"TMZ asked Spell why the church can't simply meet "on Zoom," adding that God is "everywhere." Spell said that it "does not work," and that if it did, "why did America spend billions and billions of dollars on churches?" One final time, TMZ asked Spell what he would tell the family of a congregant who died of COVID-19. The pastor replied that this hypothetical person "died like free people fighting for their convictions." Spell then said that his congregants pass away from sickness such as "cancer, HIV, AIDS, [and] heart disease." TMZ noted that COVID-19 is "preventable," to which the pastor responded: Well, who knows what is preventable? " God gave us a strong immune system, and the only way we're going to destroy this virus is for -- they say everybody's gonna get it. Then if everybody's gonna get it, then let's get on with life. On Palm Sunday, Spell held services despite having been served days earlier with a "misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor's executive order," according to Central Police Department Chief Roger Corcoran." -- Tony Spell
How sad is it that the person in this interview with sounder theology is the TMZ reporter! They are correct! God is everywhere and the bible says where two or three are gathered He is there. It is only the mega church mentality and the bloated egos of cult of personality pastors that confuse this. Why did America spend billions of dollars on mega churches? Because they allowed Rick Warren to define church success. They allowed him to create a generation of pastors who look down with disdain upon small congregations. Who think the only measurement of success is how much people tithe. Who build monuments to themselves like Saul before them while paying lip service to the Lord. The sheer callousness of Spell's response here is how you know he is no pastor. No true pastor of Jesus Christ would answer so disgustingly. Oh well they died fighting for their convictions. No Mr. Spell. They died because of YOUR false convictions. They were not free at all because they were taken in by a charlatan such as yourself. A huckster who can say with a straight face that no one knows what is preventable? This is why the notion of listening to pastors on matters of public health is beyond stupid. Because if we did, Tony Spell would recommend everyone catch the virus so that those the survive would have immunity. Those that do not survive? Oh well.
'While Spell reportedly told CNN that approximately 1,220 people attended his two Sunday services, Chief Corcoran told NBC News that the pastor has been padding the numbers: "At the most, he had 500. Between the two." The spotlight has been focused on Spell as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pastor has refused to suspend large church gatherings despite the virus infecting hundreds of thousands of Americans, and leading to the deaths of more than 19,800 people, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. During a recent interview with CNN's Victor Blackwell, Spell said that he and his congregants are following a "command from God" to assemble, and that "there are no governing bodies that can tell us we cannot gather and worship freely."' -- Tony Spell
Yes there is Tony. It is called the government. It is time for pastors and Christians to stop playing constitutional law professors because they simply do not know what they are talking about. Even first amendment rights are not absolute. I used to teach US Government, but I do not wish to get into a civics lesson in a Christian devotional. Suffice to say if you are getting your legal advice from your pastor, you are in a lot of trouble. The larger point here is the abuse of the call to assemble. It is true that the bible says to not forsake the fellowship but let's actually see that in context:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. -- Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV)
So is God saying here that meeting in huge stadiums is paramount and something that is never to infringed upon? Of course not. Let us consider how to stir one another up. To love and good works. While not neglecting to meet with one another. This meeting can be done in many ways. Are public gatherings for corporate worship valuable? Absolutely! But are they absolute? Heaven forbid! Do you think the underground church in China are gathering in stadiums or house to house? We need to get over ourselves. We can encourage each other without risking infecting each other.
"When asked by Blackwell if his position was consistent with his alleged pro-life values, Spell replied: My response to that is people's hope is in the house of God. If they do contract the virus, if they have fears of the virus, the church is more essential now than ever to pray with people, to let them know there is a balm in Gilead. There is a physician in Jesus Christ. He is the healer. He said, "Come unto me, all you that are wearing heavy laden, let me give you rest." So, we were supposed to be at a million and a half body bags. We're at 8,400. So, the narrative is false, Victor." -- Pastor Tony Spell
People's hope is in the house of God? Only in the warped mind of the NAR pastor. Our hope is in God. In His Son Jesus Christ. We are the temple of His spirit. When you start placing your hope in the church building you have left the faith altogether. That is Warren theology that has infected the body of Christ like a cancer for over two decades now. The rest of this response is just biblical malpractice. The balm is Christ, not a building in New Orleans. Are we sensing a theme yet? That Tony Spell seeks to supplant the role of Christ through his church building. The references to healing and "let me give you rest" are references to spiritual healing thorough salvation in Christ, not a physical healing that will be required because a false pastor did not care to protect those that follow him. Look again at the sheer indifference to the death of people that Tony Spell traffics in. Because "only" 8400 have died to date, the question is not worth answering. As if those 8400 people do not even matter, which they clearly do not to Tony Spell.