A great friend of my just sent me a link to a blog written by the lead pastor of Revolution Church in Canton Georgia. Gary Lamb’s Dirty Harry style response to their recently stolen trailer is incredibly ballsy. Below is that post. Enjoy!
I got a call this morning from Adam letting me know he was at the movie theater and our black trailer was not there. After calling everyone who could have possibly moved it and calling the city to make sure they didn’t tow it for some weird reason, we realized it has been stolen. Needless to say that wasn’t the phone call I wanted to hear this morning.
That trailer contains most of our children’s stuff that we set up in the hall and most of our sign-in equipment, along with lights and a bunch of other things. The stuff we keep in there is pretty vital to the work we do on Sunday mornings. After the initial shock wore off, I thought about www.onelifechurch.tv and how they had a trailer stolen a few months ago and how they responded. You can check that out here. They did a video talking about how they forgave the person, how they loved them, and invited them to church. It was cool and I am glad that is how they handled the situation. We’ve chosen to handle it a little different.
So I’ve been thinking for a few hours how I would respond and I thought I would send my own message to the people who stole our trailer…..Revolution style.
To the people who stole our trailer:
First let me say, God loves you. Second let me say we forgive you. We really don’t want to forgive you, but God says we should so we do. Third of all I want you to know that I think you are scum bags. I think you are lowlife degenerates who need a good butt kicking. Matter of fact I feel so strongly about the fact that you need a good butt kicking that I am volunteering to do it. I hope you believe in God because you should get on your knees and cry out to Him like never before because if we find you, I can promise we will kick the crap out of you. It won’t be pretty, it won’t be over quickly, and it will be very painful. I know that doesn’t sound very nice but I feel pretty strongly that is what you need.
I am curious what kind of lowlife you must be? Trust me, I have been around some pretty low ones before but never one that would be so low as to steal from a church. I understand you probably need some crack or something like that but stealing from a church would scare me. It would scare me more once I realized which church I stole it from. We are probably the only church you have ever heard of that will honestly break your legs once you are found.
Let me say again that we DO forgive you. But there are still consequences for your sin and your consequence will be toting a butt kicking. It is obvious you aren’t very smart so let me give you some advice. Get that trailer out of the county QUICK. As soon as I hit publish on this blog post a church of about 1000 crazy people will know that our black, children’s trailer has been stolen and I can promise they will be on the lookout for it. You would much rather me find you then one of them.
Lead Pastor, Revolution Church
Pretty shocking post, huh?
Well, one lesson I’ve learned from my public billboard beating is to reserve my judgment until I have a complete understanding of the context. (which I don’t have) I know that a typical Christian’s knee-jerk reaction is judgment and condemnation but I will choose caution before throwing my stones.
To whom is you council of caution, the warning of casting stones, being directed? To the one who wants to beat the crap out of the thief, the sinner, or,ironically, the one who says such is not reflective of the attitude of a disciple of Christ? Go to the gospel of John, chapter seven if memory serves, and read about the woman caught in the act of adultery. Do that, then come talk to me about casting stones.
Further, what part of the picture is missing in terms of context? Lamb, a pastor, makes a graphic, violent, adolescent, public statement of a desire for vengeance over the theft of the trailer. It is a crystal-clear statement found in his blog. He gives the world the words he wants to be read. There is nothing to nuance from Lamb’s post, there is no hidden context. More frightening, there are many pastors who are in harmony with his rhetoric.
There are biblical places and times for the Christian to pass righteous judgment. The book of Galatians come to mind….one example of many. Jesus and Paul both had strong words of judgment for those who call themselves followers of Christ when their actions seem otherwise. The New Testament is full of judgment and condemnation just as the Old Testament if full of mercy and grace. We are called to discern.
You seem to take more offense at my attitude than Lamb’s. Am I correct in that assertion? What part of my reaction was knee-jerk and without caution?
Sorry about that. My “casting stones” comment was not intended specifically for you. (believe me when I say that) Just reading your comment gave me flashbacks to all of the back-biting blogs written about me when I when our trailer was stolen.
I absolutely agree that Lamb’s comments were pretty harsh, I just don’t want my blog to become a forum to destroy another pastor. (whether or not I agree or disagree with their actions)
My previous comment was intended to lay down the ground-rules for subsequent comments on this post.
I totally appreciate your insight!
