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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : WOULD JESUS Require a $54 MILLION PRIVATE JET? by J. Lee Grady

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37587
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 WOULD JESUS Require a $54 MILLION PRIVATE JET? by J. Lee Grady

Faith preacher Jesse Duplantis told the world last month that God
wants him to own a $54 million Falcon 7X private jet. And he's
challenging donors to help him buy it.

"Some people believe preachers shouldn't have jets," Duplantis
said in a video he posted online on May 21. "I really believe that
if Jesus was physically on the earth today He wouldn't be riding
a donkey. ... He'd be in an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world."

The popular Louisiana minister, who is 68, is known for his folksy
Cajun accent and downhome humor. But he was not cracking a
joke when he announced his need for the pricey three-engine
plane, which can fly up to 592 miles per hour. He was dead serious.

Duplantis' request didn't go over well when his video went viral.
Secular news reporters called him a charlatan. Some Christians
condemned him as a con artist. In a social media post, gospel
singer Kirk Franklin accused Duplantis of exploiting poor people.

"Many of these 'ministries' [like Duplantis'] built their wealth on
the backs of poor, rural minorities that put their trust in the hands
of 'God's shepherds,' only to see the prosperity benefit those
doing the preaching," Franklin said in an Instagram post.

Duplantis' fans, however, weren't shocked by his request. They
have helped him buy three previous jets. The jovial preacher,
who lives in a $3 million, 35,000-square-foot mansion, believes
financial prosperity is his reward for preaching the gospel. He
tells his followers that they, too, can be rich if they give generously.

In a response to the jet controversy, which was posted on
YouTube this week, Duplantis said God clearly spoke to him
about acquiring the jet to replace an older one. "The Lord said,
"I didn't ask you to pay for [the plane], I asked you to believe
for it." The evangelist is fully expectant that the money he
needs will be provided.

I won't be surprised if Duplantis gets his Falcon 7X. A wealthy
donor is likely to fork over the entire $54 million. But as a traveling
minister who has flown to 32 countries on commercial airlines-
usually in cramped tourist class seats-I still don't believe
Duplantis' theology about private planes is sound. In fact, I believe
Duplantis is in danger of hurting the cause of the gospel.

Here are the top reasons I wouldn't support his private jet plan:

Private jets are a wasteful use of donor funds. Preachers can give
you a litany of reasons why they need to fly direct to their
destination: Time saved, less stress, no worries about lost
luggage. (Not to mention more legroom!)

But the Bible calls us to be good stewards of God's resources.
Private aircraft cost an exorbitant amount of money compared
to commercial flights because owners must provide service and
upkeep on the vehicles. If a preacher insists on renting a private
jet, the cost to fly from Fort Lauderdale to New York would be
in the ballpark of $59,000, compared to a $652 ticket on a
commercial plane. People who own private jets spend as much
as $4 million a year just on maintenance.

If an evangelist needs to fly to the most remote village of Borneo,
and there are no commercial planes going there, then I can
understand the need for a private plane. But Duplantis is not
going to Borneo. According to his website, some of his upcoming
meetings are in Nashville, Tennessee; Detroit, Michigan; and
Tacoma, Washington. Even first-class seats on Delta Airlines
to those locations are a fraction of the cost of private air travel.

Ministers who demand luxury deny the core of the gospel. We
are confronted every day by the reality of poverty and suffering in
our world, and we know that true followers of Christ are called to
give and share, not take and hoard. We also know that a preacher
who gets rich off of the offerings of poor people is actually involved
in exploitation-a sin which Scripture strongly condemns. When
the skeptical younger generation sees this, they assume all
Christian ministers are fakes and frauds.

The world doesn't need a message of greed. The prosperity
gospel became hugely popular during the 1980s, when many
Christians in the United States were riding a wave of American
capitalism. But many of the get-rich preachers of that era either
landed in jail or fell morally, and we reaped a whirlwind of bad
fruit. We were supposed to learn a lesson from that failed
experiment. God blesses us not so we can become selfish
consumers but so we can become selfless channels of His
blessings to others.

Jesus did indeed ride a donkey. If Jesus had used Jesse
Duplantis' logic during His ministry on earth, He would have
asked His disciples to collect money from the crowds to buy
a gold chariot drawn by Caesar's best horses. But He didn't
do that. He rode on the back of a rented donkey, the
transportation of a poor man. He didn't require a first-class
seat or a luxury vehicle.

Jesus took the lowest seat and invited all of us to model
servanthood. I pray we will rediscover humility. Let's show our
cynical culture that God's ministers don't demand luxury treatment.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2018/6/7 6:10Profile

Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 1162
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re: WOULD JESUS Require a $54 MILLION PRIVATE JET? by J. Lee Grady

Well done article.


 2018/6/7 23:26Profile

Joined: 2006/8/10
Posts: 535


Good article! I do want to make one correction to it however. Jesus did not ride on a rented donkey. He rode on a borrowed donkey. No money whatsoever involved.

And when the Pharisees wanted to know whether or not they should pay taxes to Rome, Jesus had to ask someone for a denarius because he didn't have one on Him.

I look forward to Heaven where there won't be any mammon or internal combustion engine vehicles.


 2018/6/8 9:33Profile

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