South Carolina

Pastor challenges SC megachurch preacher who bought Lamborghini to give up possessions

Former pastor, Hope Carpenter threatened Greenville News

Hope Carpenter threatened a local newspaper while pledging her support for a controversial pastor at Relentless Church, a megachurch in Greenville, South Carolina.
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Hope Carpenter threatened a local newspaper while pledging her support for a controversial pastor at Relentless Church, a megachurch in Greenville, South Carolina.

On Easter Sunday, a pastor from Washington, D.C., took to social media to issue a challenge: give up one possession each week or each month.

“We want to detach from all the materialism that kind of takes our focus away from Jesus and begin to give more liberally,” he tweeted.

Pastor Jomo Johnson’s first nomination for what he’s calling #TheJesusChallenge is John Gray, the pastor of Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, who has been criticized in recent months for buying his wife a Lamborghini and his expensive taste in sneakers.

“On this Easter Day, I am calling @RealJohnGray and other Church pastors to take #TheJesusChallenge : Live one year minimally. You choose. Starting May 1st, give up one possession per day or week, or per month...until next Easter,” Johnson tweeted Sunday, sharing a video message posted to YouTube.

Johnson, with the Church for Black Men and Families in Washington, D.C., said, “I wanted to share something, but I wanted to share it in the form of a challenge.”

“Jesus told the rich young ruler, sell all you have, give it to the poor, then you’ll have riches in heaven,” he said in the video. “We want to be able to follow Jesus in this lifestyle of minimalism.”

“The first person that I want to challenge is the pastor of Relentless Church in South Carolina, John Gray. I challenge you to be willing to give up one of your possessions, one possession each week, or one possession each month, or if you want to go to the extreme, one possession each day.”

Gray drew criticism last year when he bought his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini, The State newspaper reports. He defended the anniversary gift to his wife in December, saying he bought the car with money from his book and television deals, not his income from the church.

More recently, Gray was included in a New York Times story headlined, “Let He Who Is Without Yeezys Cast the First Stone” about an Instagram account that looked at preachers’ expensive sneakers.

“John Gray, a pastor from South Carolina, was shown in blood-red Air Yeezy 2s, the sneakers made in collaboration with Kanye West, that were going for upward of $5,000,” The Times said.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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