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Demystifying Spiritual Warfare

Author, latest Slaying Dragons (Charisma House, 2019) 

President and CEO, Christ for All Nations since 2009, successor to Founder Reinhard Bonnke 

Fifth-generation preacher, modern missionary evangelist

Graduate of Southeastern University, Lakeland, FL and Brownsville Revival School of Minstry, Pensacola, FL 

Married to Rebekah, father of Elijah, Gloria, London, Lydia, and Benjamin

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THE PASSING OF HIS MENTOR 
Daniel was just 18 years old and attending Brownsville Revival School of Ministry when he met Reinhard Bonnke by chance on a Florida beach.  Bonnke noted Daniel’s last name was the same as a missionary in Germany, John Kolenda, and learned it was Daniel’s uncle.  They had no further contact until several years later, in 2004, when Daniel came to work in the warehouse of Christ for All Nations.  At that point, he was a young pastor and church planter, and needed additional work to support his young family.  After talking with Daniel, Bonnke recognized his potential and asked him to travel with him as an assistant.  Two years later, Bonnke sensed the Lord had shown him that Daniel was to be his successor.  Bonnke named 28-year-old Daniel president of CFAN in 2011.  

On December 7, 2019, Reinhard Bonnke died at home, surrounded by his family.  Daniel announced the news with great sadness on the CFAN website.  “It is no exaggeration to say that his work transformed the continent (Africa),” he wrote.   “Those who knew him off-stage can testify to his personal integrity, genuine kindness and overflowing love for the Lord. His ministry was inspired and sustained by his rich prayer life, his deep understanding of the Word and his unceasing intimacy with the Holy Spirit.”

DEMYSTIFYING SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Daniel points out that the term “spiritual warfare” does not appear in the Bible.  He explains:  “The wording is instead rooted in the use of scriptural military analogies to describe the manner in which Christ followers are to prepare for and repel evil, in the form of both injustice and temptation.”  Daniel says the greatest spiritual warfare took place at Calvary.  “The cross of Christ was the ultimate act of spiritual warfare.  Yet it hardly looked like a dramatic display of eternal military might.  On the contrary, it looked like utter weakness, total loss, and complete failure.”  While he has seen spectacular displays of demonization, and had to confront witch doctors who came to CFAN crusades in Africa to put curses on him,  Daniel says that most spiritual warfare takes place in normal, everyday life.   “Some of the most destructive things a Christian can do to Satan’s dark kingdom occur through a life of purity, acts of kindness, Christlike forgiveness, humility, and self-sacrifice.”  Zeitgeist is a term Daniel uses to refer to the “spirit of the age,” deriving from the German word meaning “time spirit.”  While we usually think of spiritual warfare in personal terms, Daniel says it usually has a much broader scope than any single person.  “The demonic agenda does not exist to make your car break down or give you a bad day at work.  Satan and his angels constitute that age-old mass-marketing company that works through every means available to influence the minds of human beings. They want to impose the demonic way of thinking on humanity … this is what the real war is about,” he teaches.    

KILLING OUR PET DRAGONS
As to the personal sins we all battle, Daniel’s advice is clear:  “Show no mercy; take no prisoners.”  He explains that the pattern of sin our Enemy loves to nurture starts small and grows.  “Things like this don’t grow overnight.  They are often the product of many years of feeding and coddling,” he warns.  Offering an example from his own life, Daniel tells the story of getting a haircut years ago.  He was married and had chidren at the time, but found the female hair stylist to be very attractive and enjoyed talking with her.   Daniel says he’s never enjoyed anything about haircuts in the past, but his one was different.  He returned to the salon for a couple of months and enjoyed each interaction with the stylist.  One day, when he noticed another haircut on his schedule, he felt a flutter of excitement, which surprised him.  Even though he felt sure he wouldn’t allow anything inappropriate to happen, he called and cancelled his appointment and never went back.   He says that by bringing “pet dragons” out into the light, and by cultivating intimacy with God, we gain the strength needed to be victorious over them.  Quoting St. Augustine, he says, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till their rest in Thee.”  

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