We Must Give Revival to
Receive Revival - by Reinhard Bonnke
Thirty years ago, as a
young missionary in Africa, I sometimes preached to five
people. I had mocked the bland little moral essays
preached from thousands of pulpits every Sunday as having
as much dynamite as chewing-gum in Sunday School.
Now, in the
"proven" tradition of foreign missions, had come
my opportunity to see the impact of the glorious Gospel.
With five people? Beyond our mission, 450 million souls in
Africa were ignorant of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Certainly they could all be evangelized in the way we were
tackling it, if they obliged us by staying alive for about
However, small audiences
did not dismay us. After all, we reasoned, revival could
come and save us a lot of trouble. God could rouse Himself
to battle. This hope kept us patient and starry-eyed. With
unquestioning faith, it had been banked on since the days
of our spiritual great-grandfathers.
gospel is useless
Lately, however, I had
begun questioning. It struck me that the Gospel is not
good news to people who do not hear it, that an unpreached
Gospel is no Gospel at all. Another small ray of
illumination penetrated my heart: We never read in the New
Testament of God going forth on His own, but rather "They
went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them"
(Mk 16:20). God acted when they acted, as Smith
Wigglesworth said: "The Acts of the Apostles was
written because the Apostles acted!" "For
since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom
did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness
of what was preached to save those who believe"
(1 Cor 1:21, NIV).
So ... He was waiting for us,
and - I couldn't get away from it - that included me.
I set up a postal Bible
course, and 50,000 enrolled. So many! Like a periscope
from a submarine, it revealed that I was submerged in an
ocean of salvation-needy humanity. In addition, a vision
followed me. Night after night I saw the entire African
continent, washed in the blood of Jesus, country after
country. Wait for revival? We had! Waiting had been done,
thoroughly and long, with a hundred years of earnest
prayer. Surely God must answer now? However, one more
fact faced me: there had never been revival without
So, on a seemingly wild
impulse, which proved to be of God, I booked a 10,000 seat
stadium for a campaign with a church of 40 members, and
... 10,000 people came! The first ripe wheat. For the
first time I witnessed thousands running forward to
respond to the call of salvation. God opened my eyes and
for the first time I actually saw an invisible, mighty
wave of Holy Spirit power arrive - in the stadium. A mass
baptism in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by many healing
miracles, took place. I wept like a boy and vowed to the
Lord that in obedience I would move across the whole of
Africa to bring the vision to pass. I reasoned that what
God can do for 10,000 people, He could do for 450 million.
What we are seeing God do
today in Africa is breathtaking. Following the footsteps
of giants, we reap with joy where they once sowed in
tears. We went to Bukavu, first visited by missionary C.T.
Studd, in the remote rain-forests of Zaire. There we saw
70,000 people respond to the call of God's love. David
Livingstone prophesied that where he saw hardly a convert,
later there would be thousands. So it was. At Blantyre,
Malawi, named after the town in Scotland where Livingstone
was born, several hundred thousand responded to the call
Witchcraft, occultism and
evil make the Gospel today as vital as a gun in a snake
pit. The devil is on the run as Jesus sets the captives
free wholesale. Cool and casual Christianity will do
nothing. Nations need the flaming evangel of the Cross -
urgently, not at our leisure.
State presidents and
leaders observe the benefits conferred by the Gospel upon
their peoples, and welcome us personally. In March 1990,
our northward thrust reached almost to the Sahara Desert
at Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso (formerly Upper
Volta), noted for its occultism. The President invited us
twice into his home. Gatherings totaled 800,000 people in
six meetings, with almost a quarter of a million in the
culminating service. Most of them professed Jesus Christ,
including many Muslims and animists. Similar things
happened in October 1990, when in the Nigerian city of
Kaduna 500,000 people gathered in a single service, a
total of 1.67 million in six meetings. The response to the
power Gospel is absolutely awesome!
Today there is a divine
promise in my heart that we shall see one million souls
converted in a single meeting. We are acquiring sound
systems to reach crowds bigger than perhaps ever addressed
before on earth by one man face to face. Arrogant
presumption? If the Crucified One is to "see the
labor of His soul, and be satisfied,"
as Isaiah 53:11 states, dare we think in smaller terms?
Would He be "satisfied" with anything less? Why
should the servants of God plan like Lilliputians?
the earth "filled with the knowledge of the glory
of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab
2:14). How do the waters cover the sea? So thoroughly that
there is not a single dry spot on the bottom of the sea!
This clearly illustrates God's plan. The knowledge of His
glory, power and salvation will be spread across the world
like a flash-flood. There will not be a single dry spot,
no ignorant country, city, town, village, family or
individual. "The whole earth is full of His
glory!" cried the seraphim (Is 6:3).
