Bonnke And Heresies
by Sandy Simpson, 10/15/02
Culled from www.deceptioninthechurch.org
The following are quotes from a number of different sources. These quotes and accounts are offered as proof that Reinhard Bonnke has been teaching false doctrines and heresy and promoting a false transferable anointing for many years.
Heretical quotes and accounts from Bonnke are in bold italics. My comments are in normal font.
“… 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. It is primarily an ethical work for the lifetime of the believer to bring every believer to maturity in Christ. Signs follow but that is not “always” or primarily the work of the Holy Spirit.
“The Baptism in the Spirit with speaking in tongues is the new Reformation. It strengthens all Bible-based evangelical doctrine and gives Christian teaching a new dimension. Speaking in tongues means that spiritual truths take on a physical character”. (Reinhard Bonnke, BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (III), March 2002, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/march02/pg1.htm)
The issue of speaking in tongues (lest we forget, they are real languages in the biblical sense) has not been a “strengthening” aspect in the church, but has been an incredibly divisive issue due to the unbiblical applications taught by hyper-Pentecostals, as well as the denial of the gifts of the Spirit by ceasationists. The issue is not that true tongues take on a physical character, but that they are used in a biblically correct way, primarily to preach the gospel as they were used at Pentecost.
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 “anointed man”, 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 the same as Christ, “anointed ones”. We share in the anointing of the Anointed One, and there is only one Anointed One, that is Jesus Christ. It is His 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, given the place of ultimate Kingship over the universe. Jesus was not without the Spirit till He was baptized. That kind of teaching is heresy.
“Jesus was the Son of God, but he stood where we all stand as human beings. This meant that the day came when he was anointed with the Spirit. It was not conversion, or new birth. The Son of God never needed that. By his example, he showed that the baptism in the Spirit is not to be confused with regeneration or any other spiritual event. He received a separate and unique experience of the Spirit for his ministry. That is how it should be for us all”. (Reinhard Bonnke, BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (III), March 2002, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/march02/pg1.htm)
We can be thankful that Bonnke is not teaching the “Jesus Christ had to be born again” heresy of Word-Faith here, but he is teaching “Second Blessing”. But to equate the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ with the salvation and baptism of the Spirit in every believer is not a full and accurate picture. Jesus Christ did not need to be born again. Therefore His baptism is not a picture of “Second Blessing” because Jesus Christ is the blessed One from the foundation of the earth. It is clear from Scripture that belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and Spirit sealing, baptism and creation of the new self are all one event. The baptism of Jesus Christ has other significance for us as believers, but it clearly cannot be a picture of any second blessing. The indwelling Holy Spirit, Who indwells, seals, baptized and creates a new self in the born again believer does subsequently empower and fill for service to the Father. To misuse the word “baptism” and call it a second experience apart from salvation is ludicrous, and false doctrine.
“The baptism in the Spirit is a positive experience of which we are aware. It is not the same as receiving one of the spiritual gifts, and has precious little to do with having a religious feeling, a dream or a vision. It is certainly not about achieving a new spiritual level and has nothing to do with spiritual progress. It is a down-to-earth event marked by speaking in tongues. It lights a fire in the soul, brings a new galvanising force and drives us on for God”. (Reinhard Bonnke, BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (III), March 2002, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/march02/pg1.htm)
Nice words, but not completely true. Tongues were a gift of ministry, not some “galvanizing force” to “drive us on for God”. The indwelling Holy Spirit does cause us to be unified in Spirit, but it is not a “force” that “drives us” apart from our own will. True believers, few and far between these days, who truly speak in tongues (foreign, unlearned earthly languages) are not in some kind of trance state when they do so, taken over by some power. All the gifts are for service to God and for God. The gift of languages, by biblical definition, was primarily so that people from every nation and tongue could hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Paul clearly teaches that not everyone speaks in tongues, or prophesies, etc. This is another false Pentecostal doctrine that has no biblical support. This idea is what is back of the other false manifestations we see today, because once you entice, cajole and even force people to do something that the Lord has not commanded, you open the door to further serious error, if not the enemy. The indwelling Holy Spirit teaches us, molds us into the image of Christ, and gives us the power to live for Christ. Manifestations have never been the issue or the focus of the true Christian. The goal and aim are the reason for the gifts. For instance, the servant leadership grace gifts were given so that the body of Christ might grow to maturity and not be blown about by every wind of doctrine. They were given so that believers can do the works of the Father, spiritual works that are eternal. The other problem with Bonnke’s statement about tongues having “little to do with having a religious feeling” is that the empirical evidence shows that, in the Third Wave, it is all about having a religious feeling!
