The David Wilkerson Incident

Frequent readers of this page will notice that I have substantially revised it. The walk of an individual Christian grows and matures with time. There were things that I wrote here over four years ago that I no longer feel are appropriate to post. That was my first essay. I had just encountered the Dial the Truth site, and was shocked and saddened by what I read there. I also had self doubt about whether I was really doing the Lord's will or not. Therefore, I was defensive and, perhaps, grasping at straws a bit.

After a four year odyssey through the word of God on the topic of Christian music, I now know that I had no reason for self-doubt. No reason to be defensive. The overwhelming nature of scriptural proof is emphatically on the side of Christian rock being valid for entertainment of the believer, as a useful tool to win the lost, and a valid medium for worship. I was, indeed, correct in the leading of the Holy Spirit - once that leading was confirmed in the Word of God.

Therefore, the bad experience one Christian leader had at a concert fades to insignificance, unless you place undue credit in a good man - David Wilkerson, who is nonetheless fallible, instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the interest of fairness, I ask David Wilkerson followers for their help in revising this essay. Many of their comments have been incorporated, and actually do a lot to improve the page.

On With --- The David Wilkerson Incident

David Wilkerson denounces Christian rock based on a very bad experience that he had at a Mylon LeFevre concert. David's experience was frightening to him. Please read his own account, then hit the "back" button on your browser to return here.

The Biblical Chain of Command

First and foremost, I want to say that both ministries - that of Brother Wilkerson, and that of Mylon LeFevre, are find Christian ministries that win many people to Jesus Christ. This in no way, however exempts either man from the possibility of error. If Mylon did something out of God's will, he needs to be reproved for it. If David did something wrong, he needs to be reproved for it. The Bible specifies a chain of command for such reproof. It is NOT TO GO PUBLIC INITIALLY!!! No man is above the Word of God, no matter who he is. The Biblical chain of command must be followed or anarchy will rule the church.

"And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer." - Matthew 18:15-17

The procedure, then, for resolving disputes among Christian leaders is the following:

  1. Person to person - in private.
  2. Two or three peers in the ministry - in private.
  3. To the church - in public.

David Wilkerson made a mistake - not following the Biblical chain of command. He states that he had a private meeting with Mylon, which fulfilled the first step. He believed that the issue was resolved at that point. When he attended the concert, his concerns were re-awakened, and new concerns added. The correct procedure at that point would have been to meet again with Mylon, this time with two or three other Christian leaders who had similar concerns / experiences with Mylon. Only after such a meeting - and no satisfactory response from Mylon - should David Wilkerson have taken his concerns public! Given that David Wilkerson violated Biblical criteria in what he did, his more scripturally correct course of action would be to apologize for his behavior, and correct it by following the correct Biblical chain of command as specified in the verses I quoted. Mylon LeFevre also has a very effective ministry, responsible for many salvations. I include his testimony below. Peers in the ministry should be able to consult together privately, without dragging the body of Christ through any dispute they might have.

The concert WAS a valid worship service that should not have been disrupted. There is a two-fold test for genuine worship in Matthew 18:20:

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

Test number one: "where two or three come together"

If only two of the thousands of young people were genuinely worshipping God, then that is all it would take to meet the Biblical criteria of "where two or three come together". But we have absolute PROOF. At least two Christian men WERE gathered together, because I have no doubt about the salvation of either David Wilkerson or Mylon LeFevre.

Test number two: "in my name"

There is a second part of the criteria for a worship service: "in my name", otherwise every location where Christians gather could be mistakenly identified as a worship service. One of the David Wilkerson supporters related a story of how she and her husband entered a casino - but that definitely did NOT make the casino a worship service! The gathering has to be "in his name". I do not have the concert promotional material for the Mylon LeFevre concert that David Wilkerson attended. However, I cannot conceive that it was promoted as anything other than a Christian concert - i.e. - in the name of Christ. Therefore, the concert would meet the second criteria for a worship service. A casino, on the other hand, certainly would NOT promote the name of Christ - which would be bad for business!

Therefore, according to scripture, it WAS a worship service - and all Biblical instructions regarding propriety in worship services apply. David Wilkerson was out of order - scripturally - in disrupting the event.

Did Mylon Do Anything Wrong?

Is He Saved and Therefore Qualified to Lead Worship?

If Mylon is not saved, then he would have no business leading a worship service. But his is, by the evidence of his statement of faith.

I am very thankful for this opportunity to communicate with you. This web site has a lot of information about me, who I am, where I have been, and what I do. Yet the most important thing in my life is not about me but about what God has done for me!