What initially set the red flag up for me is how he states, “We really don’t want to forgive you, but God says we should so we do.” This does not show who Jesus is. Though God can have anger, and He has shown His anger in the Old Testament, Jesus was sent to show God’s love and forgiveness for us. In turn, we are to exemplify that love and forgiveness, no matter the transgression against us. I am not about to cast stones, but it is very concerning and disheartening to see this example being set by a Christian leader.
Which is more important, the soul of the thief or the stuff in the trailer?
What response is more likely to bring someone to a decision for Christ?
I’m fascinated by the night-and-day responses from the two churches. But one of the responses saddens me as well.
Yea, that was the initial flag for me, too. Also, and I am not meaning to beat you up, I think that perhaps the common understanding that the God of the OT is one of vengeance and the one of the NT is one of love and forgiveness is perhaps a bit overstated. Jesus said many difficult things. He called the Pharisees a brood of vipers; he stated he would split families, he stated that those we refused the Gospel would face certain judgment. I could elaborate further, but I believe you get the point.
Also, your statement that “Jesus was sent to show God’s love and forgiveness for us” may need clarification. If you infer that Jesus was ‘just’ and example to be emulated, if you consider Christ as only a moral teacher, then I cannot endorse Him above the Buddha. I cannot endorse Him above Gandhi. I cannot endorse Him above an Old Testament patriarch. They differ not in kind, but only in degree. His death carries no greater meaning and import than that of Martin Luther King’s. However, if Christ is more than a teacher, if He is who He and His followers claim Him to be, the Son of God – fully God and fully sinless man – whose death on the cross precedes something greater, His physical resurrection, I then must consider Him in an altogether different light.
His is my almighty Redeemer who clothes me in His righteousness. By repentance and faith in Him, I am forgiven; I am justified by His grace and mercy, not through any effort of my own. That is the Gospel.
Remember that those forgiven much, love much. Those who are forgiven, forgive. Not to say that there are not consequences for or actions….. but we should not threaten to break the legs of someone who steals from us.
Dave, thanks for letting me ramble……
In His grip,
what is funny to me is that both the kinetic church and the revolution church response is just a tad bit off. at first i felt like the revolution church blog was a ‘fake-post’ intended to make fun of kinetic church because there very scary and leery video about ‘this moment, right now…for you trailer thief person!’ made me think i was watching david caruso on CSI Miami and it made me want to puke. but then i realized that this guy really said that stuff and think that there must be more to this story. really. no pastor in their right mind would say those things and i’m guessing the pastor is a wuss or he wouldn’t blog about beating someone up….he’d just go do it. he’d patiently, methodically, plot out the destruction of the thief rather than posting about it for the world to see. so, revolution church pastor guy…put your fist where your mouth is or shut up and kinetic church…can we please take the red cross off of the website? i think we’re being a bit dramatic…did you know that 30,000 kids die every day from preventable diseases?
I can’t tell you how helpful your comments are. Thank you!
It’s thought provoking comments like yours that will undoubtedly change the world and single-handedly prevent the death of the 30,137 kids dying from preventable diseases.
Calling a guy out for making ridiculous comments isn’t destroying another pastor. Hopefully it’s quite the opposite.
Wow… I can’t believe how juvenile that response is from Lamb.
Funny, he disabled comments on that post… Where’s the tough, masculine image he projects in that blog?
glad you think that dying kids is funny.
i’m sorry if my comments offended you, but i think you are being a bit dramatic with your approach
and could’ve had an even better effect had you toned it down just a notch. i had my car stolen 2 years ago and rather than taking out an ad in the paper forgiving the person who stole it, i called our insurance agent, received a check for the car, bought another car, and drove it to work. i may have missed something earlier but did you have insurance on the trailer?
Matt – I guess I don’t understand what you think is bad about that video? I agree that the Gary Lamb blog post isn’t my cup of tea and that it’s an approach he needs to re-think, but why are you slamming Kinetic Church?
I’m just curious…I’m not a member or even in the same state and this is my first visit to this blog, but what offends you about this approach – isn’t it much better in terms of message? Is it the music and lighting you think is over the top? I guess I just don’t get it.
What initially set the red flag up for me is how he states, “We really don’t want to forgive you, but God says we should so we do.” This does not show who Jesus is.
