TN Pastor Organizes Halloween Book Burning of ‘Occult-Related’ Materials

By Josh Shepherd
greg locke halloween burning
Pastor Greg Locke led members of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in a book-burning event on February 2, 2022. (Photos: Video screengrab / Facebook).

A controversial Tennessee pastor and revivalist preacher has planned a “massive burning” service at his church, calling on Christians to bring occult-related books and materials to be destroyed.

Greg Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in the Nashville suburb of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, announced the plans on Monday through his Facebook page.

“On HALLOWEEN NIGHT, at 7:00PM, we will once again gather in our church parking lot and have a massive burning,” he wrote. “Bring every form of witchcraft, the occult, new age, satanism and sorcery. It ALL NEEDS TO GO!!”

His 570-word post provided a lengthy list of items to burn, including spell books, “demonic trinkets and idols,” and anything connected to freemasonry or “the masonic lodge.”

In the past year, Locke has sparked controversy for appearing on the ReAwaken Tour, a series of political rallies in evangelical-Charismatic churches, protesting the 2020 election results and COVID mitigation measures.

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Locke also has made headlines for claiming in a sermon that developmental disorders such as autism are signs of “demonic oppression.” He also said in a sermon that demons had revealed to him the first and last names of “full-blown, spell-casting” witches who had infiltrated his church.

And last February, he held a similar book-burning event.

Locke noted in his recent post: “I’ve been called Hitler 10,000 times for burning books and such. The news media was unsparing and the witchcraft world hasn’t stopped talking about it for the last 8 months.”

The pastor’s list of items for congregants to burn included other items purportedly linked to witchcraft: board games, Harry Potter books, “ungodly and devilish music,” horror movies, “Catholic statues and rosary beads,” and “Yoga related nonsense.”

mark tooley
Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley, president of The Institute on Religion and Democracy, which advocates for Christian orthodoxy in churches, took issue with Locke’s latest inflammatory initiative.

“There’s no Gospel-centered purpose in conflating Catholic items of worship with the occult,” Tooley told The Roys Report (TRR). “And there’s little Gospel purpose in publicly burning Halloween items.”

Tooley said Christians should denounce paganism. But he took issue with Locke’s approach. “Locke is a sensationalist whose ministry seems to depend on provocation and controversy,” Tooley said.

TRR reached out to Locke for further comment but did not receive a reply.

However, in his post, Locke linked burning “occult” materials to a believer’s discipleship walk.

“People need to publicly let the devil know that we follow Christ and will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” he wrote. “If you’re gonna rise to the next level in your walk you CANNOT tolerate witchcraft, curses and demonism. BURN IT!!”

A Lifeway Research survey released this week noted that only 13% of pastors said they encourage their church members to “avoid Halloween completely.”

Alternately, 71% of pastors say they host alternative ‘fall festival’ church events and over half urge relationship-building by giving candy to children and families engaged in holiday activities.

In a recent sermon addressing Halloween, Locke explicitly condemns any interaction with ‘trick-or-treaters’ as “devil worship.”  

“I’m not asking you to be a jerk,” he said. “But my door ain’t gonna open and my porch light ain’t gonna be on, on October 31st. I ain’t feeding these kids candy.”

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.

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27 thoughts on “TN Pastor Organizes Halloween Book Burning of ‘Occult-Related’ Materials”

  1. Halloween not anywhere as scary as this pastor. Maybe Tennessee will be another place I would not visit or even drive through if this is the way things are going there. Willful ignorance.

    1. Greg Locke, what happened? Fame, money, attention, becoming a celebrity?

      I know Greg, I’ve preached at that church, helped organize and launch their small group ministry several years ago.

      Right after they rebranded as Global Vision I met Greg and his team in East Nashville at a little coffee shop. Greg was very mellow and humble at the time. The church was maybe 125 people. I still have the check they paid me with, just because of who Greg is now and get a laugh out of it. I have been tempted at times to send the money back with a note, Hey Greg,
      I don’t want anything to do with this money or your “church”.

      It was soon after my helping out with Global Vision that Greg went after fame. It started with him doing some rap video’s that were bad in so many different ways. Then it just continued to spiral out of control from there.

      This isn’t his first book burning and I’m sure not his last. He has a pattern of doing something outrageous as he slips out of the headlines.

      The guy is a walking controversy created all by himself!

  2. This pastor seems to lack wisdom and charity. Kids going door to door and the adults practicing occult are two different things. I have close family in the occult. But my wife and I are Christians and our kids trick or treat because we know the one “who loves God is known by God. [and] even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”
    So, I agree with the pastor that occult is to be avoided! But I don’t agree that taking a stand against the kids trick or treating accomplishes anything. There is no lack of evil in this world (from greed to devil worship) and he should take a stand against that instead because it really does harm people.

    1. What is sad, is we live in a country that claims Religious Freedom and yet these type of actions still occur in our country. No religion has rights over another religion. No religion has the right to suppress or oppress another religion. These types of actions can never produce good things only negative.

