Head pastor of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Dr Mensa Otabil and Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church clearly have different views as regards the ban of public gathering which has affected churches.
While the Ghanaian pastor posits that the time is not right for churches to congregate for worship, the Nigerian preacher thinks otherwise as he says whoever is against the reopening of churches will die.
The outbreak of Coronavirus and its severity informed the decision by the Ghanaian government as well as the Nigerian government and other countries to place a ban on public gathering, among other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The ban prohibits churches and mosques from holding services. Other activities that have been affected include sports, funerals, weddings, clubbing, political campaigns and rallies.
Bishop Oyedepo in a sermon argued that the continued closure of churches is having dire repercussions on believers. He declared the church doors opened, stressing that whoever is against the action will perish.
“The doors to churches across Nations are again declared opened this morning,” he proclaimed. “Can I tell you this? Hunger is far more devastating than any virus that will ever visit the earth. It kills silently. There is no vaccine for hunger. There is no medical solution to hunger. Hunger has no treatment than to have food and spiritual famine is far more devastating. That is what the devil is looking for but he has failed.”
He emphasized that God has the solution to every predicament, hence approaching the pandemic physically and stifling the spiritual growth of believers is tantamount to defeat.
“The church is back on its feet. Anyone who hates to see that dies for it. The church of Christ on the earth is liberated. Spiritual famine shall not have its way. Can I tell the world, no one has the answer to a problem like Jesus”, he said.
But Dr. Otabil speaking during his virtual church service on Sunday said churches play a pivotal role in protecting society and that includes adherence to the stringent protocols regardless of how uncomfortable they would be.
“This is not the time for churches to consider gathering together in assemblies because the crisis before us is not going down,” he noted.
“Just when we thought in Ghana we were having control over the situation, we are beginning to realise the virus has a mind of its own. It doesn’t seem to correspond to some of the efforts we are making. It may not seem suitable to us but that is the price we pay to make the world a better place.”
According to the World Health Organisation, the world has recorded 4,013,728 cases of Coronavirus while the death toll is 278,993.
In Ghana, the total number of confirmed cases is 5127. 22 people have died of coronavirus-related illnesses since the outbreak was reported in the country while 494 persons have recovered.
In the case of Nigeria, 4,641 cases have been confirmed. The death toll is 150.