This is a Biblical examination and critique of the teachings of the famed David Wilkerson of Times Square Church and Teen Challenge from his book originally published under the title of The New Covenant Unveiled (Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books) but now in 2013 published by the Estate of David Wilkerson under the title of It Is Finished.
In a nutshell, the book, It Is Finished grossly misrepresents the New Covenant, though it is supposed to be the unveiling of it! Because David Wilkerson became well known and was highly esteemed by many during his early ministry, his religious influence will certainly continue on even long after his tragic death in 2011. To some, David Wilkerson was almost the epitome of what a holiness preacher should be. Some viewed him as a prophet from God! Especially the many Pentecostals, who have followed David Wilkerson over the decades, are in the greatest danger of deception. Many seem to be unable to notice how his doctrines changed from early days to his death. It is very sad and too late for David Wilkerson to revise his own doctrine for the good. Now his former church and ministry, heavily influenced by Carter Conlon and Gary Wilkerson, are teaching the same horrible way! Here is the proof. Examine it for yourself from the book, It Is Finished. Again, this is David Wilkerson in his latter years after his doctrinal change. [All bold emphasis is my own, unless otherwise indicated.]
Is David Wilkerson Hearing Voices That Aren't From GodGod then laid out before His Son the type of ministry He would have to undertake in order to redeem humankind. He told Jesus, "Your ministry is going to be that of a priest and shepherd to My children. They will be Your flock, and You will be a shepherd to them. You will lead them beside still waters and into green pastures. You will walk with them through every shadow of death. And if any one of them ever goes astray, You will take him in Your arms and bring him back to My love. You will restore his soul and bring him great comfort." (p. 20)David Wilkerson is speaking out a mythical and make believe conversation allegedly between the Father and Jesus, which never occurred, and which is DEADLY poison. Without using the terms eternal security or once saved always saved, David Wilkerson boldly teaches such a demonic doctrine to precious saints, as you just read. SHOCKING! David Wilkerson has Jesus taking a sheep (which has gone astray) in his arms, bringing him back and restoring his soul. How different from Jesusí teaching of the prodigal son who went astray, lost his salvation and came home himself after he came to his senses (Lk. 15:11-32). The Good Shepherd himself taught those truths about the Prodigal and never included a single word about himself going after the backslider. By teaching like he did, David Wilkerson misrepresented the Good Shepherd (Jesus) and manís free will to obey or disobey. According to David Wilkerson, none who get saved will ever be lost -- in blatant contrast to various Scriptures, which show people once saved, going astray and never returning to salvation:From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:66)For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. (Heb. 6:4-6, ESV)If David Wilkerson was teaching Godís truth, verses like those would not be in our Bibles! Specific examples of people going astray and never returning to salvation would be Solomon, Saul and Judas Iscariot -- unlike others who did return (David, Peter, Prodigal, those referred to in James 5:19,20 and Rom. 11:19-23). David Wilkerson is NOT teaching the Word of God and has misrepresented God, the power of sin and the Christian life. Just several pages later in It is Finished, David Wilkerson continues on with his once saved always saved Calvinistic theology:Cause them to endure as You caused Me to endure. (p. 24)I believe He causes me to obey Your Word, and I believe He will never depart from me, nor will He let me depart from You. (p. 86)Regarding the former quote from David Wilkerson (p. 24), he reads into John 17:15,16 and imagines something is there which isnít! Jesus prayed that the Father would protect his followers from the evil one. Not a single word is mentioned about them being caused to endure by God! The truth is, Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach, heal the sick, etc. and mentioned the persecution they would face by obeying. Jesus told them:All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mat 10:22)NOTE: Calvinism sometimes teaches those who get saved will endure to the end with salvation, but Jesus taught differently. The Lord stated his followers must endure hatred to the end to be saved (Mt. 10:22)! Again, Jesus did NOT say the saved will endure to the end, but they must endure hatred for obeying Jesus to the end to be saved! That is a vital difference between David Wilkerson and the Biblical message. Luke 8:13 (the parable of the sower) is one Scripture which proves a whole type of people who hear the word of God and get saved afterwards quickly fall away over persecution! They werenít caused to endure!
