Reinhard Bonnke, the celebrated German evangelist, has died at the age of 79, according to a post on his official Facebook page. During his more than 60 years of preaching, Bonnke was best known for his work with the Great Gospel Crusades throughout Africa.
Bonnke said that he became born-again at the age of nine. His father had also been a preacher. Bonnke, a native of Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany, attended Bible College in the Welsh city of Swansea. In one biography, Bonnke said that he made his first missionary trip to Africa before he was 13 years of age.
That profile says that it was well Bonnke was in Lesotho, a country surrounded on all sides by South Africa, “God placed upon his heart the vision of ‘the continent of Africa, being washed in the precious Blood of Jesus.” In 1984, Bonnke commissioned the construction of the largest mobile tent that was capable of holding 34,000 people. During his life, Bonnke oversaw the conversion of 77 million people to Christianity.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bonnke ‘Passed Away Peacefully, Surrounded by His Family’
The statement on his Facebook page first appeared around 8:30 a.m. EST on December 7.
The statement reads in part, “It is with sorrow that the Bonnke Family would like to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on December 7, 2019. For the past 60 years, he has preached the glorious Gospel of Jesus throughout the entire world. We want to thank you on behalf of him and our family, for your kind love and unwavering support, which enabled him to preach the matchless message of salvation to countless people.”
Bonnke’s has asked for donations to be made to his church, Chris for all Nations.
2. Bonnke Met His Wife, Anni, at a Christian Music Festival in 1964
The statement was written by Bonnke’s wife, Anni Bonnke. In addition to his wife, Bonnke is survived by his three children, Kai-Uwe Bonnke, Gabrielle Bonnke and Susie Bonnke, as well as eight grandchildren. Bonnke said previously that his met his wife at a Christian music festival, where she had been performing, in 1964. Bonnke said he was drawn to Anni after she recovered from a disastrous musical performance.
Along with the statement, Bonnke’s wife posted the words to Revelation 15:3-4, which includes the words, “For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” An hour after being posted, the statement has 22,000 shares and generated more than 30,000 reactions and 17,000 comments.
3. Bonnke Said in November 2019 That He Underwent Femur Surgery & Needed Time to Learn How to Walk Again
On November 12, Bonnke went on Facebook to tell his followers that he had undergone surgery on his right femur bone. Bonnke wrote that he was doing well but that he needed to take a few weeks to learn how to walk again. Bonnke wrote, “My spirit is rejoicing, especially when I think of you. I have been able to pray for you and your very many needs and am asking you to pray for me now. I will read every reply and thank you in anticipation and in the Name of Jesus.”
Between 2009 and 2019, Bonnke helped to produce the “Full Flame” film series. In total, there are eight episodes in the series which aim to convert people to evangelicism.
In 2015, Bonnke was honored as the winner of the Lifetime Global Impact award at the Global Congress of Empowered21 in Jerusalem. A spokeswoman for Emopowered21 told the Christian Post at the time, “Reinhard Bonnke has totally dedicated himself to soul-winning for 50 years now. He has a laser-sharp focus on winning souls. Through his ministry, Christ for All Nations, over 73 million people have made registered decisions to follow Jesus Christ. To be recognized and honored by the Christian community for this service is an honor for which we give the glory to God.”
4. Bonnke Founded His Group, Christ for All Nations, in 1974
On his Twitter page, Bonnke said that he was living in Orlando, Florida, at the time of his death. In October 2017, Bonnke undertook his farewell crusade to Nigeria where he spoke to 1.7 million people. Bonnke handed over the reins of leadership of Christ of All Nations to fellow evangelist Daniel Kolenda due to his health issues. In the wake of Bonnke’s death, Kolenda referred to Bonnke as a “friend and spiritual father/;
Bonnke founded his Christ for All Nations fellowship in the 1970s. The organization has offices in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong. The organization was originally based in Johannesburg, South Africa during apartheid. Bonnke moved the headquarters to Frankfurt, Germany, in order to distance his group from the oppressive government.
His teaching literature has been published in over 100 languages across 55 countries, his official website says.
Between 1990 and 1999, Bonnke’s ministry was unable to operate in Nigeria after Muslim extremists burned down Christian churches and killed Christians in the city of Kano. Bonnke returned to Nigeria in 2001 with the message, “My full attention is on Africa. I have no message of hate. I do not attack any religion. I just preach Jesus.” Nigerian missionary Rou Jarvis criticized Bonnke saying, “He’s very confrontational with Islam, and that’s not good. If I’m going to win someone to Christ, I’m not going to tell them first that their faith is wrong.”
5. Bonnke’s Death Is Being Mourned Across the World
Across the world, Bonnke’s followers and contemporaries are mourning his passing. Many of taken to social media to express their grief. Here are some the most poignant messages of rememberance: