As churches reopen across Nigeria, the Senior Pastor of Awaiting The Second Coming Of Jesus Christ Ministry, Adewale Giwa, has asked his members to stop paying tithes and offerings until things go back to normal.
The federal government had announced the relaxation of the ban on religious gatherings in the country.
It, however, comes with some conditions that worshippers should wear face masks, properly sanitize their hands, among other health guidelines to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
However, in a statement forwarded to journalists, Giwa said it doesn’t make sense to ask members to be paying tithes and offerings in these trying times.
Besides, the pastor also faulted the federal government for mandating worshippers to wear masks.
He said, “I don’t think it makes sense for Pastors to ask their members to pay tithes or offerings during these difficult times.
“Things are extremely difficult now; giving is not by force but by one’s own volition. The Scripture tells us in the book of Exodus 35:29 that the children of Israel brought a voluntary offering to Jehovah, every man and woman whose heart prompted them to bring for all manner of work, which Jehovah, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.”
“I have begged my members to stop giving out tithes and offerings until everything becomes normal.”
“The Scripture also tells us that one can give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
“However, if any of them chooses to still give out their voluntary offerings and tithes, so be it.”
“Let me also use this medium to tell the federal government to withdraw some conditions given to the church. It’s wrong to give us time to end our services.”
“It is also not acceptable to mandate us to be using masks in the house of God. You don’t love us by telling us to follow the guidelines laid down by human beings.”
“Our God is bigger than any disease. We will maintain social distancing, but wearing a mask is unhealthy.
“If they love us, they would have fixed our electricity since 2015. If they love us, they would have made arrangements to deal with hunger in Nigeria.”
“They have further showed us that they don’t mean well for us by asking us to be wearing masks.”