This decade must become the
culmination of a century of global evangelism and revival,
the consummation of the toils and tears of former
generations of God's anointed. The church is a lifeboat,
not a pleasure boat. Entertainers are neither needed nor
wanted. From the captain to the cook, all hands are needed
on deck for soul-saving. The church that does not seek
the lost is lost itself. Some excuse themselves by
saying that in today's pluralistic societies the Christian
half can never penetrate the other half. Was then our
situation not anticipated by God?
People ask, "What is
God saying to the Church today?" Why is that a
problem? Does God speak so inaudibly? He says nothing
today that is not in His Word already. I know one thing
that God is saying. If our prophets are true they will be
voicing the same urgency as Jesus Christ, and echoing the
same Great Commission: "Go into all the
world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk
They must be reinstated! Thousands are in church jobs to
which God never called them. The fact remains forever that
God's concern today, as at Calvary, is the salvation of
The past holds tragedies.
When doors opened, jealousy found Christian workers
guarding their monopoly like diggers their gold-rush
stake-out. Rivalries sometimes ruined revivals. The
harvest must not go unreaped while reapers merely defend
their patches. Christ did not die to give people a
career but to save the lost.
We need more imaginative
approaches, rather than people doing things by "tried
and tested" methods - even methods I have tried and
proved. Methods which have made little impact in the past
are not likely to produce an impact now. Plodding along
"mechanically" might be called faithfulness, but
our primary concern in evangelism is effectiveness, not
this twisted type of faithfulness.
During my years as an
evangelist and missionary I have discovered a number of
limiting factors hindering the Gospel. Although I do not
address these directly here, I know from experience that
many of these are the "traditional and accepted"
methods of evangelism which have remained unchanged for
generations. Others are doctrines and sentiments which
tell us to "leave it all to God." Some insist
God's way is revival, but they fail to carry out the Great
Commission in the meanwhile. Some think that if people are
to be saved, they will be saved anyway.
Suppose such theories are
wrong! What an awful risk - to rest the eternal destiny of
souls upon a controversial interpretation of a Scripture
or the turn of a Greek verb. One can be dead right, but
dead nonetheless! We dare not neglect the task of
evangelism. I would rather use a method despised by man
but approved by God, than a method approved by man which
gets no results.
It is for this reason I
make no apology. I am not writing to be approved by man. I
am writing to share God's anointing on all those who are
ready to step out in faith.
My message is not onesided,
but it does come from a singleness of heart. I hammer away
at the Great Commission, for I know it cannot be
overemphasized. I cry to God day and night for greater
effectiveness in winning our generation for Him. Evangelism
By Fire is the only feasible solution.
I constantly scan the
horizons for other anointed men and women who may take up
this challenge of the Word of God for Holy Spirit
evangelism. I believe the best is yet to be. The time is
coming soon when the whole world will resound with the
praises of our God and Savior. In all nations and in every
tongue, the day is almost here when every tongue will
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
The angel who appeared to
Cornelius in Acts 10 was not allowed to mention the Name
of Jesus, or to speak about salvation to the man. That
high and holy privilege was (and is) reserved for men -
people like you and me. All the angel was allowed to say
was, "Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon
whose surname is Peter" (v. 5). This mighty
seraph from highest heaven had to bow to Peter's higher
privilege. It pleases God to call and to send people
like you and me.
It has always been this
way. God used four evangelists - Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John - to write down the story of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. Such a pattern is linked, in my mind, to the four
men in Old Testament times who carried the Ark of the
Covenant. Carriers of the Gospel change from generation to
generation, but the Gospel remains the same. Now we are
here, and today it is our turn. God has called you and me.
The Gospel needs to be taken to the ends of the earth.
This is the Great Commission of the Lord to us - and the
King's business requires haste.
How big is
This has been written
because I do not believe that God's plans call for hell to
be bigger than heaven. Although Scripture speaks about
"many" who are on their way to eternal
destruction (Matthew 7:13), these same people must be
intercepted by men and women preaching the original
Gospel. Provision has been made to bring "many
sons to glory" (Heb 2:10), and, praise God,
Revelation 7:9 speaks of a successful conclusion.
"Go and disciple
all nations," Jesus instructed. There is no
alternative plan in case the Gospel fails. It won't! More
people are being saved, healed and baptized into the Holy
Spirit today than ever before in the history of mankind.
The tempo is increasing, leading to but one conclusion:
Jesus is coming soon.
We are not called to go
into a battle with the outcome yet to be decided. The
battle was won at Calvary.
Jesus commanded the
disciples, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send
out laborers," and added, "Go!"
He is still saying it. It is a transferred mandate.
Revival comes from
God. Yes, but when? When we repent of our plain
disobedience and return to the basic task, Evangelism.
Every single church activity should tend toward the task
of turning the world back to God. Why are we waiting?
"Rescue the perishing," or need rescue
ourselves. When you give revival, that is when you
shall receive revival!
International Revival Network: archive.openheaven.com.
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