Paula White and Donald Trump: The Blind Leading the Blind
How are you doing today, sister Tammy?
Just to begin by saying we are obviously referencing Matt. 15:14 “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” with our title for this discussion. And, before anyone gets terribly upset by this title we just ask that they will hear us out. I believe the listeners will actually learn more things they can be praying about concerning the president as they listen to this discussion.
So, we wanted to discuss an article that shares information from an interview Paula White had with the publication entitled “The Guardian.” The article we are discussing is found at Newsweek.com and I will leave the link as we usually do in a Facebook note. (https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-pastor-paula-white-god-assignment-1376616?utm_campaign=NewsweekFacebookSF&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&fbclid=IwAR3axAZ5YwbU2Kw1Sm4xV1K_K7oQBozaQpZJwYATaWvYPSZp8j04EEE3W5A)
The article is entitled “Donald Trump's Personal Pastor Believes God Told Her to 'Show Him Who I Am.' The article begins: “President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser and personal pastor Paula White, who runs a Florida megachurch that generates millions of dollars and preaches the "prosperity gospel," believes she’s on a direct assignment from God.” (Now, first of all, someone might be thinking, well, this article will be derogatory to Christianity since it has been produced by a secular news organization, but it is often much better to read from such a source than from Charisma News, CBN news, or Breaking Christian News, etc. These and other “Christian” sources are absolutely leading people astray. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever read these, but to do so recognizing that the enemy often comes as an angel of light in their reporting. I know this is off topic, but I want to give an example that happened a few days ago. On Facebook someone had posted an article by Charisma News entitled, “Pope Francis and Leading Iman Sign Covenant Pushing Us Toward One-World Religion,” as if Charisma was warning about this event. However, Charisma magazine regularly promotes those in the NAR, and elsewhere, who are leading their followers to Rome! For just one example, on June 11, 2016 they posted an article entitled, “Mike Bickle Meets With Pope Francis to Discuss Jesus,” that gave a favorable depiction of the pope. Mike Bickle is, of course, the founder of IHOP for anyone unfamiliar with that name. So, again, this is just a side note to demonstrate that Charisma News should not be trusted and the same is true of many other “Christian” sources as well.
Now, let’s speak to the concept of Pres. Trump and his spiritual advisers). Here is a list of a few of the key evangelical leaders who were on President Donald Trump’s campaign evangelical executive advisory board and/or have served in an advisory role since his inauguration: James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Ronnie Floyd, Jack Graham, Robert Jeffress, Greg Laurie, Tony Perkins, and Paula White who holds the distinction of being the first clergywoman to give an invocation at an inauguration). (https://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/key-evangelical-players-trumps-advisory-board) (Well, it is sad to say, but there are major problems with each one of these people. Some are quite ecumenical, some are patriotic dominionists, and some belong to the WOF camp. And, then we can ask, do we see examples in the New Testament of any of those in the five-fold ministry being advisors to any government leader? And, someone might be thinking it wasn’t possible then because the government was so hostile to the church, but we don’t see any instructions given by someone like Paul as if this was a position someone should seek if it became possible. And, then someone might say, what about Joseph and Daniel? However, God specifically used them to preserve the nation of Israel since He had chosen them for the bloodline of Jesus to come through. Their lives and positions as such are not models for believers’ lives today).
The article continues - In an interview with The Guardian, White, whose relationship with Trump stretches back to 2002, said God told her directly to “show him who I am,” referring to the president. She is chair of the president’s evangelical advisory committee and a confidant.
“I encounter thousands of people, millions of people, over the course of ministry, but there’s been a handful of people that I knew was like, this was direct assignment,” White told The Guardian, adding that God's calling to her was “directly regarding Trump.”
(Concerning these statements about her having a “direct assignment from God” and then, “God told her directly to ‘show him who I am,’” if God was truly instructing Paula White concerning Donald Trump, her assignment would have been the same in 2002 as it is now and it would be the same for everyone she comes across. And, that would have been to preach the true gospel of salvation. And, as we have mentioned in several of our discussions, why should we believe all these people saying God told them such and such anyway?)