See, I have no problem with that part of the post. Sometimes I don’t want to forgive people, but I do so because I have been forgiven. That does in fact show who Jesus is. Pretending our hearts are pure and unblemished does not. It’s a lie.
But that’s where Lamb’s response should’ve ended. Threats of leg-breaking and butt-kicking definitely do not show who Jesus is, that’s for sure. Plus, it kinda contradicts the forgiven part, no?
yea i guess that’s most of it. seems like we’re tugging on some sort of strings here that don’t need to be tugged. and seems like the message really isn’t for the people who stole the trailer…it’s for everyone else to see. but that’s just me. and i ask a question about insurance and don’t get a reply. so that’s pretty weird, too.
as to insurance: yes, everything was insured. but we are still waiting on the insurance company to pay out. they still owe us something like $15,000.
I am just getting around to checking out this post. I think that Lamb’s post is not as far off as everyone else seems to think. I mean, why shouldn’t these thieves get a good butt kicking? If the police can’t find and track them down and handle justice the civilized way (in Kinetic’s case they still haven’t caught the perps), then why not make them suffer some consequence. I mean, come on, how hard could a butt kicking from Lamb be? God doesn’t say that just because we’re given grace, we don’t have to suffer consequences for our actions. Grace covers all sins, and yet life can be miserable. There are lots of everyday examples where each of us pays a price for our poor decisions. I’m not positive on where Lamb was going with all this, but I wouldn’t rule out a good butt kicking. We all need one every now and then.
Are you suggesting the church or the pastor act as a vigilante? Seriously?
What I am saying is that I hope that what Lamb meant by butt kicking is that there are consequences for your actions. You could call it acting as a vigilante. You could call it justice. Either way, it’s not likely that Lamb or his congregation will have the chance or that they’d take it if given. But at least God does and will.
i am 17 years old. now that that’s clear, i want you to know that telling dave he thinks dying kids is funny when he was simply making a sarcastic comment on your bashing is lame. who are you to judge his opinion on dying kids? sheesh. read between the lines. can you say bad rhetoric…
[…] post about the response of Revolution Church’s pastor to the crisis of their stolen trailer. (read that post here) Gary Lamb, their lead minister took a very ballsy approach with their trailer thieves. And I […]
what was it that compelled you to re-post this? In what way is it related to the guy having an affair?
Feels almost like you’re saying that this guy was angry at people who broke God’s law, then he broke God’s law (and we’ll point that out), so let’s pray for him.
Why not just pray for him without pointing out a past fault?
Matt, relax. I AM praying for Gary. AND was simply linking this article for context.
Let me be clear. God has used Gary in an incredibly powerful way to change the lives of thousands of people in the Atlanta area. God is not done with him. My heart is broken anytime Satan whens a battle.
By the way…why is this the only post you ever comment on? And why are your comments always so negative? Seriously, try to be encouraging for a change.
Finally, Matt, I’ve notice you’ve moved since your last post. How do you like your new place?
Say the word and me and the boys will give Matt a good butt-kicking.
You wouldn’t believe the smile on my face as I typed that. Seriously, Dave, fight the good fight my friend.
Yea, ballsy is one word to describe his post.
From my response to the post….
“A lovely image the pastor paints…..better that the pastor beats the mess out of the sinner before his crazy church of 1000 gets hold of the thief. Try to harmonize the pastor’s desire for vengeance with the Sermon on the Mount if you dare. The pastor’s attitude seems to be more aligned with radical Islam. I find irony, too, in this pastors often stated disdain for ‘Pharisees’ and ‘religious’ people found in his rhetoric.”
“What we find is a theft that transcends the stealing of property from a church. What we find stolen from the church of Christ, if such a thing were possible, is the blessedness of a humble, broken, and contrite heart. What we find stolen by this church, if such a thing were possible, is the sense that but for the grace, forgiveness, and mercy of Christ, you and I are condemned sinners, no less so than the trailer thief, fully deserving the wrath of God. Rather, we find a ‘lets go break the legs of sinners’ attitude. One has to ask this pastor and his church of 1000, which of you will cast the first stone that breaks the legs of the thief when you finally run him down?
Exactly what about Lamb’s post is Christ-like? Is his an attitude a minister of the Gospel should model to the world?
The URL is thus: http://ronclick.wordpress.com/2008/07/04/two-thefts/