Paula White Ministries: Send me your money so God will pay attention to you

I hadn’t heard of Paula White until a few months ago, but what I’ve heard saddens me.* She has a “ministry” which teaches people that God’s healing and favor in your life are dependent on whether you can develop an Attitude Of Gratitude, and the way to prove it is by sending some cash Ms. White’s way.

As Ms. White teaches:

In Luke 17, ten men live outside of the city due to their leprosy. Jesus healed them all and told them to go show themselves to the priest. One man saw that he was healed and turn [sic] around to give God thanks. He cried out with a loud voice because the process of the disease was stopped. His attitude of gratitude caused him to not only be healed but to be restored.

Is that what caused his healing and restoration, that he had an attitude of gratitude? No, and anyone reading Luke 17 can see that for themselves. However, Ms. White did not quote the passage nor link to it, so I’ll do it here for her:

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

James Tissot, The Healing of Ten Lepers c.a. 1890 (Wikipedia)

James Tissot, The Healing of Ten Lepers c.a. 1890
(Wikipedia)

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19.)

Contrary to the lesson Ms. White wants her readers to take from that passage, faith is what made him well. His gratitude came later. And faith comes by God’s grace, not works like creating an attitude of gratitude. (Ephesians 2:8-9.) If healing and restoration came by creating this attitude of gratitude within yourself, then it would be by works and not by grace. As for the other nine people Jesus healed, there is no mention that their healing was short-lived due to their failure to return to Jesus and say thanks.

Changing the gospel to open the wallets

Why does she change the story? Because focusing on God’s free gift of faith and grace doesn’t lead people to think they need to do something to gain God’s favor, something like send Ms. White money. That’s where she goes next when she segues into this pitch:

I feel impressed of the Lord to ask you to do something that I believe will create a memory in the mind of God and this will change your future. I want you to give a seed offering that I call a �Gratitude�** seed. This is an extremely powerful seed for you… especially at this time in your life. This seed will do two things for you.

Ms. White's idea of a gratitude seed. (Source)

Perhaps this is Ms. White’s idea of a gratitude seed.
(Image source)

1. This seed will get God�s attention. Remember, God sits high and looks low. He is looking for faith on the earth. This seed will require strong faith.

2. This seed will be seen as a �Gratitude� offering. Gratitude always produces favor and favor will cause you to receive in a moment, more than some do in a lifetime!

Let’s look at her claims:

  • “I feel impressed of the Lord …” – Who are you to question Ms. White if God is the one who impressed this on her?
  • “… to ask you to do something that I believe will create a memory in the mind of God …” – Apparently God has selective memory.
  • “… and this will change your future.” – Your future is in your hands, not God’s, because it’s up to you to do what she’s had impressed upon her.
  • “I want you to give a seed offering that I call a �Gratitude� seed. This is an extremely powerful seed for you… especially at this time in your life.” – What time in your life is it? Time to get out your checkbook.
  • “This seed will do two things for you.” – It’s like a buy one/get one free offer.
  • “1. This seed will get God’s attention.” – Because otherwise God might not notice you.
  • “2. This seed will be seen as a �Gratitude� offering. Gratitude always produces favor and favor will cause you to receive in a moment, more than some do in a lifetime!” – Those poor folks who haven’t sent money in order to show their gratitude will never get the favor you’re going to get for sending your gratitude moolah to Paula White. It’s guaranteed because “Gratitude always produces favor … !”

What will this Gratitude set you back? She doesn’t specify, so to give her the benefit of the doubt let’s say any amount will qualify. But if you go to her website’s donation page the default amount is $115, with a vague reference to Psalm 115 as apparent support for that amount.

Suffice to say that the irony is not lost on me that one of its verses reads, But their idols are silver and gold … .” (Psalm 115:4.)

You are already under God’s Favor

The Bible says plenty about God’s favor, including Jesus’ first synagogue sermon where he announces the Year of the Lord’s Favor in fulfillment of prophecy. (Luke 4.) Jesus’ gospel is about what God does for his people and that includes being under God’s favor, as Paul later explained:

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2.)

