A South Carolina pastor has responded to the backlash he’s faced after presenting his wife with a $200,000 Lamborghini as a gift for their eight-year wedding anniversary.
John Gray, leader of Relentless Church in Greenville, caught the internet’s attention this week when a viral video showed him giving his wife, Aventer Gray, what he called a Lamborghini Urus — a recently unveiled SUV that starts at about $200,000, according to Fortune.
While many social media users applauded him for the gift, others criticized the pastor, calling him untrustworthy and implying that he paid for the car with money from “gullible followers.”
Amid the fallout, Gray, 45, appeared in a Facebook video on Thursday to defend his actions.
“It wasn’t a pastor that bought the car — it was a husband that bought the car. Get that in your spirit,” Gray said in the video. “I’m a husband first. Don’t confuse what I do with who I am. What I do is I pastor God’s people. Who I am is a husband and a father, and I’ll do anything to honor them.”
He also addressed claims that he spent funds intended for church use in order to buy the pricey vehicle.
“The answer is no. Absolutely not. And, God, take my life on this live feed if I did,” he said. “I have been patient my whole life for this moment. I’m 45. I’m supposed to wait till I’m 70 to live my best life? And my best life is seeing my wife happy.”
He explained that his business ventures made it possible for him to buy the gift. He said his resources include a second book deal and the upcoming season of his reality show on the OWN channel, The Book of John Gray.
He became emotional when he spoke of his family’s humble beginnings and recalled seeing a presentation for the luxury car at their hotel when the couple went to the NBA All-Star game in February.
“I saw my wife’s eyes light up,” Gray said. “She said, ‘This would be a dream,’ and that’s all she had to say.”
The pastor noted that he put a deposit down on the luxury car, but has not paid it off in full.
This isn’t the first time Gray, a former associate pastor at Joel Osteen’s Houston church, has made headlines. Last month, the popular pastor denounced what he called “pulpit pimps” before inviting churchgoers to take money from the collection plate, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Earlier this year, he drew criticism for meeting with President Donald Trump, along with other pastors, to discuss prison reform, the Greenville News reported.
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