The Gospel of Materialism – Reverend Jesse Duplantis’ fleet of jets
I do not usually like to comment publicly on pastors and men of God who make choices that do not appear appropriate in the body of Christ. Such comments are often regarded as criticisms or condemnations of a servant of God. I am writing this article because it has become necessary to correct some issues of concern to the church in order to protect weaker Christians from being discouraged or falling out of faith as a result of these issues. Also, this writeup is to correct the wrong impression that may have been created in the minds of those who have not made decision to be Christians. We owe them explanations that these are issues in the church but they are not what the church is and cannot represent the church. The church that our Lord Jesus Christ died for and redeemed remains an institution with integrity and the highest quality of character. Through the days when Jesus Christ was here physically on earth, no charges of inappropriate behavior could be effectively brought against Him despite the huge efforts made by the servants of Satan to malign Him. At the time of His death on the cross, His enemies and crucifiers attested to the fact that He is truly the Son of God.
I am aware that some people may not be happy with me on this writeup. I welcome attacks, and rebukes of my person from people who are offended by this article. I will not be surprised if those who are offended remind me of the words of Paul in Romans 14:4: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand”. My response to such individuals is that it is necessary that someone must be bold enough to tell the truth no matter who is offended. Letting these issues pass without corrections does not do any good to the church. While the Bible says we should not speak evil of one another, we must speak the truth in love. However, the truth can be very hard and tough and it does not mean we love less when we say it the way it is, no matter how unpleasant it may sound. The stakes are high in the world today as many people look for the way of life through the church but Satan may use the actions and behavior of the Christian leaders to block their chances of getting to know the Lord.
Some of our Christian leaders are out of control in their spiritual views and it is one of the reasons that the church has been less effective in its services to the world. There are leaders who do not care about the negative impact their choices may have on people, Christians and non-Christians alike. Satan is doing serious damage to the gospel not just through those who are opposed to the gospel but by effectively using the popular leaders inside of the church to rock the metaphorical gospel boat. A major problem in the church today is that these leaders do not have people to check or correct them. All the followers in their ministries have become timid and are scared to raise a hand when they see a red flag. The leader believes he is one who is called and the only one that hears from God. Therefore, he can correct others but no one has the mandate to correct him. He is accountable to God and no other. His decisions are correct because they are supposedly received from God. Any opposition must be from Satan. This is not true. It must be understood that pastors and bishops are human and sometimes do give in to the dictates of the devil. Pastors make errors and their errors can be very costly and have a serious impact on the image of the church. The church is on trial by the conduct and behavior of our Christian leaders. We will not be doing the church any good, or to our faith and even to the ailing world when we feel unconcerned about the impressions and appearances of the men of God
When a minister does not have around him those who can oppose him when he is going wrong, he or she is highly vulnerable to serious errors that may cost him or her the anointing of the Lord. Paul was junior to Peter in the work of ministry but he rebuked Peter when Peter was playing hide and seek between the Jews and the Gentiles: “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? (Gal 2:11-14). It was good for Peter. The Bible says: “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov 27:17). No one leader has a sole ownership of the directions of the Holy Spirit. That was why Paul warned the people of Galatia and Corinth about anyone coming to them with a different gospel (including them, the Apostles) and urged them not to succumb. Paul knew no one can outgrow the manipulations of the evil one.
It is sad that Christian leaders are consumed by the spirit and greed for worldly materials. What is commonly referred to as “prosperity gospel” does not actually appear to be a gospel but a ploy by prosperity teachers to satisfy their own personal desires. Many of them started well with focus on evangelism and soul winning but their thought soon shifted from the gospel of Christ on to materialism. There can be no other needed admonition than that which Christ gave to us: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mathew 26:41) The gospel of prosperity laid with greed and sinful appetite usually results in false gospel. It is the desire of God that we prosper in body, spirit and soul. If we do not strike a balance, we will give room to Satan to lead us astray. Prosperity for our mortal body alone to the exclusions, and at the expense of our spirit and soul is a direct invitation for our destruction. The more we are moved by the desires of the flesh for worldly materials, the less our soul prospers. When money and worldly materials take the center stage of our lives, all other good reasons are usually lost.
