Local preacher, Jesse Duplantis, has recently asked of his followers to give toward a new private jet – the Falcon 7X with the price point of 54 million dollars. Although Jesse already has his own private jet and has upgraded several times before now, he states that he needs this newer jet because it is able to travel the world without making a stop. In his video asking for financial support for the new plane, Jesse makes this statement as justification for the purchase,
“I really believe that if Jesus was physically on the earth today he wouldn’t be riding a donkey. Think about that for a minute. He would be on an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world.”
I am a local pastor who lives and works just 5 miles from Jesse’s 35,000 square foot mansion and it breaks my heart that many in my community will be giving their money toward this private jet under the assumption that what Jesse teaches about Jesus is truly Biblical. I would like to slip into a theological rant about the overarching heresy of Duplantis’ prosperity theology, but for the sake of this article allow me to focus in on just the statement that Jesse made in this most recent video. Duplantis states that if Jesus were alive today he would not be riding a donkey, but there is a huge problem with this statement. The problem is that Jesus did, in fact, come to Earth and live as a man and when he did come he chose to ride a donkey.
When Jesus entered into this world, he could have entered by way of any family and in any place. It is an incredible thought that God would become a man, but not only was he born as a man, he was born in a feeding trough in a stable to a poor Hebrew family. It was not that Jesus was not able to be born into a royal family with all the accommodations and luxuries available in the Roman empire. He was and is, in fact, the divine Son of God who is able to do as he pleases. Jesus chose to ride a donkey into the city of Jerusalem on the path to crucifixion. He could have ridden a powerful steed or an elaborate chariot plated with gold and precious stones. He chose, however, to model self-sacrificing humility with every step toward the cross.
But Jesus was not just a model of humility and self-sacrifice, he also taught how we are to live in the kingdom of God here and now as we await the coming kingdom. During his ministry, many would come to him and ask to join him under the assumption that following Jesus would lead to riches, power, and health here and now, but Jesus would always correct these misinformed followers with teachings of sacrifice rather than self-indulgence. The surplus of Biblical material that conflicts with Jesse’s Jesus is overwhelming. Jesus warned followers that if they were to follow him they might not have a place to lay their heads. (Lk. 9:57-58) Jesus warned that following after him would mean denying self and taking up the cross of self-sacrifice daily. (Lk. 9:23-25) Jesus encouraged people to sell their possessions, and give to the needy and warned clearly that no one could serve both God and money. (Lk. 12:33-34; 16:13) If Jesus taught a message of self-indulgence and luxury than his disciples would have followed that path, but his followers would go on to live lives and write letters teaching the exact opposite. In his letter to the Christians enduring persecution for their faith, the apostle Peter writes that it is through enduring suffering for the cause of Christ that we glorify Christ most clearly. (1 Peter 1:6-7; 2:21; 4:12-19)
Even if Duplantis were actually using this plane to spread the Biblical message of salvation through faith in a crucified and resurrected Savior, the money Jesse will spend on this one plane to fly one man around the world is strategically absurd. With the price point of just this one purchase, he could fund 216 indigenous pastors/ missionaries in hard to reach places with $25,000 annual salaries for the next 10 years. I am currently in the process of planning a mission trip to Southeast Asia. With 54 million dollars, I could pay for more than 54,000 round trips. Even if I did a round trip every week for the next 50 years I wll have only used 2,600 of those round trips. No matter what Jesse says, the purchase of this private jet is not good stewardship for the accomplishment of the great commission to go therefore and make disciples of all nations. In fact, Jesse’s ministry strategy and message are destructive to the nations. I just recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia where a young believer shared with me about the devastating effects of Jesse’s theology of prosperity on his own church. People in this impoverished county see and hear about the Jesus that prosperity preachers are exporting out of America. They see a Jesus that will make them rich like the American preachers on T.V. and youtube. They come to Christianity under the false assumption that the promise of the gospel is present prosperity and when that promise is not fulfilled they leave Christianity altogether and reject the Jesus they only thought they knew.
The Bible has warned us clearly, that such teachings would arise among us. May we be very humble when we talk about these things, but may we not shy away from speaking truth in love and gentleness. Please join me in praying for the many in my community who will be misled into giving toward the purchase of this plane. Pray that the true gospel of Jesus Christ would prevail and that one day a healthy Bible teaching church would have an overpowering influence in this community.
2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
By His Grace & For His Glory,
Pastor Brandon Langley
St. Rose Community Church