Senior Pastor and founder of the Household of God Church International Ministries, Reverend Chris Okotie, has said that online church service, which is now the norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is unscriptural.
In a sermon titles The COVID-19 Mystery, the self-styled cleric argued that Christians must physically gather together to be able to truly worship God.
He said the novel coronavirus is a satanic conspiracy to challenge the power of God by keeping Christians out of the church.
“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; 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 praise in your house. I praise in my house. He can see all of us. He doesn’t need computers. But that denies Him who He is; so, we must – that’s why the bible puts that verse as an imperative – you must not forsake the assembly of yourselves together.”
Okotie had recently opposed government’s COVID-19 social distancing guidelines for churches, describing the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria as “modern-day Pharisees bereft of any authority to speak on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ.”