David Wilkersonís doctrinal myth continues on:
No Such Promise Was Ever MadeThe Father promised Jesus: "If You will go, I will keep and preserve every one of Your seed, just as I have kept and preserved You. I will never remove My faithfulness from You, nor from Your children. Your seed will endure to the end." (p. 25)Nowhere in the Bible does the Father promise Jesus those things, as David Wilkerson says! It remains a mystery how he thinks that was promised by the Father when the Biblical message suggests no such thing anywhere! If those who would wisely decide to follow Jesus would be caused by the Father to endure, then Jesus would never have told the faithful suffering saints in Smyrna the following:Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Rev 2:10,11)The New Testament has various warnings and examples of backsliding. Such would not be relevant if David Wilkerson was right! Besides mentioning Demas backsliding (2 Tim. 4:10), Paul taught the following which is also a totally different view of the Father then what David Wilkerson declared:Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. (Rom 11:20-22)Christians are told to be afraid because God will also cut us off too, just like he did the Jews, if we donít continue in faith! You will never get that impression from reading It Is Finished! There is not a word in Rom. 11:20-22 about the Good Shepherd bringing all of them back and restoring their soul or being caused to endure by God! That makes David Wilkersonís teachings dangerous just on that point alone, but he continues on:So what does this covenant between Father and Son have to do with you and me? It is a picture of Godís love for His beloved creation. He cut this covenant because He was unwilling to lose a single child to Satan. It is all about His undying love for His people. The Father gave His Son, the Son gave His life, and we receive all the benefits. By mutual consent, the Father and Son made this covenant to keep and preserve the seed of Christ. It ensures that we will endure to the end. (p. 25)The New Covenant is all about our Lordís commitment to keep his children from falling, and to console, comfort and assure us that the power and dominion of sin can and will be broken by the Holy Spirit who indwells us. The Holy Spirit will supply all the resources we need. This truth is the sole hope for those believers who have lost heart in their struggle to walk in obedience. Only by having the new Covenant unveiled to us can we learn the secret to having victory over sin. (p. 62)I pray the Lord will use these messages to bring hope and knowledge to you concerning His commitment to keep and deliver His people from the dominion of sin. (p. 11)David Wilkerson wrote about having victory over sin, but strangely he teaches the exact opposite at other times!I know Christians who lead lives of utter confusion because they continue to indulge in sin. (p. 99)Why are those Christians continuing in sin, based on what he stated earlier? Furthermore, that statement distorts the holy image of being a Christian. To David Wilkerson one can continue in sin and eternal life too, but that is not all! He also said:Christ secured us in the covenant made between the Father and Himself (p. 27).One of the most grievous consequences of continuing in sin is the loss of usefulness to Godís Kingdom. (p. 100)How could David Wilkerson make such statements unless he came to believe in the heresy of eternal security? Certainly, the loss of oneís soul, due to sin producing spiritual death, is far more serious than loss of usefulness to Godís Kingdom. Judas Iscariot wasnít secure for he went to hell. David Wilkerson is teaching Calvinism, but his large following doesnít seem to notice it. They just swallow this poison:God swears by oath that He will take matters into His own hands and by His power alone deliver us from all dominion of sin. (p. 109)If God alone is responsible for us being delivered from the dominion of sin, how can David Wilkerson also teach Godís people are enslaved by lust, living under the dominion of sin:This brings us to the present generation. Today Godís people are once again living in a time of bondage. They are enslaved by lust, living under the dominion of sin .... (p. 109)If Wilkersonís myth was fact, no person who was ever saved would ever be enslaved by sin, but that is far from reality. The devil continues to tempt because he knows sin can enslave and destroy the souls of the redeemed. Furthermore, if David Wilkersonís doctrine was from God, it wouldnít contradict verses like this from Peter:As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (1 Pet 1:14)It is the saintís responsibility, NOT Godís to not conform to evil desires again. We must resist the devil. We must crucify the flesh. We must come out from among them, as the devil tempts and the world tries to draw us away! We must be self controlled and alert. It is our responsibility as we draw strength from God. David Wilkerson promoted an opposite message putting the responsibility on God:I finally understood that I could not do anything in myself to maintain my salvation or keep myself from falling - it was all a matter of trusting in Him and His work in me. Pastor David explained: "It is simply impossible for any believer to deliver himself from sinís dominion." First, God has to cause the sin-bound person to want to be free. And, second, God has to cause the sin-bound person to see the utter futility of his efforts to set himself free. (p. 111)Again, the opposite is the true message from God! Jesus, Paul and John taught respectively:I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Rev 3:11) Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1 Tim 5:22) Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)
