Reinhard Willi Gottfiied Bonnke was born in Koenigsberg, Germany, on April 19, 1940, the son of a Pentecostal "pastor" belonging to the Federation of Free Pentecostal churches. Educated in Wales, he met George Jeffreys (1889-1962) as a youth. From his earliest days he felt called to be a "missionary" to Africa. His marriage to Anna Sulzle in 1964 produced three children: Kai-uwe (1966), Gabriele (1967), and Susanne (1969). After several years as a "pastor" and "evangelist" in Germany, he arrived in Africa in May 1967.
From 1967 to 1974, Bonnke labored with meager results as a "traditional missionary" for the BFP in Lesotho, Africa. In the latter year he purportedly received a call to minister "to the whole of Africa" with the assurance that "Africa shall be saved." His first "mass healing" crusade took place in Gaberones, Botswana, in April 1975, which began with only 100 persons in attendance and ended in a packed stadium with over 10,000 present.
In 1977 he purchased a 10,000-seat tent, which often was inadequate when as many as 40,000 attempted to enter.
A major attraction in Bonnke's meetings were the purported "signs" and "wonders" that accompanied his preaching, with thousands testifying to "miracles" of "physical healing" and "exorcisms" in his crusades. Also featured in many meetings were bonfires that were set as converts burned their magic amulets and charms associated with witchcraft. Everywhere Bonnke encouraged his converts to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Also, at times, thousands would be "slain in the Spirit" as he preached.
During the early 1980s Bonnke's crusades attracted some of the largest crowds in the history of "mass evangelism." One crusade in Nigeria in 1986 attracted as many as 250,000 to one service. His crusades in Soweto attracted thousands of blacks and whites despite the official government policy of apartheid.
In 1983 Bonnke purchased the largest gospel tent ever built, one that would hold some 34,000 persons. Although it was torn apart in a severe storm in Capetown in 1984, it was rebuilt and put back into use by 1986. In the latter year, Bonnke's team reported 1,500,000 responses to the "call for salvation", many thousands of whom were Muslims.
By the mid-1980s Bonnke also began conducting leadership conferences in Africa and Europe. His "Fire Conference" in Zimbabwe in 1986 drew thousands of African "pastors" and "evangelists", while his "Eurofire" conferences in Frankfurt in 1987 and Birmingham in 1988 brought his so-called ministry to the attention of Europeans. His presence in the U.S. increased after speaking in the New Orleans Superdome in 1987 to the "Congress on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization."
In 1987 Bonnke moved his family from Johannesburg, where he had lived for many years, to Frankfurt, West Germany, where he set up headquarters for his organization which, since its legal beginning in 1972, has been known as "Christ for All Nations" (CFAN).
In the last days, Jesus foretold that many false prophets and teachers would appear showing great signs and wonders to deceive many, if possible, even the elect. This is empirical proof that all preachers must be judged for their teaching, and not on their apparent success.
Matthew 24:24: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if it were possible) even the elect."
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12: "Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying. That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity."
Haydock Bible Commentary explains 2 Thessalonians 2:10:
"Ver. 10. God shall send them the operation of error. That is, says St. Chrysostom and St. Cyril, he will permit them to be led away with illusions, by signs, and lying prodigies, which the devil shall work by antichrist, &c. (Witham) --- God shall suffer them to be deceived by lying wonders, and false miracles, in punishment of their not entertaining the love of truth. (Challoner)"
This is how we now will judge Bonnke.
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema." (Galatians 1:8-9)
Quotes and accounts about Bonnke are in italics unless otherwise stated. My comments are in normal font.
