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Pastor who coughed and urged congregants to get COVID-19 says he’s getting threats

Pastor who coughed and urged congregants to get COVID-19 says he’s getting threats

Bart Spencer is senior pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Holland, Michigan. | Lighthouse Baptist Church

A Michigan pastor who went viral for coughing and telling congregants to get COVID-19 and "get it over with," says he and his family are now being threatened.

Pastor Bart Spencer, who leads Lighthouse Baptist Church in Holland, insisted he will not be bullied into wearing a mask.

“Just respect my choice and I will respect yours. I don’t ask you to take off your mask, don’t ask me to put one on. That’s legit. You wouldn’t believe the names that I’ve been called, the threats that I’ve received for something as simple as that,” Spencer said in his sermon on Sunday.

The preacher, who is an Air Force veteran, told The Sentinel that he and several of his family members, including older adults, have already been infected with the virus and recovered.

“It’s not fun, I lost my sense of taste and smell, but my bout with the flu was worse,” he said.

He explained that he has been doing in-person services since the spring with some people social distancing and wearing a mask and so far no one has died.

“We trust our people to make their own decisions,” he said. “We respect one another’s positions.”

Spencer began making headlines after a clip from a Nov. 14 sermon of him doling out his public health advice went viral.

“It’s all good, several people have had COVID. None have died yet. It’s OK. Get it. Get it over with. Press on,” he said in the middle of his coughing fit at the pulpit.

Health officials have called it a “bad idea” to deliberately get infected with the virus.

In his sermon on Sunday, Spencer said he wished the Gospel spread as quickly around the world as his clip on coronavirus did.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Gospel had that impact worldwide?” he asked.

Preaching on sin and death, he said, “The argument is not you might die. The reality is, you’re going to. I’m not a fatalist at all but I am a realist. When God said ‘it’s appointed unto man once to die’ that’s what He meant. Do you die from a heart attack? No. Do you die from cancer? Uh-uh. Do you die from COVID? Nope. Everybody dies from the same thing — sin. That’s it.”

Spencer, who graduated from Mountain States Baptist College in May 1995, said he and his wife, Suzan, started Lighthouse Baptist Church in 1997 after a career in the United States Air Force.

“We are conservative (singing from the hymn book) yet spirited in our music employing traditional style accompaniment. The salvation of the lost is the focus of our ministry with the teaching and training of the saved an inseparable part of our mission,” Spencer says on the church’s website.

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