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.
According to that profile, it was while Bonnke was in Lesotho, a country surrounded on all sides by South Africa, that “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.
Bonnke ‘Passed Away Peacefully, Surrounded by His family,’ reads the statement on his Facebook page. The statement 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.”
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 had said previously that he 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.
On November 12, 2019 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.”
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 South Africa during apartheid. Bonnke moved the headquarters to Frankfurt, Germany, in order to distance his group from the oppressive government, reports heavy.com
His teaching literature has been published in over 100 languages across 55 countries, his official website says.
On his Twitter page, Bonnke said that he was living in Orlando, Florida, at the time of his death.
Across the world, Bonnke’s followers and contemporaries are mourning his passing. Many have taken to social media to express their grief:
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: