Greg Locke is a conservative Internet-famous Facebook preacher who is known for his selfie-videos opining on political and social issues. He is pastor of Global Vision Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Originally beginning as an Independent, Fundamental Baptist preacher, Locke eventually drifted from his theological roots and took more of a mainstream, seeker-friendly appeal to his ministry style. Locke married his teenage sweetheart, who faithfully stood by him as a dutiful preacher’s wife, bearing him children, being admirably submissive, and adopting more children. As his fame rose, however, so did his distaste for the wife he felt didn’t live up to his growing reputation. Locke, according to his wife and her counselors, hit her and spit on her. We released text messages of him telling her, “F%$^ you,” calling her the “b-word” and fat-shaming her for gaining weight after he paid for her weight-loss surgery, and calling his own mother the word for a male phallus for taking the side of his wife. Locke also began to be seen socializing – romantically it seems – with his secretary (who was also going through a divorce and whose family said they were having an affair). He then put his wife on a bus and sent her to a woman’s shelter. His wife – raised an orphan – has little family to call upon for help. As the text messages reveal, Locke intimidated her into filing for divorce (ostensibly, so he could claim abandonment and remain in ministry). When she dismissed her divorce claim and begged to reconcile and save their marriage, Locke swore at her and filed for divorce himself. All the while, Locke had hid his separation from his Facebook followers. As news began to be released, he fraudulently claimed the divorce was already final, he had been abandoned and blamed his wife’s supposed mental illness.
Greg Locke is not a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2), so it seems. Greg Locke’s household is not in order (1 Timothy 3:5). Greg Locke has not loved his wife like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5). Greg Locke has repeatedly attacked his own church members for begging him to repent. Greg Locke has repeatedly blamed everyone but himself. Greg Locke – by the Bible’s standards, is unfit for ministry.
And yet, Benchmark Church and its pastor, Benjamin Blankenship, chose to have Locke preach at a “revival” last night at their church. They chose – on purpose – to have a man preach who is currently in the middle of a divorce, who was the one who filed for the divorce, and who admitted (in a Facebook post) that the text messages of him verbally abusing his wife and mother were his. There is no excuse for Benjamin Blankenship or Benchmark Church. What they did is absolutely unconscionable for anyone who considers the Scripture to be the infallible and authoritative Word of God. The pastoral epistles are very clear regarding the qualifications of a pastor, and Blankenship’s disinterest – and I would go so far as to say hatred – for the Holy Bible is evident.
While the Scripture speaks much of love, love calls to repentance. While the Scripture speaks of forgiveness, forgiveness is given by a repentance-producing faith (and Greg Locke is not repentant; his innocent wife would come home, if only he would let her). While the Scripture speaks of restoration, restoration is a consequence of repentance. And, while the Scripture speaks of restoration, nowhere does it indicate that a man who has fallen so terribly in ministry should resume the preaching task from a church pulpit, least of all while he is still stubbornly clinging to his sin.
So then, an admin of Pulpit & Pen, Tim Weakley, attended Benchmark Church last night with his wife and family. As Locke began to speak, Weakely quietly and calmly approached the pulpit and asked to begin the service in prayer. He acknowledged that the church was under the attack of the devil, to the ‘amens’ and accolades of the congregation. The congregation all prayed simultaneously, with shouts of “Hallelujah!” Locke handed his microphone to Weakley, who told the congregation that his heart was troubled because Locke had not been living up to what a pastor should be.
Then a group of mostly women, and a few men, began to scream wildly at Weakley. After a few moments of watching, Blankenship joined in and physically shoved Weakley (from the video, it appears it was as hard as he could). Almost immediately, Weakley said that he was leaving because they asked him to leave. They continued to shove him and pull at him, even though Weakley was trying to leave. They tried to snatch his camera. They also tried to take his wife’s camera and physically shoved her (this is also on video).
Weakley continued to plead with them, “You’re assaulting me.” One individual – we think it was the pastor – said, “You haven’t even seen assault yet.”
So much for love, forgiveness, reconciliation. The people at Benchmark Church hate the Gospel’s call to repentance every much as the mob that stoned Stephen. They hate the Gospel’s call to repentance every bit as much as the Synagogue attendees in Ephesus. For them, even a (very polite) call to prayer and a (very polite) admonishment with the simple words, “This man is not living up to what a pastor should be” was met with violence.
Locke went on to preach a self-aggrandizing message, comparing himself to Christ and talking about how “everybody has haters.” Locke brushed off the incident as one of the usual protests that follow him. Although, this time it wasn’t the LGBT or liberals or God-haters. This time it was a church member in a Biblical, New Testament church who personally believes in the Inerrancy of Scripture, the true Gospel, the sinfulness of homosexuality (and the surety of all of God’s law), and personal evangelism. Tim Weakley doesn’t hate the Gospel. He’s an evangelist. He’s a church member. He’s on Jesus’ team. Tim Weakley wasn’t trying to attack the church, but protect it. In the end, it might be that Benchmark Church is not actually a church at all, given their instinctive, guttural and violent reaction to any mention of Scripture that seems inconvenient to them.
You can watch the full video of the rebuke and subsequent assault, as filmed from Tim’s camera, here.
Interestingly, Locke says that he knew as soon as he put his hand on Tim “it was going to go that way,” but it was after that Locke handed his microphone to Tim.
You can watch the full video as filmed from the church’s Livestream here (start at about the 27 minute mark).
Afterward, Weakley provides his own thoughts about the ordeal, as you can see below.
After the sermon, this is how the pastor – Benjamin Blankenship – chose to respond on his Facebook page:
The same half-baked busybodies gossiping hate-mongers, and the mindless cronies who follow them rather that God that are attacking him have made threats against myself for refusing to bar Pastor Greg Locke from our service that I’d initially booked him for way back in the fall of last year. While the list of things that I’ve done in my ministry has been sizable & unnoticed by some. I find myself getting caught in the crossfire of these sanctimonious jerks, internet trolls, and weak minded people who follow them and their #fakenews (I’m referring to internet dribble).
One wonders what the “fake news” Blankenship is referring to. Locke has confessed to putting his wife on the bus. He did say it was her idea, but text messages (which Locke says were his) reveal it was not her idea and the divorce was forced upon her. Locke confessed to saying those nasty things to his wife, albeit he shrugged it off as being in a moment of stress. Locke confesses to being divorced (he is not divorced, but he is trying as hard as he can to get divorced – even with a wife who is trying to reconcile). Locke confessed these things to us on the phone (it’s not hearsay). He confessed these things to the Christian Post. His mother has confirmed these things with us on the phone. The family of his new lover has confirmed these things. It’s been reported on accurately. Locke hasn’t sued us for libel because he can’t; the truth isn’t libel. Vast numbers of his church have left. It’s only people who are either illiterate or not caring about the Bible who think it’s a good idea he be behind a pulpit.
Likewise, the only “hate mongers” are those who – like Blankenship – hate the Gospel’s call to repentance. They hate the Holy Bible and the pastoral epistles. Greg Locke hates his wife. He hates his mother. To these people, love looks like hate and hate looks like love. Their instinctual, guttural, intuitive hatred of the mentioning of sin indicates their lostness and form of religion, minus the real godliness or power.