CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Empty Church Buildings on Sunday, Trump Joins Thousands of Worshipers Moving Online

Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Ga., preaches to his online audience in an empty auditorium on March 15, 2020.
(Photo : © YouTube/Free Chapel) Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Ga., preaches to his online audience in an empty auditorium on March 15, 2020.

President Donald Trump attended an online service as one of hundreds of thousands of Christians across the country on Sunday after declaring National Prayer Day with the new coronavirus pandemic last Saturday.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 169,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 6,500 of them have died. The online change in many churches comes after public health and other local and federal government officials have already responded to requests to ferret out physical rallies to stem the spread of the virus that has infected nearly 4,000 people in the United States and claimed 69 lives.

Trump tweeted last Sunday morning that he had watched an online service by senior pastor Jentezen Franklin of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Georgia, one of his evangelical advisers.

Trump said, "I'm seeing a fine, beautiful service from Reverend Jentezen Franklin. Thank you!" posted on Twitter.

Franklin delivered a message at an auditorium in Gainesville, Georgia, empty, under the title "Choose Faith Over Fear," making it clear that the church is still in operation despite changes in the situation.

"All that's here are empty seats because the building and the seats are not the church. The people are the church," he said. "In the Old Testament, God had a temple for His people. But in the New Testament God has a people for his temple." He assured the online audience that God was still in control and told them, 'I'll live in you and your body will be my temple.'

"When he's near, that fear disappears from our lives. And today, there is no need for panic. But we have to make a choice. We should choose faith over fear," he added. 

Prior to reading the President's declaration of prayer for all Americans affected by the coronavirus Pandemic and our national response efforts, Franklin said, "I am happy to say that the president kindly tweeted and will join this service today," and "I am praying for President Trump, Melania and all the government and people of Washington."

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