By Sam Eyoboka
SENIOR Pastor of the Household of God Church, Oregun, Lagos, Rev. Chris Okotie has finally broken his long silence, with his renewed challenge to the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, to speak for Christians, an opinion he has always canvassed.
In a statement released Sunday, Rev Okotie stated his position on the organization, saying: “CAN is an amorphous organization sustained by a Christian appellation. It is bereft of any authority to speak on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ. Arrayed in Episcopalian vestments, they are the modern-day Pharisees who arrogate divine honors to themselves.
“They have a form of godliness and yet hobnob Nicodemus with enemies of the Lord Jesus. The true ministers of the sanctuary must recognize CAN’s treachery and reprehensible Phariseeism. That which a man spits against heaven shall fall back upon his face. We shall not bow to the idol called Corona Virus. Jesus is Lord”.
In a related development, Rev Okotie condemned CAN’s proposed recommendations of distancing in the seating arrangement in churches as “blasphemous infidelity” and desecration of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Reacting in the statement issued through his media Adviser, Ladi Ayodeji, Okotie made it clear that he was in full support of social distancing and other safety measures ordered by the government to contain the spread of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
However, the Pastor rejects the extension of social distancing to churches because it compels the reordering of seating arrangements and the determination of the size of congregational worship per service for fears of the spread of the deadly virus.
Rev Okotie argues that accepting such an arrangement is to nullify the redemptive work of Jesus, which involves healing.
It will be recalled that the CAN President, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle had rolled out the guidelines for the reopening of churches, which he said would be discussed with the federal government for approval, after consultation with the leaders of the other religious bodies.
In the guidelines, Dr. Ayokunle said CAN recommended social distancing of one meter in the seating arrangement, in churches, wearing of face masks by worshippers, 90 minutes worship sessions, provision of sanitizers, handwashing with soap, etc.
After reading these guidelines, according to Ayodeji, Rev Okotie called the CAN President and made his position known. Below is the full text of the Reverend’s message to the CAN President: “Greetings. Social distancing in the Church of Jesus Christ is tantamount to blasphemous infidelity and an impeachment of the integrity of the word of God. Healing is fundamental to the redemptive work of Jesus.
“To allow the Idol of Corona Virus to determine the scope of congregational worship in the house of God is an abomination of gargantuan proportions. No true minister of the gospel will succumb to such travesty of the faith. This is a summary of my objections,” Okotie stated.