"Christ's experience of the Spirit of God: Christ had a human experience from God to show what the perfect human experience should be. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the Spirit coming upon Christ. The fourth Gospel gives more detail. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, declared, "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him" (John 1:32). Jesus himself explained, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news" (Luke 4:18). Peter, the great apostle, said, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power" (Acts 10:38). Then John the Baptist adds something all-important: "The one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'" (John 1:33). Jesus was the first of multitudes, the first Holy Spirit baptized man on earth. John 3:34 says "God gives the Spirit without limit" and John 1:16 declares "from the fullness of his grace we have all received". That is the wonderful truth - what he received was for us. He was filled for us so that we, in turn could be filled out of his infinite fullness." (Reinhard Bonnke, BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (III), March 2002, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/march02/pg1.htm)
This is basically Word-Faith teaching. Jesus Christ was not the first of "multitudes", the first "Holy Spirit baptized man on earth" that "was filled for us", He was God in the flesh. The Spirit came to rest on Jesus Christ, but at no time was Jesus Christ without the Spirit because He was, is and will always be God. He was 100% God and 100% man from the time of His incarnation and from then on for eternity. The falsehood of this teaching leads people to think that they can be one of multitudes with Christ, that they are the same as Christ, a "Holy Spirit baptized man on earth", one of "multitudes", with Christ being "the first". It is Christ's Spirit that indwells every believer, not some other spirit that comes from without. Jesus Christ was not filled with the Holy Spirit from without. The Father speaking from heaven, and the Spirit in the form of a dove are separate persons of one God. Jesus Christ is one with the Spirit always, because He is the great Triune Almighty God. Jesus Christ was anointed by the Father, but never separated from the Father or the Spirit. Jesus was not without the Spirit till He was baptized or filled with the Spirit at the time of His baptism (as if to say by that that he was without the Spirit at some point or not always filled with the Spirit). That kind of teaching is heresy. And if this is what Bonnke meant with his teaching, then he taught a false gospel.
"... when the Bible talks about a positive empowering act of the Spirit in the lives of believers it is always in terms of physical signs and evidences. That's the Bible! Do we want Bible religion or a mild, degutted, brand?" (Reinhard Bonnke, BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (III), March 2002, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/march02/pg1.htm)
The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is not "always in terms of physical signs and evidences" or signs and wonders. Sometimes the Spirit moves a believer without him even understanding it. The work of the Spirit is primarily an ethical work on the inside of the believer to maturity in Christ--in purity and holiness of heart. Physical noticeable signs follow but that is not "always" or primarily the work of the Holy Spirit.
"Omnipotence needs manpower... Omnipotence calls for human action... Jesus could multiply loaves and fish but only in the hands of his disciples." (Reinhard Bonnke, AGENTS OF OMNIPOTENCE (I), February 2001, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/febuary01/feb011.htm)
Omnipotence needs manpower? Could Jesus only multiply loaves and fish because of cooperation from human beings? This is Word-Faith doctrine under cover. Jesus Christ wants us to follow Him, and uses us for His purposes. But He does not necessarily "need" any particular person to accomplish His purposes or miracles. The only thing that can foil the will of the all-powerful God is the will of His puny creatures; for He will not force His will on anyone, just as He will not violate anyone's free will. But except for God's purposes regarding man, which may be foiled by man's free will, God needs no manpower to accomplish His other purposes or miracles.
"I haven't written about Reinhard Bonnke for some time. This charismatic deceiver had over one million Nigerians attend his 'concert' recently, and six million in total over six days. He excitedly told the audience that 'all of Nigeria is going to heaven' and 'all Nigeria will be healed'!! Charismatics make wilder and wilder claims as time goes by. As usual, Bonnke claimed countless healings... Bonnke is as evil as the other charismatic big-names. God help Nigeria!" (THE BEACON, "Teaching True Doctrine and Opposing Error," The Old Paths!, No. 4, February 2001)
First, not all of Nigeria is going to heaven unless they are Christian and die in state of grace.
Second, it is not always God's will to heal. Both the Scriptures and experience teach that God may use physical afflictions for refining, correcting, and chastening (Hebrews 12:3-11; Job 23:10). God's Word teaches that He can heal anyone, anytime, but that He does not heal everyone, every time. Paul learned this truth when God explained why his thrice repeated prayer for personal healing was not granted (2 Corinthians 12:1-10); and, also, when one of Paul's faithful helpers, Trophimus, was unable to accompany him because of sickness (2 Timothy 4:20). When we pray for healing for ourselves or others, we must never forget that such healing is always God's prerogative based upon what He knows is best for each of His children, not upon "demanding" or "claiming" such healing as do the charismatics.
