Let’s face it: we live in an age in which the church needs to shine the light of Jesus more than ever. Unfortunately, too many Christians have beclowned themselves with blind support for Donald Trump, regardless of his moral failings or ridiculous Twitter rants.
Case in point: Greg Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennesee. The church hosts four weekend services and midweek Bible studies, and Locke delivers his sermons with a gentle Southern twang. By all accounts, Global Vision doesn’t look like a megachurch, but somehow Locke has over a million followers to his Facebook page and more than 30,000 followers on Twitter.
And that’s where he has stepped into a controversy. One recent tweet put Locke squarely on the Trump train and embroiled him in controversy:
— Pastor Greg Locke (@pastorlocke) March 25, 2018
In other tweets from the same night, he refers to those who don’t blindly support the president as “fake moral freedom fighters” and says that Trump’s questionable morality is just fine… because, Judas Iscariot, of course!
Now, Locke probably relishes the attention he’s getting. After all, his cover photo on Twitter is of himself dressed in his finery addressing a gaggle of reporters. He also appeared on a CNN profile about religion in Tennessee. But the notoriety Locke doesn’t seek is the expose from the website Pulpit & Pen from about three weeks before the pastor’s Trump-love rant.
Why am I bringing this up? The story that Pulpit & Pen writer Seth Dunn tells proves that Locke is much more like Trump than any man who preaches the gospel should be.
Greg Locke’s wife Melissa stood behind him through thick and thin. They stuck it out through tough times, and she supported him when he started Global Vision Bible Church. They had four children together. But, nearly two decades into their marriage, Melissa says that Greg began a pattern of abuse that led her to leave. She now lives in a women’s shelter in Georgia.
In a series of texts that Greg Locke admits came from him, he berated Melissa. He fat-shamed her. He told her over the phone that he wished she would die and even suggested that she take a bunch of pills to kill herself. When Melissa withdrew her divorce papers and expressed a desire to reconcile, Greg refiled for divorce. He peppered his abuse with four- and five-letter words that absolutely don’t befit a man who takes to the pulpit to proclaim the Word of God.
I read them with disgust. In his texts, some of which were sent to a phone provided to Melissa by GVBC, Locke belittles and verbally abuses the woman who has stood by him for two decades…
All of Locke’s texts are too numerous to include here. However, it is clear from what has been provided that Greg talks down to Melissa in the vilest language, calling her a “b#&!h”, telling her “f#&k you,” predicting that she will be “sleeping with strangers,” and belittling her for weight gain. This is the language of a man who hates his wife and is less than fond of his own mother. This is also the language of a man who stood up on national TV, pointed his finger at a congregation of people of whom he is supposed to be the shepherd and said, “You, ladies and gentlemen, must get right with God.”
Knowing what I now know about Greg Locke, I can’t help but wonder if he supports Donald Trump so fervently because they’re birds of a feather. I can see that how the way Locke treated his wife makes it easy for him to turn a blind eye to the president’s history of belittling women.
In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tells us that mature Christians should “no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Unfortunately, sometimes those winds of teaching can be political. As long as men like Greg Locke overlook the obvious shameful behavior of men like Donald Trump, they will blow believers about and hinder their maturity. And the church winds up hurting as a result.