Monday, May 2, 2011

A Violent Death

Last week, one of the Church’s giants in faith, David Wilkerson, was killed in a head-on collision. I wondered about the violence of David’s death. It’s one of those things that David would have told us not to fret about—just trust in God’s sovereign goodness, and don’t try to make sense of it.

As I reflected on the violence of his death, however, I thought to myself ‘David died much the way he lived.’ His was a ‘violent’ Christianity, living every day with passion and power, as though it were his last. He lived with self-abandonment.  David Wilkerson was one of the Church's “violent men” who take the kingdom of God “by force” (Mat. 11:12).  The “gates of hell could not prevail” (Mat. 16:18) against David Wilkerson and the mighty army of men and women he raised up.

But the words “violent” and “force” do not tell the whole story. He was a very humble man, a servant leader—even as Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death (Philippians 2:8). David did violence to his own flesh long before an auto accident took his life so violently. Likewise, Peter, Paul, James, and most of the Apostles and early followers of Jesus died violent deaths. But they were all long dead to this world before that happened—men who “did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die” (Rev. 12:11), even a violent death!


  1. Greg, as we waken to the news of Osama ben Laden's violent death, it is heart-rending to contrast the two in both life and death. David died to this world's agenda to live redemptively forever. We mourn his departure as we celebrate his forever Life. Millions celebrate the death of Osama while the "deadly peril" of his legacy of death remains. May the legacy David leaves of life unto life be etched consequentially in our minds and hearts!


  2. Bt can you really 'celebrate' someone's death? perhaps we celebrate because one more evil influence in this world has been eliminated. But there are a million more to follow. Even as David Wilkerson conquered death (as have we all) so someday the exceeding sinfulness of mankind will be forever destroyed. Then we will truly celebrate!!

  3. Greg,

    The writer of the Book of Hebrews speaks of a "better resurrection" having been the hope of those who "refused deliverance" (11:35). Maybe that is what the spiritually violent like David Wilkerson have to look forward to!


  4. Good word for David who denied himself the pleasures of this world.