“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)
Could Jesus only do His miracles because of cooperation from human beings? This is Word-Faith doctrine under cover. Jesus Christ wants us to follow Him, uses us for His purposes. But He does not “need” any particular person to accomplish His purposes. His purposes are accomplished through the faithful, but He is not held back from accomplishing His purposes, even without people. Jesus Christ was sent to earth by the Father to accomplish the purposes of the Father. Nothing in heaven, earth or hell could stop those purposes. The disciples had no idea what Jesus was going to do in performing the miracle of the loaves and fishes. In fact Jesus Christ was teaching them all the while about the meaning of bread. Bonnke’s teaching on this subject is geared to tickle people’s ears, but it is not really biblical.
“The Cross seemed to sum up all the negative forces that depress the human race. But this was no defeat; it was omnipotence in action, omnipotence turning every negative into a positive, and a supreme act with a supreme outcome … That mighty deed becomes our legacy, transferred by the Holy Spirit to our account. Everything Jesus did is translated into our experience. We were not with the boy and the disciples in Galilee and could not take ten steps to feed the hungry crowd. But we can take one step to Calvary and, like those disciples long ago, key into omnipotence, immortal life, and Holy Spirit power. The Cross is the point on earth where God meets man”. (Reinhard Bonnke, AGENTS OF OMNIPOTENCE (2), March 2001, http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/march01/march012.htm)
This sounds vaguely like Star Wars or something. We don’t have “negative forces” “depressing” mankind, we have Satanic principalities tempting mankind to sin so that they will not be saved, or will believe for awhile and then fall away (apostasy). Jesus Christ didn’t die to turn negative to positive, He died to set us free from sin and the devil. In a sense that is a negative to positive situation, but this kind of oversimplification of the gospel is not biblical. Jesus didn’t come to equalize the yin and yang, to neutralize the negative side of the force. He came to gain us the victory over sin, Satan and death on the cross. Our problem is not particularly that we are “depressed”. Our problem is that we were sinners without hope till Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins. What we must do is more than just acknowledge that fact; we must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and follow Him. The Cross is not “transferred” to us in some sort of Gnostic or Catholic way; rather the person of the Holy Spirit indwells us when we accept by faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord, that Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty of death we owe, and take up our cross daily and follow Him. We don’t believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation so we can “key into omnipotence” (sounds like Benny Hinn here!) but so that we will have eternal life and can serve the Father through the Holy Spirit. We are not tapping into some kind of “force” of God, but we begin a relationship with God Almighty when we are born again. The relationship is the thing, not the power. Bonnke seems so enamored with power that he has clearly substituted “power” for the death of Jesus Christ in his preaching. He has forgotten that the power is in the gospel message of salvation, not in signs and wonders. Signs and wonders may and do follow, but we need to “key” into what God wants us to do, not into some inanimate power of “omnipotence”.
