A megachurch pastor from Greenville, South Carolina, is facing backlash for buying his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini Urus for their eighth wedding anniversary.
In a video that went viral on social media, Pastor John Gray, the leader of Relentless Church, was shown giving his wife, Aventer, the keys to the luxury vehicle as she screamed with joy.
What was the reaction?
Although some praised the pastor for giving his wife the expensive gift, others saw it as too decadent for a church leader. A video clip and photos of the celebration were posted to social media and later deleted amid harsh criticism, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Gray is the same pastor who recently drew praise for allowing members of his congregation who were down on their luck to take cash from the church's offering baskets. Gray also stars in a reality TV show on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network. He was previously an associate pastor at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Texas.
The Urus, a high-performance sports car, carries a price tag that starts at $200,000. It features an automatic eight-speed transmission, the ability to go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 189 mph.
In the since-deleted video, Gray was shown leading his wife, Aventer, to the luxury car and then declaring to a crowd at their anniversary celebration, "Lamborghini Urus," according to reports. Gray's wife gave him an $8,000 Rolex watch as a gift.
How did he respond?
Gray rebuked critics in a video.
"Pastor buys his wife this expensive car," Gray reportedly said. "First of all it wasn't a pastor who bought the car, it was a husband that bought the car. Get that in your spirit."
He also said church funds were not used to buy the Lamborghini.
"Did this man use any money from the church to do this?" Gray said. "And the answer is no. Absolutely not. And God, take my life on this live feed if I did."
He said he bought the car with money he made from a book deal and his reality TV show.
Aventer also responded to the backlash, reportedly writing on social media:
"MY HUBBY IS A HARD-WORKER, HE WORKED HIS WHOLE LIFE AND HE SAVED TO BLESS HIS WIFE!!! REALJOHNGRAY AUTHOR X2, SILENT ENDORSEMENTS (YOU KNOW BECAUSE EVERYONE DOESN'T HAVE TO BRAG ABOUT WHO THEY ARE SIGNED TO) 6 TV SHOWS, MOVIE PRODUCER, SONG WRITER, TOURS."
She continued: "Gives away cars, full houses of furniture, coats off his back…checks before pastoring and tithes that in its entirety between 2 churches AND those he feels lead to at any given moment…BEEN WORKING FOR YEARS…GET OUTTA HERE."
She also wrote: "I don't see anyone screaming about how basketball players drive what they do while you paying $ to see them play in arenas and on fields."