"Later that night on the crusade grounds, Bonnke preached a similar sermon to 1.3 million people. Building momentum with the audience, the evangelist instructed the crowd to begin shouting "Alleluia!" until the Holy Spirit entered their bodies. "You are going to speak in new tongues—a language you have never learned," he told them. "It comes from your heart. Don't be afraid—this is fantastic!" Although Bonnke's urging the crowd to speak in tongues is not considered unusual by most Nigerians, theologian Turaki again finds reason for concern in the evangelist's instructing a massive crowd to speak all at once without an interpreter. "How am I sure that what people are saying is actually coming from God and not another spirit?" he said. "In our traditional religions, people [also] speak in tongues." ('Come and Receive Your Miracle', Christianity Today, February 5, 2001, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/002/5.40.html)
Tongues need to be either understood by those spoken to or interpreted.
1 Corinthians 14:23; 27-28: "If therefore the whole church come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in unlearned persons or infidels, will they not say that you are mad? … If any speak with a tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and in course, and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him hold his peace in the church, and speak to himself and to God."
Word-Faith teachers have long abandoned any adherence to Scripture on the subject of tongues because they have never obeyed the Lord to begin with. Remember that there are many people who fake the gift of tongues, and demons can cause people to speak in tongues also.
Not only the speaking in tongues, but also the laying on of hands is a cause for concern in the charismatic movement.
"When Reinhard Bonnke gave the invitation to come forward at the end of the message, even though she didn't understand what he meant and didn't understand what was happening to her, she felt compelled to go to the front. As she got up from her seat and began to go towards the front, it felt like she was running to a place of hope and safety, like she was running to her Mom and Dad! … When Zhuo got to the front of the auditorium along with many other people, Reinhard Bonnke began to lay hands on the people who had come forward. When he laid his hands on Zhuo, she fell to the floor and even though it was a very strange thing to experience she felt as if she was overflowing with peace and joy." (GraceNotes, Issue 38 - February 2002, Zhuo's Story, http://www.resourceministries.org/gracen38.htm)
Mother Angelica was also actively involved in the Charismatic movement, a movement which is quite widespread in the Vatican II sect. The Charismatic movement is a false movement heavily infected with heretical and Protestant tendencies and ideas.
"In the chapel, Schlemon and the [Charismatic] priest laid hands on Mother, invoking the baptism of the Holy Spirit." About a week later "a foreign tongue spilled from Mother Angelica's mouth inexplicably. When Sister Regina came to deliver a glass of orange juice, Mother tried to say thank you, but 'something else came out.'" (Raymond Arroyo, Mother Angelica, p. 120-121.)
Speaking in languages not known by the individual who is speaking them, speaking in gibberish, etc. is very often a sign of diabolical possession. This is especially true when it comes as a result of a Charismatic experience in which one has had hands laid on him or her in order to receive "the spirit." Readers are, of course, perfectly free to take this or leave it: but an individual we know from Massachusetts, who was heavily involved in the Charismatic movement years ago, actually told one of us that he felt a demon enter him after a Charismatic had laid his hand on him at a service. He also told us that, at one Charismatic conference, God allowed him to see a small demon enter a room. Amazed, he followed the demon and waited to see if it would come back out of the room; but the only thing which emerged from the room was the Charismatic "priest" who was about to perform his "healing" service by praying over people. This experience caused this individual to abandon the Charismatic movement.
We believe that God allows the Devil to take people over in these Charismatic services because by partaking in them people are essentially saying that the sacraments of the Church, the seven instituted by Jesus Christ, are not sufficient. They are professing, therefore, that they need a new set of man-made rites – rites which are outside the sacramental system – in order to really receive "the spirit." By participation in such "rites," they are essentially participating in a new religion in order to gain access to "the spirit" outside the means specifically set up by Christ. As a consequence, these Charismatic "rites" become new "sacraments" of a false religion which give access to the evil, not the Holy spirit. It should be emphasized that the laying on of hands is present throughout the New Testament as the matter for the Sacrament of Confirmation (e.g. Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6) – a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ. It's ironic that in the new "Confirmation" in the Vatican II sect the laying on of hands has been abolished, but Charismatics continue to use the laying on of hands in their own services in order to transmit "the spirit." Since we know that their laying on of hands in an attempt to transmit the "spirit" is not the Sacrament of Confirmation (for even women and laymen do it), it is actually the Counter Confirmation – a false sacrament which therefore gives access, once again, not to the Holy, but to the evil spirit.
