Controversy is stirring over a photo posted on Instagram on Sunday by megachurch leader Paula White, which shows the author and speaker dressed up for Halloween with her husband Jonathan Cain of the rock band Journey.
“Little Red Riding Hood with the Big Bad Wolf,” she wrote, hashtagging “#love #marriage #life #fun #makingmemories.”
White wears a red hood in the photo with a black and white blouse or dress revealing decolletage as she is embraced by her husband dressed in a wolf costume and face paint.
White, 49, is known for founding without Walls International Church in Tampa, Florida with her second husband Randy White. She turned the church over to him years after their divorce in 2007. White hosts the television show “Paula White Today,” which airs on TBN and BET, and now serves as leader of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida.
She also 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.”
White’s first marriage was to Dean Knight, who she married as a teenager. The two have a son together, named Bradley.
Jonathan Cain, 65, is known for his roles in the bands Bad English and Journey, especially for penning the Journey hits “Don’t Stop Believin,’” “When You Love a Woman” and “Who’s Crying Now.”
His first marriage was to singer Tané McClure, who he divorced and later went on to marry Elizabeth Fullerton, with whom he has three children. Cain recently divorced for the second time, and married White in April.
White’s photo on Sunday, which generated 1,600 likes and over 300 comments, generated polarized discussion online as to whether or not it is appropriate for Christians to celebrate Halloween.
“By dressing up for Satan’s holiday, you are praising him,” one commenter wrote. “This is righteous judgment, not pointing a finger. The enemy needs to be exposed openly.”
“I am very disappointed in you Mrs. White. You are a pastor and you are celebrating the devil’s day, why?” another asked. “Please take this photo down and repent. Why celebrate the day of God’s enemy and go to church on Sunday to preach, what wow.”
Others defended the megachurch leader.
“I love my pastor and her family and my NDCC family! The little riding hood with the big bad wolf was classic. I myself was Batgirl,” one commenter wrote.
“Every church had a party or something … on October 31. But you [think we] are to be above having fun,” another said in response to those who rebuked White. “Pastor Paula, you rock and are the best pastor there is! The world is jealous of God’s chosen.”
Joe Schimmel, pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, and director of Good Fight Ministries wrote on his blog “Cup of Joe” last month that Christians should not seek to justify participation in Halloween activities.
“There will certainly be people who will still rationalize ways to participate, at some level, in the festivities of Halloween. To this the Lord replies in Proverbs 3:7, ‘Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil,’ and 8:13 ‘To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech,'” he said. “Will we seek to push the boundaries of our faith to see just how far we can go? Or will we seek to serve the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength?”