• Asks followers to fund project
A United States televangelist has asked his followers to help fund his fourth private jet because Jesus “wouldn’t be riding a donkey”.
Mr Jesse Duplantis said God had told him to buy a Falcoln 7X for $54m (£41m). He added he was hesitant about the purchase at first, but said God had told him: “I didn’t ask you to pay for it. I asked you to believe for it.”
Although preachers owning private jets is not unusual, this particular appeal has caused controversy. Twitter users responded to the request with disbelief, with many quoting Bible verses warning against greed and “false prophets”, or suggesting that the money could be better used to help the poor.
In a video address posted on his website, 68-year-old Duplantis explained: “You know, I’ve owned three different jets in my life, and I’ve used them and just burning them up for the Lord Jesus Christ. “Now, some people believe that preachers shouldn’t have jets. I really believe that preachers ought to go on every available voice, every available outlet, to get this Gospel preached to the world.”
Standing beside framed pictures of his current fleet, he said that the jet he bought 12 years ago was no longer sufficient for his ministry because he could not fly non-stop, meaning he had to pay “exorbitant” refuelling costs.