Reinhard Bonnke is known as one of the most powerful evangelists of all time. Hundreds of thousands of people attend his gospel crusades in Africa; in the last ten years, over 53 million people have committed their lives to Jesus in his meetings. Miracles and signs and wonders of all kinds follow Reinhard's preaching. Reinhard has a passion to equip believers to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to faithfully proclaim the Word of God in power to win people to Jesus. We asked Reinhard to speak at Onething on what the Holy Spirit is saying to young adults in this critical hour of history.

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Evangelist: Reinhard Bonnke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reinhard Bonnke (born April 19, 1940) is a German Pentecostal[1] evangelist, principally known for his gospel missions throughout Africa. Bonnke has been an evangelist and missionary in Africa since 1967. Bonnke has overseen 75 million recorded conversions to Christ.

Early life:

Reinhard Bonnke was born on 19 April 1940 in KönigsbergEast PrussiaGermany.[2] He was born again at the age of nine after his mother spoke with him about a sin that he had committed.[3] He left for missionary work Africa at the age of 10 and says that he had the experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He is the son of a pastor and ex-serviceman in the German Army.[citation needed]

Bonnke studied at The Bible College of Wales in Swansea, where he was inspired by the director Samuel Rees Howells. In one meeting after Howells spoke of answered prayer, Bonnke prayed, "Lord, I also want to be a man of faith. I want to see your way of providing for needs." [4] After graduation, he pastored in Germany for seven years. He began his ministry in Africa, with which he is principally identified, preaching in Lesotho in 1967. He has subsequently held evangelical meetings across the continent.[5]

African mission:

Early on, Bonnke encountered poor results from his evangelistic efforts and felt frustrated at the pace of his ministry. Bonnke claims to have had a reoccurring dream featuring a picture of the map of Africa being spread with red and heard the voice of God crying "Africa Shall Be Saved". This led him to adopt large-scale evangelism, rather than the traditional small scale missionary approach. He rented a stadium in Gaborone, and preached with little cooperation from local churches. Beginning with only 100 people, the stadium meetings grew.

In 1974, Bonnke founded the mission organisation 'Christ For All Nations' (abbreviated CfaN).[3] Originally based in JohannesburgSouth Africa, the headquarters were relocated to Frankfurt, Germany in 1986. This was done primarily to distance the organisation from South Africa's apartheid policy at the time.[3] Today CfaN has 9 offices across 5 continents.[6]

Bonnke began his ministry holding tent meetings that accommodated large crowds. According to an account published by the Christian Broadcasting Network, in 1984 he commissioned the construction of what was claimed to be the world’s largest mobile structure – a tent capable of seating 34,000; this was destroyed in a wind storm just before a major meeting and therefore the team decided to hold the event in the open air instead. According to this account, the event was subsequently attended by over 100,000 people which is far greater than the 34,000 seating capacity the tents could contain.[5]

Bonnke announced his 'farewell gospel crusade' to be held in Lagos, Nigeria in November 2017. Lagos is also the location of a gospel crusade held in 2000 which, according to CfaN, is the organisation's largest to-date, drawing an attendance of 6 million people.[7]


In 1991, during Bonnke's visit to Kano in Nigeria, there were riots in the city as Muslims protested over remarks he had reportedly made about Islam in the city of Kaduna on his way to Kano.[8] A rumor was spread that Bonnke was planning to “lead an invasion” into Kano. Muslim youths gathered at the Kofar Mata Eide-ground where they were addressed by several clerics who claimed that Bonnke was going to blaspheme Islam. About 8,000 youths gathered at the Emir's palace and after noon prayers the riots ensued, during which many Christians sustained various injuries and several churches were burned.[9][10][11] After nine years he returned to Nigeria to preach.

In the early 1990s Bonnke, who had prophesied a major world revival which would start in the United Kingdom, was involved in an initiative to reverse the decline in church attendance there. This involved the distribution of millions of copies of a booklet he had written called Minus to Plus[12][13] to homes throughout the country, which was hoped to win 250,000 converts. However, only 20,000 were claimed to have been 'won over', and these were mostly those returning to the faith rather than coming to it for the first time. Church attendance in the United Kingdom continued to decline.[12]

Personal life:

After graduating from the Bible College of Wales and returning to Germany, Bonnke led a series of meetings in Rendsburg. He began receiving speaking invitations from all around Germany and the rest of the world. Bonnke met Anni Suelze at a gospel music festival, and admired the grace with which she recovered from a wrongly pitched music performance at the expense of losing the competition. He offered to preach at the church she attended one Sunday and fell in love with her. They married in 1964 and have three children and eight grandchildren.


Bonnke's Autobiography, Living a Life of Fire is a collection of stories of his life including accounts of his childhood growing up during the Second World War and living in prison camps to his early years in ministry and how he believed God used him to bring the gospel of salvation to Africa.[3]


  1. Jump up^ Kürschner-Pelkmann, Frank. "Reinhard Bonnke’s Theology"(PDF). Translated by C. Lies, Cynthia. Im Evangelischen Missionswerk in Deutschland. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  2. Jump up^ Synan, H. Vinson (2002). "Bonnke, Reinhard Willi Gottfried". In Stanley M. Burgess. The new international dictionary of Pentecostal and charismatic movements. (Rev. and expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. pp. 438–439. ISBN 0310224810.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d Bonnke, Reinhard (2009). Living a Life of Fire: an Autobiography. Orlando: E-R Production. ISBN 9781933106816.
  4. Jump up^ Maton, Richard (2012). Samuel Rees Howells : a life of intercession. ByFaith Media. p. 81. ISBN 9781907066139.
  5. Jump up to:a b "Reinhard Bonnke: Setting Souls on Fire"The 700 Club.
  6. Jump up^ "Christ for all Nations - Contact Us". Christ for all Nations. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  7. Jump up^ "Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke Who Led Millions to Christ Announces 'Farewell Crusade'". The Christian Post. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  8. Jump up^ Marty, Martin Emil; Appleby, R. Scott, eds. (1993). Fundamentalisms and the State: Remaking Polities, Economies, and Militance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 199. ISBN 9780226508849.
  9. Jump up^ Boer, Jan H (2003). Nigeria's Decades of Blood: Volume One: Studies in Christian-Muslim Relationships. Bellville, Ontario: Essence Publishing. pp. 41–44. ISBN 9781553065814.
  10. Jump up^ "Reinhard Bonnke"Deception in the Church.
  11. Jump up^ "German Evangelist 'Banned'"World Watch Monitor.
  12. Jump up to:a b Hunt, Stephen (2004). The Alpha Enterprise: Evangelism in a Post-Christian Era. Ashgate Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 9780754650362.
  13. Jump up^ Bonnke, Reinhard (1993). From Minus to Plus: The Epic of Christ's Cross. Halesowen: Christ for All Nations (UK). ISBN 9780952288008.

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