Bob Gray Sr, The Politicking, Rick Perry Loving, Gun Toting, Comedian of Texas

winner of gun give away

Pastor John Koletas shaking hands with gun give away winner. Photo by David Handschuh.

On March 23, 2014, Bob Gray, former pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, held a meeting at Grace Baptist Church in Troy, New York. Grace Baptist Church is a King James Only, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation pastored by John Koletas, a gun loving follower of Jack Hyles. According to a recent VICE article, the church has about 75 members. Gray was there for a special service that attracted 150 people. What was special you ask? The church was giving away a “M&P semiautomatic rifle, Smith & Wesson’s version of the AR-15.” (a gun dealer, The Oakwood Trading Post, sponsored the give away)

Fundamentalist churches using firearm give aways is old news, but what I found newsworthy was what Bob Gray said while he was there.  Roc Morin, a writer for VICE, had this to say:

…The guest speaker, Dr. Bob Grey (Should actually be Gray), took to the podium to a loud round of applause and shouts of Amen from the crowd of 150. The church held twice the number of parishioners as it does on a typical Sunday. The Texan announced that he was in town promoting Rick Perry for president. He called the politician “the greatest man I know!”

Grey warmed up the crowd with a joke about a man’s wife dying on a visit to the Holy Land. The man was asked whether he wanted to have his wife buried there or shipped home. He chose to have her shipped home, saying, “Last time they buried a guy in the Holy Land, he rose in three days, and I’m not taking any chances!” The audience ate it up.

There was a lot of jokes, but each was followed by a serious message, spoonfuls of sugar to help the medicine go down. “Hell is very real, my friends,” he reminded us. “There is evil in the world.”…

I wonder if Bob Gray realizes that he may have jeopardized the tax exempt status of Grace Baptist Church by politicking for Rick Perry? I am sure that Gray had no thought about what he said or whether it might materially affect the tax exempt status of the church. I am sure he didn’t think for one moment that the reporter would actually write down what he said and use it in his story. But he did, Dr. Bob….and now others will know that you used the pulpit of Grace Baptist Church to endorse  Rick Perry. Unless the church has become a reporting for profit/non-profit, Gray’s endorsement is a clear violation Federal law. On Monday, I intend to contact the Federal Elections Commission about filing a complaint.

According to the church’s website, the gun give away has created quite a bit of controversy for the church. There is a long, rambling statement on their website about the give away. In classic IFB fashion, they are unrepentant.

I find it interesting that on the very day that Gray used humor to warm up the crowd before preaching to them on hell and the evil world (another news story said the main focus was on God and Guns), that Gray wrote a blog post justifying the use of humor in the pulpit. I suppose it could be a coincidence that Gray posted a chapter from his book about Jack Hyles that dealt with using humor in the pulpit. After all, Gray’s comedy act was no different from what I heard countless IFB preachers say when I attended IFB conferences and special meetings in the 1980′s.  Gray should ask himself why should ANYONE take him seriously when before he preaches on hell and the evil world he tells jokes? I remember sitting in a Sword Conference near Akron, Ohio in the early 1980′s and hearing Jack Hyles himself, in a rare moment of humility, lament all the joke telling and lofty introductions speakers were given. How real can hell be if the preacher thinks so little of his somber subject that he spends the first part of his sermon warming up the crowd with lame jokes?

I hope you will take the time to read Roc Morin’s article. It provides excellent insight into what IFB churches believe and how IFB churches function. Let his article be a reminder to those of us who fled the IFB cult that running from the insanity was the best decision we ever made.

Comments (9)

  1. Steve

    One of this dudes boyfriends is also our favorite pedophile, Dr. Schaap. He’s got sermons on their website. Did you see those?

    Ashame they didn’t use that damn gun on Gray! Haha!

    But, of course they need their guns to protect them from Washington tyranny. When the drones fly over, they can shoot them down with them, lol :)

  2. Stephanie

    Just don’t get me going on Rick Perry, just don’t.

  3. Steve

    Ok, tell us what you think of GRP, Stephanie, lmao!!!

  4. tlethbridge

    I am a 2nd Amendment guy, but even when I was still inside the church I found the tying of guns and god to be somewhat odd. Part of that might be growing up with my father as pastor, he was not (and is not) a fan of firearms. I suppose one of my first acts of independence was beginning hunting, target shooting, and choosing law enforcement as a career.

    I still don’t see where gun culture and the New Testament mesh well. My father felt he needed no firearms as God would take care of him. I guess I put more faith in a sight alignment. The similarity I do see is both gun people and Christians have sense of threat to their beliefs/values/rights that is out of proportion to the threat I see. I am a lifetime NRA member but some of their appeals for donations are almost as apocalyptic as the evangelical “the gays are taking over the world” stuff.

    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Generally, I support the second amendment. I would like to see the law tightened up, background checks for all, clip limits, etc. I do have a problem with the current concealed carry laws and stand your ground laws.

      I grew up around guns, bought my first gun at age 12. My Dad was a gun collector, owned a gun store, and worked as an auxiliary sheriff. My brother is in law enforcement. He was the Marshall of Tombstone, AZ for 9 years.

      I love shooting guns and I hunted for many years. I lost interest in hunting and I now “shoot” wildlife with a camera. Some of the NRA, hunting rhetoric drives me crazy, but I think people should have the right to own guns, target shoot, and hunt.

      That said, we have a huge problem with gun violence in the US. Arizona is an open carry state. My brother told me that he had dumb asses, strapping a revolver, come up to him, thinking they were being funny, and say, draw Marshall. Angered the hell out of him. Because Tombstone is so close to the border, he saw a lot of violence and people brandishing firearms made him nervous.

      I no longer own any guns but the reason I don’t is a matter of personal safety. Since I go through bouts of deep depression, we concluded that having a gun in the house was probably not a good idea.

      Sadly gun control is like regulating abortion. Neither side is willing to compromise so we end up with extreme rhetoric that is great for raising money but does little to make either safer.

  5. Ken NJ

    I also have wondered this when Hilary Clinton pulls into Harlem, NY City for her appearances. Fair is fair in determining this tax issue, although she may just bash those opposed to her instead of promoting Bill/herself.

    1. Troy

      Hillary actually is using the fact she is not an office holder to her distinct advantage. She is cagey about running, but when she released a statement supporting gay marriage a couple of years ago it was clear to me at that point she was running. (Otherwise why mention it?) Not holding an office allows her to raise as much money as she wants and not have to follow election laws regarding the money collected. While Hillary has a keen tactical political mind, she isn’t all that honorable. She is also lacking a lot of her husband’s charisma. (I’d prefer Elizabeth Warren, myself)

  6. Troy

    Politicking in church could and should revoke tax exempt status. The reality is even though it is extremely common it is almost never enforced.

  7. Stephanie

    Ok. The reason I don’t like Rick Perry, well more than one. It started because I had to read an article about the changes he wanted to make to the Constitution. How conservative *rolling my eyes* He actually wanted to make it so Supreme Court Decisions could be overridden with a 2/3 vote from the House and Senate. A Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. And finally an Amendment to ban abortion. Nope, not intrusive at all. Plus, when the abortion filibuster happened and succeeded because they didn’t get to vote in time, he called for a “special session” so he could get his pet bill in and pass it. Just seemed sneaky to me, no matter the issue.

    And guns, yeah, I am a 2nd Amendment supporter. Grew up around guns. Dad supports the NRA, which I have to hear about and no I don’t plan on becoming a member. Just not one of my pet issues, I guess. Background checks, gun safety are important. I don’t support registration and a lot of the other extremely restrictive laws that have been put in place in some states such as California and New York.


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