Chris Okotie, senior pastor of the Household of God Church, says wearing a face mask or face shield in church goes against the basic tenets of the Christian faith.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, had announced that religious centres will reopen from August 7.
The governor, however, noted that the centres would be allowed to open only once a week and operate at 50-percent capacity.
Sanwo-Olu added that all standard prevention and control measures such as “physical distancing, mandatory temperature checks, use of face masks in public, regular disinfection of premises and personal hygiene”, must be strictly adhered to.
But in a 28-minute special broadcast sent via WhatsApp to his church members, Okotie said he would not reopen his church.
Although he acknowledged other precautions put in place by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus, he said the wearing of face masks was unacceptable.
Citing various Bible references, the clergyman said wearing a mask or a face shield to church is separation from God because it is like reintroducing the veil which was torn the moment Jesus died on the cross.
“When a man is standing before God in church wearing a shield or mask, he is denying the finished work of the cross,” he said.
“Before we offer our sacrifices and lift up holy hands before God, we must make sure that everything is decent and in order.
“We must only follow the protocols outlined in the Bible, not any directive that violates the basic tenets of our faith.”
In May, Okotie had countered the position of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for recommending social distancing as a condition for reopening churches.
“Social distancing in the Church of Jesus Christ is tantamount to blasphemous infidelity and an impeachment of the integrity of the word of God,” he had said.
Meanwhile, in July, he accused Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, of leading a global conspiracy to destabilise the world economy and execute a “satanic agenda” against the church.
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