Prosperity preacher Paula White, who was invited by President-elect Donald Trump to deliver the invocation at his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, has released a statement in defense of herself as some Christians have expressed concern over Trump’s selection of the female preacher for the event.
“I have been called a heretic, an apostate, an adulterer, a charlatan, and an addict,” she wrote this week. “It has been falsely reported that I once filed for bankruptcy and—my personal favorite—that I deny the Trinity!”
White said that she had been hesitating “to even address such patently false accusations about my personal life and my beliefs so as to not dignify them with a response.” However, since she believed the objections to her appearance pose “a potential distraction to an otherwise celebratory and historic time in our country,” she wanted to present her side of the story.
White, who leads New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, then outlined that she has “always believed in the Holy Trinity,” and in regard to being a prosperity preacher, she contended that the characterization is inaccurate as she has preached on both the good times and hard times in life.
“I also reject any theology that doesn’t affirm or acknowledge the entirety of Scriptural teaching about God’s presence and blessing in suffering as much as in times of prosperity,” she wrote. “In fact, I have preached and written as much on the lessons we must learn in times of trial in our lives as I have in times of abundance.”
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.”
On Thursday, White told CNN’s Erin Burnett that her life isn’t “perfect,” and contended that there is none without issue. She acknowledged that she indeed did obtain a divorce, but said that she had tried to save it through counseling.
“God knew everything I would go through before I ever went through it,” she stated. “Not everything is perfect in my life, but I don’t think everything is perfect in anybody’s life.”
White 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.
During the CNN interview, which included discussion on her invitation to the inauguration, White called Trump a “man of God” and praised him for the diversity of spiritual leaders that he had selected for the event.
As previously reported, the ceremony is set to feature Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Franklin Graham, Jewish rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Wayne Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International, as well as White.
As previously reported, in September 2015, White was among a number of spiritual leaders, including televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Jan Crouch, who laid hands on and prayed for Trump at Trump Tower in New York. She specifically made a “faith declaration” that she was securing Trump’s “calling and his mantle.”
“Father, we just secure him right now by the blood of Jesus. We thank you that no weapon formed against him will be able to prosper and any tongue that rises against him will be condemned according to the word of God,” White, who leads New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, prayed as she touched his arm.
“All the days of his life, let him live well,” she continued. “I secure him. I secure his children. I secure his calling and his mantle.”
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family released a statement last June that included notation that he had heard White led Trump to Christ a number of years ago. Trump had been a guest on her television program “Paula White Today” in 2008, where she discussed finding one’s passion in life.
She is expected to serve as the chair of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board during his presidential term.
But some have expressed concern over White, including her leadership of a church despite the biblical instruction in 1 Timothy 2:12, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man…” and Christ’s warning in Matthew 19:9, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
White also raised controversy in 2015 when she posted a photograph of herself and her new husband dressed in Halloween costumes.
“Little Red Riding Hood with the Big Bad Wolf,” she wrote, hashtagging “#love #marriage #life #fun #makingmemories.”
“By dressing up for Satan’s holiday, you are praising him,” one commenter wrote under her post, which generated hundreds of polarized comments. “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.”
In a message the two delivered about marriage in August of last year, White’s husband advised, “Ladies, if you don’t know what he likes, figure it out. Get a book. … If he likes to watch porn, watch porn with him.” The clip, which has raised eyebrows, has been posted online as a warning to others.