“We need to get our priorities right. We either get into the mainstream of revelation-the love of God for a wasted world-or we drift into a backwater filled with debris of theological controversy and church politics”. Reinhard Bonnke, GEARED TO GOD, August 2000,http://www.cfan.org/offices/canada/biblestudies/august00/aug001.htm)
The “revelation” is the Word of God, which tells us how we are to deal with ourselves and our world. The “revelation” Bonnke is talking about is his concept of an ongoing “Rhema” that is not necessarily what is taught in the “Logos”. The problem is that the Rhema and Logos are one, always have been. The written Word of God is living. It is the “revelation” we are not to “go beyond”. The evidence that this is what Bonnke means by “revelation” is his typical Third Wave attitude toward “theology”. But since theology is the doctrine of who God is and what He wants us to do in the written Word, Bonnke’s idea of “backwater” and “debris” is misplaced. Why are church politics always associated with doctrine and theology in the minds of Third Wavers? It is because they cannot justify many of the things they are teaching and doing by the Word of God, and are teaching their followers to have a disdain for discernment, testing and judging EVERYTHING against the written Word. The Bible says “Test everything, hold on to the good.” The inference by Bonnke is that those who are concerned with right theology are those who play politics and have no love for the “wasted world”. This is the very kind of teaching that divides rather than brings doctrinal unity to the Church, a prerequisite for those who have the grace gifts of leadership. who are to bring the body of Christ to maturity, unity in the Faith, and keep believers from being tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Until people like Bonnke get their priorities straight and get back to sound doctrine, there can be no true Godly love of those perishing because they are bringing them a “gospel” devoid of power, the power of truth, the power to truly save.
“What people want from the pulpit is more than neat pulpit essays. We are not called to deliver sermons, but to deliver people.” (Reinhard Bonnke, http://www.miscom.co.uk/bam/improveo.htm)
Good idea on one hand, bad idea on another. No we are not called just to deliver sermons, though the teaching of the Word is an absolute necessity to lead Christians to maturity. The erroneous part of this statement says we are called to “deliver people”. Jesus Christ delivers people. Jesus Christ saves people. We simply preach the gospel, witness, teach the truth, live the truth, and disciple people once they have professed faith in Christ. Bonnke cannot deliver one soul. Only Jesus can. Bonnke brags on TBN (Benny Hinn & Kenneth Copeland’s shows) and on the 700 Club of the nine million people who have been saved at his meetings. If any were saved, which is highly doubtful listening to his “full gospel” messages, those souls are saved by Jesus Christ, not Bonnke.
I haven’t written about Reinhard Bonnke for some time. This charismatic deceiver had over one million Nigerians attend his ‘concert’ (it is never a meeting!) 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. He told the huge crowd to chant ‘Alleluia’ until the Holy Spirit entered their bodies!! One observer asked how Bonnke could possibly know what language people were speaking after he told all one million of them to utter ‘tongues’, but did not have interpreters. 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)
The highlighted quotes from the Nigeria crusade are, in the first case, a simple lies and, in the second case, simple heresy! Bonnke has forgotten the criteria for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is yet another proof of what happens when you teach the “second blessing”, though in this case it is apparently a “first blessing” without even belief in Jesus Christ.
In speaking of strange charismatic preachers, it would not be right to leave out Reinhard Bonnke, German evangelist who holds large tent meetings in Africa. As the main speaker on Friday evening, he said, “I’m just going to let it fly in Jesus’ name.” He did, too. It was the wildest SHOW and ENTERTAINMENT I have seen in a long time. At one point in his message he asked, “Do you enjoy my preaching?” Then he humbly said, “I enjoy it too.” Bonnke told of a time in Africa when he needed a new organ and he and his music minister went to a music shop. (Who Was There? Congers on Saturday, July 22-26, 1987 at the Superdome, New Orleans)
This is a show. Is this how the Apostles behaved?
When Reinhard Bonnke preached, Zhuo didn’t really understand the message but God really touched her. She began to realise that God has always loved her. No matter what had happened in her life, with all the ups and downs, God had always been there, caring for her and watching over her. Zhuo felt something really stirring inside her. She had never experienced anything like this before! She realised that she actually believed in God and somehow, suddenly, Zhuo had hope. 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. Zhuo knew this was a day of complete change in her life. She knew that she had a new life. She had hope and purpose even though she didn’t know yet what that purpose was. (GraceNotes, Issue 38 – February 2002, Zhuo’s Story, http://www.resourceministries.org/gracen38.htm)
This testimony shows the type of “gospel” Bonnke is preaching. If he had been preaching the plain gospel instead of spending his time getting people all hyped up with emotionalism, Zhuo would have understood her need for a Savior. Instead Bonnke obviously was preaching another gospel, inviting people to come and experience God’s love without the details of the saving message. When she came forward, she got the transferable impartation and felt saved. But was she? You can go to a guru for the same feeling of “peace and joy”. This is not a presentation of the Gospel but an invitation to come experience a Gnostic mystical experience that cannot save.
