A South Carolina pastor has defended his decision to gift his wife a Lamborghini luxury SUV for an eighth year anniversary present.
Pastor John Gray is the leader of Relentless Church in Greenville, and also preaches at the Lakewood Church in Houston.
In a video shot by R&B star and actor Tyrese that went viral last week, Gray surprised his wife on their December 11 anniversary, handing her keys to the $200,000 Lamborghini Urus vehicle.
“You light my fire. Let this Lamborghini light your fire, baby,” said Gray in the now deleted video.
He has faced widespread criticism, with social media users questioning where he found the funds for the vehicle.
In a new video posted on Facebook Live Saturday, Gray responded to his critics.
"First of all, it wasn't a pastor that bought the car. It was a husband that bought the car. Get that in your spirit," Gray said in the 23 minute video. "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."
He said that no money from the church was used to buy the vehicle.
“What should concern people who are actually genuinely concerned is 'did this man use any money from the church to do this?' And the answer is no, absolutely not," he said.
He said he saved the money from his second book deal and OWN Channel reality show The Book of John Gray.
Houston's Lakewood church—where Gray is an associate pastor—is led by Pastor Joel Osteen, who preaches the controversial 'prosperity gospel,' claiming that material wealth is a path to salvation. Osteen was criticised in August 2017 for initially refusing to open the church's doors for victims of tropical storm Harvey.
Gray went on to praise his wife in the video.
"My wife has pushed for my dreams and my vision and she has toiled with a man who is still trying to find himself," he said. "That carries a weight. I wanted to honor her for how she’s covered me."
In an Instagram post, Gray's wife defended her husband.
"MY HUBBY IS A HARD-WORKER, HE WORKED HIS WHOLE LIFE AND HE SAVED TO BLESS HIS WIFE!!!" Aventer Gray wrote in caps lock. "Gives away cars, full houses of furniture, coats off his back."
It’s not the first time a pastor’s lavish spending has drawn accusations of hypocrisy, with a Louisiana televangelist in May criticised after seeking donations for a $54 million private jet.