"I won't ask permission from anybody to do it," John Gray said.
A South Carolina mega church pastor has defended his choice to surprise his wife with one of the most expensive cars on the market, saying he worked hard to buy her the vehicle.
Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville bought his wife and fellow preacher, Aventer Gray, a Lamborghini SUV valued at more than $200,000.
“First of all, it wasn’t a pastor that bought the car, it was a husband that bought the car,” Gray said in a video responding to criticism of the purchase. “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. Who I am is a husband and a father and I’ll do anything to honor them and I won’t ask permission from anybody to do it. No man should.”
Gray surprised her with the vehicle when they renewed their wedding vows on their eighth anniversary earlier this month, a video of moment showed.
But Gray came under fire from critics who wondered where he got the money from to buy such an extravagant gift. They also questioned his choice to spend such a high amount on a car.
“You could have taken that money and given back where it came from ... the people struggling in the congregation,” one person commented.
Another wrote: “$200,000 off the backs of church folks.”
But Gray said the money he spent on the car was his and his alone.
“Not a nickel, not a penny from this church … went toward the gift that I gave my wife,” he said.
Gray, who was once an associate pastor at Joel Osteen’s mega church in Lakewood, Texas, is an author and is the subject of a dramedy documentary that airs on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network.
“The book deal comes with resources, the TV show comes with resources,” Gray said. “I also have other streams, and I’ve also been wise with my savings and my investments.”
Gray’s wife also lashed out at critics.
“My hubby is a hard worker,” Aventer Gray said. “He worked his whole life and he saved to bless his wife.”
Saying his wife told him he had made her dreams come true, Gray also noted: "I don’t really care what you (critics) think."