A large group of protesters descended on the Grace Baptist Church in Troy, New York after it was revealed that the pastor is holding a raffle to church-goers, giving them the chance to win an AR-15. The pastor also told parishioners that baggy pants hanging down below the waist, and Antifa-like apparel is not allowed in church.
Local Fox 29 reports – On the church’s website, a flyer is visible, which displays rules for the raffle requiring participants to register their information, including their name, age and address for a chance to win the gun.
“Does the Bible defend my right to keep and bear arms?” reads the church’s website, “Qualified attendee will receive a NY legally modified AR-15.”
The flyer also notes that Black Lives Matter or “ANTIFA-like” apparel is not permitted in the church, and denotes, “Anyone wearing their jeans, pants, etc., below their waistline will not be permitted in the building or the service,” as well as several other stipulations.
Local protester Steven Negron told WRGB, “It’s extreme poor taste, the time that they decided to raffle off a rifle when we have all of the shootings going on in all of our communities.”
“An AR-15 is completely unnecessary in this community. Even as a hunting rifle I mean that’s not really the type of rifle used to hunt,” Negron said.
News of the raffle surfaced on social media when people began posting pictures of flyers that were distributed throughout the city.
The Grace Baptist Church posted a video of Black Lives Matter protesters shouting at parishioners at they attempted to enter the Sunday service. The tweet read: If black lives matter, why did this black family require guards to be escorted into the church to be protected from the mob?”
If black lives matter, why did this black family require guards to be escorted into church to be protected from the mob? pic.twitter.com/CPu5RIaG5K
— Grace Baptist Church (@realgbctroyny) June 29, 2020
The Grace Baptist Church posted another video, showing the large crowd that amassed outside of his church, shouting at members of the congregation, while Troy Police stood by the front steps of the church.
We will never back down from wickedness in Troy, NY! pic.twitter.com/g1WYDmebG9
— Grace Baptist Church (@realgbctroyny) June 28, 2020
With BLM and Antifa agitators waiting inside to disrupt his service, an emotional Pastor Koletas ambushed the angry protesters with a powerful and unexpected message that was directed at them that he shared with his congregation:
“I’m gonna be talking tonight about cowards, traitors, and betrayers,” he told the group of agitators.
“33 years ago, I came to Troy, NY,” he said through tears. He explained that he grew up in a neighborhood that was 85% of black residents and that 90% of his friends were blacks until they were “bussed into an all-white, Jewish neighborhood.” He told his congregation that when he was 21-years old, he had “anger, bitterness and hatred” in his heart. “If I could’ve found a Turk, I would’ve killed him, because of what the Turks did to the Greeks for 400 years to the Turks as they were slaves,” he said. “I had anger, bitterness, and hatred in my heart, it was only by the grace of God that I didn’t kill anybody.” He claimed that a lady giving him a gospel tract, “saved him.”
Pastor Koletas talked directly to the protesters attending his service, “Before I got saved, I was anti-American. I was more pro-communist than everybody and anybody in this room. I know exactly what you’re going through. I know exactly what you’re feeling. I know that pain and hurt in your heart.” He explained how his mom came to Ellis Island and came to the freest country on the earth. Pastor Koletas said he didn’t go to a rich neighborhood to start a church, adding that he chose the area where he grew up to lead his church. “We started church here, in July of 1987. I tried with all my might to reach everybody. I don’t care what your color is, I don’t care what your education is, I don’t care what your station in life is.” He continued, “These knuckles have knocked at least ten times on every single door in the projects. And when I came to Troy, I started preaching on the street corner, so you know what they did?” he asked. “They arrested me seven times for preaching on the street corners, trying to reach men and women, boys and girls!” he told them.
“So don’t tell me, that I don’t understand your pain or your hurt! I know exactly what you’re going through because there was a time I didn’t have Jesus Christ as my savior, and I didn’t know what love was, and I didn’t know what mercy was, and I didn’t know what forgiveness was. But thank God almighty a lady had enough compassion and mercy for me to share a Bible with me to tell me how to go to heaven and how to save my soul.” he told the protesters.
Pastor Koletas said that he doesn’t always agree with the Troy cops, but he prays for them. He addressed the crowd of protesters, telling them that he loves them as much as he loves the Troy Police and told them they could disagree with him all they want, but that “You can disagree with me all you want. You can hate me all you want, but there’s a God in heaven who loves you, there’s a God in heaven who cares about you, there’s a God in heaven who died on a cross to save your soul.”
The emotional Baptist pastor got down on his knees, pleading for the angry protesters to allow Jesus Christ into their lives and to be saved, “Not for Black Lives Matter, not for Greek Lives Matter, not for Jewish Lives Matter, not for All Lives Matter…for your soul!”
Watch the incredible pastor’s message to the angry protesters here: