In the last Langstaff Letter, we outlined five steps that lead to the release of the call of God on a person’s life. We illustrated this with stories from the life and ministry of great evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. We looked particularly at the first three (a) the call, (b) the preparation, (c) the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In this Langstaff Letter, we will look again at (d) the affirmation and (e) the release of the call. Once again, we will use the example of Reinhard Bonnke.
Reinhard Bonnke, as part of his preparation, attended a Bible School in Swansea, Wales, which had been established by Rhees Howell, who had returned to Wales following years of ministry in Africa where God used him to bring revival.
After Reinhard Bonnke finished bible school, he traveled by train to London, where he took an unguided sightseeing tour.
“At length, I arrived at a place called Clapham Commons. I began walking through the surrounding neighborhood, totally at random. All of a sudden I stopped because I saw a blue nameplate in front of a house. On that nameplate, I read, ‘George Jeffreys.’
I thought to myself, ‘could this be the great George Jeffreys who had founded the Elim Pentecostal Church in Ireland and England?’ I had read much about him. He had been a great firebrand evangelist who had traveled across the world preaching to overflow crowds in some of the largest venues. My heart pounded with anticipation to think that of all the residences in London I might have stumbled upon, I had stumbled upon his.
I paused at the gate. Should I go in and introduce myself? I felt almost compelled to do it. But who was I to do such a thing?
You only live once, I decided. I walked through the front garden gate and climbed the porch, pausing at the door. There I rang the bell. A lady opened the door.
‘Pardon my intrusion, ma’am. Does George Jeffreys live here who was that famous firebrand evangelist I have heard so much about?’
‘Yes, he does.’
‘May I please see him?’
‘No, Under no circumstances.’
She had hardly said no when I heard a deep voice from within the house say, ‘Let the young man come in.’
I squeezed past that lady in a heartbeat and into the house. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw him coming slowly down a staircase, holding on unsteadily as he made his way towards me. As he reached the landing, I stepped forward, took his hand, and introduced myself. I told him I had a call of God on my life to be an evangelist and to preach the gospel in Africa.
What happened next was extraordinary. All of a sudden, he took me by the shoulders and fell to his knees, pulling me to the floor with him. He placed his hands on my head and began to bless me as a father blesses his son, as Abraham blessed Isaac, who blessed Jacob, and on and on. The room seemed to light up with the glory of God as he poured out his prayer over me. I was dazed by that glory. I do not remember the words with which he blessed me, but I do remember their effect. My body felt electrified, tingling with divine energy.
After about a half-hour, he finished. I stood up and helped him to his feet. He seemed very frail. We said goodbye. The lady came and escorted him away. He could hardly stand. Nor could I, for a different reason. I stumbled from his house and staggered back to Clapham Commons like a drunken man. There with my head spinning, I waited for a bus to carry me on my way to the railway station.”
Bonnke had received a divine affirmation through the great evangelist George Jeffreys, who died a few months later.
God normally confirms a subjective calling with an objective confirmation that one knows comes from God.
The time came for Reinhard Bonnke and his wife Anni to go off to Africa, having served in pastoral ministry in Germany for a number of years. He felt God lead him to go to South Africa, where he later set up his initial headquarters in Johannesburg for his ministry ‘Christ For All Nations.’
Bonnke became, as Joyce Myers described him, “one of the most passionate, faithful, and effective evangelists of our generation.”
This enabled him to preach the Gospel message to over 1,600,000 people in a single service in Lagos, Nigeria and have the privilege of leading over 78 million people to salvation in Gospel Crusades.
And it all began with a little boy in Germany who heard God say to him, “Reinhard, one day, you will preach My Gospel in Africa.”
I wonder if there may not be a young man or woman who is right now receiving a call to fulfill a destiny in God. It may not, and probably will not be like Reinhard Bonnke’s call, but it is what God is calling them to do.
Let us pray for the Spirit of God to move upon the next generation of young people, who God is calling, to rise up and fulfill His divine destiny in the world today!
Bonnke, R. (2019). Living a life of fire. Jupiter, FL: Harvester Services.