Prosperity preachers claim private planes prevent flying with 'demons' on commercial airlines

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Prosperity preachers Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis on the Believer's Voice of Victory television program Dec. 30. | Believer's Voice of Victory/Kenneth Copeland Ministries

FORT WORTH, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis – both multi-millionaire preachers of the "name it and claim it" prosperity gospel – have taken to the air to explain their need for private luxury jets, in part because they travel to so many locations weekly, but also so they won't have to fly with "demons."

Duplantis said in a five minute video clip Dec. 30 (begin at 2:08) that God revealed to him the need for the private jet in the midst of a flight in his plane, just after a meeting with fellow prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar – the minister who this summer produced a slick marketing video asking his followers to donate $60 million for a new jet.

The board of directors for Dollar's ministry later apologized for the video, but insisted the luxury aircraft was a legitimate need for the minister.

Duplantis said in the segment, which originally aired on the Kenneth Copeland Ministries website, that God asked him if he liked his plane.

"As I was going home, the Lord, real quickly, he said, 'Jesse, do you like your plane?'" Duplantis said. "I thought, 'That's an odd statement.' I said, 'Well, certainly, Lord.' He said, 'Do you really like it?' And I thought, 'Well, yes, Lord.' Then he said this: 'So that's it? You gonna let your faith stagnate?'"

Duplantis said the comment shocked him, causing him to unbuckle his seatbelt and stand up in the plane. The pilots, he then said, asked him if he needed something.

"I said, 'No, no, I'm talking to God right now.'"

The message, Duplantis began to explain, was that God wanted him to have more. Copeland then interrupted Duplantis, saying, "You can't do that [talk to God] on an [commercial] airplane."

"The world is in such a shape that we can't get there without this. We've got to have this [private jet]," Copeland said. "That's why we're on that [private] airplane. We can talk to God."

Copeland said when he first started as a minister, he often flew with Oral Roberts. He said Roberts, who founded Oral Roberts University, viewed his private plane as a sanctuary. He expected everyone to be quiet on the plane. No one was allowed to speak to Roberts unless he spoke first, Copeland said.

"Now Oral [Roberts] used to fly airlines," Copeland said. "But even back then it got to the place where it was agitating his spirit, people coming up to him; he had become famous, and they wanted him to pray for them and all that. You can't manage that today, this dope-filled world, and get in a long tube with a bunch of demons. It's deadly."

Copeland concluded that he and Duplantis, along with a litany of other prosperity preachers, were in the "soul business."

"We got a dying world around us. We got a dying nation around us. And we can't even get there on an airline," Copeland said.