  3. I’m thrilled he is doing this. Witchcraft, sorcery, power encounters, occult…are all detestable to God. The demonic world is real. He’s simply getting serious about doing something about it.

    1. The issue with this is ,we live in the USA that claims Religious Freedom without persecution. If any religion or pastor commits actions such as this are they not violating the rights of those other religions? Doesn’t the Bible say to strive to live in peace with ALL man ?

      1. Rabindranath Ramcharan

        If people want to hand over their own collections of problematic materials to have them burned publicly, how does that violate anyone else’s rights? See Acts 19:19.

  4. Rabindranath Ramcharan

    If he’s wanting people to burn all their “Masonic ” symbols, let’s see him do the Eye in the Pyramid on the back of the US $1 bill.

  5. OK, provided they neither buy or steal these occcult books and/or materials for the purpose (You remember what good thing happened when bishop Tunstall bought Tyndale bibles in order to burn them? and, of course, steaing is wrong).

  6. Some Observations and questions

    1. I’m sure many will make a case from the Acts 19:19 scroll burning incident at Ephesus.
    2. How did these folks get these things? (Will there be missing books from libraries)
    3. Will copies of The Art of the Deal qualify?
    4. Nazis liked to burn books

  7. This is nothing more than religious theater. If you want to get a following today on the right, you just have to be provocative with the goal of “making the libs heads explode.”

    Maybe we Christians on the rights have always fallen for that kind of thing. But I think with the internet and social media, it has gone to the next level.

  8. I wonder if this church obtained a permit to do this? Probably not because that’s “da gob’ment”. Nut job extremists like this guy have always and will always exist. So long as there are people willing to pay his salary and church budget. The full length denim skirt industry seems safe for now.

  9. People burning ouija boards, tarot cards etc, is a good thing. Yea I was a watching Harry Potter movie and the teacher was educating the class on necromancy, sorry but necromancy is wicked.

    I am shocked how big Halloween has now become in the U.S. , while I can barely find Jesus during the Christmas season in the public square any longer.

    1. Wizardry and witchcraft aren’t real. It’s fantasy, made up to provide entertainment or scare the gullible. More skepticism needed.

      I grew up in the UK where churches typically (and rightly) dismiss it all as nonsense. When I moved to the US, I was astounded at the amount of handwringing there is among Christians who believe this superstitious silliness is real. I still have difficulty understanding why so many American Christians obsess about it. Did people learn nothing from the Salam Witch Trials or the Satanic Panic of the 1980s?

      1. Do people in the U.K. still go to church? I think about 3 to 4 percent of the population goes to church on a weekly basis.

        The people I have worked with from the U.K. over the years, basically see Christianity as a joke. These people are well educated (Oxford, Cambridge).

        I am not exactly sure what happened to the church in the U.K. over the years, but the basic argument is that it compromised itself with the world system. An example would be to go with the flow in order to get into a good university

      2. “Wizardry and witchcraft aren’t real. It’s fantasy, made up to provide entertainment or scare the gullible.” Not according to the Bible:

        Deuteronomy 18:10-14
        10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
        11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
        12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.
        13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
        14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

      3. Galatians 5:19-21

        Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

      4. 2 Kings 21:6
        And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

  10. And lest anyone think that Greg Locke is some unknown, unimportant kook from Tennessee, he is speaking this weekend in Pennsylvania, sharing the stage with Eric Trump, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.

    The Pillow Guy is pushing election conspiracies. A “prophetess” is giving a ‘word from the Lord.”

    And another prophet claimed today that God is sending the Angel of Death before the end of this year to take out Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Justice Roberts, Lindsey Graham and others before “reinstalling Donald Trump as President of the United States!”

    It is really something where our church has ended up.

    https://twitter.com/letsgomathias/status/1583461331738726400?t=2UTCm-YIAajL8Gev2JUaMg&s=19

  11. Tony Nazarowski

    I’m interested in numbers from first hand accounts here.
    1. How many people have been personally harmed by a witch?
    2. How many people have been personally harmed by a pastor, or other church leader, who has abused their position of power?

    My unscientific guess is more people would identify with #2. Just a guess.

  12. Acts 19:18-19

    Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

  13. I think getting rid of occult material is a good thing, but this smacks of grandstanding and publicity seeking, especially given that Locke is already known for courting public controversy. I thin it’s important to point out that the event recorded in the Book of Acts, was a spontaneous event that came from the people themselves, not a sponsored event that came from a big named leader known for seeking attention.

  14. Anybody who views Witches as a threat should be taken very seriously. Failure to do so could result in a repeat of Salem 1692.

    1. Amanda Ingalls,

      Anybody (or thing) that is a threat to a child’s (or your) relationship with God should be taken very seriously, failure to do so could result in eternal damnation. That does not mean “burn them at the stake”, but it does mean we are to call out the deceptions, lies, and teach how to protect against spiritual attacks. Evil will always downplay itself as “harmless fun” or innocent of any ulterior motive.

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