Evangelist who wants $54M jet says “Jesus wouldn’t be riding a donkey”

Author: CBS/AP
Photo: Jesse Duplantis via Twitter

A prosperity gospel televangelist is asking his followers to “pray about becoming a partner” to his mission of obtaining a $54 million private jet. The Louisiana-based ministry of Jesse Duplantis, 40, has already paid cash for three other private planes, but he says God told him, “I want you to believe in me for a Falcon 7X.”

Duplantis is hoping to take the word of Jesus to new heights — with help from a $54 million private jet, CBS News’ Tony Dokoupil reports.

Duplantis runs a ministry and a church in Destrehan, Louisiana, outside New Orleans. In a video posted to his website last week, he asked his followers for help funding the aircraft, noting that God told him he should have a jet — but not pay for it.

Duplantis says the three-engine plane would allow the ministry to fly “anywhere in the world in one stop,” reducing fuel costs while maintaining a global reach.

“I really believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ was physically on the Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey,” Duplantis said in the video. “He’d be in an airplane flying all over the world.”

Duplantis not the first minister to preach the gospel of private flight.

In 2015, Creflo Dollar asked followers for a $64 million Gulfstream G650, after a public outcry, his ministry settled for a used model. In January another televangelist, Kenneth Copeland, announced the blessing of a Gulfstream V. Both he and Duplantis defended their jets in 2015.

“The prosperity of gospel which many of these ministers are preaching is simply not the gospel of Jesus Christ — it is false gospel,” said Jim Wallis, the founder of Sojourners, a prominent Christian community.

The gospel of prosperity is a biblical heresy and needs to be named as that.

CBS News was unable to reach Jesse Duplantis for comment and don’t know how much he’s raised. In his video, he acknowledges that some people believe “preachers” shouldn’t have jets. However, he believes in using “every outlet.”

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