Bakare says there is no physical or social distancing in the holy spirit–lockdown or no lockdown.
The general overseer of The Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has described some of Bishop David Oyedepo’s latest utterances as ‘lamentations.’
Oyedepo, of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, recently criticized the decision of the government to open markets and leave places of worship closed; as one in a raft of precautionary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in Africa’s most populous nation.
“For people to be allowed to be in the market for six hours and can’t be in church for two hours, it’s an upside down way of looking at things. Which one is more orderly? The market or the church?
“I can smell a rat. The Lord spoke to me so strongly yesterday. I can smell a rat. This is about how do we stop the church from exploding? People that are involved don’t know it o,” Oyedepo blared.
‘Lamentations of certain people’
However, in a broadcast shared by his church on Sunday, Bakare called on other churches with multiple facilities to donate their buildings as isolation centers for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, rather than criticize the government for closing the churches.
The former vice presidential candidate announced that his church has donated its facilities to the Lagos state government, while its private residences in Abeokuta have been granted to the Ogun state government.
“This morning, I would like to bring ethical correction to some of the lamentations of certain people within the church over the ban of congregational worship in churches across the land, while markets and hospitals are allowed to operate,” Bakare said, without mentioning Oyedepo by name.
“I am so glad that not only churches are prevented now from congregating, the mosques are also on lockdown.
“The government’s order to open the markets to operate for a few days is to prevent hunger, especially in the life of daily earners because the palliatives from the government cannot go to every citizen in their homes right now.
“Those churches with multiple facilities, rather than their leaders criticizing the government, they should collaborate with them. They must be prepared to offer some of their halls to governmental authorities as isolation centres in support of the efforts of the government,” Bakare said.
The Good Samaritan
Bakare added that “after all, it was to the safe custody of the Inn Keeper that the good Samaritan in the parable of The Good Samaritan kept the wounded man left for dead on the way to Jericho.
“The Inn Keeper is the pastor, the Inn is the church, the wounded man is the sick world, and the two denarii are wages for two years because a day with the lord is like a thousand years.
“I recommend that our church halls be made available to the government as isolation centres, and those of us who could afford it should be there to support the government.
“I am not suggesting what we are not prepared to do. We have already done that in our church. We have offered two of our facilities to the Lagos state government and the private residences we have in Abeokuta we have offered also to the Ogun state government.
“Brothers and sisters, we should all thank God that there is no distance in the spirit–lockdown or no lockdown and that the church is not the building but the saints of God, that is the body of Christ.
“So if we cannot congregate because of the present lockdown, we can be very effective in our neighborhoods as our brothers’ keepers and our various workplaces, for those involved in essential services and other daily earners that are permitted for now to go about their trade or business for a few hours of the day.”
Deeply religious Nigeria is almost evenly split between a predominantly Christian south and a predominantly Muslim north.
Nigeria has now recorded 4,399 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 778 recoveries and 143 deaths.
Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city and one where most of the nation’s mega-churches are headquartered, remains the epicenter of the outbreak in the country with 1,845 reported cases as of May 10, 2020.