Cracker Barrel and the Act of Executing Sinners

The 3 sides chicken and dumpling dinner plate with fried okra, green beans, and fried apples – That’s what I’ll be ordering the next time I visit Cracker Barrel and thank them for not allowing a Sheriff’s office detective in Tennessee and pastor of the All Scripture Baptist Church to meet in their restaurant for a rally against the LBGTQIA community.

Let’s start from the beginning.  This Tennessee pastor from ASBC, an “independent, fundamental, King James Only, Soul-winning church” – where when you attend you shouldn’t “expect anything liberal, watered down, or contemporary” – preaches a message against homosexuality, and then Mr. (I’ll not call him pastor from here on out) Grayson Fritts loses his mind and calls for the arrest and execution of those in the LGBTQIA community.

Now I haven’t seen the video as YouTube has taken it down, though this gem right here is still up, but I’ve seen quite a few of these types of messages and here’s what happens.  Dude stands up and starts preaching, and he goes off about a particular sin that the Bible says.  Then the crowd starts to get into it.  Then the dude starts to get excited because the crowd gets into it and he (it is most definitely always a “he”) starts railing harder on the sin.  The crowd cheers and yells “amen” loudly, which only serves to excite the dude more, and then he rails either more deeply about that particular sin or starts preaching against all kinds of other sins.  Many many times this leads to the dude taking his preaching 1) too far and outside of the scope of his point or 2) completely out of context from the what the Bible actually says, though dude would certainly say defend himself by saying something like “I’m just preaching what the Bible says” which is actually a lie, but it sounds good I guess.

The last time I heard a message like this some other dude was preaching about Romans and he somehow went off on single moms who work at bars, telling every person in the room (average age 73) that God would never bless a single mother who worked in a bar.  My wife looked at me and asked me with her eyes, “Why are we sitting here?”  “Good question, Carie.”

Anyways, the video of the sermon went viral and eventually it was taken down, but clearly the dude took a lot of slack for what he said.  So instead of sorrow or apologizing for saying something so absurd as calling for the execution of people loved by God, he instead doubled down and tried to rally others who believed like he did.  “Where might a rally like this happen?” You ask.  His church? The local town green?  Nope.  Cracker Barrel.  You know, the place that smells like Christmas and Grandma’s house and usually has more people waiting than the DMV before the arrival of the internet.

Thankfully Cracker Barrel put a stop to this, writing a letter to Fritts and telling him his crew would not be welcome to meet at the Cleveland, Tennessee Cracker Barrel or any of the fine “off the highway” establishments.  Not even at the amazing row of porch rocking chairs or church pews out front.  “High five, CB!”

So here are some short points to make things more clear for us as we move forward with this part of our nations history:

  1. You’re not being persecuted if the world has a problem with you telling others they should be executed.  You’re being held accountable.
  2. You’re not being Biblical if you tell a group of people at a church that the LGBTQIA community should be arrested or executed.  You’re being an idiot.
  3. If you say something like this from a stage to a group of believers, you will be forgiven by a merciful God who loves you and should be forgiven by those people who listened.  Now please get off the stage and resign as soon as you can, for you are not a prophet or a pastor but a showman who might enjoy a good partnership with P.T. Barnum if he were still alive.

I wish these types of things wouldn’t happen, but alas, they do.  I can only say that as a Christian in the wilderness ‘I’m sorry’, and events like this, while many times not so outlandish, do a great deal of damage to the name of Jesus and his bride.  This contributes greatly to the growing number of Christians who find themselves in the wilderness.  But while we’re here, let us practice the christological effect of sacrificial love for those who we disagree with, and in the process, perhaps we will be changed to have the “lowly, humble, and servant mind of Christ.”

Also, “Ma’am, could I get a sweet tea with that?  Thank you.”

I’d love to hear your opinion on this?  Was the guy right in his thinking?  Was Cracker Barrel right or wrong?  Is there a perspective I’m missing?

Written by Marty Holman

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  1. Sad. Very sad.

  2. · Edit

    Martin, having read a bunch of your Holman Reports, and being entertained at how you always make a straw man or take a worst case example of hypocrisy in the “fundamental” or evangelical church, and your obvious disrespect of pastors (dudes you call them) and exclusion of a traditional Biblical worldview to a more inclusive (almost anything goes – my conclusion) version, to a lessening or almost total disregard to Biblical authority (my opinion again based on the body of your observations over months) leads me to suggest that you are right when you say that you are in the wilderness… and I am not being pious or super spiritual to say that for your future sake in the kingdom and those you love, I am praying for you.