Paul warned his Christian converts in Galatia and Corinth, not to be persuaded with any strange gospel contrary to the true gospel they received. He told the Galatians: I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatian 1: 6-9). To the Corinthians, he said: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (1 Cor 11:3-4)
God wants us to prosper but does not want us to be greedy and use the name of God and the Bible to cover our unbridled appetite for worldly possessions. Reverend Jesse Duplantis’ case should have made no difference to other televangelist if the minister had explained to the world that he is in love with more modern sophisticated Aerotech to further his prosperity gospel. It has definitely become a huge joke when the minister compares his appetite for worldly possessions with Christ’s. “I really believe that if Jesus was physically on earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey” said the Minister. Are you kidding me Reverend? Do you think Jesus would do what you are doing now if He were you in this terrible and perverse generation? You got this scripture message wrong and just simply because your heart is drawn away in lust after the world. Let me explain the passage for the sake of those who may not have read the story or those who read it but do not understand. The true narratives about “donkey, and Jesus Christ” was an event which is a contrast to what our Reverend and some other Christian leaders do today.
During the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth, and in fulfilment of prophecy from the mouth of Prophet Zechariah, He entered into Jerusalem for an open acknowledgement of His Lordship and Kingship over the land and in the world. Zechariah said: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey”, (Zechariah 9:9). The event which is now tagged as “the Triumphal Entry”, occurred in Israel. But even in His power, authority, and majesty, Jesus chose to ride on a donkey. Jesus left us an example of a humble life both in appearance and actions. He entered into Jerusalem, humble and lowly. Donkeys were the least prestigious at the time of Jesus Christ. No king in the world then rode on donkeys. There were horses which were more prestigious, but the King of kings chose to use a donkey to show the lowliest of life. Zechariah described that historic journey of Jesus Christ entering into Jerusalem as simple, humble and poor.
Jesus Christ, as an example of humility, chose the class of the baseborn, common, ignoble, low, lowborn, mean, meek, ordinary, and above all, modest. He didn’t need to be egoistic, arrogant and loud before He was recognized as the King of kings. People shouted hosanna not to the donkey but to the greatest man seated on the donkey. Our Lord Jesus himself, while inviting people to come to Him, said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mathew 11:29-39). And one of the urgent works Jesus did as He entered into Jerusalem was to correct the commercialization of the synagogue. The Bible says, as they came to Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mark 11:15-17). There is no way Jesus would have favored the ugliness of worldly possessions that is rampart in the church today. The point is not that the Church or Christians cannot possess material things, but that we cross the line of decency when rather than possess things, the things of the world possess us.
What then is the point in comparing ourselves, ordinary dusts by God’s definition to the King of Kings. Why do we think if Jesus rode on horse, we are pompously in our sins entitled to the same thing? In answer to James and John, the sons of Zebedee who both wanted to sit in prominent places with Christ in His Kingdom, Jesus told them: “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” The Ministry of Reverend Duplantis currently possesses three private jets but the man of God wants another one more sophisticated than the current. The question is what kind of ministration does he do with the current three jets? How many times have they been flown to Africa? Mexico? South America? Or even California this year? I am certain that there are men and women in Louisiana, the base of this ministry who are challenged and struggling to make ends meet. To put in blunt terms, these are signs of the end of time. In chapter 3 of my book, “Sheltered through the Storms”, I illustrated the various categories of characters within the church. The enemies within the church are more damaging to the image of the church than those opposed to the church from the outside.
With all due respect to the man of God, where is the modesty in the accumulation of three fleets of Jets and the search for an additional jet that God has demanded for his ministries and placed on the bleeding innocent people. If the fleshy personal urge has taken over the heart of the man of God, why would he not simply and quietly sell the current three jets and buy a new one? If the proceeds from the sales of the old jets were not sufficient, perhaps, it might make sense and can easily be explained away by those who sympathize with his appetite for jets. Those who do not consider this as outrageous are either not knowledgeable in the word of God or are not willing to say the truth, or both. Ordinarily, we should not be bothered about how people have chosen to live their Christian life if they are Christians, but those who show themselves as representatives of Christ and of the Church must be accountable not only to God but also to the people of God. Millions of souls are marching to hell, not because we do not preach the gospel of Christ, but because the preachers are abusive of the very gospel they claim to preach and have turned off the hearts of many prospective Christians. God will be happy if we obey His voice to preach and bring more souls into His Kingdom. (Mathew 28: 19-20). But the worst we are doing to the gospel is not when we don’t preach but when in pretending to be preaching, our adulterated Christian life style are sending people further away from accepting salvation through Christ. May God forgive us.
Michael Jolayemi is an author and Bible teacher. He has written two books on social issues: “Saving America: The war we can’t ignore”; and “Sheltered through the storm: the travails and ultimate triumph of the Church.” His next book is about God and the Sin issue and will be out by God’s grace soon.