At this point I want to insert some information from an article entitled, “She led Trump to Christ: The rise of the televangelist who advises the White House,” concerning how they met. This write-up was adapted from an article at the Washington post that appeared on Nov. 11, 2017.
In late 2001 or early 2002, Trump called (Paula White) and said she had the ‘it’ factor. He repeated almost verbatim some of her sermons back to her.
This guy is hungry for God, she thought. As they talked further, she learned that he had attended church as a youth and been confirmed in the Presbyterian Church — so he had some of the basics of the faith. He seemed curious about how her pragmatic, businesslike take on religion could relate to his life.
Then, in 2004, an opportunity came. Trump asked White if she was ever up in New York. “The Apprentice,” a reality show produced by and starring Trump, had started, and she says he wanted her to be on the set, especially during the first season, for informal Bible studies or prayer for whoever wanted it. So she went and prayed for a lot of people. Including Trump.
During one of their early New York encounters, “I walked in and said, ‘I don’t want your money, I don’t want your fame, I want your soul,’ ” she remembers. “He just looked at me.” The two clicked, and somewhere along the line, White apparently got her wish, though she is reluctant to offer further details.
“Yes, there was an absolute moment that he received Jesus as Lord and Savior,” she says. “I have led many high-profile people to the Lord.” (https://www.thelily.com/she-led-trump-to-christ-the-rise-of-the-televangelist-who-advises-the-white-house/) (And, just to say we are not trying to be unkind with anything we say in these discussions, but rather just point out the truth. We know people will say we shouldn’t say anything negative about anyone in authority; many say we should all just be praying. Well, we do pray for Pres. Trump, but Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God rather than men,” and God would have us warn about the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11); He would have us mark and avoid those causing divisions and offences (Rom. 16:17). Man would have us cover up these things and pretend everything’s coming up roses! So, when Paula White says Pres. Trump has received Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we must ask, “Where is the fruit?” And, obviously, we will all still sin, but we will repent and not flaunt our sins as he did in that one interview that truly showed his thoughts concerning women which I will not discuss. Then, we have the fact that he owns many casinos and we know the things that take place in these establishments. Also, it is well-documented that after obtaining massive loans he dumped his debt-ridden failures on investors. The problem is it makes a mockery of God and His Word to claim to be a Christian and to have all this going on in addition to having members of many other belief systems pray at your Republican national convention, at your inauguration, to celebrate with members of other religions at the White House as he did with the Ramadan dinner and the Diwali festival of lights ceremony with Hindus. To have members of other religions speak at the Rose Garden for the National Days of Prayer as he has. To give speeches in Saudi Arabia, and Israel asserting that Christians, Muslims, and Jews all worship the same God. To visit the Vatican and then tweet this: “Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis.” You know, we cannot just overlook all these examples. And, we will have much more to say about Pres. Trump’s own statements about his beliefs later on in this discussion.
And, from this same article we learn that White was a rarity in Trump’s life: someone who was almost as famous and well-off as he was, who didn’t need his influence or power. She invited him to appear on her show (which was called Paula White Today) in 2006. (So, I tried searching for this show and all I could find was a short clip of the two of them (and it doesn’t say if it’s from her show or not). However, I also found an article that says, “In one televised sit-down with Trump, White asked him about ‘those life lessons that really caused you to succeed financially today.’ Trump pointed to his father, a workaholic who was passionate about his career to which Paula responded by saying, “That’s the principle I teach; find your passion in life and figure out a way to make money.” (https://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/donald-trump-pastor-paula-white-225315) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWXtI2CHiJE) :32 to :38
(Interestingly enough, in this same article she says she began preaching prosperity theology around 2002. She reasoned that the prosperity gospel’s emphasis on giving was the only way an evangelist could get on television and stay there. “Ministry takes money, and you have to raise the funds,” she says. She claims to have disavowed some aspects of that belief system now, but as we will see in a few minutes, she is still right in the thick of it).
