Skip to comments.Paula White Breaks Silence on Probes, Divorce, Benny Hinn [Evangelical/Protestant Caucus]
Posted on 05/12/2011 7:46:54 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
Pastor Paula White broke her silence Thursday night, addressing all the scandals that she has been associated with since her divorce in 2007.
"Were letting our hair down," White told thousands at the 2011 Pastors and Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla. "I'm not here to look cute ... I came to let the devil know ... I'm stronger than I've ever been."
Though the two-hour message began with shouts of encouragement and notes of affirmation for the participating leaders who may be facing challenges or opposition, by the end of the night it was apparent that the popular charismatic pastor was also preaching to herself.
"I have a word to those who have all odds stacked against them," she preached. "You're about to get your bounce back."
"The enemy strategically plotted against you, hunted you like prey, set out to destroy you, tried to wreck your mind, destroy your heart, jack up your family, take your ministry, ruin your reputation ... and he thought that he had you. He set you up and thought this is what will kill them.
"I came to put every devil on notice ... I'm getting my dream back, I'm getting my prophesy back, I'm getting my vision back, I'm getting my anointing back, I'm getting my strength back."
White, who calls herself the "former messed up Mississippi girl," let the audience know that she would be "very vulnerable and very open" that night.
Before walking back through her tumultuous past few years, she told them, "I think it's time we stop being hypocrites in the pulpit. I think ... it's time that we take the mask off to this generation and show them that we have the same issues and the same struggles."
"We (sic) going public with all our stuff. Somebody's got to get real in the church now."
She did just that, opening up about the pressures that piled up and the crises in her life that the media was all over.
It all began in 2004 when the IRS launched a nine-year investigation into the personal and organizational finances of White and her then husband, Randy.
Just two years earlier in 2002, White had written in her journal: "I'm living heaven on earth. Life cannot get any better."
"I'm above the struggle and beneath the radar. I love my husband and my husband loves me. And we do. The kids are doing good. And millions of dollars in the bank. Not sick," she recalled feeling at the time.
White had risen to prominence as a preacher, motivational speaker, author and TV personality after co-founding what is now Without Walls International Church with her husband and starting her own ministry.
She was living her dream life, as she described to pastors at the Orlando conference.
But after the IRS investigation began, she began to face challenge after challenge to the point where she wanted to and even tried to quit.
"You can handle something if it's for a short season. But how do I praise Him when my days turn into weeks and my weeks turn into months and my months turn into years and my years turn into decades?" she said. "How do I praise Him under that continual pressure? That kind of pressure wears you out."
Listing the numerous trials she went through, White said she experienced a midlife meltdown, compassion fatigue, her friend being falsely accused and sent to prison, a stroke, addiction to the prescription medication she was given following her stroke, and problems in her marriage.
Continuing, she added that her church staff split in the middle with some turning on the Whites and going to the media.
She maintained that the articles written based on allegations from former church staff were "mostly, totally unfounded" and "lies." The Whites were accused of being all about money and fame.
She also indicated that the staff turned on the church because they couldnt "supply the staff with the lifestyle that they were used to."
Family problems were added when White found out that her son had a drug addiction and was sexually abused by another male at a staff member's house. She then had to experience the pain of her non-biological daughter battling brain cancer. Kristen, Randy's oldest daughter, died in 2008 at age 30.
In the midst of all this, White said she was being pressured to preach and prophesy and fulfill her role in the church.
"[Bishop] Randy, Pastor Paula, give me a word, marry me, bury me, pay these bills, prophesy. Why aren't you doing this? Why isn't it like it used to be? We don't like the music. We leaving the church because you didn't know our names and you didn't come have lasagna with us," she said, mimicking the demands and criticisms she was met with.
White noted that it was under "that kind of pressure" and "in a really weak moment" that she and her husband made the decision to divorce in 2007. The split was amicable.
According to White, her husband closed up to her. While she traveled the world preaching, she pondered, "Why can I win the world and not go home and win the one that I love?"
She recounted a time when Randy took her into a dark room, placed a mask on her, spun her around and told her to find her way out. With tears, White said she sat there for half an hour, scared and calling out to him. He took off her mask and informed her that that is what he felt like he was going through.
When the two announced their split, Randy had agreed to take the responsibility. And "God told me to keep my mouth shut," she said.
Randy, who no longer co-pastors Without Walls, is now writing a book, she noted.
But she added, "I'm proud of him. He never quit .... God or anything else."
The trials continued even after the divorce when White and televangelist Benny Hinn were pictured last summer in The National Enquirer leaving a hotel in Rome holding hands. They were accused of having an affair and being engaged.
On Thursday, White flatly denied that she ever had an affair.
"They're going to talk about you and write ... because it sells ragtag magazines," she said. "They're going to lie on you but God's going to tell you to keep your mouth shut."
