The Joash Syndrome
by James Jacob Prasch
A, Response To The Letters We Have Received Regarding David Wilkerson’s UK Visit
Joash was a good king who all his life did much good in the sight of The Lord. He restored God’s House, sought revival, and pointed the people to righteousness. For many long years he served The Lord earnestly with an honest heart.
David Wilkerson has been such a man in many respects. Going back to ‘The Cross and The Switchblade”, his epic film ‘The Road To Armageddon’ (which we used in evangelization in my earlier years as a believer to literally ‘scare the unsaved into the kingdom’) , to his prophecy “The Vision”, few have been used of The Lord more in urban missions and prophetic ministry than Brother Wilkerson.
His planting of ‘Time Square Church’ with Bob Phillips and his brother Don, (when I met and spoke with him at the original location at The Townhouse Theater and he warned me that Jimmy Swaggert was heading into deep trouble) made a mark on a city desperate for the gospel that only a few years earlier would have unthinkable. His church was warned by The Lord of an impending disaster which proved to be September 11 th . ‚ Not a soul we are aware of from the hundreds in his church who worked in and around The Twin Towers, including police and fire fighters in high risk positions, lost their lives. We watched that church ‘pray down’ the scheduled premier of a Broadway play that would have portrayed Jesus as a homosexual – the play never opened. I know of no Christian project more deserving of the prayers and support of God’s people than his Hanna House, providing homes to unwed mothers persuaded not to abort their children but to receive Christ.
We additionally applauded David Wilkerson’s “Reproach On The Solemn Assembly” ‚ in which he openly opposed Rodney Howard Brown an d by name warned against Kenneth Copeland and the late Kenneth Hagen who discredit and mislead the church. Few things testify more to the character of a man than the way his children turn out, and one will rarely find a more noble , pure hearted servant of The Lord Jesus than David Wilkerson’s son Gary.
We very rarely disagreed with David Wilkerson and his life’s and passion has been to see revival. We urged prayer for him and his family as his wife and daughter in sequence battled cancer, the cruel disease that claimed the life of his granddaughter.
Indeed, I usually worshipped at Time Square Church when visiting my native New York and I have many friends and relatives who worship there regularly, some of whom are involved in ministry teams there.
It has therefore been difficult for us to come to terms with the aftermath of Brother Wilkerson’s visit to England and Wales, which a number of people have contacted us about after we plugged it so heavily. The visit on which we initially had such high hopes for was badly planned and has amounted to scarce more than ‘a flash in the pan’ instead of helping to ignite a UK version of what transpired with his ministry in New York.
Thinking of King Joash, we can only pray the way he sadly ended his ministry after so many years of so much good will not be the road David Wilkerson travels on. But many who love Brother Wilkerson, as we do, have justly expressed concerns. Once death struck his mentor, Jehoida the Priest, with age Joash began to compromise with things he once never would have. Moreover, when warned his actions were wrong he reacted in a carnal anger against those who only wished him well which led to his own ruination.
Upon arrival in Britain, David Wilkerson appeared shoulder to shoulder with the unrepentant proponents of the very deceptions he himself warned against on ‘Reproach On The Solemn Assembly’.
As The UK Elim Movement, plagued by sex scandals of its ministers and leaders from New Zealand to Britain promoted Morris Cerullo while the scandals of Cerullo were ‚ being exposed on prime time national TV, and Paul Weaver, leader of The UK Assemblies of God attended the enthronement of a Druid who ordains homosexuals as Arch Bishop of Canterbury, many traditional Pentecostals looked across the sea to David Wilkerson as a bastion of what Pentecostalism should really be.
No one believes in ‘guilt by association’ but ‘ guilt by cooperation’ is something else. A number of preachers contacted David Wilkerson’s office beseeching him to change his venues.
Unfortunately, David Wilkerson responded by defending his hosts , the propagators of the very things he warned against and opposed, as “good brothers” ‚ and castigated those who have applauded his ministry for years and who tried to warned him ; indeed – Joash so killed the son of Jehoida for the same kind of reason under comparable circumstances. A range of people contacting our branches around the world also detect a change in some of Brother Wilkerson’s e mail Pulpit Series messages that are not positive.
We have always endorsed his ministry and contended for him vociferously against his detractors such as radical cessationists like Mike Claydon and Terry Arnold who alleged some of his prophetic predictions had been less than accurate – or even false. Like all high profile figures, David Wilkerson has not been without his critics, but I and Moriel always defended him, and where possible, would still do so. There are certain things that can not be defended however, and preaching one thing but doing the diametric opposite is one of them. Those who have come to us following our endorsement and confronted us with the irrefutable fact that David Wilkerson said one thing with his words on ‘Reproach of ‘The Solemn Assembly’ but said another with his actions, are owed an explanation from us that we do not have , so we can only offer an apology. We do not wish to accuse Brother Wilkerson of religious hypocrisy, but surely it does not become a brother of his integrity to have behaved in this way and let good people down to gain the approval of those whose record shows that they are among those he himself warned about. His trip to England & Wales was demonstrably inconsistent with his own teaching and antithetical to the very caveats that he himself voiced.
