conviction possessed him that he must go to New York City - where he had never set foot to help these youngsters.
The trip opened David's eyes to problems he hadn't known existed, problems that were defeating the best human wisdom, the most determined human efforts.
A quarter of a century later THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE continues to inspire as the story of the triumph of faith over the forces of evil.
There is nothing vague about the power of the Holy Spirit as it is experienced in this battle."
This book has been a text book to millions in the practiced application of Christian belief to problems of daily living that face us all."
Beware! each page of this book has been prayed over by the author! He has asked that the struggles of doubt shared here will help others in their doubts, that his heartbreak over refected teens will show how God can use heartbreak. And Wilerson's prayers, as this book dmonstrates, are often answered in remarkable ways.
Led by incredible faith, David Wilerson made a seemingly bizarre step from his country pulpit in 1958 to the streets of New York City, where a murder trail of seven teenage boys churned society's antipathy toward them. Even Wilerson was bewildered by his sense of compassion but, in spite of doubt, he followed the Spirit's prompting to help the boys. "The Cross and the Switchblade" is the amazing story of his journey and of the mighty power of God to accomplish the impossible.
Wilkerson's outreach to gangs in New York led to the development of Teen Challenge, a ministry that today has inner-city residential and crisis counseling centers in more than 70 countries. Its Christian discipleship program has restored hope to tens of thousands of men and women with drug or alcohol addiction.
This is a tremendous book and well worth reading!
When I was only six years old, my mom made me see the movie version of this book. Looking back on it, I think it was far too intense for a six year old to watch. However, I had a cousin who was in a gang (who died the following year), an alcoholic family line, and another cousin who was a drug addict and sent to Teen Challenge in which David Wilkerson started. My mom thought since I was aware of how my family members were acting, I should see it. My older brothers and I can quote so much from the film today, and I will say that it scared me from ever wanting to try drugs or alcohol, so I never did them.
Now at 32 years of old I decided it was time to actually read the book! I loved it so much! It was so great to learn better details about David Wilkerson and how he came to want to help boys in a gang that no one wanted to ever care for. He had burden that has since been able to heal many young lives. I enjoyed learning more in depth stories about Maria and Nicky Cruz and Israel too! We get just a brief understanding of who they are in the film version but this cuts deep and brings better emotion and depictions of how they "turned out" too.
As an Anabaptist Mennonite, I can totally appreciate the non-violent, non-resistant enemy love of entering a tough environment with no protection other than God! I loved that this book talked about the many kids who were harmed afterwards by their gangs that they had left and that they never attacked back and showed them love. It was totally how Christ did it and so therefore I enjoyed this book further than ever.
My only issue with this book at all is that in their talk about the Holy Spirit baptizing these drug afflicted people and how they all would speak in tongues and were excited about it, Pentecostals often forget that Paul said that speaking in tongues is meaningless without someone to interpret it! Why is no one praying to interpret? Anyway, at least the kids were healed and freed from their addictions, so I am cool with the story. I grew up in my first 10 years of life as a Pentecostal so I understand the mindset quite well.
If you are a Christian and if you want to be able to see freedom for those who are oppressed, live in poverty, have racial barriers that bring out survival instincts, I can totally say that this book is definitely just as real and needed to inspire someone today in how things are now as they did in 1958 when Rev. Wilkerson began his journey. I definitely am sure he is celebrating in paradise today.
Such a powerful story of obedience, God's love and unfailing mercy! Hard to put down!