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Jesus must have been an Abysmal Failure (June 8, 2018)

I’m sure you all saw the news report last week about the Louisville televangelist who is convinced that God wants him to own a fourth private jet. Jesse Duplantis, without any shame or embarrassment, called on his followers to donate the $54 million which he needs to buy that jet. It seems that the three jets he already owns are not enough. Not good enough. Not fancy enough. Not whatever enough.

The jet Duplantis wants can seat up to 19; it also has an onboard shower in addition to all kinds of other amenities. But he claims he needs it so that he might spread the gospel more efficiently and effectively.

In a recent episode of his web show, “This Week with Jesse”, he showed viewers framed photos of the three jets he has already “purchased for the Lord.” Apparently, two of them are being used now by other pastors, and the third one is “no longer up to par”. With the new jet, the evangelist says he could fly “one–stop to faraway places for a lot cheaper,” using fuel from his own fuel farm instead of paying for jet fuel during stops.

The fact that he needed this new jet was revealed to him directly from heaven. He had a conversation with God, who told him, “‘I want you to believe me for a Falcon 7X.’ The first thing I thought was ‘How am I going to pay for it?’ And a great statement that God told me in 1978 flooded into my mind. He said, ‘Jesse, I didn’t ask you to pay for it. I asked you to believe for it.’”

Has he no shame?

Apparently not. He continues in this perversion of the gospel that if Jesus were alive today, he wouldn’t be wearing sandals, and he wouldn’t be riding a donkey. “Think about it for a minute. He’d be in an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world.”

It would be one thing if Duplantis were the only kook who preached this kind of greed and nonsense. But he’s not. Many other evangelists believe in what they call “the prosperity gospel”, including folks like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar (now that’s a name you can’t make up!) and Kenneth Copeland.

The prosperity gospel is a belief among some Christians that financial blessing and physical well–being are always the will of God for them. They preach that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. For them, the Bible is a contract between God and human beings. If we have faith in God, God will deliver security and prosperity. It’s guaranteed. 100%!

So nice things like private jets and fancy cars and huge mansions and $6,000 suits are signs of God’s blessing. It’s their well–earned reward for living such a faithful life. They go further. If you share your wealth with the televangelists, then God will bless you just as much.

The story gets worse. Duplantis was interviewed by fellow televangelist Kenneth Copeland on his television show. They sanctimoniously agreed that a private jet is a “sanctuary” where pastors can talk directly to God. Copeland noted that “The world is in such a shape, we can’t get there without this. We’ve got to have this. The mess that the airlines are in today I would have to stop … at least 75 to 80, more like 90 percent of what we’re doing because you can’t get there from here.”

Copeland later added in the same interview, “You can’t manage that today in this dope–filled world, and get in a long tube with a bunch of demons. And it’s deadly.”

It suddenly becomes very clear exactly what these two think of the people to whom they are preaching.

Why would you listen to this crappy theology? Why would you give any of these people a minute of your time, never mind your money? As I was writing this, I began to feel dirty.

Let me be quite clear. The prosperity gospel is not the gospel. It is an aberration. It’s a way for these mutts to baptize their greed, their hunger for financial idols, and their lust for power and influence. No wonder Trump likes these guys.

Judging by their standards, Jesus was an abysmal failure. He was born poor. He lived poor. He loved the poor peasants with whom he associated. He embraced them as people who were cherished by God. More to the point, far from living in an air–conditioned mansion and travelling in private jets, Jesus walked the dusty roads and died in the heat of the day, executed as a criminal by the state whom he threatened by his very presence.

Duplantis would never threaten anyone. He succumbs to the values of this age, and in doing so denies the gospel he claims to preach.

Jesus may not have ridden a donkey if he were on earth today. But one thing is certain: Jesus would not be seen in the company of a jackass like this.

Rev. Yme Woensdregt