US preacher asks followers to fund $54m private jet

Televangelist Jesse Duplantis said God promised him a Falcon 7X

Jesse Duplantis
Duplantis next to photos of his previous private planes

A US preacher has defended asking his followers to donate towards buying him a fourth private jet, saying: “if Jesus were on Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey”.

In a video posted to his website last week, Louisiana televangelist Jesse Duplantis called upon believers to “pray about becoming a partner” to his mission to purchase a $54m (£40.6m) Dassault Falcon 7X private plane.

The 68-year-old minister, whose sermons are broadcast around the world, said God had not only spoken to him but also specifically identified the three-engine business jet by name.

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“He said, ‘I want you to believe in me for a Falcon 7-X’,” Duplantis told viewers.

The jet “costs about $54 million new”, says USA Today, “although used ones are listed online for as little as $20 million”.

The Falcon 7X would be the TV preacher’s fourth private plane since founding the Jesse Duplantis Ministry in 1978.

“I've owned three different jets in my life and used them and used them and just burning them up for the Lord,” he said.

Duplantis acknowledged that the fundraising drive might ruffle feathers. “Some people believe that preachers shouldn't have jets,” he said. “I really believe that preachers ought to go on every available voice, every available outlet, to get this gospel preached to the world.”

He added: “If the Lord Jesus Christ was physically on the Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey - he’d be in an airplane flying all over the world.”

Duplantis preaches “prosperity gospel”, an interpretation of Christianity which holds that God rewards the faithful with material wealth. He has an estimated net worth of $40m and has previously called God his “sugar daddy”, PJ Media reports.

Fellow prosperity gospel ministers Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland have also come under fire in recent years for calling on fellow Christians to fund multi-million dollar private jets.

In 2015, Duplantis and Copeland, defended their use of private jets, arguing that “commercial planes were full of ‘a bunch of demons’ that will bog down their busy schedules with prayer requests,” the Times-Picayune reports.

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