Jesse Duplantis, 68, a Christian minister based in Destrehan, about 25 miles east of New Orleans, says his ministry has paid cash for three private jets.
“You know I’ve owned three different jets in my life and used them and used them and just burning them up for the Lord,” Duplantis says in a video posted to his ministries’ website.
Duplantis is now reportedly seeking the funds for a Dassault Falcon 7X, worth $54 million.
The problem with the previous jets, he says, is that they require multiple stops to refuel. But flying the Falcon 7X, Duplantis says, will allow him to save money and not pay “those exorbitant prices with jet fuel all over the world.”
“I really believe that if Jesus was physically on the earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey,” Duplantis says in the video, “He’d be in an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world.”
Duplantis’ video comes after another televangelist, Kenneth Copeland in Texas, purchased the Gulfstream V jet for $36 million.
Both televangelists defended their use of private jets during a joint appearance on Copeland’s program [video is below], saying that commercial airlines filled with “a bunch of demons” that get in the way of their busy schedules.
Duplantis reportedly lives in a 35,000-square-foot plantation home built in the late ’00s at a cost of $3 million. His net worth has been estimated at $50 million. Duplantis is the modern-day-equivalent-scourge of indulgence hawkers that preyed on the gullible during the Middle Ages. It was the antics of the king of them all - one Johannes Tetzel - that outraged Martin Luther and sparked the reformation. Eric Metaxas relates the following account in his outstanding biography of Luther:
According to Luther, after Tetzel had received a substantial amount of money at Leipzig, a nobleman asked him if it were possible to receive a letter of indulgence for a future sin. Tetzel quickly answered in the affirmative, insisting that the payment had to be made at once. The nobleman did so and received thereupon letter and seal from Tetzel.
When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a thorough beating, and sent him back empty-handed to Leipzig with the comment that it was the future sin which he had in mind. Duke George at first was quite furious about the incident, but when he heard the whole story, he let it go without punishing the nobleman.
We can only hope that televangelists like Copeland and Duplantis who prey on the weak-of-faith and gullible will spark another much badly-needed reformation.