Popular internet preacher Greg Locke declared Monday that he will not step down from the helm of his Tennessee church despite repeated calls from critics to do so.
"[Over] the last six months or so, there's been a lot of vitriol, a lot of lies, deception, assumptions. The news media has been massively horrendous. It's been hurtful. It's been a lot of basketball-sized ulcers, a lot of chewing the fingernails ... and a lot of sleepless nights ... It's been a very difficult road, especially the lies and the foolishness and the nonsense and the made-up stuff," Locke, who leads Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, began in a viral video message he titled "PASTOR GREG LOCKE IS STEPPING DOWN."
"... There have been thousands of people that have called for my resignation from the church, that I step down as a pastor, that I burn my ordination certificate, and all of that," he continued.
Instead of announcing he would step down, however, Locke, who revealed in January that he had taken steps to divorce his mentally unstable wife, Melissa, said the only thing he is stepping down from are the attacks from his critics.
"Pastor Greg Locke is stepping down from what the critics think about me. I'm stepping down from what the leftist media thinks about me, what the liberals think about me, what CNN thinks about me. They can try to burn my life to the ground all they jolly well please. I'm stepping away and stepping down from what the LGBTQ thinks about me. I'm not gonna back up, pack up, slack up, or shut up until I've been taken up by the glory of God," he said.
In a March interview with Pulpit & Pen, Locke's estranged wife alleged that he was both physically and verbally abusive to her during their relationship. She said she walked out on her husband after he reportedly told her during a heated quarrel: "You know Melissa, I just don't want you anymore. I don't care if you die and we have a funeral. I'll just shed a few tears over you. I don't care if you take all the pills in the house, I just want you not in my life."
Locke's critics, like Seth Dunn, an accountant and theologian who writes for Pulpit & Pen, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that many former members of Locke's church, as well as his own mother, don't believe he is fit for ministry.
"From a doctrinal standpoint, if the guy has a mentally ill wife and he has so much marriage trouble his house isn't in order, he shouldn't have been a pastor this whole time. And Greg's mom agrees with me on that," Dunn said.
Locke, who shot to fame after he posted a video on Facebook on April 22, 2016, criticizing Target for its new policies on gender-neutral bathrooms, denied abusing his wife to CP earlier this year and said he doesn't believe he is disqualified from ministry over something which he cannot control. He also confirmed that the woman he has "loved for 21 years," was living in a shelter in Georgia but insisted that this is the way she wanted to live.
"I probably have a bigger influence to broken people now 'cause after 21 years, I'm flat broke in every way imaginable. And [I] never saw this coming and everybody and anybody that's known about our situation ... they're all like, 'We saw this coming.' It's not like for a lack of not trying," he said. "Even if it is a poor testimony, which it is, that doesn't make me an adulterer. I've never abused my wife. I've done nothing but serve her, help her."