A number of media reports this week revealed that televangelist and Chair of Donald Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board was urging people to donate up to a month’s salary to ‘God’ via her her church’s First Fruits campaign – and that those who did not cough up at least something could face dire consequences.
On her Paula White Ministries website, White – whose net worth is $5-million – wrote:
All Firsts belong to God. When you honor this principle it provides the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life, it unlocks deep dimensions of spiritual truths that literally transform your life! When you apply this everything comes in divine alignment for His plan and promises for you.
Ominously, she added:
When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience there are consequences.
This threat put her in the direct line of fire from folk – many of them Christians – who despise her money-grubbing tactics.
Today, it was reported by Christian Post that a spokesperson for Paula White released this statement:
Pastor Paula White’s comments were originally reported out of their full context. She was actually speaking of her personal, longtime commitment to ‘put God first at the beginning of a new year’ and as part of that commitment she has often donated her entire January salary to charity in gratitude to God for his blessings.
She encouraged others to also be generous but she does not – and did not – suggest that other people must donate a month’s salary to her or her church or face divine punishment. Charity is at the heart of Christianity as it is at the heart of every religious tradition in the world, and anyone who has listened to White’s teaching within its proper context should come to this conclusion as well.
Here’s what she says about “GOD’S PRINCIPLE OF FIRST FRUITS”:
Each January, I put God first and honor Him with the first of our substance by sowing a first fruits offering of one month’s pay. That is a big sacrifice, but it is a seed for the harvest I am believing for in the coming year. And God always provides! Every year many others join us and sow a month’s pay, a week’s pay, others give a day’s pay, but everyone gives their best — The results are miraculous! First Fruits has impacted my life personally and the lives of countless others! But First Fruits is more than just an offering… it’s a principle.
Writing for The Friendly Atheist, David G McAfee asked:
Who exactly is Paula White giving money to? Her own bank account? Since every link on that website goes directly to her donation page, we can safely assume she is sending the money to … her own ministry. That means it’s not a ‘big sacrifice’ at all. It also brings new meaning to ‘God always provides!’
Hat tip: BarrieJohn