Now, going back to the main article, she also claimed in 2011 that the president held a prayer meeting with up to 30 pastors at Trump Tower in New York to ask what God thought about the prospect of him running for the White House. The praying lasted six hours. Trump joined in for half that time. (As we know Pres. Trump decided not to run in the 2012 presidential election, but did in 2016. Now, we cannot say with any surety that none of these pastors gave him the true gospel at that time. However, we can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that someone should have and that should have been their main priority, not whether he was going to run for president).
I thought it would be interesting to see if there was more information out there concerning this prayer meeting and I did find one article about it at CBN.com. (http://www1.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2011/05/13/exclusive-details-inside-donald-trumps-prayer-meeting-with-christian)
Right away in this article from CBN we see a discrepancy because it says the meeting lasted two and a half hours and the prayer part lasted 20 minutes so that’s quite different from what Paula White said. And, then, an interesting point is that Donald Trump spent 45 minutes talking about his church, relationship with God, and his Christian upbringing. (Well, in many interviews he has stated that he attended Norman Vincent Peale’s church for quite a number of years so this would be the church of which he is speaking when he says “his church.” CBN news was told Donald Trump met with some “elite” Evangelical pastors, as well as some of their wives, but no names were shared. But, what I want to know is why these “elite” evangelical pastors didn’t stop the meeting right there and then and say something like, “If you have attended Peale’s church all these years you haven’t been hearing the true gospel”? Possible reasons that didn’t happen could be as follows: they don’t preach it themselves; they don’t care about Donald Trump’s spiritual state; they had their own agenda in wanting to see Donald Trump run for president. I personally believe it’s all three to varying degrees depending on these pastors themselves).
And, then, here are a few of the statements the group of pastors told Trump:
• He would have to look to God to forgive people for their transgressions, especially when Trump’s interest is only in helping America. (Well, as most of the listeners I am sure have heard by now he doesn’t understand that he needs to ask God for forgiveness so how could he understand forgiving others? And, then we know the way he wants to “help” America is by making the country great again, the concept of which is nowhere found in God’s Word. But, these pastors have gone right along with this foolishness even to the point of the choir from the First Baptist Church in Dallas (which is Robert Jeffress’ church) singing a song entitled “Make America Great Again” at the “Celebrate Freedom Rally” held at the Kennedy Center in July of 2017 (https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/340451-choir-sings-make-america-great-again-song-to-trump).
• One pastor said that God has clearly put the desire in Trump’s heart to run for the presidency. (Really? And, exactly why should we believe this? But, since many people who would call themselves evangelical Christians truly think Trump was sent by God to bless America, I am sure they would agree with this pastor, sad to say).
• They told Trump that America needs to restore its brand of greatness and said the country is bleeding. (Well, this goes right along with the first point about Trump wanting to help America. But, I want to know how any pastor justifies using the phrase, “its brand of greatness”? Whatever happened to pastors being concerned about souls rather than a country’s economy and status in the world?)
• The pastors cautioned Trump that he will need to take every negative thrown at him and turn it in to a positive. (Well, that sounds exactly like something Norman Vincent Peale might have said so I am sure Trump thought, “no problem!”)
Continuing with the main article - Despite his reputation as a hedonistic New York playboy, and accusations of extramarital affairs, Trump is highly popular among evangelical Christians, thanks in part to vocal endorsement by community leaders, including White. One such endorsement was reported in a Christian daily article from September of 2017 that quotes Paula White as saying, "Our president 100 percent is a Christian who understands receiving faith by the grace of the Lord, Jesus. He understands repentance, and I've seen him on many occasions in private and even in public." (https://www.christiandaily.com/article/pastor-paula-white-says-trump-100-percent-christian-and-a-man-of-repentance/61103.htm) (And, I am sure many of White’s followers and others will just accept her statements, but based on things he has said, as we will discuss in just a minute, he struggles to understand repentance).
