Reinhard Bonnke Biography
Do you want to know about the Biography of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke? Then stick around!
Song in Yoruba Language:
Reinhard Bonnke mbo lo sogbo
E wa gbo
Osogbo yoo gba alejo re
Translated to English:
Reinhard Bonnke is coming to Osogbo
Come and hear
Osogbo will receive his visit
Come and hear
Above is a song I know, used in announcing a coming crusade of the great German-American Pentecostal evangelist, general of faith, and preacher of the gospel to Africa– Reinhard Bonnke. It is reported that over 79 million souls made their decision unto salvation at his crusades. He authored over 40 books, delivered the baton of His ministry to his successor, and slept in the faith on the 7th day of December, 2017, at the age of 79.
Biography of Reinhard Bonnke
Reinhard Willi Gottfried Bonnke was born on 19 April, 1940, in Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany. He was the son of an army logistics officer, and spent some of his years in a displaced person centre after he was taken to Denmark during the evacuation of East Prussia – together with his mother and siblings. At the age of nine, he became a born-again Christian and sensed a call to serve God as a missionary in Africa at the age of ten. His father became a pastor after war service.
At an early age, Reinhard Bonnke went with his guitar to a street corner in downtown Glückstadt. He sang there until a crowd gathered, and then he preached. According to his report, “To my amazement one man knelt and prayed the sinner’s prayer with me right there on the street!” He ran home and exclaimed, “Father, it works! A man came to hear me preach and accepted Jesus. The Holy Spirit really gives us the power to preach!”
Mission to Africa
Bonnke attended the Bible College of Wales in Swansea, Wales, and was ordained in Germany where he pastored a small church until 1967, together with his wife – Anni. It was at this time in 1967 that they embarked on missionary life to Africa, in obedience to his childhood call. They came to the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
Before their coming, Bonnke was offered a choice of positions in South Africa by the Apostolic Faith Missions Board, which had given him a one-year South African apprenticeship. One position was with a large, influential and wealthy white church, which he rejected. This rejection surprised the local leaders.
The least attractive of the four positions was the kingdom of Lesotho, a small nation to the south of Johannesburg. And this Bonnke accepted with the Lord’s leading, becoming the overseer of the three small churches serving the indigenous Basuto people.
Also, in the midst of parking up for their move, Anni discovered she was expecting another child, while their son – Kai-Uwe – was almost one. Nevertheless, they embraced the challenge and kept on their move. They bought a van that helped in moving, serving also as their temporary living quarters once in Africa.
Gospel from Coast to Coast
Reinhard Bonnke traveled from place to place in the VW camper van, by mule, or horseback, across Lesotho’s 1,200 miles of mostly unpaved roads which connected small villages of less than 250 souls.
The early years of Bonnke’s ministry in Lesotho were discouraging. Those that had been converted, amidst about half of the tribesmen who were still idol worshippers, had become hardened to the gospel.
Bonnke encountered an elder who was a drunkard, another who espoused idol worship, and another church’s local pastor who did not believe in evangelism. Bonnke began to seek out new converts on the street of Lesotho villages, and these converts brought revival to the existing churches.
Employment and Evangelism – wisdom!
Reinhard provided employment for many youths that were unemployed in his church and city, and advanced the preaching of the gospel through the same means.
Each young man, having a bicycle with a waterproof box, went from village to village, giving out the ministry’s magazine, while also selling Bibles and Hymnals. Some of these young men, out of about thirty in total, became genuine soul winners and, eventually, pastors.
In two years, these thirty young men had visited all of Lesotho, exposing 1,348,000 to the gospel.
Africa shall be saved
In 1973, the evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, had a dream of a blood washed africa. Here it is in his own words, “I had a dream that changed everything. I saw a map of Africa. Not South Africa, not Lesotho, not Johannesburg, but the entire continent. The map began to be splashed and covered with blood. I became alarmed.
I thought surely this meant some kind of apocalyptic violence was coming … Then the Spirit whispered to me that what I saw was the blood of Jesus’” terrible violence had first spilled His blood 2,000 years ago on a cross. But then I heard the words, ‘˜Africa shall be saved.”
Christ for All Nations
In 1974, Bonnke founded the mission organization called ‘Christ For All Nations’ (CfaN). This organization was originally based in Johannesburg, South Africa, but was later relocated to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1986. CfaN has 9 offices across five continents in all, today.
Bonnke held more crusades in Nigeria than any other African country. The largest recorded of the minister’s open-air crusade was in the city of Lagos during what is called the ‘Millennium Crusade’ in November, 2000. In this meeting about 1.6 million people came around to hear the gospel. The meeting held for five days, and over 6 million people were in attendance.
Early in Reinhard Bonnke’s ministry, he held meetings in a tent that accommodated just 800 people. However, as the audience of the message grew, larger tents were purchased. And in 1984, Bonnke commissioned the world’s largest mobile structure at the time. This was a tent that had the capacity to seat 34,000 people.
But when the number of attendees of his meeting rose above the capacity of even this structure, he began open-air campaigns with an initial gathering of over 150,000 people per service.
The first fire conference was held by Bonnke in Harare, Zimbabwe, 1986. Since this time, these events have taken place all around the globe, equipping church leaders and workers for evangelism.
Oppositions in Ministry
Bonnke’s meetings have also faced oppositions, like the riot that happened in Kano, Nigeria, in 1991, encouraged by the claim that Bonnke was going to blaspheme Islam.
Many Christians sustained various injuries and several churches were burnt during this incident. Bonnke did not return to preach in Nigeria until after nine years.
Farewell Crusade in Lagos, Nigeria
The farewell crusade of the evangelist was held in Lagos, in November, 2017. At his last press conference on November 6, 2017, Bonnke mentioned that Nigeria was his favourite nation. He also mentioned that he has no regret preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Africa for 50 years.
Bonnke had said, “God’s words will be preached, miracles will be full and the Holy Spirit will come down. The ripple effects of this crusade will be felt all over the world. No man has invented water but no one can live without water. We can’t live without the gospel, the gospel is eternal and can never be invalid. The gospel is true today Because it was true at the beginning.”
The farewell crusade in Lagos launched on November 8, 2017, holding behind Sparklight Estate, Opposite OPIC, Berger area of Lagos. Bonnke preached a powerful and clear evangelistic message at the crusade, thousands placed their faith in Christ, and many were healed.
Entrance into Glory
Reinhard Bonnke slept in the lord on December 7, 2019, aged 79.
The evangelist is survived by his beloved wife – Anni, three children – Kai-Uwe, Gabriele, and Susanne, and eight grandchildren.
More can be said about this gifted evangelist, but let us stop this here. Thanks for reading!