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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Cross and the Switchblade
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2009
Christianity is coming under an unprecendented degree of attack these days and, the truth is, I think we've brought some of it on ourselves. There's no condemnation in that - Christians are, for the most part, very loving, and *want* to extend His hand to others - however, we seem to have grown weary and, collectively, we aren't showing the world who Jesus is. I know that if I were to see another Christian write that, my pride would balk at it... but it's the truth. As individuals, we may be doing everything we can; but the church, as a body, is letting people down - both Christians and non-. But David Wilkerson genuinely went out into the world and showed people who Jesus is... and he's still doing it to this day.

Christ tells His followers to love those in need, to feed the poor and to clothe the naked; to give what we have, and never fear about not having enough for ourselves; to bless the people that hate you, to soak their hatred up like a sponge and, in return, give them love. So in the 1960s, David Wilkerson - a small-town preacher - felt led to go to New York, where he went out into the streets and told the gangs about the love of God.

The gangs then were every bit as vicious and hateful and hated as the gangs of today. But, on his own, he spent months and months sleeping in his car so he could be amongst them, loving them. He made no grand gestures - he just kept his word to never leave them, and to love them and hold them even when they threatened his life. It took a long time, but people gradually started coming to Christ. These evil, hateful gang-members - ostensibly soulless in their rage - slowly laid down their hate and accepted new lives as Christians. Nicky Cruz (author of Run Baby Run) is the most famous of the converts, but countless men and women's lives were forever changed.

The Cross and the Switchblade also details God's provisions - how David Wilkerson found God providing a house so he could take in people wanting to change their lives; how He always provided food and mortgage payments just in time, often given through total strangers who felt led to give, turning up on his doorstep with their offering, despite never having heard of him...

In reading this, you see what love in action can actually achieve; how even the most hateful of people are at a loss when faced with the enormity of God's grace and love. Equally, you see how God is still performing miracles, today, here and now. This isn't a silly book for people who are deluded enough to believe in a "sky-fairy". It is a verified, factual, unimpeachable testimony - grounded, reasoned, beautiful and miraculous. If only more of us had the courage and the faith to follow in both Christ's and David Wilkerson's footsteps.

This isn't just a book for Christians. It will inspire and touch and move and bless those who already have faith in Christ. But, even for those who don't, it will show what Christianity really is. When Christians follow Christ's exortations, this is what happens - if you've ever wondered why so many of us follow Him, this will explain, far more succinctly than any apologetics or polemic.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2006
I read it as a teenager, and am now ordering it for my teenage daughter. A gripping book which you won't be able to put down. A normal bloke gripped by the love of God has a big impact on youths caught up in gangs. And it's a fantastically written story too. And it's true!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2001
I gave this book to a drug addict some ten years ago-today he is a minister in his local church. One of the most powerfull books available today to help to bring people to knowledge of the Lord. I highly reccomend it...........Gerald
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2003
This book really inspired and motivated me. It is full of testimonies of teenagers caught up in the drugs and violence of the gangs of new york and how they were saved from it all by the love of Christ and the faith, belief and perseverance of David Wilkerson and his team. It is very insightful into the things that go on within the gangs and certainly made me wonder what I could do to be a part of it, but also realise how difficult a task it is!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2007
I first read this book, probably when I was about 15, since then I have re-read it a few times, along with Run Baby Run, and more recently Soul Obsession.

In the last few years I have bought 10-25 of the Cross and the Switchblade for use in prison work. Young lads will read them and we have reports of some being deeply touched by the fact that God cares for them, no matter what they've done.

An excellent book telling the story of a true man of God. We should all take David's example and follow/seek our call just as courageously!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2005
hi i read this book when i was 16 iam 39 now through my ups and downs with christian faith this book and nickys run baby run have stayed with me....one word discribes David and Nicky integrity...
real people not like the usual crock asking for a quick buck.. God Bless him and Nicky
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2006
I was recommended this book by my husband who read the book over 10 years ago as a teenager.

The book is truley inspiring, a terrific true story, illistrating the power of christian faith.

I recommend it to all.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2000
The story of an ordinary minister of a Christian Church who brought the Gospel to a group of people who were in need of redemption. This book is flavoured with the desire to see these young violent men won for God and is an inspirational story for those of the Christian faith. I read this book over ten years ago and as a young person I was inspired and challenged to grow in the things of God. This is a book which I know will challenge anyone who reads it. A great read which has some graet characters in it which move you to think of your general attitudes towards our fellow humans. It paints God as a loving God who seeks out the sinner to repentance. I rate this one of the best books I have every read second only to the bible!
David Jones ( Teacher in Religious Studies )
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2000
David Wilkerson's book, The Cross and the Switchblade, details the trials, troubles and effects of living according to gang rules, drugs and sexual abuse. But, rather than being a depressing account of problems with no answers, Wilkerson documents solutions to these problems, giving hope of escaping the oppressions associated with these lifestyles.
I enjoyed reading this book so much. It was quickly-paced and exciting. Never a dull moment! The minister took on a monumental task, with basically no previous experience dealing with the dirges of urban life. I was inspired and found myself so absorbed in the story, I was cheering the young people on to victory. Relevant reading for our youth of today!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2011
This is a truly inspiring book. At a time when I was asking "Is God alive and active in my world or is Christianity just boring church attendance?", I came across this book. It helped to change my life; so much so that I went to Greenwich Village in New York to look at the work being done by David Wilkerson among teenage gangs. The book reveals the violent and tough teenage world of being trapped in gang warfare in New York, and the way God used a humble Christian preacher to change the lives of the gangs and drug cartels through the work of the Holy Spirit. I have heard one of the ex gang leaders tell his story - it is astonishing.
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