Gray, the pastor of the Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, posted a 23-minute video on Facebook last week saying he bought the luxury car for his wife, Aventer Gray, to celebrate their eight-year wedding anniversary and used funds from his book deal, a show on OWN and investments.
“First of it all, it wasn’t a pastor that bought the car,” the clergyman said. “It was a husband that bought the car. 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, who was criticized for the purchase, said his male family members never “did right” by their wives and he wanted to show how much he appreciates the things she sacrificed for him.
“I feel the weight of an entire family on me, so when I think about what my wife has sacrificed for me — she gave me two kids, she’s gone through a thyroidectomy, they had precancerous cells on there — people don’t know what we’ve gone through,” he added. “So it’s nothing to me to bless her.”
Gray received backlash from people online over the lavish purchase.
“People are STUPID to give their money to these mega church pastors who turn around and buy mansions, planes and fancy cars,” wrote social media user K. Washington.
People are STUPID to give their money to these mega church pastors who turn around and buy mansions, planes and fancy cars.
— K. Ife (@peacelily1121) December 13, 2018
“Meanwhile the flock starves and people are homeless. Don’t even start with me on this. 200k is a HOUSE, not a car. That’s not a pastors salary. Period,” wrote Twitter user @yeshua_porvida.
Approximately 10,000 people attend services at Relentless Church each Sunday. Gray previously worked as an associate pastor alongside preacher Joel Osteen at Houston’s Lakewood Church.