Shutdown Of Churches:
Shutdown of Churches – The following are excerpts of an interview TNN newspapers had with Dr Abel Damina concerning the Coronavirus, COVID19, pandemic.
TNN: And then suddenly churches were shut down; everything shutdown. How did this get to you?
Dr. Damina: When the churches were shutdown, for me, it was a welcome development because I see that as preservation. It was not persecution. The government is not persecuting the churches. The reason for the shutdown is obvious. There is a pandemic, not just in Nigeria. People are dying, lives are being threatened, people are being afflicted and that is because of its contagious nature. So, the natural thing to do, as it has always been with all pandemic, is for everybody to be able to shut down so that the virus can be contained. So, for me, it was a welcome development and I expect that everybody should be able to comply and see that as a preservative measure, not persecution.
Shutdown Many Churches Have Different Views:
TNN: Ironically, many churches are not seeing it from this perspective and I guess that is why some churches are still opening their doors for members for normal physical worship, despite the ban on public worship. Do you think this is ideal under normal circumstance?
Dr. Damina: No, it is not. I think they think it is persecution. It is a wrong mindset. The Bible says if eating meat will offend my brother, I will not eat the meat, so that my brother will not be offended. There are many who believe that because they have Christ, the virus will not affect them. But there are people who don’t have the same belief with them. So, it is natural for the government whose responsibility is the protection of the citizenry, to take measures to protect the citizenry. So, those churches, I think it is because they are not properly informed, or they are becoming fanatical, otherwise, even in the Bible, when Jesus was born and his life threatened, the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and Joseph and asked them to take Jesus to Egypt until things were better. If that could be done to Jesus to preserve his life, there is nothing wrong with the decision that the government has made, for churches to close down. By the way, the church is not really shutdown. They church is not the building. The church is bigger than the building. Human beings are the church. The Bible tells us that God does not dwell in buildings made with hands.
Human Beings Are The Church:
Human beings are the church; we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, the church is not shutdown, as long as people are in their homes and they can still pray to God, they can listen to teachings via CDs, they can listen to teachings on social media, they can watch the television and hear the word of God(for example we are on WAP TV every Thursday to Saturday), they have their Bibles in their houses, the church is marching forward and it is not out of place for the government to ask everybody to calm down a bit, let’s contain the virus and then life can be back to normal.
TNN: So, it will be right in that case to say that your church is not shutdown.
Dr. Damina: Yes, our church is not shutdown. Our people are in their homes, we are not having services in the building, but services are going on in their houses.
About The Author:
Dr. Abel Damina is the senior Pastor of Power City International Church,
Uyo Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria