Pastor Jack Glass dies of cancer visited on him 'by Satan'

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PASTOR Jack Glass has finally lost the battle against his greatest enemy - apart from the Pope - and died from cancer at the age of 67.

One of Scotland’s most controversial religious figures, the firebrand Protestant who attacked Catholicism, the comedian Billy Connolly and the rock star Marilyn Manson with equal gusto claimed recently he had "defeated" the disease, which "Satan" visited upon him.

But the founder of the Zion Baptist Church in Glasgow died at his home in Stirlingshire yesterday, according to John McDermott, an elder at the church.

Pastor Glass was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. After an apparent recovery, he became ill several weeks ago, when doctors discovered the disease had spread to his brain. Speaking recently, he said the tumour was the result of a "personal attack" by Satan. He said: "I had to assume that if my ministry was still useful to God, then this must be an attack by Satan. The devil would not pay much attention to me if I wasn’t doing something useful for God."

Pastor Glass saw it as his mission to uphold his stark vision of the faith, but he resolutely denied he had any animosity towards Catholics - only their faith, and its leader, whom he regarded as the anti-Christ.

His campaigns ranged from demonstrations against Pope John Paul II’s visit to Scotland in 1982 to, more recently, opposition to the music of Manson.

One of his most famous battles was against Connolly.

Pastor Glass demonstrated outside the comedian’s shows in the 1970s, when the comic was performing his infamous Glasgow version of Christ’s crucifixion, which translated the event from Galilee to the Gallowgate.

The protest led to a counter-demonstration, when Connolly paraded outside Pastor Glass’s church with a banner that proclaimed: "Jack is a wee pastor".

Pastor Glass founded his church in 1965. His opposition to contentious subjects such as homosexuality and abortion featured in his hellfire and brimstone sermons. His views were dismissed as extreme, even by the Rev Ian Paisley, the hardline leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

But not even chemotherapy and radiotherapy could silence him, as he went straight from his hospital bed to protest outside a Manson concert at the SECC in Glasgow.

Along with his followers, all bearing placards, Pastor Glass clashed with teenage fans before being removed by security guards.

He said: "We are trying to influence the young people of Scotland away from the Satan of Manson."

A year after the cancer was discovered, Pastor Glass, who did not miss a Sunday service during his illness, was given the all clear. He preached at a service of celebration in his packed church and, with a voice burning with trademark anger, declared: "I believe it is an amazing miracle. I think the devil suffered a tremendous defeat. I’ve lived to see the devil run away.

"I’m like Lazarus, who rose from the grave. Jack Glass is not dead yet."

It was a typical response.

The Rev David Graham, the minister of Rosemount Church, Aberdeen, who knew Pastor Glass well when he was a minister in Glasgow, said that the pastor was a "flawed" character.

He added: "Jack was a flea who lived on the back of the established church’s elephant.

"When there was a rumour that the Pope was coming to Iona, Jack materialised one lunchtime, in the abbey, where I was warden, to save us from the Pope. He mounted the pulpit, called us ‘the lickspittle of the anti-Christ’ and then left to catch the ferry.

"He was a man who never learned that no human being is absolutely right."

The funeral is expected to be held at his church in Glasgow on Monday.

• Pastor Jack Glass - obituary