And, then in another article from October of last year we have this statement by White: “When he first talked of running for president, he was a career businessman who was new to campaigning and didn’t know how to speak what I call ‘Christianese.’ But I actually liked that about him, then and now — he wasn’t a polished politician or preacher. When he spoke of his faith, he was speaking from the heart.” (https://thekcompany.co/news-release/the-washington-times-personal-pastor-paula-white-says-trump-serious-about-faith-even-if-not-fluent-in-christianese/) (But, a person doesn’t have to be polished to just give a basic statement about repentance and forgiveness; about his or her faith).
And, it is obvious to many that he has problems in this area as demonstrated in the next paragraph from the main article we are discussing that says: Trump has also struggled to demonstrate his faith. When asked during the 2016 campaign, he could not name his favorite biblical verse, and he also referred to Holy Communion as “my little wine and my little cracker.”
And, we want to play some of the interview in which Frank Luntz asked Trump if he ever asked for forgiveness. This was at the Family Leadership Summit held on July 18, 2015. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI_Y8l3U8mo) Would you start the video at this time please, sister Tammy? (7:05 to 8:53 in) So, Frank Luntz asks Trump if he’s ever asked God for forgiveness and he answers that he never thinks in these terms? He doesn’t bring God into the picture? (Anyone who has watched this video will automatically notice his completely puzzled look. It makes me wonder if he is actually confused concerning the true gospel considering all the false teaching he has heard. This may be why Pres. Trump just looked at Paula White when she told him she wanted his soul. You know, I have said from first hearing about all these “evangelical” pastors surrounding him that someone needs to share the true gospel with him. But, sadly, we have to wonder how many of them actually preach it themselves anymore). Then, he says he’s a religious person…and that people are shocked to find out he’s Protestant, he’s Presbyterian. He says he goes to church, loves God and loves his church. (Well, sad to say, this is the way someone speaks when they don’t truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s as if he just checks off the boxes and thinks this makes him a Christian).
And, then Trump talks about Norman Vincent Peale and his sermons. Due to Trump’s description of Norman Vincent Peale as “great” in this interview and others, it seems pretty obvious that Trump thinks quite highly of Peale. Just to note, Trump attended Peale’s church growing up, and he and his first wife, Ivana, were married there. His sisters were married there and both of his parents' funerals were held in this church.
So, it is interesting to note the influence Peale and his book, The Power of Positive Thinking, had on Trump’s belief system and I have two sources concerning this. First, I want to read from an article entitled, “How Positive Thinking, Prosperity Gospel Define Donald Trump's Faith Outlook” which says "Peale got very interested in the notion that the Gospel could unleash power, that having a divine relationship with God could unleash power within a person for success. And he defined success pretty broadly, so it partly included material success. God didn't want people to be poor." (https://www.npr.org/2016/08/03/488513585/how-positive-thinking-prosperity-gospel-define-donald-trumps-faith-outlook) (It is obvious that Trump picked up on this idea that having a relationship with God could unleash power within a person for success, specifically success in business because business dealings have been the focus of his life. And, then, we remember back to the beginning of the discussion where Trump got in touch with Paula White because he was curious about how her pragmatic, businesslike take on religion could relate to his life. So, it seems he was able to relate to her so well due to the similarities she had with Peale).
And, the second source is an interview with a man named Stephen Mansfield. He wrote a book entitled, “Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him.”
The following is part of an interview Stephen Mansfield had with National Public Radio:
NPR: You write a lot about the influence that Trump's pastor Norman Vincent Peale had on him and Peale's book, The Power of Positive Thinking, which was quite controversial at the time. Peale seems to have almost been a precursor to the prosperity gospel, which Trump seems to have aligned himself with the most, along with people like Paula White.
Mansfield: Norman Vincent Peale himself said, "I believe personally in the 'born again gospel,' but I talk about that in my church. Publicly, though, and in meetings around the country, around the world, I talk more of a motivational kind of message."
The author continues - And that's, I believe, the message that Donald Trump really drank from. I think that's the one that really shaped him. For example, not only "the power of positive thinking" was one of Norman Vincent Peale's phrases, but he also would go around saying, "Attitude is more important than facts."
