- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2024

Greg Locke received a shock as he approached his church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, on Easter Sunday — the sight of a trailer full of Bibles smoldering in the aftermath of an arson attack.

“That morning, when I walked over to the church, we literally had police and fire trucks everywhere,” said Mr. Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church. “They took me down and showed me the trailer and our security was there. … There’s 150 to 200 Bibles on that trailer and they just set it ablaze, blocking the main entrance road to our parking lot.”

Investigators “have all of our security footage,” which shows a six-minute clip of the individual parking the trailer in the driveway and igniting the fire, he said.

“They got it all on video,” he added. “They’ll find him. They’ll figure out who it is.”

Mr. Locke said if the Bible burners had hoped to derail the day’s worship activities, they failed.

“Our people just found three different ways to get there,” he said, “and it was cleaned up by the time church happened.”

Mr. Locke has been a lightning rod for controversy in the past few years — he’s protested COVID-19 restrictions and organized the burning of occult materials at the church. He said he hopes an FBI investigation of the crime will silence critics who say the church staged the book burning as a publicity stunt.

“I won’t even lay my Bible on the ground, so I’m definitely not going to burn a trailer full of them,” he said.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Locke said he would “try to minister” to the arsonist if they ever met “because he has some deep seated rebellion, some hurt some unforgiveness … something happened somewhere” that prompted the incident. They definitely have some deep-seated spiritual issues. And I’d be willing to sit down with him over a cup of coffee and work with him.”

The fire “doesn’t inhibit what we’re doing, really. He thought the fire was gonna slow us down, but it lit a fire in our people and it just makes them go [forward] all the more,” the pastor said.

For now, Mr. Locke said he’s anticipating an April 23 one-night-only event in which two documentary films — “Come Out In Jesus Name,” about his church’s deliverance ministry, and “The Domino Revival,” spotlighting pastor Mike Signorelli’s evangelistic outreach — will be shown nationwide via Fathom Events.

He said the two-hour “Miracles at the Movies” event, which also will feature “30 minutes of ministry,” should have the same appeal the documentaries enjoyed when first shown last year.

“Even in the secular world, people are interested in the supernatural,” Mr. Locke said. “There is a rise obviously in the Christian movement of the supernatural and miracles and things, but even on the New Age side and in the secular side, and even amongst Satanists al— l that people are intrigued [by] — look at all the movies that are coming out — about demons [and] exorcisms.”

“It’s a documentary of real life things that are taking place and people see that and [say] ‘Wow, if they can do that for them, then why can’t I make the trip to that tent and see them do that for me?’” he said.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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