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What Christianity really is
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.