In 1980 I asked God to forgive me for my sins, my mistakes, all the lies, and the selfish, proud, angry, rebellious stuff. I am really glad that no one but God knows all of my sins! I asked His son Jesus to become my savior and my Lord at a Christian concert with a band called the 2nd Chapter of Acts. At the end of the concert the guy running the sound, Buck Herring (who I had worked with in the past), led the people in a prayer. Buck asked the Lord to fill us with His Spirit and help us to learn to think and live and do things God's way. I made that prayer mine and I have never been the same.

I'm not saying that it has been easy all the time. In fact, in the last few years most of the things I have learned about who God is and how He does things, have been challenged. The good news is that God has given me total victory in every situation and He wants to do the same thing for you! Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He is alive today!!! God has raised Him from the dead and He is in heaven where He has gone to prepare an incredible place for you and me, if you believe Him! The Bible is God's Word. Faith (which is trust and confidence in God) will come to you the more you read the Word and think about it.

Of course, I don't know your situation. You may be thinking that your life is so messed up it's too late for you. But please remember that I accepted Jesus in 1980 after years of heroin and cocaine addiction. I had been stoned continually for about fifteen years. I was an adulterer, a habitual liar, and an angry, proud, self-centered egomaniac. But Glory to God, He set me free! First, He forgave me, and then He filled me with His Holy Spirit!

After a couple of years of studying the Bible, my mind was so changed that my whole life changed also! When He had taught me enough about His way of living and decided I was ready, He called me to share, or preach His Word. I certainly haven't changed the whole world but the Lord sure has changed my world and a lot of others. He will take any ones old messed up life and do amazingly wonderful things for you if you will just trust Him enough to do things His way. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He has proven over and over to me that His way (of thinking, speaking, and living) is perfectly wonderful for me. The more of my life that I trust and obey Him in, the more the quality of my life increases every day. Today He is offering you love, joy, peace, health, prosperity, mercy, grace, and a life that keeps getting better every day forever!

If you desire to be born again then please pray this prayer right now. God is listening! If you really mean it, Jesus is going to establish His life in you and make you a new creature right now.

"Father God, I come to you in the name of your son Jesus and I confess my need for your mercy right now. Please forgive me for all my sins and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I turn from my old way of living and with your help I will study your word and learn how to live for you. Lord Jesus, I accept and confess you as my Lord, King, Master and Savior. Thank you for living, dying, and resurrecting for me. Thank you Jesus for giving me all that you deserve and taking upon your self all that I deserve. Thank you for saving my life Jesus. I give it to you now. Amen."

Well, Glory to God - according to God's Word, if you just prayed that prayer from your heart, you just became a joint heir with Jesus Christ! That means that everything that Jesus has inherited from God is yours too! That also means that you just became my brother or sister in the Lord - so please let me know about it immediately.

Now, get into a good, Spirit filled, bible believing church that will teach you how to live by faith in God's Word. Immediately, get a good bible (I read from the Amplified version) now. I'll give you one last bit of good advice. Concentrate on paying more attention to the Word of God than any body else's words. His Word is the truth and He will show up and prove it for any one who believes it and speaks it consistently.

If we can help you get to heaven and enjoy the trip, that is what God has appointed and anointed us to do.

God bless you, Mylon

The above is taken from Mylon's statement of faith. Nobody can know another man's heart, except for the Lord Jesus Christ. But I am satisfied from the above that Mylon is a true believer in Jesus Christ, the same as David Wilkerson. So he was, indeed qualified and called to lead worship at the concert.

Was he Preaching Heresy From the Stage?

David Wilkerson specifically mentions the song "Crack the Sky". I quote its lyrics here:


Crack the Sky
Words and music by Rick Crow

V.1
Sometimes at night I close my eyes with a wish
Sometimes I wonder if I'd ever been missed
If You came for me
If You came for me
I've never asked You for a whole lot of things
I've never begged You for the riches of kings
But I've one request
And I hold it up to You

CHORUS
Come on and crack the sky for me
Come on and crack the sky and take me home
Tonight

V.2
I know You've got me where You want me to be
I know You've got a plan to use even me
But I long for You
I long for You
So now I'll work until You're ready for me
But I don't know if I can guarantee
That I'll never cry
Never try to get to You
CHORUS

Matthew 24:27, Revelation 19:11-16
Copyright  1987 Arlose Music/ASCAP

It is significant to me that the listing of lyrics included scripture references. Other songs that may have been performed at the same concert can be found here.

Matthew 24:27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Revelation 19 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter."[1] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

The song is obviously a reference to the rapture of the church. The writer speaks of a longing for the rapture, and makes it his request to the Lord in prayer (maranatha). The rapture is spoken of poetically as "cracking the sky". Since Matthew 24:27 describes the rapture as "lightning", which is often accompanied by loud claps of thunder, the description of the rapture as "cracking the sky" seems reasonable enough. The second verse talks of the writer waiting in humility ("even me"), patiently serving in the capacity of a musician. It also speaks of longing for the Lord, and realizing that there may be tribulations along the way. He also includes a phrase that is puzzling - "Never try to get to You". I take this as a statement that salvation is not by works, but by faith.