    1. Hey Jack, I can see the pieces you are trying to put together to try to perceive what Martin has said here as a straw man argument, but I believe Martin’s three action points make it quite clear which audiences he is speaking to, though I think on some level he is meaning for this to be a learning experience for us all. I don’t necessarily represent Martin’s views here, but if WE are being honest (yes, I belong to the evangelical tribe as well), this incident isn’t that far off from what most mainline evangelicals believe and preach. The whole “open but not affirming” stance that is prevalent amongst evangelicals today simply takes the Old Testament human action of killing lgbtq individuals and trades it for a series of “turn or burn/pray the gay away” conversations that are neither loving or productive. It’s almost as if most evangelicals are happy enough saying “we don’t have to kill them – God will hand them over to Satan to do that later on” and then lock themselves in their comfy churches and based on the one “conversation” they had with a gay person (most likely over a megaphone), say that they “did everything they could” for “those people”. Ridiculous – if evangelicals really loved and wanted more for the lgbtq community they would start by listening and loving them where they are at, showing up at their rallies not as opposition but as friends, and having them over for dinner on a regular basis like they do with their straight friends. But no, at this point the lgbtq community is a nuisance or even a threat to the Evangelical empire, and therefore they will be placed at a distance and be punished with eternal suffering when the time is right – but we’re all better than the the pastor who wants the lgbtq people to die, right?

      1. Jack, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people like you invoke “authority” to try to intimidate people into not speaking out. I was there for Hyles—and his son. I was there for Bob Gray. I helped tear down Ruckmans house. I worked for Kent Hivind. Marty is not giving extreme one-off examples. Pastors like you are frequently the ones who allow scandal to simmer and go undisclosed lest they threaten the “authority” of the perpetrators. You ARE being pious—it’s called virtue signaling.

      2. Jack, What’s most alarming is that everything you wrote was one continuous sentence.

  3. Marty:

    Love what you said here. Not sure how people who are made in God’s image and who are susceptible to sin can call for the annihilation of others made in God’s image and equally susceptible to sin.

    Also can’t believe how some call your arguments a straw-man argument and then presenting their own SMA at the same time with the tag line, “but I’m praying for you.”

    The problem here is that those who call for the annihilation of the sinner forget a few things:
    1) they are calling for us to do what some is God’s prerogative – judgment; and ultimate judgment at that.
    2) sure Romans 1 comes into play here, but so does loving our enemy and calling for repentance.
    3) your call to love as Christ would love is not the stripping or devaluing of scripture and it’s authority. Instead it’s fulfilling our call in scripture to take the gospel, not the death penalty to people. We already have the death penalty, we need the Savior.

    Love you brother…keep up the gospel work.

  4. Honestly, people who call for violence or who hold signs saying “God hates *****” (**** = anyone) should be called out more often by the Christian community. One doesn’t need to condone the action if one considers such action sin, whatever it might be, but never try to justify violence (or inciting others to) in Jesus’ name. If so where does the line end? Kill people caught in adultery, or those who speak ill of their neighbor? We don’t want to be seen as stepping out of biblical authority just to make someone feel better about themselves, but we most certainly don’t want to tie a millstone around our own necks by using “biblical authority” as an excuse to sin ourselves. Like this article says, fringe events like this one is what the media will pick up and what the average person will see. If the big C church does not speak out against it, it could very easily be construed as agreeing with it. Knowing that I my actions be the only gospel someone reads, I don’t want to be misread. 🙂

  5. You know I will comment. That dude is a disgusting excuse for a human being if you ask me. You have more grace than I do Marty. I want to beat the living living shit out of him for inciting even MORE violence against lgbtq 🏳️‍🌈 people. What is happening is far to real and raw. Sad thing is that many people listen to him and will carry through. God doesn’t make mistakes. Lgbtq 🏳️‍🌈 people are born the way they are born. Period. It isn’t a choice. Let’s get there in that point. What did Jesus say about homosexuality? I believe nothing. He said a lot about the self righteous preachers of his day.

  6. Marty, I agree with what you are saying. The love of Christ is what we need to show the LGBT community. Jesus would be doing that if he were here now.


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