“Faith transfers the power of God to wherever it is needed … One thing that is absolutely beyond contradiction is that Christianity is either a power religion or it is nothing. Liberals, teachers on rationalistic doctrine, rely on logic. The apostles relied on the power of God. Our head can become our doubt box. … If it were our work to produce the power of God, we would be the power generators. But Christ GAVE us power. We can parade our own charisma and make sparks fly for an hour, but soon our power-plant will run out of fuel. We are not generators but conductors. We are channels not the source … If the faith-fuse fails, the dynamic of God is defused and will be refused by those to whom we preach. Indeed they could be confused! Take the Word, put in the faith-fuse, and the power of God comes through — there will be light, warmth, energy, salvation, healing, strength, and blessing”. (This article was taken from Reinhard Bonnke’s book Faith: The Link with God’s Power (published by Sovereign World), http://www.revivaltimes.org/index.php/340.htm)
This all sounds so warm and fuzzy, but it is not a biblical teaching. Faith is in the person of Jesus Christ, it transfers nothing. God has the power, not faith. God is also sovereign and He has already told us the power is in the salvation message, not in just believing for healings. Bonnke, like so many other Third Wavers, juxtaposes a powerful Christian life with doctrine. This always exposes false teachers for the unorthodox teachers they are. They don’t want to worry about getting the message right or actually obeying the Lord, they just want power and they want it NOW! There is no such thing as a transferable anointing of the Holy Spirit as “channels” or “conductors” by faith. It is all God’s work and He doesn’t even need our hands involved to do it. Yes, sometimes He works that way, but if you want God to get ALL the glory see what He does when you take your hands off so that God can receive the glory! The dynamic of God cannot be defused in any way, shape or form. His dynamic continues through those who are living in obedience to His Word and teaching the truth. The reason people are confused is because of false teachers like Bonnke. If Bonnke would actually “take the Word”, he would soon discover that he is a sinner in need of repentance and would stop making false healing claims and teaching false doctrines.
Virtually every existing Pentecostal group was represented in New Orleans for the massive display of unity. Significantly, though not surprisingly, over half of those attending the five-day event were Roman Catholic. This however, became a source of embarrassment on Friday night. It all happened when a speaker decided to make an appeal for salvation. A Petrifying Event: Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was not prepared for what happened, however! In fact, it immediately became obvious that he had just made a grave mistake from the Pentecostal point of view and also from that of the Congress leaders. To Bonnke’s utter amazement, half of those at the Congress stood to indicate they were not saved! And yet for three days these same people had danced for “joy in the spirit,”spoken in tongues and had been previously registered as children of God (because they had been “baptized in the spirit”). In reality, through his spontaneous invitation, evangelist Bonnke provided true believers with a startling revelation and shocking confirmation. The type of evangelism and the gospel proclaimed by Pentecostalism is a sham! Or, putting it more plainly, the cries of “Full Gospel,” or “Four Square Gospel” or just plain “gospel” that reverberate throughout Pentecostal or Charismatic Movement publications, meetings and programs, are cries coming from those outside the circle of God’s truth. Their gospel is a hoax, for it unites truth with error, darkness with light, and destroys the very wall that separates. An obviously dumbfounded Reinhard Bonnke again explained that he was speaking of receiving eternal life from Christ. And still, the immense throng of some 15,000 persons remained standing. Asked to explain this situation at a press conference, Congress Chairman Vinson Synan admitted they “were probably Catholics” and “would see this as a kind of renewal of baptismal vows.” Tragically, no attempt was made to show the people that water baptism is not a part of salvation. (EVANGELISM: (Billy Graham) THE TROJAN HORSE OF THE1990’s, By Wilson Ewin, Quebec Baptist Missions, Box 113, Compton, Quebec, J0B 1L0 Canada, http://cnview.com/on_line_resources/evangelicism_the_trojan_horse_of_the_1990s.htm)
This is a travesty! Those who say they are evangelists should take great care in the presentation of the Gospel so that when people respond they know what they are responding to. But the facts in this case indicate that Bonnke wanted them forward so they could have a “slain in the spirit” fest, just like hundreds of churches in the Third Wave. There is no such thing as Catholics, who do not know the Gospel and are not saved, being given the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues. There are demonic tongues, as well as people who pretend. Holy Spirit tongues are a spiritual grace gift and are only possible in people who are born again. There is also no such thing as “baptismal vows” in Scripture. The RCC teaches baptismal regeneration, as well as other heresies, and most Catholics have no idea what the criteria is for them to be born again and have eternal life.
