After months of denying they were in an intimate relationship before his recent divorce, Greg Locke, the outspoken internet preacher and lead pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, has married his administrative assistant and ex-wife's best friend, Tai Cowan McGee.
Pulpit and Pen first cited a copy of the newlywed's marriage certificate filed in Wilson County, showing that Locke, 42, and McGee who also recently went through a divorce, were married on Tuesday by Global Vision Bible Church's Executive Pastor Jarrod Almond. The marriage came after Locke legally divorced his ex-wife Melissa, whom he said he "loved for 21 years."
In confirming the nuptial in an interview with The Christian Post Thursday morning, Locke said his divorce from Melissa was official in May, not six weeks ago as Pulpit and Pen has claimed.
"The divorce and remarriage is a fact. Everybody knows that," Locke said when asked about the Pulpit and Pen post which he said contains libelous information.
Locke, who has four children with Melissa, including two who were adopted, shot to internet fame after he posted a video on Facebook on April 22, 2016, criticizing Target for its new policies on gender-neutral bathrooms. He has since become well-known for his support of hardline conservative values, including his opposition to divorce.
Locke said Thursday he will continue preaching against divorce despite his failed marriage.
"I still preach against divorce. I'm in a series right now in Ephesians, I'm encroaching on Chapter 5. You know, I'm gonna have to preach about marriage. Husband's love your wives as Christ loves the Church, that's a difficult balance right now but I'm gonna have to learn to be a way better husband than I was the first go round," he said of his new marriage.
"There's no doubt. We (Locke and his ex-wife) both contributed to the failure of our marriage ... and so I'm gonna have to learn to be a biblical husband in the strictest sense of the word. I'm not gonna change the fact that I'm still very conservative, my values and morals. Is divorce wrong? Yeah. Does God offer forgiveness? There is only one unforgivable sin in the Bible and it's not divorce. It's the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit," he said.
"It's certainly not a situation I thought I would ever find myself in but I'm here and what I'm finding now is that our phone is ringing off the hook with pastors that have gone through or are going through the very same thing. Guys that I never would have imagined that are divorced and remarried or are in the process," he added.
Since news broke of his personal life earlier this year, Locke has been the subject of several unsavory headlines, some of which accused him of being both physically and verbally abusive to his wife who struggles with mental illness.
He said there are details in his sealed divorce files that would totally "exonerate" him.
"Nobody wants to hear that side of the story and Pulpit and Pen just wants to spin nonsense and burn my life to the ground. And the facts are the facts. I retain the kids. We finally got amicable. She's got two, I've got two. I'm remarried. She's moving on with her life. We're trying to be as friendly as we can," he said.
As recently as January, his new wife was listed on Global Vision's website as an administrative assistant at the church. It was around the same time that it was reported that Locke had separated from Melissa and had been courting McGee.
When asked if he was aware of the optics of his new marriage in light of previous reports about their relationship, he replied: "I'm legally remarried and I'm legally divorced. What it looks like? ... I'm not gonna live crazy and single for the rest of my life and just live in misery because my ex-wife decided to burn my life to the ground publicly with a bunch a lies about abuse and stuff which my kids were mortified by," he said.
In an interview with CP January, Locke said his relationship with McGee then was platonic. He explained that she was his ex-wife's best friend and their families were close because of that.
"The 'lady' in question (McGee) has worked for our church for a long time and been my wife's best friend for a very long time, and both of our families have been the closest of friends. We have done things together for years and that has never come into question and been a problem until all of a sudden this happened and I became single," Locke told CP in January.
When asked how their relationship flowered into a marriage, Locke explained that things began to change after his divorce with Melissa was finalized in May.
"We were a week from the finalization of the divorce. Had we talked about 'hey, let's go out on a date when all of this is done? Yeah.' ... Of course there were feelings. We just didn't know what to do with them until things were legal," Locke explained.
He said in July they both went to the elders of their church to discuss their relationship and "we went for it in August just like the paperwork says."
Lock said even though McGee still works at the church, as the director of his Facebook ministry where he has some 1.5 million followers, the church had to remove her profile due to safety reasons.
"She still works at the church. We had to take her off because of this bunch of nonsense. Getting death threats and letters in the mail ... cameras in her face everywhere she goes," he said.
He described the relationship between McGee and his ex-wife as cordial "because of the kids" and added that Melissa is taking their marriage "very well" because "she's got her own stuff."
His congregation has also come to terms with his new life, he said.
"The church is fine. The church is growing. We lost people because I got divorced and in the evangelical world if you're a pastor and get divorced it's like you've got leprosy. I lost a lot of friends, a lot of meetings," he said. "It's not ideal. That's for sure. This is not the position that people want to find themselves in. It is what it is there's no doubt about that."
Asked if he believes his divorce will affect his credibility as he teaches against it, he said: "It will with people that can't get past the stigma but it won't with people that are broken. People that are living in brokenness they couldn't care less whether I've been divorced or not."
According to his bio, Locke founded Global Vision Bible Church in November 2006 and has traveled around the world preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He dedicated his life to Christ as a teenager while he was a ward at the Good Shepherd Children's Home in Murfreesboro. He was sent there after multiple arrests, according to The Tennessean.
He said he went to a revival with other teenagers from the home one night and listened to a preacher railing against violence in rap music and misguided teens.
The message hit him hard and he confronted the preacher whose calm response made him "even more angry."
"Every time he spoke, it was like it was talking to me," he said of the preacher. He eventually responded to an altar call during the revival and ended up praying and crying with a basketball coach from a local Christian school and later felt the call to preach.