There is never a word spoken about how to receive God’s favor other than as a product of God’s grace. There is no prerequisite attitude of gratitude nor payment of money to a ministry, nothing but grace. God hears you and God helps you by giving you his grace, not by you giving him money.

Grace. That’s how God remembers you, how he pays attention to you, how he brings you his favor and healing salvation.

***

*Ms. White has featured prominently in political news recently. This post is not about politics so please refrain from referring to her political connections in any comments. I know you can do it!

**Don’t ask me what she means by using those � symbols. They’re on her page and I reproduced them here.

***

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54 Responses to Paula White Ministries: Send me your money so God will pay attention to you

  1. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    Ha, she probably tried to insert praying hands emojis or something, nd they didn’t translate properly, ending up as question marks (kind of fitting). I feel sorry for those who are taken in by her distorted teachings.

  2. Leah says:

    It’s sad that many people buy into this rhetoric. I just don’t understand how any person could make such claims with a straight face. I’ve also seen situations, in which the “Lord will impress” on a preacher a certain chapter and verse. The congregants and viewing audience is then to give a dollar amount in correspondence to the chapter and verse:/ These preachers seem to love the Psalms. It does go up to chapter 150. And many chapters have over 100 verses. Sad! Man or woman- we have to call this crap out!

  3. Pingback: Evangelicals should be deeply troubled…Are you? | Enough Light

  4. Kevin Mason says:

    A former pastor of mine gave a sermon about the importance of giving financially to God and how we will be blessed by doing so. He was very careful to not use words that sounded like a prosperity gospel. He was inspiring and he motivated me to give, so I sent a check to support a missionary I knew. When I told the pastor, I was told by the pastor that he meant was that I needed to give my money to our church. That was one of many red-flag moments I had with my former pastor.

  5. Ha! Another huckster, twisting Scripture and using God for her own ends. As old as the Apostle Peter and Simon the magician in Acts 8. Older, if we reference Balaam in the book of Numbers and him using prophecy to make money. (Except, in both Simon’s and Balaam’s cases, they did repent of twisting the word and power of God. Perhaps Paula will, too.)

  6. CatherineS says:

    There are some things that really anger me, and one of them is found in her #1: “This seed will require strong faith.” By which she means, “Don’t come crying to me when you send me money you can’t afford and don’t receive the ‘favor’ I promised. It didn’t work because your faith isn’t strong enough.” It puts the failure on the trusting believer who’s taking her at her word that she heard from God and not on her false teachings.

    Btw, I’ve seen strange symbols like that before. I think it’s a text “translation” issue on the site.

    • Tim says:

      The text translation seems to be on her site, since it showed up that way there as well as with my reproducing it here.

      And I completely agree about the manipulation of people’s view of their faith and failures. In Christ there is no failure of faith, but the money preachers keep saying there is if you don’t get what you paid for.

  7. Richard says:

    In addition, Paula White denies the Trinity; she is not a Christian by any stretch. Prosperity preachers such as White and Benny Hinn promote what Luther called a “theology of glory” and not one of the Cross of our Lord. The day I brought my wife home from brutal cancer surgery, I turned the television on to Joel Osteen. He talked about a friend diagnosed with cancer who thought away his cancer cells through “positive confession.” White and Osteen’s theology is out of the pit.

  8. It makes me shiver to read those words. They are designed to manipulate and influence vulnerable people.

  9. Tim says:

    I’m trying to avoid references to any political connection, Mary.

  10. Pastor Bob says:

    Oh the agony of it!
    Enough truth to trap, enough lie to destroy!
    Give to — GOD -As HE directs, not man.
    To be fair, man has good ideas, God’s are better,
    He may very well tell someone to give to -xyz- ministry, but not with this message.

    Those who are fooled will keep this “ministry” afloat for a time.
    I have many good ministries fail becasue MAN (humans) messed with God’s ideas.

  11. Bev Murrill says:

    Actually Balaam didn’t repent, he just capitulated to what God wanted to do, which isn’t the same. It appears he never changed either, because in Numbers 31:16 God addresses the fact that Balaam counselled the Israelites toward their own destruction… so there was obviously more to it than just the part with Barak.

