CHRIST Embassy Church founder Reverend Chris Oyakhilome has attacked his fellow clergymen that have refused to reopen their churches following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions by the government saying they are not true believers.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, all churches and mosques in Nigeria were shut as they normally attract huge crowds, risking spreading the virus. Several clergymen, especially evangelical pastors condemned the lockdown at the time, saying it is preventing them from laying their hands on the sick and healing them.
Over recent weeks, however, the lockdown has been eased, with churches allowed to hold services so long as they observe health protocols like observing social distancing, getting members to wear facemasks and providing hand sanitizers. Several clergymen like Reverend Chris Okotie of the Household Church of God, Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre and Pastor Tunde Bakare of The Latter Rain Assembly, have, however, refused to open their churches.
Reverend Oyakhilome said such pastors have denied the faith, stressing that they are no longer believers. Addressing his church members yesterday, Reverend Oyakhilome said: “If you refuse to open church for fear of being infected, you were never a believer.
“This is a great concern because there were churches that were thought to be churches until recently. We find a lot of ministers who were thought to be advocates of the gospel advocating for shutting down the churches because they cannot guarantee safety.
“It is pressure like this that reveals what is a church and what is not. Do they really believe in God, the same God of the patriarchs in the Bible?
“When you get to that point where you are afraid of opening churches for fear of being infected, you have denied the faith. You never believed.”
Pastor Bakare had warned against the reopening of churches, saying Christians should not allow any religious leader or government official, to lead them like a sheep to the slaughter house. Also, Pastor Adeyemi said his church would only open when it is safe to do so.