I met Reinhard Bonnke several times during my days as editor of Charisma magazine. But my favorite memory of the German evangelist occurred in a small meeting with pastors on the East coast of Florida, near Stuart, sometime around 2005. Bonnke had gathered the pastors to float the idea of hosting a large evangelistic event in the region.
I sat on the front row and listened to this passionate preacher, who was famous for his booming voice and thick accent. He talked about what he loved most—reaching the lost—and then he announced that he wanted to pray for everyone in the room to receive a burden for evangelism.
People began scrambling in every direction. Chairs were carried to the back of the room so all the leaders could get near the stage. Everybody wanted the gifted evangelist to touch them. They wanted his anointing so badly they were willing to shove other people out of the way to get it.
But I could tell this attitude bothered Bonnke. He told the audience sternly that he couldn’t give them his anointing. And he also warned them not to fall backward if he prayed for them. “If you fall, fall at your own risk,” he said.
That was not a common attitude among other celebrity charismatic ministers I knew. Many of the more flamboyant preachers in our movement were known to hand out “special anointings” right and left—and a few of them suggested that you might get a stronger anointing if you gave $1,000 in the offering.
Those same guys would also encourage people to fall on the floor. And if you didn’t fall, they might push you down.
But Reinhard Bonnke didn’t play charismatic games. He didn’t whack people on the head to make himself look powerful. He didn’t need titles or swagger or religious theater to boost his ego. He never mishandled money. He was a simple man who had one priority—preaching the gospel to the unsaved. Bonnke always kept the main thing the main thing.
“Proclaiming the cross is not a side thought, an afterthought,” he said in an interview with Preaching.com. “It’s not on the back burner; it must be the front burner. … When I see how souls are coming to the arms of Jesus by the hundreds of thousands in my own crusades, I’m awed. And I know that there’s great joy in Heaven.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News