In Nigeria, Reverend. Chris Okotie, the senior pastor of the Household of God Church International Ministries, has said the holding of Church service online due to the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is something that has not been prescribed by the Bible.
In a sermon titled, “The COVID-19 Mystery,” Okotie claims, “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.”
I don’t quite follow what he is going on about in that last paragraph but I am obviously in a lot of trouble; as are many of my clergy friends. Ah, well.
However, there is another thing I don’t quite get. Okotie is a televangelist. What is the difference between doing God on the TV and doing God on the internet? My guess is that, at the end of the day, it will be something to do with making money out of God.