If there's anything that we see with Donald Trump, it's that he believes that attitude, bravado. This is straight from Norman Vincent Peale. So I don't think he absorbed the message of transformation through Christ that Norman Vincent Peale believed, but didn't proclaim very publicly. (https://www.npr.org/2017/10/29/560097406/after-choosing-donald-trump-is-the-evangelical-church-in-crisis) (So, even though Trump sat in Peale’s church for years, he didn’t absorb the message of transformation Peale supposedly preached there. What he did absorb was this motivational/material success message in place of the true gospel, sad to say).
Sister Tammy, did you want to say something about Trump’s statement of feeling cleansed by having a little wine and a little cracker?
Thank you so much, sister Tammy.
Now, we would like to play another video where Trump was being interviewed by Jake Tapper from CNN. This is from January of 2016 so it’s six months after Trump’s interview with Frank Luntz. Trump has had plenty of time to think about the answers he gave to Luntz, but nothing has changed.
https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/01/17/sotu-tapper-trump-has-great-realtionship-with-god.cnn :32 to 1:06
*******Don’t say this paragraph - "I have great relationship with God. I have great relationship with the Evangelicals. I like to be good. I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don't do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad. I live a very different life than probably a lot of people would think."
(So, he talks about having a great relationship with God and with evangelicals. And, then about being good and doing good as he said in the first interview. So, his statements are quite similar to the ones he made at the Family Leadership Summit. He didn’t seem to understand repentance and forgiveness of sins at the time of either interview, and based on these statements of not trying to do anything bad, he seems to believe in a works salvation. And, interestingly, he often references this support of evangelicals as if that proves he has a right relationship with God. What he doesn’t understand is that many evangelicals don’t care if he is saved or not. After Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels came to light, Robert Jeffress said evangelicals “knew they weren’t voting for an altar boy when they voted for Donald Trump. We supported him for his policies and his strong leadership.” And, considering he gave basically the same answers in both interviews, where was Paula White and why wasn’t she discussing all this with him, or were his answers all fine with her?) (https://thinkprogress.org/robert-jeffress-trump-stormy-daniels-evangelicals-176d228a1c55/)
And, then, I want to discuss one more interview that Trump had with syndicated columnist Cal Thomas and this was published on June 12, 2016. So, this interview is almost one year after the first one and it’s six months after the second one. (https://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/06/12/cal-thomas-explaining-donald-trump/85699680/)
Thomas: Every president has called upon God at some point. Lincoln spoke of not being able to hold the office of the presidency without spending time on his knees. You have confessed that you are a Christian…
Trump: And I have also won much evangelical support.
Thomas: Yes, I know that. You have said you never felt the need to ask for God’s forgiveness, and yet repentance for one’s sins is a precondition to salvation. I ask you the question Jesus asked of Peter: Who do you say He is?
Trump: I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I won’t have to be asking for much forgiveness. As you know, I am Presbyterian and Protestant. I’ve had great relationships and developed even greater relationships with ministers. We have tremendous support from the clergy. I think I will be doing very well during the election with evangelicals and with Christians… I’m going to treat my religion, which is Christian, with great respect and care.
Thomas: Who do you say Jesus is?
Trump: Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence. Somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind. (So, wow. All we can say is that Donald Trump doesn’t know Jesus and he doesn’t understand who Jesus is, and this is just incredibly sad. And, it is even sadder when we think about that meeting in 2011 with Trump and that group of pastors. As I said earlier they should have more concerned about Trump’s soul than whether he wanted to run for president or not).
And, then, I am going to include the video of one more interview he had with Anderson Cooper from CNN that was published in July of 2015 where he basically repeats the statements from the three we just discussed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=B2r_y4E5zUY). (So, yet, another chance for him to show he understands the gospel, but as I said he doesn’t know Jesus and just seems quite confused about the entire matter).
Now, going back to the main article, it says, Paula White has built up her own controversial ministry premised on the prosperity gospel, which teaches that devotion to the Christian faith leads to material riches on Earth and encourages heavy donations to the church.