So, as a worthy recipient of the Sacrament of Confirmation receives a deeper endowment of the Holy Ghost, the active participation in such new "rites" or "sacraments" of the false Charismatic religion – by partaking in things such as the laying on of hands – gives these unfortunate individuals a deep endowment of the evil spirit. That's why at many of these Charismatic meetings the "Christians" and "Catholics" actually find themselves oinking like pigs, barking like dogs, and breaking out into outrageously uncontrollable laughter. These things, especially oinking like pigs and barking like dogs, are clear signs of demonic possession.
"During Bonnke's crusade, for example, dozens of booksellers could be found on the streets selling titles such as God's Will Is Prosperity. Joy Ajoku, 30, is one of the many who seems influenced by such a mentality. Ajoku attended Bonnke's Lagos crusade every night. "God is using him mightily," she said of the evangelist. "I have learned that if you have faith in God, anything you want, you will see it." ('Come and Receive Your Miracle', Christianity Today, February 5, 2001, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/002/5.40.html)
The Bible says we can ask, seek and knock for what we "need" not "anything (we) want".
Prosperity doctrine teachers claim that your faith is what heals you, that God is obligated to give you health and wealth based on how much faith you have in your words. The really rotten part of this Word-Faith false teaching is that those who don't get healed, which constitutes the vast majority of those who go to Word-Faith "faith healers", are told their lack of healing is due to their lack of faith. It isn't their fault they were duped into going to a scam artist by a false promise of healing. Nonetheless, they are made to think it is their fault for not having the right kind of faith. God is not bound by our words. He does not guarantee healing or wealth to those who follow Him. If you want to be honest about it, the Scriptures indicate that God is more likely to let true believers suffer so that our faith may be built up, to not give us riches so that we will not be trapped by them, and let us be persecuted so that we can be effective light and salt to the world. He has not changed His methods in the twenty first century from what He did in the first century. We are to be set apart to Him, crucified with Him daily. We are to nail to the cross the desires and appetites of the flesh, and learn to serve Him--in health or disease, in poverty or in wealth.
Jesus speaking to St. Bridget: "I am your God who was crucified on the cross; true God and true man in one person who is present everyday in the hands of the priest. When you pray any prayer to me, always end your prayer with the intention that my will always shall be done and not yours. For when you pray for the already condemned, I do not hear you. Sometimes you also pray for some things that are against your own welfare and that is why it is necessary for you to entrust your will to me, for I know all things and do not provide you with anything but what is beneficial. Many pray without the right intention and that is why they do not deserve to be heard.
"There are three kinds of people who serve me in this world: The first are those who believe me to be God, the Creator and giver of all things and mighty ruler over everything. They serve me with the intention of gaining honor and worldly things, but the things of heaven are considered as nothing to them so that they would gladly do without it if they, instead, could gain the perishable and present things. According to their desire, worldly pleasure falls to them in everything and so they lose the eternal things, but I recompense them with worldly benefits for all the good things they have done for my sake right down to the last farthing and the very last moment.
"The second are those who believe me to be God almighty and a strict judge, and these serve me because of fear of punishment but not out of love for the heavenly glory. If they were not afraid of suffering, they would not serve me.
"The third are those who believe me to be the Creator of all things and true God and who believe me to be just and merciful. These do not serve me because of any fear of punishment but because of divine love and charity. Rather, they would prefer and endure every punishment, if they could bear it, than to even once provoke me to wrath. These truly deserve to be heard in their prayers, for their will is according to my will.
"But the ones who belong to the first kind shall never escape from the place of punishment and torment or get to see my face. The ones who belong to the second kind shall not be punished and tormented as much, but will still be unable to see my face, unless he corrects his fear through penitence and amendment." (St. Bridget's Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 14)
Reinhard Bonnke is sadly a non-Catholic heretic that is outside the Church of Christ. Boonke needs to be converted and join the Catholic Church and Faith for Salvation. If Bonnke did not deny the Bible or was a heretic he would not be a Protestant because the Bible clearly proves the teachings of the Catholic Church.