This blindness to those who claim to open the eyes of the blind is ludicrously published in Bonnke’s own after-campaign report, wherein a young lady “testified” how after the evangelist’s prayer, one of her eyes, not very successfully operated on, had now received a clearer vision. Nevertheless the same young lady also stated she would go for an operation of the other eye. Now, if the faith-healer was of the Spirit of Truth, he should have healed both eyes. Since he did not, he was of the Spirit of Error. … At the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit, Bonnke boasted of how he scared a white salesman to repentance in a music shop in Africa with Jesus coming out of his eyes. (THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH AND THE SPIRIT OF ERROR, Timothy Tow, The Burning Bush, Volume 2 Number 1, January 1996, http://www.lifefebc.com/febc/BurnBush/V2N1A3.htm)
Bonnke has made so many fantastic claims that it is obvious he doesn’t know what the truth is anymore.
“A Workshop in the Holy Spirit” was the title of the series of talks John Wimber delivered in New Orleans at the interdenominational Conference on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization. It was 1987. By then, “The Vineyard” had over 300 church fellowships in the U.S. Wimber was a featured teacher at the conference, along with Jamie Buckingham, Charles and Frances Hunter, Reinhard Bonnke, Kenneth Copeland, and a dozen other “big names”. (A Memoir of The Vineyard 1986-1994, by Cheryl Thomson, Managing Director, Strangers and Pilgrims, http://www.banner.org.uk/tb/vnyd1.html)
Bonnke is not only one of the fathers of the Toronto Blessing, as he laid hands on Rodney Howard-Browne and others, who in turn laid hands on John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (formerly the Toronto Airport Vineyard) according to Richard Riss the historian of the Third Wave movement, but this shows his involvement with John Wimber and Kenneth Copeland, two other major influences in the Third Wave.
A well-known evangelist, Pastor Reinhard Bonnke, was going to be the preacher, but all I noticed was that he performed miracles. I wanted to go. I wanted to get out of my chair. I was eager, and mom came with. The sermon he preached, and the songs they sang were of no interest to me, and to this day, I don’t recall what it was about, but as soon as he called up those that needed Physical healing, I was all ears, and raced through the crowd to be healed. As I moved through the ever growing crowd, a voice spoke to me so clearly, that I even looked around to see who it was talking to me. Suddenly I realised, that the voice I was hearing, was within me. The voice said: “Greg, seek first Spiritual healing, before Physical healing”. These words repeated over and over, as I made my way to the large line of people that had formed, and I felt the warmth come over me. Warmth that was from only one source, JESUS CHRIST our LORD… I sat in my chair, waiting for Pastor Bonnke, as he prayed over everyone in that line. I remember a woman, about six or seven places before me, being asked to climb out of her chair and walk. She did, and the crowd roared with the joy of Christ, as she was healed. It was then that a prayer was uttered deep within me. I was asking for Pastor Bonnke to pass me… “WHY ?” I wanted healing, so why was I praying for him to move pass me ? He got closer, and still this prayer continued. Soon I looked up, and he had passed me. I didn’t feel cheated, unseen or unworthy, but rather becalmed and content. God’s peace, I believe had descended over me. Soon, Pastor Bonnke was asking those that wanted Jesus Christ to enter their lives to come forward. I stayed, and when he prayed over me, I felt the presence of God enter me and lighting up my life. But God had always been there, it was just that I had blocked Him out for so long, that I didn’t allow Him to shine. (Greg’s Testimony, http://ttk17.edu.ee/~mic/rophone2.html)
A number of things are clear from this testimony. If the Gospel had actually been preached, this man would have understood the meaning of being saved. But it is clear that people who go to Bonnke crusades think that they need to go forward to have Jesus “enter their lives”. This is proven by the fact this man thought Jesus Christ was already in him, but the touch of Bonnke made “Him to shine”. I have no doubt that the voice this man heard, if not his own mind, was demonic because it played into the belief system he already had, that God was already in him. The Holy Spirit does not indwell non-believers. Jesus Christ cannot be had by the laying on of hands. This testimony sounds like millions of others, from Christianity, from the followers of Rajneesh, from those who worship Mary, from Mormons, etc. The point is not to feel God’s presence, the point is to believe the Gospel message for salvation.
