A teary-eyed Pastor John Gray defended giving his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV for their eighth wedding anniversary last week, a pricey display of affection that drew the ire of social media critics.
In a now-deleted video shared to Instagram on Saturday, Gray, who pastors Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C., led his wife Aventer to the bow-wrapped car and handed her the keys while saying “Lamborghini Urus.” The car, a recently unveiled SUV by the luxury car brand, costs a pretty penny has a starting price of $200,000, according to Fortune.
Gray initially brushed off criticism of his recent purchase and acknowledged he’d bought the car as a gift to his wife, who he said has “pushed for my dreams and my vision.”
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8 years. New beginnings. New hope. New life. And for her-a new whip. I put a faith deposit down in February and God helped me to make my wife’s dream come true. Why not? She’s made mine come true! #GodIsMyWitness #BookContract #HatersBeBlessed >>>>> This part is from @grayceeme…. RESTORE, REDO, RESET…LOOK WHAT GOD HAS DONE! From 12/11/10 til 12/11/18 There is something to be said about another try…you have had an experience, and it doesn’t mean you failed, it means you get to challenge yourself to start Anew! TODAY WE ARE 8 HUSBAND @realjohngray! My favorite #, your fav #…your book title, and so much more to us, but We utilized the 8th to have our vow renewal & our celebration display of love for OUR milestone 8 year Covenant to signify…and say again, our pledge to God in front of one another….about one another! Some asked why 8…8 represents resurrection and regeneration, moreover the beginning of a new era or that of a new order. YES GOD! I saved to give you one of the best gifts and a dream timepiece and my God, you blessed me, significantly when in Feb at the All-Star hotel, we sat in this phenomenal new SUV, then you allowed me to build one online and DREAM…not really believing it would happen for real, but then, we “WIN FROM WITHIN” Lololol &…It DID! I will never apologize for how hard we work and how we want to bless each other… PSALM 112:1-3… I love you. You are mine and I am yours. Thank you for taking care of me, for the past 8, and I trust the Lord by faith that for the next 88 you will do the same, so will I, and much more. Highs, lows, mistakes, misfortune, we are STILL HERE AND THE DEVIL IS MAD BECAUSE GOD GETS THE GLORY…with God all lead back to true love! There is no one I would rather do this life with than You! 😘 My heart, my soul, and my life I give to you AGAIN, and AGAIN by God’s order. Happy 8th Anniversary Boo! #WeareNumber8 #GraysR8 #ThisisUs #BlackLove #ComeHereLetMeWhisperSomethingToYouLOL #BestPart #SwipeLeft
“God helped me to make my wife’s dream come true,” he wrote in an IG post Tuesday night. “Why not? She’s made mine come true!”
The backlash only grew worse, however, prompting the megachurch pastor to issue an emotional response to his many critics. Gray took to Facebook Live on Thursday, where he insisted “not a nickel, not a penny” of his salary from the church was used to purchase the sport utility vehicle. He stood by his decision, saying the car was a gift meant to honor his wife.
“She has toiled with a man who is still trying to find himself,” Gray said, fighting back tears at times. “That carries a weight. I wanted to honor her for how she’s covered me.”
“It wasn’t a pastor that bought the car — it was a husband that bought the car,” the pastor continued. “Get that in your spirit. “I’m a husband first. Don’t confuse what I do with who I am. What I do is I pastor God’s people.”
Gray’s $200,000 purchase came just a week after he took aim at fellow Christian leaders in a scathing sermon titled “Leftovers,” where he ripped into so-called “pulpit pimps who want to get fat off people but don’t want to meet the needs of the poor people.” During that same message, Gray allowed parishioners in need to take money from the collection baskets.
In his live stream Thursday, Gray explained that his multiple business ventures, including his second book deal and the fourth season of his reality show “The Book of John Gray,” which airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network, made it possible for him to buy the pricey whip.
The pastor also recalled seeing a presentation for the luxury SUV at their hotel during a trip to Los Angeles for NBA All-Star Weekend. He knew he had to buy it.
“I saw my wife’s eyes light up,” he said. “She said, ‘This would be a dream,’ and that’s all she had to say.”
His wife, Aventer Gray, came to her husband’s defense in her own IG post and lauded her man as a Good Samaritan who happily donates cars, furniture and even the coats off his back in addition to tithing to his church.
“STAY 👏🏽OFF 👏🏽MY 👏🏽HUSBAND,” she wrote Sunday. “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…🙄 We don’t live for people! We live for God!”
According to the Greenville News, Gray noted that he put a down payment on the car but hasn’t paid it off just yet. He remains assured that with income from his current projects, he can afford to keep his wife and kids happy.