is no exaggeration to say that The Cross and the Switchblade changed my
life. Written in 1963 by David Wilkerson, it tells of his work in Brooklyn,
helping street kids to exchange drugs and violence for life led by the Holy
Spirit. A bestseller with more than 15 million copies in over 30 languages, it
was adapted into a film viewed by an estimated 50 million in 150 countries,
starring Pat Boone as Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as gang leader Nicky Cruz. As
a pre-teen, the book stirred me to renew my faith – then years later changed my
career. In my 20s, as a journalist bedfast at a missionary’s house in the Third
World, I read it again, noticing it was written with John and Elizabeth Sherrill.
Other books in the missionary’s library had co-authors, including Jamie
Buckingham who helped Cruz write the bestselling sequel Run Baby Run. I
switched careers, working with Buckingham who taught me to be a storyteller –
then was privileged to assist two of the The Cross and the Switchblade figures – Cruz and former heroin junkie Sonny Arguinzoni – write subsequent
books. The Cross and the Switchblade touched millions, sparking an
interest in what it means to live led by the Holy Spirit. It is often credited
with inspiring the Charismatic Movement that transformed millions of Christians
– Catholics, Evangelicals and traditional Protestants – to re-examine their own
relationships with the Almighty.
~ Rob Kerby
Purchase "The Cross and the Switchblade" here.
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