Did any of you see this movie back in the 60s? I first saw it in 1963 and it had a huge impact on me spiritually. The Cross and the Switchblade is the story of Dave Wilkerson, a country preacher who stepped onto the gang-ridden streets of NYC in the late 1950s, and the conversion of Mau Mau War Lord, Nicky Cruz. Wilkerson died in 2011, but the impact of this story is still being written through two powerful ministries: New York's Teen Challenge Center established by Wilkerson and Nicky's far-reaching evangelistic ministry, Nicky Cruz Outreach.
I wanted to publicize this incredible story because ChristianAudio.com is making the audio version of this book available for free during the month of September, and eChristian.com is offering a download of the classic movie version for only $4.98. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this inspirational story and I highly recommend it - to both newcomers and to those already familiar with Dave Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz. Links are provided at the bottom of this post in the titles underneath each picture.
Nicky Cruz was raised in Puerto Rico. His parents were heavily involved in Santeria, and as such, Nicky was the victim of repeated physical abuse and rejection at their hands. In an attempt to escape his violent upbringing, Nicky fled to New York City in the mid 50s where he soon got caught up in the gang violence that was sweeping the city. Fearless and seemingly immune to physical pain, Cruz rose through the ranks of the notorious Mau Mau gang in Fort Greene, Brooklyn to become their War Lord.
Cruz’ life was a downward spiral of violence and dysfunction. A court-ordered psychiatrist told the court and Nicky that he was “doomed…finished…on a one-way trip to jail, the electric chair and hell.” Then one day a skinny preacher – David Wilkerson – came to the war-torn streets of Brooklyn delivering a message to Nicky – “Jesus loves you, Nicky.” Cruz threatened to kill the preacher, but several weeks later at a rally at the St. Nicholas Arena in NYC – Cruz surrendered his life to God and exchanged his weapons for a Bible.
For the past 50 years, Nicky has been traveling around the world reaching tens of millions of people with his miraculous testimony. His life story has been told in the best-selling book, The Cross and the Switchblade, and in the movie by the same title, which starred Pat Boone and Erik Estrada. Cruz continues to minister in inner cities, prisons, and stadiums personally speaking to hundreds of thousands annually.
He is the president of Nicky Cruz Outreach, and Executive Producer of TRUCE, an international discipleship and evangelism ministry dedicated to reaching and mentoring young people. The Wall Street Journal described Nicky as the “Billy Graham of the streets.”
The Cross and the Switchblade - $4.99 movie download
$4.98 movie download here
$4.98 movie download here