Gospel singer Kirk Franklin has attacked the 'greed' of megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar in a blog post after Dollar appealed for funds to help him buy a $65 million jet.
Dollar, who founded World Changers Church International and teaches prosperity theology, launched his appeal after his previous jet had mechanical failures and asked 200,000 supporters to contribute $300 each. He has since cancelled the appeal after receiving widespread criticism online.
Campaign project manager Rick Hayes originally said in the campaign: "If all of our existing partners were to sow $300 each, from all over the world, we'd be able to acquire this jet in a very, very short period of time."
Dollar was widely ridiculed for requesting the aircraft, which is reportedly the fastest civilian plane ever built. He was also criticised for a claim by a spokesman that the plane was needed to carry food and supplies to needy areas. Aviation experts said it was designed for "golf bags", not cargo. However, high-profile Christian figures have largely avoided commenting on him.
Now, in his article about the importance of Christian character, Franklin says in a clear reference to the controversy: "When a pastor wants people to buy him a private plane while a missionary in Somalia bathes children with sores, that's a shortage of character. When I camouflage my 'greeds' to look like 'needs', that's a shortage of character."
In his article, Franklin warns that talent without character is not enough to ensure long-term success, and that failure to be accountable has ended many careers and ministries.
"The evening news is filled with headlines of scandals because character was not the main agenda," he writes. "I agree you cannot legislate morality in our culture, but you cannot avoid holding people accountable. You can't let people slide by just because they are charismatic and can 'kill' a room.
"We don't have a shortage of greatness, we have a shortage of character."