The second thing that can never be defended is erroneous bible teaching. I personally listened to a tape of David Wilkerson’s meeting at London’s Westminister Chapel (a Mecca of the laughing/drunk in the spirit fiasco that Brother Wilkerson preached against). If God tells us to throw grain into a toxic stew, there must first of all be a recognition that the stew is toxic, and secondly, once the grain goes in, the poison stew stops being toxic. Neither happened at Westminister Chapel. If any of the glory that once existed there under the ministry of Martin Lloyd Jones and Morgan Campbell but that departed under the Kansas City False Prophets/ Toronto Experience debacle of
RT Kendall is still to be found, it is rather to be found a few blocks away at Calvary Chapel. Worse still, is that what David Wilkerson threw into the poison stew was not wheat but chaff.
Some people are plainly disturbed about David Wilkerson’s re marks about “lying on his back laughing unable to get up because of God’s hand upon him”. I am not sure this should be taken as an endorsement of the Toronto Experience, although I can understand why some people took it that way.
What I found more troubling however is what he taught, claiming it was from God when it simply does not agree with The Word of God. His teaching on John Chapter 4 was one of the most irresponsible substitutes for biblical exposition I have ever heard (and I have heard some very crazy stuff). David Wilkerson was never really known for his exegetical skills, but he was certainly known for responsibly handling God’s Word.
On the tape Brother Wilkerson asserts that “on the authority of God’s Word, the Samaritan woman fed Jesus, and this his meat or food”. He goes on that Jesus is looking for ‘people to feed Him’. The woman fed him because he poured out His heart to her.
Opening Himself to her He clearly did, but the notion that she fed Him is absurd. ‚ John 4 uses the term for food or meat ” Broma (John 4:34) and Jesus says in this text that his “eating” (“brosis” – John 4:32) of which His disciples didn’t know of was not being fed by the woman, but rather doing the will of His Father. If Jesus was in any way referring to the food needed for his personal nourishment in some sense, the term would have been ” trophes ” conspicuously ‚ used in verse 8 of the very same chapter. Yet, one would hardly need to be a Greek scholar to read the plain meaning of the text which says His food that His disciples did not know of was to do His Father’s will. What I heard was a man giving himself a license to ascribe a meaning to the text of his own invention alien to its God given context, and then erroneously claiming that “he was doing so by the authority of God’s Word’. No where in God’s Word are people called to feed Jesus in this sense he asserts; it is a concoction of his own fabrication void of any biblical foundation, and it is beneath him.
Brother Wilkerson then went on to say that in The Last Supper Jesus was not trying to teach anything but that it was simply the last meal of a condemned man.
In fact the notion of a last meal for a condemned man is found in neither ancient Roman or ancient Jewish culture. The Last Supper was a Passover Seder in which Jesus was indeed teaching through the paschal symbolism that He was the messianic fulfillment of
The Passover as the spotless lamb slain for sin and as the matzoh (unleavened bread) that is stripped, pierced and broken. The Last Supper is also typological of prophetic matters eschatological. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul uses the bedekat hametz (purging of leaven) and yahetz (ritual washings) from the Passover ritual (included in The Last Supper Gospel narratives) to show that at The Last Supper Jesus was teaching us about removing sin before coming to His table. To state that it was but a last meal of a condemned man and that Jesus was not teaching anything is absolutely ludicrous. I have rarely heard such unsustainable rubbish from anyone in a pulpit anywhere. First Brother Wilkerson hangs out with the very kind he himself warned against, (bad company does corrupt good morals) then he begins to mishandle the scriptures in the same twisted and ignorant style they do, eisegetically reading into God’s Word what they wish instead of exegetically drawing out of it what God put there in order to feed the sheep as God wishes.
The New Testament teaches that we should study to show ourselves approved. If we do not study God’s word before we seek to teach it to others, God does not approve of us and neither therefore should the church. If Brother Wilkerson wishes to teach about The Last Supper, we respectfully suggest he begin by first studying the Passover so that he will know what he is talking about before he poses himself as fit to open the Word of God to instruct others. Again, with respect, Brother Wilkerson may need to be reminded that teachers will be judged more strictly than the rest (James 3:1).
While I speak only for myself, what troubles me, and what troubles others who have written us, is that it is David Wilkerson doing this – not a Benny Hinn, a Roberts Liardon a John Glass, or a Jim Bakker. It is someone who we loved, trusted, and esteemed.
If or not David Wilkerson has gone off or this has been a one off error we do not know. Before responding publicly, we, like many, tried to go to him privately – but to no avail.
It has been painful to write this reaction and only do so being forced to because I am accountable to those who I pointed to David Wilkerson’s ministry who have come back to us in disappointment and in some cases confusion looking for an explanation to which they are indeed entitled. It would be a supreme tragedy if a man of God like this continues in the folly of Joash. We urge prayer for David Wilkerson and we hope this reaction we have been compelled to publish will be understood as one born out of disappointment, not out of anger. May God Bless Brother Wilkerson and his family.