Reinhard Bonnke’s first preaching session ignited in the congregation a fire for evangelism.
Contributed By Annabelle Low
As the founder of the international ministry, Christ For All Nations, Reinhard Bonnke is principally known for his evangelistic campaigns throughout Africa. Since the start of this new millennium, the ministry has recorded some 52 million decisions for Jesus Christ arising from a host of Bonnke’s major evangelistic events in Africa and various parts of the world. He is also known for hosting Fire Conferences in many different countries, with the aim of equipping church leaders and workers for evangelism.
Recognized as one of the most prolific evangelists in the world today, Bonnke’s deadpan humor and fiery passion had the congregation doubled up with laughter and cheers as he shared the revelations and encounters with the Holy Spirit that shaped his ministry.
Bonnke, who hails from Eastern Germany, related how God had shown His hand through his ancestry. In 1922, his grandfather suffered from an illness that gave him such excruciating pains that he could not be touched. However, one day, an elderly American missionary arrived at the German village where they lived. He entered Bonnke’s parents house and prayed for his grandfather and the man was completely healed.
On another occasion, Bonnke was in need of $50 when he felt the Holy Spirit ask him if he wanted one million dollars. Bonnke then replied that he was not asking God for one million dollars, but for one million souls—that was the biggest purpose of his life and ministry. In response, the Holy Spirit told Bonnke that he would plunder hell and populate heaven for Calvary’s sake. Shortly after, Bonnke saw the vision of a map of the entire Africa washed in the blood of Jesus.
At the beginning of his ministry, God showed Bonnke a stadium, and told him he would preach there. At his first evangelistic meeting at the stadium, only 100 people turned up. Disheartened, Bonnke began to preach to the 100 when suddenly, in the midst of his sermon, a member of the audience jumped up and began to shout that he had been healed. Several others did the same. Bonnke was amazed, because he had not even been preaching about healing. Right there and then, he realized that Jesus longs to do great things in the present, no matter what the circumstances may be.
Thereafter, the stadium was packed every day. A woman who had been healed of her blindness spread the word of her miracle. God began to show Bonnke that nothing would limit Him—He had no maximum. 75,000 people attended his crusade in Cape Town and another 200,000 in Kenya. During one crusade in Nigeria, the pastors on the platform wept when about half a million people showed up, as most of them pre-believers. Over 90 percent of the crowd received Christ as their savior that day. Yet another meeting in Nigeria reached a staggering 1.6 million attendees.
Bonnke explained that God does not sit with sitters, but He goes with goers. “After all,” he reasoned, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” He believes in his heart that heaven is going to be bigger than hell. When Jesus spoke about the highway to hell, He had already plunged His cross in the middle of that highway as a roadblock. Bonnke professes that preachers and evangelists stand at the foot of that cross to preach repentance—repentance brings about a change of life and direction. Those who believe and change direction do not arrive in hell but in heaven.
|CN PHOTOS: James Lee & Ryan Ng|
The key, Bonnke emphasized, is the Holy Spirit, as there is no substitute for the Holy Spirit; He is crucial to ministry. When Bonnke was a young preacher, he believed that Matthew 28:19-20 was the greatest promise in the Bible, as it said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
The Holy Spirit gave him a revelation—not just a promise, but a proven fact—that He is unconditionally and always with his believers. This influenced Bonnke’s thinking and ministry. Bonnke admitted that there will be times when believers cannot feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, but it is in such times that they must exercise faith and trust that He will show up as they do His work, for it is then that the Holy Spirit starts to move.
Like Elijah’s mantle, Bonnke said that the Holy Spirit will be given to each and every one of His believers. Bonnke highlighted that when the 120 came down from the upper room on the day of the Pentecost, each of them had the flame of the Holy Spirit on them. Each flame was different because it was original. However, even the tiniest flame represents the full fire of God and is capable of battling hell. He declared that everyone at CGI-AC2010 would return to their countries with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Bonnke concluded the session by praying for the congregation, and promised that in his next session, the ring of fire will flow through the hall.