HOUSEHOLD of God Church International Ministries general overseer Pastor Chris Okotie has lashed out at the ongoing conducting of services over the Internet saying that online worshiping is unscriptural.
Like most other countries worldwide, Nigeria banned religious gatherings as part of the lockdown introduced during the coronavirus lockdown. Since March, Nigerian churches and mosques have thus been conducting their services online, although of late, they have been allowed to host congregations under strict conditions including wearing facemasks, using hand sanitizers and observing social distancing.
However, Nigerian evangelical churches are feeling the pinch of the move as they are used to holding mega services attended by thousands of worshipers. At these gatherings, worshipers pay 10% of their earnings in tithes, making such churches very wealthy and turning their clergymen like Pastor Okotie into millionaires.
Unhappy with the current arrangement, Pastor Okotie said online church services are unscriptural, pointing out that Christians must physically gather together to be able to truly worship God. In a sermon titled, The Covid-19 Mystery, he maintained that the novel virus is a satanic conspiracy to challenge the power of God by keeping Christians out of the church.
Pastor Okotie said: “We are dealing with one of the most sinister conspiracies in human history. What we call the online church is absolutely untrue because for you to be in church, you have to be ecclesia, which is translated from the Greek word, EC, which is out and the word caleo, called out.
“You cannot gather unto God until you are called out. That’s why Israel was called out of the world, so, this thing, this phenomenon that we are talking about, the Internet and cyber churches, is totally unscriptural.
“God knows where you are and if He was not interested in the assembly, you don’t need to come to church, you can pray in your house. I pray in my house, you pray in your house and God can see all of us. He doesn’t need computers but that denies Him who He is, which is why the bible puts that verse as an imperative – you must not forsake the assembly of yourselves together.”