Despite Bonnke’s immense popularity among Nigerians, some remain deeply skeptical about the evangelist’s promises and crusade techniques. SIM International missionary Elaine Anderson has lived in Lagos for 16 years; she says Bonnke’s tactics encourage the belief, shared by many Nigerians, that miracles are visited on those who express their faith most vibrantly. “The mindset here is that if you don’t get a miracle, you don’t have faith,” she said. Yusufu Turaki, a professor of theology and social ethics who works with the International Bible Society in Nigeria, says that although he has no problem with an evangelist telling people that God has given him the gift of healing, he should not do so to solicit a crowd. “All the evangelist can do is appeal to the power of Jesus Christ to heal,” he said. “To tell people to come so they can be healed is putting the cart before the horse.” (‘Come and Receive Your Miracle’, Christianity Today, February 5, 2001, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/002/5.40.html)
This is yet another example of Bonnke’s Word-Faith teaching. 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.
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)
This is another version of the story above. But this adds the fact the Bonnke was also expecting a majority of unsaved people to speak in tongues. True tongues are a Holy Spirit grace gift, available only to those who are born again. Tongues need to be either understood by those spoken to or interpreted. Word-Faith teachers have long abandoned any adherence to Scripture on the subject of tongues because they have never obeyed the Lord on the subject 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. It is not only another spirit to speak in tongues without being born again, it is another spirit to urge or cause people to do so!
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”.
Campus Crusade for Christ, the conservative evangelical organization whose influence extends far beyond its original campus goals, recently lifted its ban on speaking in tongues by members of its worldwide staff The ban had been imposed in the mid-1960s when the charismatic movement entered mainstream denominations. Some observers think that Bill Bright, Crusade’s founder-president, has been influenced by his oldest son, who attended Life College, a Pentecostal school in Los Angeles. This move was to be expected. The large numbers claimed by the Crusade in its explos and endeavors cannot be obtained in this day and age without charismatic participation. You cannot have this participation if you have staff rules against tongues speaking. Campus Crusade coordinated a large crusade in Kenya, Africa for German Pentecostal evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. In the “Here’s Life, Korea” (Campus) Crusade mentioned previously Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the 150,000 member Full Gospel Central Church of Seoul, took a leadership role. Compromise with charismaticism is a necessary bedfellow of bigness in the ecumenicial world of today. (Mr. Revolutionary and Campus Crusade, http://www.americanpresbyterianchurch.org/campus_crusade.htm)
Campus Crusade has gone off the deep end. For them to work with false teachers like Bonnke and Yonggi Cho shows just how bankrupt Campus Crusade is today. Notice the reason given–that “compromise with charismaticism is a necessary bedfellow of bigness in the ecumenical world of today.” Bigness is the goal, so you end up in ecumenical compromise. When did Jesus Christ ever call for “bigness”? He called us to preach the gospel to the world and disciple all nations, but we must do so with the truth. Truth is something sinful human beings do not take kindly to. It is only by the grace of God that, when His Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, we may place our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation. The Bible says that few will find the narrow path. What we need in true Christianity today is less compromise, less mega-church mentality, and more emphasis on quality, truth, discernment and compassion. The anti-evangelism being done by people like Bonnke today is erasing years of hard work by missionaries, by teaching people a false gospel, another Jesus, a different Spirit.