It is with great joy that Christians throughout the world will soon celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, starting on Good Friday and continuing through Easter Sunday. These two holidays mark the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In a span of three days, Christ defeated the grave and gave mankind the opportunity to be reconciled with God the Father in a restored creation. For many churches Easter is the highest attended Sunday of the year. Many congregations hope that the crowds they draw for Easter will remain as faithful attendees all year long. Thus, special services are often planned for Easter Sunday. If the biggest Sunday of the year for churches is Easter, then the biggest Friday of the year is Good Friday. As is the case with Easter Sunday, Good Friday church events are often held with the hopes of drawing crowds to church those who don’t usually come to services. One such event was to be held at the Kegley Praise and Worship Center in Princeton West, Virginia. The event’s featured speaker was to be internet-famous Tennessee preacher Greg Locke (of Global Vision Bible Church). However, that event has been cancelled.
Perhaps the personal conduct of the embattled Locke is finally catching up to him. Locke is in the midst of a contentious divorce with his estranged wife, who is currently residing in a Georgia women’s shelter. In an interview with this author, Locke’s wife accused him of physical abuse. Recent reports from Pulpit & Pen (some of which I have written) have brought to light Locke’s disturbing profanity-laced tirades, sermon plagiarism, and multiple accusations from disaffected former church members. Locke was even challenged at the pulpit while guest-preaching at another church’s revival services earlier this month. In the midst of the news of Locke’s disqualifying personal conduct, the dubious nature of one of his most famous internet claims has gone unexamined. Soon after the news surrounding Locke’s divorce proceedings first came to light, Locke released a video about churches and racism that went viral. That video currently has over 31 million views. In it, Locke claims to have met a black man that inquired if black people were welcome at Global Vision Bible Church. As a result of this supposed meeting Locke went on a tirade against racism in churches. The popularity of his video drew coverage from a local news station. While Locke’s condemnation of racism is laudable, there is some question as to whether his meeting with this black man actually took place. Furthermore, in his video Locke claimed to have “dozens and dozens and dozen of precious black folk at his church.”
Locke’s claim struck me as false front the onset. Doing the math, “dozens and dozens and dozens” would indicate that at least seventy-two black people were members of his church (24+24+24=72). I recognize that Locke wasn’t providing an exact number of black church members but the language he used certainly indicated that there were more than a few black members of Global Vision Bible Church. When CNN visited Locke’s Church this April, its report described Locke as preaching “to pews full of white conservative, evangelical Christians.” CNN’s video supported its account. A CNN shot from behind the pulpit shows (clearly) one black individual in Locke’s congregation.
Locke’s church is known to have multiple services so perhaps more black congregants were present at another time that Sunday. However, the small room at Global Vision looks like it would struggle to seat “dozens and dozens and dozens” of any type of people. So where are all these dozens of precious black folk? Today, I spoke with Locke’s wife on the phone and inquired of her what the level of black membership is at the church. According to her, it’s three.**
Three…not “dozens and dozens and dozens.”
Once again, it seems like that Greg Locke has been caught in an online-lie. Like the other on-line lie*** in which Greg has been caught, this one is strongly supported by evidence. Those church members who still have faith in Greg Locke’s honestly and fitness to be a pastor can test this claim with their own eyes. Where are all the black members Locke bragged about in social media and in the news when he was under fire for his personal problems?
It appears that they are as non-existent as his pastoral qualifications. If the black man who is the subject of Greg Locke’s viral video is reading this, please contact me at talkaback @pulpitandpen.org. I’d like to know that you actually exist.
[Contributed by Seth Dunn]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
**This number does not include what Locke considers to be his “online” church members who do not attend in person but watch services from elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, Melissa may have meant three black families.
***His previous lie regarded the finality of his divorce. Locke is not divorced. In fact at the time Locke made that claim his wife had already dismissed her divorce suit against him. Locke, who claimed to have been left like Charles Stanley, later filed a divorce suit of his own.
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