A Guarantee Which Doesnít ExistHave you accepted this incredible truth? Do you believe that Jesus agreed in covenant to keep you from falling, guaranteeing you would never be forsaken, and you would be able to obey Him fully and live in victory? Believe it - because He guaranteed it on His own worthy name. (p. 117)Though it sounds good, that is actually more poison from David Wilkerson, sorry to say! Jesus warned the Laodicean Christians that he would vomit them out of his body for their lukewarmness, unless they repented and became hot (Rev. 3:16). Furthermore, the Lord warned the Twelve that he would disown them before the Father, if they disowned Jesus before men (Mt. 10:33). Paul taught the same (2 Tim. 2:12). Like it or not, those are the facts about the real Jesus and the New Covenant. Though Jesus said from the cross, It is finished (Jn. 19:30), that doesnít negate those facts about grace and salvation. Truth is the issue here. Truth is vital, not how the Good Shepherd and God can be misrepresented to be the only ones responsible for holding, keeping and causing us all to endure to the end. Donít believe David Wilkersonís contrary message:I know you have no strength to please Me, so I am going to cause you to desire to do My good pleasure. I will take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. "You may not understand all of this," - He is saying, "but I will send you My Spirit, and He will teach you everything. When He comes to live in you, He will begin writing all My commands on your heart and mind. From then on, My Word will be with you night and day. I am going to do it all for you." (p. 134)Your temptations, habits and besetting sins may look like impossible roadblocks before you, but the Lord promises to deliver you, for His own nameís sake. Our God is faithful to keep His covenant. (p. 155)David Wilkerson continues to place all the pressure and responsibility on God alone for those things, while the Bible teaches we have free will and a responsibility to do certain vital things for ourselves:Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:21)Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.... (Heb 13:5)Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Rom 12:11)
More Of The SameGod also pledges that we will be taught by His own Spirit, kept from falling and caused to walk in His ways, do His good pleasure and endure to the end - all through the abiding power of the Holy Spirit. (Pp. 158)God swears to put His spirit within us, causing us to obey His Word and do His commands. (p. 159)IF David Wilkersonís teaching was true, we would NEVER read of even one Christian who ever committed any sin after getting born again! Why? Because that Christian would be caused to obey! That in turn would render all satanic temptations meaningless because no righteous person could ever be drawn into sin! How Wilkerson could teach like he did and maintain a following only proves how many church people donít know the Biblical message and/or just swallow whatever the preacher declares.
If the following quote was true, the second quote could not occur:
David Wilkerson Contradicts HimselfThese holy ones will not stumble or fall. Instead, they will grow in grace, becoming more holy and righteous than any previous generation, in spite of the wickedness of society around them. (p. 166)Consider a Christian who has loved the Lord for years. He is a praying, faithful believer with a gentle spirit and the sweet presence of Jesus about him. But suddenly this godly saint is overwhelmed by a powerful temptation. He yields to it - and immediately he is drawn back into an old, besetting sin. Perhaps his bondage is an outburst of temper, or swarms of evil thoughts, or lukewarmness, or gross sins such as heavy drinking, fornication or adultery. (p. 169)How could David Wilkersonís foundation publish the contents of It Is Finished, if it was led by Godís Spirit?Instead of condemning that Christian, the Holy Spirit woos him, saying, "Come back quickly to the sprinkling of Jesusí blood. Repent, and accept your forgiveness. Stay in the love of God. You are forgiven unconditionally. Return now to your walk with Me." (p. 169)You just read where David Wilkerson taught the Holy Spirit woos a backslider to repent, but earlier David Wilkerson had the Good Shepherd taking the backslider in his arms and restoring his soul. They are not the same:And if any one of them ever goes astray, You will take him in Your arms and bring him back to My love. You will restore his soul and bring him great comfort.Ē (p. 20)
Once Saved Always Saved AgainGod said by covenant, "I am going to be merciful to your sins, and I have sent My Son to you as the seal of My covenant. Your fear tells you I have every right to damn you, but My covenant says My Son took upon Himself everything that would ever damn you. You are now free. Here is what the covenant is all about. It is Godís love message to His people, saying, "I love you so much, I will never let the devil have you. I wonít let him take over your life, even when you fail Me. It is impossible for you ever to stray too far from My love. There is no place in heaven or earth where you can escape it. (p. 170)
Heresy, NOT SecretIím going to cast your sins into the sea, so that you are never threatened by them again. (p. 160)The secret of the Lord is a life-freeing revelation of His lovingkindness toward us at the point of our failures. It is the Holy Spirit enduing us with a powerful revelation that nothing can separate us from the covenant love of God. He is not mad at you, so get your eyes off your sin and gladly receive the free access you still have to the Father, through the cross of Christ. This secret is that your Savior wants you to rejoice and be glad - because your past, present and future sins have been taken away. Be glad - then you will be privy to His secret. (p. 171)He jumps in, saying, "Iím going to prevent My child with My blessings of goodness. I want to assure him heís not going to be judged, because I have already forgiven him through My Sonís cleansing blood." (p. 181)To teach that a Christianís future sins are automatically forgiven, commonly taught by eternal security teachers, is pure poison besides a violent contradiction of Scripture! Folks, you must forgive others who sin against you to be forgiven (Mt. 6:14,15). Furthermore, God says:He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Prov 28:13)We are to confess those sins to God (1 John 1:9). We are shown to turn away from sin to serve God, as the Prodigal did (Lk. 15:17-24), but not according to David Wilkerson. Jesus also taught our past forgiven sins can be our debt again through unforgiveness (Mt. 18:34,35).
