I get really scared during times like these. Paula White is joining the Office of Public Liaison. This is an outreach group to other organizations that form the Trump base. She has held very visible posts as a pastor in Florida. She is a proponent of a theology that has its roots in the 1800s called the Prosperity Gospel.
The consensus among main line protestantism is that she is a heretic. Yet, I cannot find anything published that is a direct quotation where she is saying something heretical. If she is accused, it is preceded by the term, “alleged”. Before I pass judgement, I need a little more than that.
The Prosperity Gospel appears to be a rehash of Calvinism: Work as a means to salvation or wealth being a sign of God’s blessing for those who are predestined to be saved. I would say that Calvinism is the basis for the popular term, “Protestant Work Ethic”. This is a belief that is rejected by most mainline protestant groups, except perhaps the Presbyterians.
This sort of thing is not new. Every few years of so, some old lie is dug up and renewed. Two previous heresies come to mind:
- “A Theology For The Social Gospel”, by Walter Rauschenbusch. In this book, the author states that Christianity is all about fixing social problems. That might be true for the Christian soldier on the ground but the goal of the Church is to get people to heaven. Period. All main stream churches agree on that.
- “Liberation Theology”. This started in Latin America in the 1900’s. The main goal was to bring about social justice by tearing down hierarchy. Not only in society, but mostly within the Catholic Church: no priests, no bishops, no popes. Once again, changing the social order is not the focus of the Church, that is a job for the Church Militant. The job of the Church is to get people to heaven.
There are a lot of angry voices out there speaking against Paula White. So, why would the President bring her on board? The answer is VOTES. She is very popular with evangelicals, you know those who believe that Protestant Work Ethic thing, and the evangelical population is growing in America. People are running from mainline protestant denominations ever since they started to promote ideas like homosexual marriage – evangelicals are fundamentalists and it is written explicitly in the Bible that is forbidden.
To be an expert in your field, you have to be well studied in it. As regards religion, an expert minister must have studied at least Greek, and perhaps Hebrew and Latin as well. The original source materials are written in these languages. Present day Christian tradition is actually founded on many writings from pagans in Greece and Rome. A review of Paula White’s background does not show that she has studied these subjects much.
So, I think that what the religious experts are saying is, take her with a grain of salt. That she is basically just another evangelical marketer, a flash in the pan, a freak that will burn out quickly and disappear without a whimper. But one thing is certain, Paula White will bring in the votes for Trump. So, I will not start worrying until I hear about tarot cards and astrologers being used in the White House.