As lyrics go, I would say that these are a proper interpretation of the Word of God, theologically sound as far as they go. Many hymns do not go as far - such as "Gimme That Old Time Religion" which contains no theology at all! There is an aspect of interpretation involved here - that of the pre-tribulation rapture. I personally choose not to make pre-tribulation / post-tribulation rapture a matter of salvation. Neither does Irvin Baxter, one of the leading prophecy teachers who adheres to a "post-trib" view. David Wilkerson expouses the pre-tribulation rapture viewpoint in his book "The Cross and the Switchblade" - so he should not have a doctrinal problem with the lyrics to "Crack the Sky".

The only conclusion I can draw here is that Mylon LeFevre was properly preaching the word of God through his music.

Are fireworks, lasers, lights, and fog generators specifically prohibited by scripture at worship services?

David Wilkerson was distressed by the presence of special effects at the Mylon LeFevre concert. Since these are relatively new technologies, the scripture, of course, is silent on their use. I have to look at other instances where they are used, and see if those incidents are Christ honoring or not. I know of several occasions, but I will list two:

The point here is if those special effects are wrong, then they are wrong on every occasion - not just a Mylon LeFevre concert. If they are right in two conservative Baptist Churches, then they are right in concerts. There can be no double standard.

Was the "Frenzied Beat" Wrong?

I have repeatedly challenged anti-Christian rock writers to direct me to a scripture that describes when a given tempo is Godly, and at what tempo does the music change from Godly to satanic. I have never received a reply. I have also not received a reply when I inquire about volume level. There are no scriptures differentiating them. Therefore, David's criticism of the beat is his own opinion, not scripture. He is entitled to his opinion, but it is not binding on Almighty God.

Who Was the Second Group?

David makes the statement: "At the same festival, a wild spiked hair group had entertained - with painted faces, prancing about like homosexual peacocks." Perhaps somebody who attended the concert could identify who this other group was. But it was NOT MYLON LEFVRE, and therefore this comment has no relevance to the ministry of Mylon LeFevre - UNLESS: this mystery group is secular, in which case Mylon should not have let them share the event. But if this mystery group was Christian, then David Wilkerson might do well to remember this if their hearts were sincere in worship -----

2 Samuel 6:16-23: As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings[1] before the LORD. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes. When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel--I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor." And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

Up until this time, Michal had been very highly favored by God and by David. There are numerous references to her in 2 Samuel (look her up!) It did not take much to encur God's wrath (and David's) - just the quenching of the true spirit of worship. Spiked hair is not "my thing". Neither is dancing. But after reading this passage of scripture, I will not criticize anybody for dancing with joy before the Lord.

Should Mylon or Concert Attendees have Deferred to David Wilkerson?

Let's be fair here. Do you know David Wilkerson by sight? Maybe you do, maybe you don't. I sure don't. There are a lot of great men of God that I would recognize on sight, but a lot I do not.

So - imagine yourself at a concert. Maybe its one of your liking, maybe not. Suddenly - an unknown person stands up and starts shouting. What are your first thoughts? Maybe I am paranoid, but I know what mine would be: better get down, because this has become a dangerous world - full of crazies with guns! I don't think I would even hear what he was saying, I would be too focused on getting my family ducked behind a seat, and looking for the closest exit so we could escape a hail of bullets, or a bomb blast.

Believe me, I have been there:

In a perfect world, there would not be a reason to have security. But then, we would not need salvation, either. I know if I had attended that concert, I would have been VERY relieved if I saw security doing their job and hauling him out. I wonder WHERE the security was that night?! They sure did not do their job. Bottom line is - he should have been ejected from the event immediately. I don't care if it was Mother Theresa doing the disruption, they need to be ejected - that is the job of security!

WHERE IS THE PROOF!

There are a lot of ideas that are fun to believe - extraterrestrials / UFO's, sighting of the virgin Mary, sightings of Elvis. From my study of angels and their fallen cousins from reliable sources, I know that they have certain characteristics. Angels are known to appear to people. Demons, therefore, might also be able to appear to people. But - this is an area that is full of fanatics, kooks, and misfits. Any time you start talking about demons, the nut cases are going to crawl out of the woodwork. Putting one's reputation and ministry on demon sightings is one of the quickest ways I know to discredit yourself. It scares serious disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ right out of the room.