The Pendulum SwingSo, our victory is a done deal. Please understand, however, this doctrine does not apply to Christians who flirt with sin. By refusing to part with their lusts, they have already surrendered to the enemy. Such people simply do not want to be free, and they had already developed a hardened heart. They have tested Godís grace and love again and again, until finally they have come to despise it. Godís preventing goodness applies only to those who love Jesus and have been surprised by sin. (p. 179)Did David Wilkerson forget about his own teaching that God will cause Christians to obey. The above quote makes the Christian responsible! David Wilkerson teaches it both ways and his audience apparently canít see the double message!In Godís eyes, our problem is not sin, it is trust. Jesus settled our sin problem once and for all at Calvary. (p. 180)Now David Wilkerson wants us to believe that sin is not the problem! If that was true we would never read passages like Eph. 5:5-7; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9,10; etc. Regarding King Davidís sins, David Wilkerson taught:Think about it - when God said this to Nathan, David was still in denial about his sin. He had not even confessed it yet. Do you see what was happening? God was forgiving this man before he had even faced his sin - before he could utter a prayer. (p. 182)David Wilkerson assumes David had not even confessed his sins before Nathan arrived, but that can NOT be substantiated with Scripture. On that basis alone he is in serious error, by his implication! Moreover, for him to add to that with God was forgiving this man before he had even faced his sin - before he could utter a prayer is even worse! God shows no favoritism. He is not partial. If a righteous man turns and does evil he will die spiritually for it. David is NOT an exception. David backslid and lost his salvation:If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it. (Ezek 33:18)That describes what happened to David. The consequences of Davidís sins of adultery, murder, etc. were lethal to his relationship with God (Rev. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9,10; etc.). This Scripture is also clear:But those who turn to crooked ways the LORD will banish with the evildoers.... (Psa 125:5)There was no automatic forgiveness for David and there is none for us today!
David Wilkersonís Distorted Prodigal Son AccountThe fatherís only response was to issue an order to his servants: "Put a robe on my son and rings on his fingers. Prepare a feast, because weíre going to celebrate. Everyone rejoice - my son is home!" At what point was the Prodigal forgiven? He was forgiven back when he was still groveling for food in the pigpen. His sin was wiped away the moment he first thought, Iím going back home. Iíve got to confess to my father that Iíve sinned. He was forgiven by his father before he could even voice his confession - before he could do penance, weep tears of grief or try to pay him back. And his father showered him with blessings of goodness way ahead of schedule. Sin was not the issue to this father. The only issue in his mind was love. He wanted his boy to know he was accepted, even before he could utter a confession. And that is the point God wants to make to us all: His love is greater than all of our sins. (p. 186).David Wilkerson paraphrases and changes the Biblical account. Please contrast what he taught with Scripture for yourself. The Prodigal got forgiven at the point of his repentance (turning from sin) to go and serve the Father. He became alive again (saved again) at that point and that was the reason the Father wanted to celebrate, according to Jesus:Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:23,24)The Prodigal was spiritually dead and lost when in sexual sin and wild living. When he turned from his idols to serve God (1 Thess. 1:9), he got saved again. Unlike that, David Wilkerson has the Father wanting to celebrate because he came home! Remember what Jesus taught:ĎFor this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:24)
Now God Only Tries But Doesnít CauseThose who think they can continue in sin, testing Godís grace over and over, become hardened by their repetitious sinning. They believe they can continue to sin against His goodness without being harmed. But gradually, their hearts become impenitent, so that they no longer desire to repent. They end up with hardened hearts, storing up wrath against themselves. They cannot blame God; He has faithfully tried to prevent them with blessings of goodness - yet they have rejected it all. That is the greatest sin anyone can commit. (p. 186)Along with saying that God only tried and didnít cause Christians to obey, David Wilkerson also mentioned Godís wrath! How could it be possible they end up with hardened hearts, storing up wrath against themselves, because at a different point David Wilkerson taught the following:We rejoice as we read this wonderful New Covenant word. God promises never to remove His lovingkindness from us, no matter how badly we may fall. (p. 97)Wrath is not lovingkindness! Somehow David Wilkerson teaches it both ways, which creates confusion, but also might possibly titillate the spiritual ears of more people! David Wilkerson has displayed Biblical ignorance as he has misrepresented God, the Christian life, sin and the New Covenant. David Wilkerson was no longer a holiness preacher. Dear reader, donít be deceived by his respectable reputation. His teachings, at the end of his life, were D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S! Warn your friends and family.
Much more related truth about the Christian life is available in the 801 page book, The Believer's Conditional Security: Eternal Security Refuted. It is the most exhaustive refutation to eternal security ever written and available in both softback and hardback at Evangelical Books.]
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