By now you’ve probably heard that television evangelist Jessie Duplantis, of New Orleans, wants a brand new $54 million jet for Jesus. He already has three other jets, but this new one has, he says, “fighter jet technology with an elegant, whisper-quiet executive cabin.” The secular and Christian press raised collective eyebrows of skepticism about the legitimacy of such a brash appeal. In response to the blowback, Duplantis countered that he wasn’t asking for money but just wanted his followers to “believe” for the jet.
I’m not going to analyze the pros and cons or the biblical legitimacy of Jessie’s appeal. What got my attention was a published defense by another preacher, who wrote, “Don’t let pride convince you that you have better ideas on how to use the money. Why is it any of your business?” Well, we’re all sailing on this gospel ship together and when something like this is amplified in the media, all Christians are affected. As to better ideas on how to use the money, we might start with battered women shelters, Christian rehab programs, Pro-Life pregnancy centers, human trafficking efforts and deliverance ministries.
Let’s be frank. There isn’t a single prosperity preacher in America who promotes deliverance. That’s not to say that these men and women are off-track entirely. As with Paul, I praise God wherever, and however Christ is preached (Phil. 1:18). But consider this. I meet many honorable men and women of God who minister week after week to those bound by Satan. Too often these deliverance ministers are treated like second-class citizens in God’s kingdom. They do in secret what their own pastors won’t allow in church. They fight the devil without the benefit of beautiful buildings and, yes, a private jet. It’s time to give honor to whom honor is due, and I salute all those brave warriors for Jesus who humbly and unheralded do exactly what Jesus did while He was here. Frankly, they don’t need a new jet. Just a Bible, a cross, some anointing oil, and spiritual determination to set the captives free.
An Encouraging word: The Name of Jesus
Evangelical Christians usually conclude prayers, “In the name of Jesus.” I personally like to express the full trinity, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Whichever one’s preference, Philippians 2:9 tells us that His name is “above every name.” Furthermore, all the universe must bow to that name. I’m concerned that Christians so often close a prayer in Jesus’ name without giving full reverence. At times it’s almost a coda, an addendum, an appendix to the prayer without fully giving honor to that name. The next time you end a prayer “in the name of Jesus,” pause to reflect about the awe of those words and the power in that name.