Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke went to heaven last week. Perhaps the greatest evangelist of all time, he watched 79 MILLION people respond to Christ in his 35 years of crusades.
I knew him well.
HERE IS MY STORY OF THIS GREAT GENERAL:
1. He carried the power of God.
I met Reinhard when I was a young pastor of 30. He came multiple times and preached for me. His ministry in Africa drew tens of thousands for salvation and often people were miraculously healed in the massive throng. Interestingly enough, he never personally prayed over any of them.
He would simply ask the Holy Spirit to come and rest upon the multitude like He did on the dark waters in Genesis 1:2. He would ask the Lord to heal the sick. Suddenly, people would be healed.
I was personally in one such crusade in Ogoja, Nigeria that our church was able to pay for. Without praying over anyone, nine blind people came forward in one night from the 600,000 people standing on the field. In that 5-night crusade, 1.1 MILLION people responded to salvation and received a follow-up booklet.
I recall one service he preached at our church. He prayed for the entire congregation as he did in Africa and a man quickly came forward with his wife. The man testified that he had been injured as a truck driver in an accident. He was thrown from the truck and pinned under the truck. He was left paralyzed and crippled.
In one moment, he was healed and practically ran forward with his wife. All of his relatives came with him to church the following Sunday, amazed at what God had done in him!
2. He walked in the integrity of God.
Not only was Reinhard powerful, he was a man of great integrity. Some evangelists (unlike Billy Graham) over-inflated their numbers from crusades, responses, etc. Reinhard meticulously measured every crowd, reporting his results from a “granular” level.
His marriage to his wife, Anni, spanned over 50 years. I was privileged to be in their home in Florida this past January where Anni hosted us and Reinhard spend time praying over me (you can watch that .
In a confused, hyped-up world of ministerial ethics, Reinhard and Anni stood as beacons of stability, faithfulness, and honesty. Doctrinally, financially, and ethically, his personal lifestyle was without parallel.
3. He walked in the purpose of God.
I recall a conversation around a table with him in my early years. The topic was someone in the Christian world who had become a public disappointment. Reinhard was looking off into space during the conversation.
“Reinhard, what do you think of that situation?” I asked him. His reply, as he looked straight into my eyes was, “A blood-washed Africa.”
He didn’t care about Christian politics or scandals. He cared for souls. His passion was people. His love was for the lost. He lived to bring the Gospel to the millions in darkness worldwide.
There, in a thimble, is Reinhard Bonnke. Powerful, full of integrity, and focused on souls.
Now that he is gone, consider making those three things your focus.
Reinhard’s reward has come. What will mine and yours be when we slip across the border of eternity into our eternal reward?