APOPKA, Fla. — Prosperity preacher Paula White, who also serves as the chair of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, is urging her followers to give a “first fruits” financial offering with the start of 2018, stating that there are “consequences” for those who don’t do so out of “ignorance or direct disobedience.”
“As you remember the Lord your God, according to Deuteronomy 8:18, through your first fruits offering, He gives you the power to acquire wealth to establish His covenant,” she wrote in a post on her website, accompanied by a YouTube video.
“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,” White outlined.
She urged others to do so as well, noting that some of her partners “sow a month’s pay, a week’s pay, [or] a day’s pay,”—whatever is their best. White stated that the offering differs from a tithe—or 10 percent—because it is the whole of the first.
She asserted that “2018 is a year of life and deliverance from struggle [and] it begins right now with first fruits.” White noted that part of the Hebrew word for 18 means “alive” or “living.”
“We are demanding life to your purpose,” she declared. “And with obedience to this first fruits instruction, which is putting God first now, your purpose, your year, your prosperity, and your power will have life and be resurrected!”
“When you apply this, everything comes in divine alignment for His plan and promises for you. When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience, there are consequences,” White also said.
White is offering a book, devotional and/or wall calendar in exchange for a first fruits offering, depending on the amount donated.
“Remember, I believe in sowing a month’s, week’s or day’s pay. By honoring God and obeying His Word, it shifts something supernaturally! It’s about doing your very best!” she wrote. “Honoring God with the principle of first fruits with your seed is all about Him—God is worth it! Let me hear from you right away and make your ‘promise to come’ a reality!”
“I want you to click on that [donate] button, and I want you to honor God with His first fruits offering,” White also urged in the video accompanying the article.
However, as reported by Leonardo Blair with Christian Post, some believe that the concept of first fruits is being abused and used as manipulation to coerce the hearer or reader to give the person money in the name of God.
“The ways in which churches use the phrase (and the practice) vary in theological truth. To say that ‘laying down a seed’ so that God will make someone rich, or that you can pay off God to bless future plans, is an abusive lie from adherents of the prosperity gospel,” writes the site Compelling Truth. “To give sacrificially is to follow in the example of the widow of Mark 12:41-44, and is commendable as long as it isn’t coerced.”
“As far as the first fruit offering as described in the Old Testament, the Church is exempt. Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but He did come to fulfill it—including being the first fruit Himself (1 Corinthians 15:20),” it outlines. “If the usage of the term ‘first fruit’ in the New Testament is to be considered, the manifestation of first fruit in the church age means that those who were saved in the early Church were a promise that more would follow. And Jesus’ resurrection is a promise that we, too, will be resurrected.”
“Any other use of ‘first fruits’ is either abusive or careless,” the site concludes. “There are better terms to use when a church collects a special offering, and there are more biblical ways to do so than to insist, cajole, and threaten people to give.”
As previously reported, White considers herself a life coach, authoring books such as “The Ten Commandments of Health and Wellness,” “Simple Suggestions for a Sensational Life,” “I Don’t Get Wholeness, That’s the Problem—Making Relationships Work” and “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.”
She has been married three times. Her first marriage was to Dean Knight, who she married as a teenager. The two have a son together, named Bradley. In 2007, White divorced her second husband, Randy White, and in 2015, she married Journey rocker Jonathan Cain, who has likewise been married three times.