White is senior pastor at New Destiny Christian Center, a megachurch in Florida that draws thousands of worshipers to its weekly services and generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
Just for an example of this I am including a screenshot of White’s appeal for funds from her 2017 Easter message: “Sow your ‘resurrection seed’ of $1144, $144, $44, or $11 for John 11:44. Someone is in desperate need of a ‘miracle resurrection’! A ‘resurrection seed’ is going to unlock something powerful! Your point of contact! Click the donate button right now!
https://harvardpolitics.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Screen-Shot-2017-11-05-at-5.53.28-PM.png (Well, it is absolutely despicable to even call an offering a ‘resurrection seed’. This is a perfect example of someone fulfilling 2 Pet. 2:3 which says, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” It is sad to say, but some people truly have no shame).
And, then I found a video which has “Honor God with your First Fruits Offering – click the donate button!” across the bottom of the screen. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=218&v=gqqNs6ae46I) Paula White says, “Many of us bring one day, some of us bring one week, some of us bring an entire month’s salary because we understand the principle of all firsts belong to God.” For an offering of any size she will send people her book entitled, “First Things First.” She goes on, “For your offering of $50 or more I will give you the book as well as the devotional. But, then for your first fruits offering of $75 or more, you’re going to get the book, the devotional, and a very special calendar with reminders of God’s promises all through this year…"Right now I want you to click on that button, and I want you to honor God with His first fruits offering…If God doesn’t divinely step in and intervene, I don’t know what you’re going to face—He does.” (And, these are just two examples of her fleecing the sheep and making merchandise of them. We can clearly see she has followed her own principle of finding one’s passion in life and figuring out a way to make money that she mentioned in that first clip we heard in this discussion).
And, then, back to an article we read from close to the beginning of the discussion that says in 2007, the Senate Finance Committee announced that Randy (her second husband) and Paula White’s church, called Without Walls International church, and Paula White Ministries, would be investigated for misuse of donations, along with five other prosperity-gospel organizations. They were examining the Whites’ lavish lifestyles, which included a private jet and a $2.6 million, 8,072-square-foot home. In 2010, the committee closed the investigation without penalizing anyone. In addition, she bought a $3.5 million condo in Trump Tower — with money from her businesses, she says, not the church. (https://www.thelily.com/she-led-trump-to-christ-the-rise-of-the-televangelist-who-advises-the-white-house/) (You know, there are quite a few WOF preachers such as Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen whose lifestyles are just over the top so it isn’t just Paula White. Sadly, the WOF false teachings of sowing seed offerings and expecting great returns, is rampant across the modern church world. These preachers constantly point to examples of those like Abraham to convince their followers to expect great material wealth in this lifetime. The problem is they seem to have forgotten we are in the church age now and we don’t see any examples of wealthy preachers or believers in the early church. We are told, rather, to be content with what we have and that the love of money is the root of all evil).
And, then, I want to share one more telling example concerning Donald Trump. In August of 2016 he said this at a meeting of evangelical leaders in Orlando, FL. “You have to get the people in your churches. You have to get them to go out and vote. Whether you have bus drives, do whatever you have to do. You have a chance to do something that will be Earth shaking. I literally mean it. Earth shaking. You’ve got to get your people out to vote.”
And, then he said,“Once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well. And I figure it is probably, maybe the only way I'm going to get to heaven. So I better do a good job.” (https://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/trump-heaven-president-pastors-226923) (And, obviously these pastors did as they were told because 80% of those considering themselves evangelicals voted for Trump. And, we don’t know if he was joking about this probably being the only way he would get to heaven or not, but with his statements of trying to do good that we played earlier he very likely believes this, sad to say.
Well, that is all I have for this time, sister, Tammy, except to say, sadly, what we have seen with all this information in this discussion is a politician and a preacher who are totally consumed with this life, with money, with power, with fame. I don’t see Paula White being concerned about showing Donald Trump who Jesus is at all, unfortunately. I think she and the other evangelical pastors from the time of the meeting in 2011 have supported Donald Trump to advance their agendas. In the same manner, Donald Trump has pandered to “evangelicals” in order to get elected.