The wife of a German television evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, Annie, in a statement on Saturday announced the passing of her husband at age 79.
“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,” it stated.
Bonnke was born on April 19, 1940, and was known for his gospel missions throughout Africa since 1967.
He was credited with the conversion of over 75 million people.
Mourning the passage of the German televangelist, the Christian Association of Nigeria described his death as a colossal loss to the body of Christ all over the world.
The CAN President, Rev Samson Ayokunle, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, described Bonnke as “one of the greatest generals of the gospel of eternal salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ on earth.”
He noted, “CAN and the entire Christian communities in Nigeria join the rest of Christians all over the world to mourn this fiery preacher and teacher of the Gospel and mentor to several evangelical leaders all around the world today.”
“Reinhard Bonnke has reached Africa and countries of the world through his ministry called Christ For All Nations preaching the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through which millions of souls were saved into the Kingdom of God or received their healings,” the CAN president added.
The statement further maintained that the body of Christ had lost one of its greatest assets.
It prayed to God to comfort his widow, Anne.
Also, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has expressed sadness over Bonnke’s death, saying millions of Nigerians would miss him.
PFN National President, Rev Felix Omobude, in a statement, commiserated with his family and all members of Christ for All Nations.
He said, “Even though it is a transition to glory, as humans, we are sad to see the departure of a man who made such a tremendous impact in Nigeria through his evangelical work spanning over five decades.
“Bonnke truly impacted his generation and the Church in Nigeria will always be grateful to him for the work God used him to do in our country.”
In recognition of his extensive evangelical work in Nigeria, the PFN recalled that it presented Bonnke a lifetime achievement award during his last crusade in the country in 2017.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the death of the renowned evangelist. He described the evangelist as “a great loss to Nigeria, Africa and the entire world.”
The Presidency said Buhari joined Christendom in recalling the good deeds of Bonnke, particularly his numerous crusades in Nigeria, Africa and the whole world to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
A statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, read in part, “The President condoles with the government and people of Germany, family and friends of the great preacher and teacher of the Bible, and all his co-labourers in the vineyard, praying that the good Lord will comfort all those that mourn him.
“President Buhari affirms that Bonnke’s crusades in Nigeria, across Africa and the globe strongly accentuated the message of Jesus Christ, and his vision and zeal for the salvation of souls helped the world in understanding the power of love and kindness as a universal language.
“The President prays that the Almighty God will accept the soul of the departed preacher, believing that his legendary contributions to the body of Christ in teaching and writing will always be remembered by posterity.”
I’ve no desire to fill Bonnke’s shoes – Kolenda
Meanwhile, Daniel Kolenda, the successor to Bonnke, has said he does not desire to fill the late evangelist’s shoes.
Kolenda, who is the President/CEO of CFaN, said he desired to fill the shoes God ordained for him.
But his successor, Kolenda, said he did not desire to fill the CFaN founder’s shoes, saying, “I had no desire to fill Reinhard Bonnke’s shoes. I always have the desire to fill the shoes God has assigned to me.
“In those shoes, there is grace, there is anointing, and I can say by the grace of God, we have seen an increase since Reinhard Bonnke handed over the ministry to me. There has been an increase because nothing diminishes in God.”
Kolenda stated this on Friday at the ongoing crusade in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State. CFaN organised the crusade in conjunction with various Christian bodies, including the Christian Association of Nigeria