A Missouri pastor issued a public apology this week after a video clip from a recent Sunday sermon showing him berating his congregation for not buying him a luxury watch went viral.
"I want to take this moment to address the now-viral video clip with me from a sermon given on August 7, 2022. Though there is context behind the content of the clip, no context will suffice to explain the hurt and the anguish caused by my words. I've spoken to those I'm accountable to and have received their correction and instruction," Pastor Carlton Funderburke of Church at the Well Kansas City said in a video posted to social media Tuesday.
In the clip, Funderburke expressed disappointment in the congregation for failing to fulfill his year-long request for a Movado watch, which can cost anywhere from $300 to over $3,000.
"That's how I know you're still poor, broke, busted and disgusted because of how you've been honoring me," the pastor asserted. "I'm not worth your McDonald's money? I'm not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain't worth your St. John Knits? Y'all can't afford it no how."
"I ain't worth y'all Louis Vuitton? I ain't worth your Prada? I'm not worth your Gucci?" he asked.
"I'm saying this because I want you to understand just what God is saying. I found out that Movado, you can buy a Movado watch in Sam's [Club]. And y'all know I asked for one last year, and here it is the whole way in August; I still ain't got it," he said.
"Y'all ain't saying nothing? Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters. I don't want to hear no more excuses about what you all can't afford. You can't afford it because you don't see the value here," Funderburke said as he pointed to the pulpit. "Y'all hear from your pastor and father. I'm over y'all. I'm over your cheap expressions."
According to The Christian Post, Funderburke's verbal attack on his church comes as many Americans are facing financial difficulties due to a recent surge in inflation.
A report from PYMNTS and LendingClub shows that nearly two-thirds of American consumers, including some 33 percent of those earning over $250,000 annually, live paycheck to paycheck because of inflation.
"Inflation will most likely be part of the economic picture for many months to come, and consumers living paycheck to paycheck of all income brackets will need to review their financial situations and plan their spending accordingly," the researchers of the study titled "New Reality Check: The Paycheck-To-Paycheck Report," warned.
In Funderburke's apology video, he explained that he "privately apologized" to his congregation, and they "have extended their love and support to me."
"I'm privileged to do life with them. The video clip does not reflect my heart or my sentiments towards God's people, yet that's not discernible in the clip. Therefore, I offer this sincere apology to you today," he said. "No context could erase the words I used. I apologize to all who've been hurt, angered or in any way damaged by my words. The zeal of any presentation must be tempered with love and respect, and that was not displayed."
He also asked the church and pastors to pray for him and forgive him for his actions.
"I apologize to the church at large for any undue scrutiny I have subjected you to. I apologize to every preacher and pastor who must stand up under the controversy that I have caused," Funderburke said.
"To those who now know me because of this video clip, I regret that your first impression of me is one of anger, hate and resentment," he added. "My actions and my words are inexcusable. I offer no justification or defense. That moment was mishandled and mismanaged. I deeply regret this moment, and I solicit your prayers and forgiveness as we grow forward."
Photo courtesy: Clay Banks/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.