    • Tim says:

      My impression is that Balaam ultimately suffered condemnation.

      • Bev Murrill says:

        I agree. He didn’t repent, he just went along with God’s determination about not cursing the people, but he continued to work toward their ultimate undoing, as God mentions in Number 31. Not everyone who prophesies truth is truthful…

  12. Is it possible to be both angry and heart-broken at the lies this woman is peddling? Because that’s what I’m feeling after reading this…

  13. Rick says:

    Tim, thank you–as necessary as the exposure of this false teaching I find greater value in your exposition of the grace and mercy of God toward us.

  14. Bill M says:

    It looks like selling indulgences never goes out of fashion.

  15. Mary Anne says:

    Tim, I didn’t know if you’d seen this story, but I thought of you instantly:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2017/jan/05/a-man-recently-broke-into-my-church-good-on-him-i-say

    I’m not sure where breaking and entering fall on the scale of “seeking God with your whole heart,” but it touched me. This man had the NEED.

    • Tim says:

      “The need for God can be just too strong, overwhelming.” That’s what happens when you get the need for Jesus. It’s overwhelming.

  16. as disturbing as this is, we need to be careful not use this and other CNN caricature Christian stories as an excuse Not to tithe.

  17. ok. I’m not trying to be antagonistic or fingerpointy.. I have friends that agree with you…

  18. ahh.. I see..makes sense. The Lord leads me in giving to quote a friend “we don’t have to force ourselves to tithe.. we give hilariously”

  19. Shy1 says:

    I always wonder how long it takes people to realize it is a scam. Obviously, after they send in their “seed money” nothing changes in their lives, except that they have less money to pay their bills. Do they keep doing this over and over, hoping the next time will “work”? Or are people always rotating in and out of these systems? How long does it take people to come to their senses?

    It just amazes me how many of these characters can become wealthy -incredibly wealthy- off of the hopes of the gullible. And tax free!

  20. Vashra Araeshkigal says:

    I admit, English is my third language, so perhaps I am missing some nuance.

    Please explain how one may preemptively experience or express *gratitude*?

    Even the leper in her example comes back to Jesus *after* being healed, no? And as Jesus asks…were not the other nine men healed? Did Jesus revoke their restoration when they failed to show up to say a thank you?

  21. scase says:

    Yikes! Thanks for sharing this, it’s so rampant today with some very highly visible and popular ‘leaders’… I just saw a commercial advertising a “Healing Bible” in which certain verses had been highlighted at the pastors whim along with his thoughts scattered throughout… he absolutely implied that God’s Word wasn’t enough for regular people to understand and that they needed this special Bible along with (naturally) a free prayer cloth he had anointed. $120. Ugh.

  22. Pingback: Paying the Wrong Price for Women | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

  23. Bob Tuttle says:

    Tim,
    Great article! Thanks for posting it. I went to Paula White’s website, her donation page, and I noticed that the drop down menu under the “What Led You To Give?” option, the options are 1. Paula White Letter, 2. Paula White Email, 3. TV Show or Paula Today, 4. Social Media, 5. Other. The first thing that hit my mind was, “Why isn’t God listed here?” Could it be that God wouldn’t lead you to donate to her “ministry?” That she would set her name first, second, and third on the list, and leave God ostensibly in the “Other” category, certainly speaks volumes about her!

    Keep up the great articles, I look forward to reading more of them!

  24. Back in 2005-07, when I was working for Ellel Ministries USA outside Tampa, she and her husband was still married and heading up their church there. A man who came from Africa to visit their church was picked up as promised and called our center. A coworker volunteered to pick him up and take him to The Church Without Walls on Sunday morning. When he returned he told us about the financial / spiritual manipulation preached and that were 5 offerings asked for on that day with the same kinds of promises you write about in this post – a usual Sunday morning as far as he could find out. We were stunned and sorrowed to see so many in the body of Christ submitting to and believing this wrong word. Our ministry founder encouraged us to always teach 2 things to those who came for ministry: (1) how to learn to hear the voice of God for yourself, and (2) to pray for greater discernment. He is a wise man.

  25. Yes Tim, you are 100% right!

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