Evangelical leaders come under fire for promoting Paula White's new book

Pastor Paula White-Cain speaks on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Pastor Paula White-Cain speaks on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Some prominent Christian leaders have come under fire for promoting pastor Paula White's latest book. 

White, former pastor of New Destiny Christian Center and one of President Trump’s spiritual advisers, recently released her latest book, Something Greater: Finding Triumph Over Trials. 

“Discover Pastor Paula's strength throughout her inspiring faith journey as well as your own spiritual gifts as you read her honest and stirring story,” reads a description of the book by White, who's also known as Bishop T.D. Jakes' "spiritual daughter."

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“Early in Paula's life, she didn't know God, but there was always a pull to something greater. Once she prayed for salvation at the age of 18, Paula finally understood the meaning of grace and purpose, and realized God had been taking care of her the whole time.”

Several prominent evangelical leaders took to social media to endorse White’s book.

In a since-deleted tweet, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, encouraged his 2 million followers to “check out” Something Greater, noting that White has lived an “interesting life.” The move drew the ire of some public commenters who said Grahams’ late father, Billy Graham, would be “disappointed” in his son's endorsement. 

Additionally, Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, tweeted: “My good friend @Paula_White has written a new book which releases tomorrow. It is powerful. I highly recommend it!”

On Twitter, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, said to give Something Greater to “anyone looking for hope!” While Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, added, “Paula’s life is an encouragement to so many and I’m sure this book will encourage you.” 

Responding Jeffress, author and evangelist Justin Peters said, "@robertjeffress I appeal to you to immediately disassociate with Paula White. A lack of discernment of this magnitude is a very, very serious issue for a pastor. She is both unqualified and disqualified on every imaginable level to be in any kind of ministry. This is serious."

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, said while he and White have different theological views, her book will give readers “hope.”

“Honestly, I was not sure what to think when I was first invited to meet @Paula_White,” he tweeted. “Clearly, we differed in some areas theologically. Yet, I have found her to be gracious and humble. I’m glad she has taken the time to write down her amazing life story. It will give you hope."

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition also expressed his support, tweeting: "@Paula_White 's book #SomethingGreater launches today. An amazing read. Honest & inspiring. I’ve read it and I highly recommend this terrific book!"

White, who in the past has described herself as the “convener and de facto head” of the president’s evangelical advisery board, has been criticized in the past for her teachings, particularly surrounding the prosperity gospel, or the idea that God desires His followers to acquire financial riches, experience vibrant health and live comfortable lives.

In 2017, Russell Moore, head of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, blasted White as “a charlatan . . . recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.”

Similarly, Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary accused White of teaching that everyone can be a “little god,” and claiming that God came not to bring forgiveness of sins, but to “give us the power to claim prosperity.”

White, however, has said she rejects the prosperity gospel. “I do not believe in the ‘prosperity gospel’ as I’ve been accused of believing it,” White told The Christian Post. “I do believe that all good things come from God, and I also believe that God teaches us so much through our suffering.” 

“Listen to 100 of my sermons, and 80 or 90 of them will be about overcoming our struggles and the lessons God teaches us in valleys He allows us to enter. My life has not been an easy one, from my childhood, and at times, in my adulthood,” she said. 

“I'm 50 now, and a grandmother, so there are, of course, things my 50-year-old self wouldn't have done at 25. Thankfully, God gives us so much grace and allows us to learn so much through our trials. He's also allowed me to bring millions of people along through my personal experiences, trials and, sometimes, pain.

"I have been accused of so many things that are untrue," White added. "Some of those accusations persist despite their being entirely false, but I'll just continue preaching the Gospel.”

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