Evangelism by Fire

In this interview with Reinhard Bonnke, the charismatic evangelist shares about his life and how his love for God grows stronger each day.

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You have been used powerfully by God in evangelism for more than 40 years, what is the secret?

I did not pray “please Lord, use me”, but “please Lord, make me useable”. He then took the hammer and chisel, and stroke after stroke, released the image of Jesus in me. Then, the River of God began to burst its banks.

When and how did you receive your call to Africa?

One day when we were at home, my brother left high school and our father asked him: “What do you want to do with your life?” Martin said: “I want to study Natural Sciences.” He did so.

When my turn came, I prayed. Suddenly a realisation struck me: what our hands create will someday turn to ashes, all of it. But with my mortal hands I can build God’s eternal Kingdom, and with my mortal lips I can preach the eternal Gospel. In my mortality I could be eternally effective. I was shaken and replied to my father: “I want to do the will of God”. And God sent me to Africa.

Sharing God’s word with thousands in Lagos, Nigeria, 2006

How do you deal with failures?

Human failures need not be final. Jesus crossed through our minus and turned it at Calvary into a plus — negative into positive and hell into Heaven.

There must have been many challenges and setbacks in the early days of your life and ministry. How did you overcome them?

There may be dark nights, challenges and setbacks, but a man of faith has no reverse gear. When Paul wrote at Ephesus that “a great door for effective work has opened to me” (1 Corinthians 16:9), he was talking about fruitful ground. These doors are still open and these are doors that no devil or man can shut.

“I did not pray ‘please Lord, use me’, but ‘please Lord, make me useable’.”

Who were some of your early mentors?

Ever since I was young, I have had numerous mentors and fathers in Christ who helped me to understand the Word of God, but the most outstanding to me was the late George Canty from the UK. He taught me things that I never knew.

How do you keep your passion burning in your pursuit of God?

The fire of the Lord never needs fuel. “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). It keeps our passion paired with compassion. The flame of the eternal Spirit of God never flickers or diminishes. Moses saw the bush burning and not petering out. The undying flame leaped into Moses’s heart, and 1,400 years later rested on the heads of the 120 first disciples on the day of Pentecost. It burns on today as bright as ever, igniting the hearts of millions.

What is the key to healthy ministry growth?

Looking back, I discovered that the ministry of CfaN grew organically. The Lord gave the growth. He opened doors and sent the right people and everything was dictated by the mighty harvest of the souls we saw. The Lord told me that the day of the sickle is past, that this day of the combine harvester had come.