WASHINGTON - An American televangelist is appealing for donations to fund the purchase of a $54 million (S$72.3 million) business jet, saying that if Jesus was still preaching he "wouldn't be riding a donkey."
Jesse Duplantis, 68, whose Christian ministry is based in Louisiana, made the appeal for a Dassault Falcon 7X jet in a video for his followers.
Jesse Duplantis Ministries has already gone through three private planes, "burning them up for the Lord Jesus Christ," he said.
"Now some people believe that preachers shouldn't have jets," he said in the video. "I really believe that preachers oughta have and go on every available voice, every available outlet to get this gospel preached to the world." Duplantis said he needs the jet "so we can go anywhere in the world one stop" and he recounted a conversation he said he had with God about needing the plane.
"He said, 'Jesse, you wanna come up where I'm at?'" Duplantis said. "And I said, 'What do you mean?'"He said, 'I want you to believe in me for a Falcon 7X,'" Duplantis said.
"I can't live long enough to travel by car, or by ship, or by train, but I can do it by an airplane," he said.
"I really believe that if Jesus was physically on the Earth today he wouldn't be riding a donkey," he said. "He'd be in an airplane preaching the gospel all over the world." The eight-passenger Falcon 7X can fly from Paris to Tokyo or Shanghai to Seattle on a single tank of fuel.