An encounter with Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ — Matthew 25:21

On Saturday, December 7 2019, legendary global evangelist Reinhard Bonnke peacefully passed away, surrounded by his family.

Bonke: Rest In Peace Man Of God

His passing marks the end of a vastly fruitful 60-year journey of evangelical work through large crusades, mostly in Africa, including Malawi.

He was 79 years old and oversaw the conversion to Christianity of millions of people worldwide. I was one of them. He is definitely getting his red-carpet welcome and the long-awaited “well done, good and faithful servant”.

There are some people that have argued that Bonnke was not such a great church leader. Such sentiments were held following riots in Nigeria where youths burnt churches and Christians were attacked.

Many blamed Bonnke for the attacks, citing his anti-Muslim comments. In Malawi, during his 1986 crusade, former editor-in-chief Vic Gardner inferred that Bonnke was part of the manipulating Westerner that were skinning poor Africans of their hard-earned money.

As one of the converts, I strongly disagree with either viewpoint. On his first crusade to Malawi, I recall Bonnke telling the maximum capacity gathering that stretched from behind the High Court in Blantyre up to the French Cultural Centre of his recurring dream featuring a picture of the map of Africa being spread with red.

He said he heard the voice of God crying “Africa Shall Be Saved”. This led to his adopting large-scale evangelism as opposed to the traditional small-scale missionary outreaches.

This was in June-July 1986, the evangelist brought to the country large trucks, marked “Christ For All Nations” (abbreviated CfaN). Bonnke partnered with local Christian churches and created a vibe that drew the curious, interested and those desirous of cures for their ailments.

As a features editor at The Daily Times, I recall sending my two colleagues Robert Chilenga and Ralph Banda to attend the meetings for an article on the social and religious pages. After two visits and “Janet you should go and hear this guy preach and the women, they know the Bible. Janet please, go to the crusade!”

While I was happy to hear the positive report about women knowing the Bible, I did not get an article from Rob and Ralph, so I decided to go myself. Thus, on one cold July evening, I asked my husband for keys to the car so I could pick up a story for my features pages.

Here are my seven takeways from the encounter I had at the Reinhard Bonnke Crusade, 1986.

1.       I sat at the outer edges of the crusade crowd, almost at the French Cultural Centre;

2.       I vividly recall two points about the evangelist’s message as follows:

(a).       When he goes on evangelism drives, he likes to go to the bars, not the churches. This is because it is in the bars where prospective converts are in plenty of supply;

(b).      He asked the gathering if we are chickens or eagles. He gave the differing characteristics of the two: the chicken (pecks at grain, eats worms, and does not fly); the eagle flies high in the sky, has 20/20 vision and can look at a school of fish miles in the sky and determine which fish it will catch—and catches it, it does not eat worms.

(c).   One day a naughty farmer stole an eagle’s egg and had its chicken sit on it along with its chicken eggs. When the eagle was born, the mother hen fed it grains and taught it to peck the ground for worms. This lasted until the eagle saw her baby eagle pecking on the ground. She flew down, scooped her eaglet up to where it belonged.

(d).      This is how we are: we are children of the King of the universe.

3.       At the time of altar call, I was at the foot of the stage and into the arms of Barbara Tippett (Malawi’s first female pastor whom I had featured on Meet Prominent Women column). We hugged and cried for a long time;

4.       I gave my life to Jesus and was born again. I joined Blantyre Christian Centre, currently known as Word Alive Ministries International;

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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Nyoloka
Guest
Nyoloka

I think this religion thing is crippling many minds…. do your surveys study the history… you will never go wrong, if your life is full of zowuzidwa ndi anthu you are on verge of perishing, a lot of things are miss informed to the mass,,,, check the history of Israel research the saducees (sp) and the farisee (sp)… follow the chronological events of the words you believe… its all falling apart…. we saw the trucks and we followed, then we heard Bonke is healing people, we were excited then later the healed testified they never got healed long after Bonke… Read more »

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Guest

Aaaaah excellent. At least a refreshing perspective from a thinking mind. Osati enawa. They’re just regurgitating the same holy nonsense. It’s as if they are afraid to think critically about this god stuff. Kuopa supernatural nonsense

