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But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. -- 2Peter 2: 1-3 (NLT)
I stayed away from this story for long enough. Perhaps because it is largely a waste of time to dance around with Christo-political operatives who care more about idolizing this country than the God they claim to serve. Paula White was recently named along with Franklin Graham to pray at the upcoming inauguration for Donald Trump. I think prayer is always a good idea. The bible says we are to pray first for those in authority and leadership. So prayer is not the issue even though I do not think Donald Trump has a god beyond himself. Nevertheless, we pray that he would lead so that we can live our lives in peace as the Word instructs us to do. No, the issue is with who has been chosen to lead these prayers. Now Trump can choose anyone he likes but it is frightening to realize the utter lack of discernment on the part of the church to not run from these choices screaming.
I know Franklin Graham has a lot of Christian street cred being the son of Billy Graham and the CEO of two major Christian charities. It is only when you dig a little that things get funky. Like how are we ok with Graham receiving $880,000 in salaries from these two organizations? How about the fact that in 2012 the Trump Foundation gave Graham through these two organizations a combined $125,000 in donations. Suddenly when Trump decides to run for president and needs to get in with the evangelicals it is Graham that sets it all up and paves the way. There is a term for this that was popular during this election cycle -- pay for play.
But Graham, while seedy, is not the conundrum for self-professing Christians. That distinction belongs to Paula White. Everyone glossed over Graham and focused their outrage on the selection of White. The criticisms have been far and wide and mostly deserved. But the Seeker Friendly Industrial Complex takes care of its own. It always makes sure that any criticism is met with push back to protect the brand. Enter false prophetess Jennifer Leclaire. Jennifer is an editor over at Charisma News, which is a front for the false signs and lying wonders heresy and a Republican Party operative. So when Paula White wanted a platform to respond to the allegations she just gave ole Jennifer a call and sure enough, Leclaire gave White free reign to answer her critics without so much as a question being asked of her. Not even trying to stay neutral, Leclaire claims that White has been "coming under massive verbal persecution" leading up to the inauguration. Give me a break.
Yes, in this country Christian persecution consists of people restating things you have already said and drawing logical conclusions from them. Leclaire's statement is absurdly ridiculous. The title of the Charisma piece is "Paula White Responds to 'Heretic, Apostate, Charlatan' Accusations. Within it, White claims she has been accused falsely of everything under the sun since it was announced she would pray with the President Elect. I am not going to get into some of the specifics because I think they were provided to poison the well. I do not know nor have seen any accusations about her being an addict. The adulterer accusation probably stems from her status of being married three times. The most recent to a former member of the rock band Journey who intimated during a recent church service that he and White liked watching pornography to enhance their marriage. The accusation about her denying the Trinity comes from conservative blogger Eric Erick Erickson. It appears to stem from something she said a long time ago about all humans being begotten of God. I do not believe White routinely preaches nor believes this so I agree with her on this one point. The accusation about bankruptcy, which she scoffs at, is probably referring to the state of her former church which did indeed file bankruptcy. Instead of these, let us deal with the three main spiritual accusations -- heretic, apostate, and charlatan. Let us start with simple definitions.
A heretic is someone who teaches theology and beliefs contrary to what is accepted within Scripture.
An apostate is someone who falls away from established faith.
A charlatan is someone falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud.
So how does Paula White score? As Meatloaf once sang, two outta three ain't bad. First, let us deal with the one that she is not. Paula White is not an apostate. Please realize that this is a nuanced conclusion and should not be counted favorably for Mrs. White. She is not an apostate because in order to be, she must have first been correct in the faith and then fallen away. Paula White always has been false. An example of an apostate would be Rob Bell who once pastored a huge mega church and preached the Gospel. Then one day he woke up and decided that hell was not an actual place and that all people go to heaven. Now this doctrine of universalism is heretical but the fact that he once believed correctly also makes him apostate. Paula White has no such correct history upon which to rest. The charge of heretic is fully supported however. This despite White's attempts to muddy the water:
"My life and decisions have been nowhere near perfect, though nothing like what has been falsely conveyed in recent days. Nevertheless, I am now a 50-year old grandmother who has learned from the good and the bad in my life. I thank God that He has plenty of grace for us all and that He knows that neither my faith, my life, not my theology originates or is inspired by any other book than the Bible -- which I believe is inerrant and God's truth. God also knows I have poured my life in love and service to others." -- Paula White
That is breathtaking. To play the grandmother card, the grace card and the victim card in one paragraph takes skill. First of all, it is not about perfection. White says this to start because she wants people to lower the bar for what they should expect from her. What has been conveyed lately, outside of the trinity denying charge, is fully supported. In this statement she defends her belief in the trinity, the Word of God, and the fundamentals of the Gospel but ignores the theological elephant in the room and that is her pimping of the prosperity gospel. Yes the grace of God is immense but that is in relation to our personal walk, not our ministry. As a minister of the Gospel, White has chosen a different standard by which to be judged. A higher standard. One that does not go away by waving your hand and speaking eloquently about mistakes you may have made.
But perhaps the most egregious thing White says is at the end here. To claim that she has poured her life in love and service to others is a mockery. That is because Paula White is the textbook definition of a charlatan. She is utterly a fraud, who has fleeced the flock of God for decades now. She serves only one god and that is mammon. One of her primary shticks is to claim direct revelation from God to force people to send her money. This is the "special knowledge" she claims to have to defraud people. In 2014 for example she claimed that God told her that 1Chronicles 22:9 meant that people should "sow" a $229 "seed" into her ministry and that this would be a "breakthrough seed." This is an actual excerpt from the mailer she sent out regarding this false word:
"This email will change your life! YOU are on the verge of complete breakthrough in every area of your life. Spiritually, Financially, and Relationally God has shown me that this is a season of victory for His people." -- Paula White
There is a word for this beloved. It is called a scam. God gave no such ridiculous word to Paula White. This is spiritually manipulative. It is maliciously evil. It is not a mistake, an error or an oopsie. This is a wolf getting ready to dine on some of God's sheep. Before you go thinking no one responds to things like this please realize that Paula White is currently worth in excess of five million dollars. That is how much money she has stolen from Christians. And you are happy she has been chosen to pray for the President-Elect? Seriously? In case you are thinking this is an outlier you would also be wrong. This is how Paula White makes her money. Just this past year she did a "teaching" on Jubilee and how this was the year of supernatural debt cancellation. That people who sowed into her ministry would receive a "double portion" from God. Then she leveraged Passover to go for the kill:
"These are mandated times that God says you must bring to me, don't stand before me empty-handed. So I want you to call our toll free number right now. And as you honor God with an offering, you are standing in position, ready to receive revelation and harvest. For the outpouring of what God has for you." -- Paula White
Absolutely shameless beloved. To take the feast days of ancient Israel and sacrifices required and twist them to try and make merchandise of the people of God is the definition of a charlatan. Then to prostitute out the blessings of God in exchange for it shows that Paula White does not know God because if she did, she would fear Him. Let us turn to our key verses for today, which seem to perfectly fit our discussion about Paula White.