There are secular authorities as well as Christian authorities. You want to know about chimpanzees, go to Dr. Jane Goodall. She says "the chimps use tools", and she backs it up with film and carefully repeated experiments. There is a TV special, we see the chimps putting tools made of grass into a termite mound, out comes the snack, they eat it. Cut and dried - true. Repeatable, observable by independent research. Now - if Dr. Goodall were to say "I heard the chimps talk" - the entire world would say "where is proof?" And rightly so. If she said, "well, I heard them, and I am an authority on the subject, so you can believe me". There would be a core of believers, but to most of the world, her credibility would be shot.

This really happened to another secular authority, Dr. Louis Leaky. He was successful in finding fossils in Africa, and he decided to prove that man had been in North America for much longer than generally agreed. He came to the United States, found a promising location, and said "dig here and you will find early man". It never happened. He found some dubious evidence and said "here, this proves it". But most of the scientific community silently disagreed. Because he was such a great authority, he was not ridiculed in public. But his credibility suffered, and he died soon afterward.

The Christian community even gets into the secular fray about scientific authority. When Charles Darwin says "man evolved", they say "where is the proof?"

You cannot have it both ways. There is scientific authority, and it has to be based on fact. If there is scriptural authority, it has to be based on scripture. If the scripture is silent on an issue, all that is left is science: as opposed to opinion and authority - which are VALUELESS!!! For the claim of demons to be stated as fact, there must be independent, scientifically controlled research. Is there a videotape or photograph of the demons? Are there independent witnesses of them? Can the experience be reliably repeated at other Mylon concerts? Now, if you had said you saw demons at a Van Halen concert, where they are belting out the lyrics to "Running with the Devil", I might be more inclined to agree. But that would be my personal opinion. I would still want to get the cameras rolling to capture them on film so I could document it to the whole world, but the fact that Van Halen openly acknowleges the devil would be a tremendous help. But Mylon LeFevre? The man is musically close to John Denver or Kenny Rogers - hardly a heavy metal rocker! And he is a Christian. Demons rising out of smoke? PROVE IT! You get me a tape of it, I will look at the tape objectively. You make a claim that you saw them and you are "authority" - FORGET IT! Arguments made from authority (unless it is directly from Jesus Christ or his disciples in the New Testament) are valueless. I want PROOF!

Are Demons Real? Is There Real Spiritual Warfare?

Lest you think I am discounting the spiritual war, and battle of principalities and powers, let me tell you that I have dealt effectively with them myself. A woman in the church felt oppression from a certain wall in her bedroom. I sensed it too. There was a lovely antique dresser on the wall, I wondered if maybe it had come from somewhere evil - like a church that was a cult. We both laid hands on the furniture, and that was not the source of evil. I then inquired about what was behind the wall - and it turns out her daughter had a huge collection of troll dolls against the wall! When the symbols of Nordic occultism were removed, the woman was much more at ease, and I sensed that the evil was gone myself.

Ockham's Razor

"All things being equal, if there is a simple explanation to a problem and a complicated one, the simple one is probably correct."

I know a lot of you hate Ockham's Razor because athiests try to use it to disprove Christianity (like in the movie "Contact"). But it has nothing to do with theology, it is a simple test of logic. So, applying Ockham's Razor to this aspect of the Christian Rock controversy:

  1. Christian rock must be evil because a subtle combination of rhythm and certain musical instruments allows demons to inhabit the music, thus deceiving the elect of God. The formula of musical notes is nowhere spelled out in God's Word, we must rely upon the wisdom of men to tell us which combinations of musical notes are "dangerous" and which are benign. There are exceptions to the Godly principle - the violins going at hundreds of beats per minute in the Hallelujah Chorus is OK, but that was because it was HANDEL who wrote it. If anybody else does that fast of a beat, they are satanic. But the men reserve the right to make more exceptions. The selection of musical instruments is also complicated. David describes what instruments are to be used in Psalm 150, but the list is ONLY correct when the King James translation of the musical instrument names is applied. The actual nature of the instruments, as used to worship God in the ancient Jewish temple is irrelevant. Satan gets a special dispensation to ignore the preaching of the word only when it is done in a Christian rock song. Any other time, God's word is effective in overcoming him. God's word becomes ineffective when sung to a rock beat. Demons can even inhabit the Word of God if it is sung to a rock beat.
  2. There were no demons at the concert. David made a mistaken observation.

I don't know about you, but I got lots of problems with scenario number 1. Some of you, however, cannot even conceive the possibility that number 2 is correct. Perhaps you are placing too much faith in a mere man - David Wilkerson, instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. If number 2 is wrong, and number 1 is correct, you have to prove all of the assumptions in number 1. Lots of luck!

God bless you, brother Wilkerson - you were on the correct path of reconciliation with Mylon prior to the concert. Give him - and the rest of the genre of Christian rock - another chance!

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