Dr. Mvuma
Guest
Dr. Mvuma

I echo the author of this article. This was a great man of God indeed. I was part of his audience early 80s in Kitwe’, Zambia, then I was a still a Student at the University of Zambia. I was one of Ushers of these Crusades now Rev. Dr. and Nevers Mumba was the interpreter. during these Crusades. I rhad remarkable and lasting experience – for it was the time when I had received the Holy Ghost in one of his Crusades. This man touched my life too. May his Soul Reign forever with the Lord, Amen!!!1

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Guest

Lol holy ghost. You mean you started convincing yourself that you could speak in spiritual tongues? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. You need to go to a psychiatrist bro.

David Wa Betha
Guest
David Wa Betha

This is inspiring. You have preached to all of us. That no matter what, we need to focus on the message that one preaches and get into their convictions. Thanks Janet. Salvation is very close to all but only a few know and take advantage.

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Guest

Speak for yourself bro. She ain’t preached to me!

Opportunist
Guest
Opportunist

The heavens has gained.Sleep well Prolific Evangelist Reinard Bonnke.U did your part.

APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
Guest

Heaven doesn’t exist. Have you ever seen it? Have you ever watched the movie The Island? In that movie, clones were deceived into thinking that their whole purpose in life was to stay pure to be chosen to go to the island. They believed that the island was this paradise where all their dreams would come true though none of them had ever seen this so called island. They were just going by what they had been told. Well, when our protagonist finally went to the island she realized that it was nothing but an organ harvesting factory. The real… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

Janet, thank you so much for such a heart warming article. I attended his 1986 open air crusade in Lilongwe when I was 9 years old. I then attended the 1996 crusade in Blantyre. Certainly will never forget how he presented the gospel in its simplicity. He never preached about prosperity but he was so rich in Spirit, he never preached of complex supernatural ideologies but certainly he was spiritual. I certainly recommend reading his biography “Living a life of Fire” – I guarantee you, you will be challenged. It made me write to him, just to say thank you… Read more »

APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
Guest

You mean 79 million people went to the front after the altar call because they were excited with his show? Let’s not get carried away here. After being so called led to Christ, the whore realized she still needed to survive and went back to the streets. The drunk realized he was still thirsty and went to the local shabeen. Wanyere ndiye anakoka ku crusade konko. Let’s not waste time with these superstitions. What we need are economic transformation programs, investment in science and technology and progressive leadership. NOT JESUS!!!

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Guest

Moderator waopa kuika ma comment anga? Ukuopa Jesus akuchinda ku thako?

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Guest

Ka Yesu kakuchepera kaba. Nanga bwanji kalolera the so-called great man of god azime after surgery? Tisamanamizane guys. Za Yesu Yesuzi ndi nthano chabe. There’s no power in Jesus. It’s just fairy tales.

Joloza
Guest

Chisomo cha Mulungu chikukwanire Kuti umudziwe Yesu ameneyu bwino.

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Guest

Za Yesu nthano chabe bambo Joloza

APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
Guest

Akutitu mkuluyu anapanga surgery. I guess he couldn’t rely on miracles then🙄

SAUNDERS
Guest
SAUNDERS

Rev Bonke was a powerful man of GOD, Malawians mostly were very religious but not true followers of Christ then. I was there in 1986 as a 29 years old young man, the crusade was very organised and I could feel a different atmosphere of Air filling the whole place. It was my first time to feel the presence of the Power of the Almighty God, even before Bonke took to the podium to preach people had already started experiencing and encountering healings, many people got delivered, received their healings. I understand Bonke had trained local intercessors led by a… Read more »

APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
Guest

Lol za ziiiii. Meanwhile atheist nations are progressing in science and technology while you linger in disease and poverty with your Jesus. Rubbish!

Lumbani Pete
Guest
Lumbani Pete

Wow!

Thank you for sharing Janet.

He was truly a faithful servant. I attended his Crusades in both years too.

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Guest

Che Lumbani kutengeka andyomba. Yezu ameneyu ni ntano chabe baba.