President Donald Trump’s closest spiritual confidante urged viewers to donate to her ministry in amounts proportional to their faith or face negative divine consequences.
Paula White, a Pentecostal televangelist and chair of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, released a video on her ministry’s website in which she urged her followers to donate money to her ministry as an offering of their “first fruits” of the new year to God, saying that if they did not, there would be spiritual consequences, according to Newsweek. White tells her viewers to honor God by giving whatever amount of money is proportional to how much they believe in God’s faithfulness to bless them for their donation, whether that amount is their whole salary for a day, week, or even month.
“I want you to click on that button right now and you to give,” White said in the video. “Do not wait, I’m telling you to give first. What do you mean the first? Well some of us believe God and we give an entire month’s salary. Some of us give a week, some of us give a day. I’m saying where is your faith? What do you believe in God for?”
White expounded on the principle of First Fruits in a written explanation below the video, arguing that refusal to donate in such a way to her ministry was refusal to offer one’s first fruits to God and that it would lead to negative consequences.
“When you apply this, everything comes in divine alignment for his plan and promises for you,” she said. “When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience, there are consequences.”
White clarified those consequences further in a separate video via a brief but bizarrely argued word study centered around the Israelites’ defeat at the battle of Ai in the book of Joshua. White recounted that God told Joshua Israel was defeated because Acchan, an Israelite, touched “the accursed things,” or the spoils of foreign enemies which God instructed the Israelites not to touch or take.
“Well what’s accursed mean? It means devoted things. And devoted is the same word as a first fruit,” White argued. “So any time you’ve touched something that is first, something that belongs to God, it brings some kind of destruction, disorder into our life.”
White asserted that when one gives God the first fruit of something, God governs and redeems the rest of whatever that thing is from the curse of the world, be it their finances, time, or possessions, arguing that one must essentially buy the gift of redemption from God.
Several Christian ministers have heavily criticized White for promoting the Prosperity Gospel and for making heretical statements.
“Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe,” said Russell Moore, vice president of the Ethics and Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.