There was also the so-called Grassley investigation. Sen. Charles Grassley launched a Senate probe in 2007 into six influential ministries, including White's, following complaints of opulent spending and possible abuse of nonprofit status.
The probe came to a close in January of this year. With little cooperation from most of the ministries, which called the investigation an attack on their religious freedom and privacy rights, Grassley's office was unable to make any conclusion about the spending of the ministries and handed out no penalties.
White interpreted that to mean her ministry was cleared.
"The church better recognize, it should be thanking six ministries for fighting for the body of Christ for saying 'we are not going to let you dictate to us how we interpret Scripture' and you can't tell us 'because Jesus rode in on a donkey' because if you start telling us how to interpret Scripture in one way, you'll tell us how to interpret it in every way," White said in frustration. Grassley had referred to Jesus' humble entrance into Jerusalem to make the point that ministers today don't really need Bentleys and Rolls-Royces to spread the Gospel.
"I preach in countries if I say 'Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life,' they'll arrest me. And don't think America's that far away. Unless the people of righteousness stand up and say 'we're not going to allow for this because you cannot take what is our First Amendment rights. You can't do that!" White asserted. "We pay taxes. We work hard. We do it by the books. We have integrity. But you're going to make a public misery and mess out of it like something's wrong!"
Stressing that her church gave $9 million to mission in January 2007, built education centers in Pakistan, put students through college, fed and continue to feed thousands every week, and helped transform countless lives, White said, "Are you serious? You want to fight over a $50,000 what? Excuse me?!"
Her long, emotional testimony was met with applause and support from the thousands of pastors in the conference room in Orlando.
Though at the time, she wondered whether she would be able to overcome the trials, she now says what the devil meant for bad, God has turned around to work for the good.
"God uses every enemy, every lawsuit, every lie, every betrayal, all the brokenness," she stressed.
"It's not over. I got my bounce back. That's my message."
....Listing the numerous trials she went through, White said she experienced a midlife meltdown, compassion fatigue, her friend being falsely accused and sent to prison, a stroke, addiction to the prescription medication she was given following her stroke, and problems in her marriage.
Continuing, she added that her church staff split in the middle with some turning on the Whites and going to the media. She maintained that the articles written based on allegations from former church staff were "mostly, totally unfounded" and "lies." The Whites were accused of being all about money and fame. She also indicated that the staff turned on the church because they couldnt "supply the staff with the lifestyle that they were used to"....
....The trials continued even after the divorce when White and televangelist Benny Hinn were pictured last summer in The National Enquirer leaving a hotel in Rome holding hands. They were accused of having an affair and being engaged. On Thursday, White flatly denied that she ever had an affair....
....There was also the so-called Grassley investigation. Sen. Charles Grassley launched a Senate probe in 2007 into six influential ministries, including White's, following complaints of opulent spending and possible abuse of nonprofit status. The probe came to a close in January of this year. With little cooperation from most of the ministries, which called the investigation an attack on their religious freedom and privacy rights, Grassley's office was unable to make any conclusion about the spending of the ministries and handed out no penalties. White interpreted that to mean her ministry was cleared.
If the IRS launched their 9-year investigation in 2004, doesn't that mean that it's still ongoing?
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Wow, interesting read. I’d never heard of the Whites or their troubles.
Live by the prosperity gospel, die by the prosperity gospel.
As the Scripture says, true repentance begins in the house of the Lord. This kind of trash needs to stop, else we destroy our witness and make a mockery of our calling.
What about the woman at the well who Jesus talked to, then she went back and told the whole town?
I would say that was the first woman ‘pastor’.
There’s a special place in Hell reserved for these charlatans.
But that being said, it seems she/her church (and Benny Hinn who by the way was described as being very helpful in the investigation) were cleared. So, aside from holding hands with Hinn, what did she do wrong?
(Yes, her church had millions in the bank...they also feed and clothe large numbers of the poor.)
> I would say that was the first woman pastor.
That’s about the broadest definition of “pastor” I’ve ever seen.
Not sure what you mean.
The article states that the investigation closed in January.
That was the 2007 Senate investigation, not the 2004 IRS one.
Her story would make a great Lifetime movie.
Does anyone who doesn’t hate Benny Hinn and believes that God is a God of miracles have unbiased information on what’s really going on with this once mightily-used man of God who fell once on doctrinal heresy issues and if there’s any truth to this stuff here? Only those who know God’s grace and mercy and are not in league with the Accuser of the Brethren need respond. Thanks.
Perhaps it means that the IRS conducted an audit for business which had been done by the church over a 9-year period.
That would make her an evangelist. Definitely not a pastor by any stretch of the imagination or definition.
That actually makes a great deal of sense.
Can a woman witness to others? Sure, but witnessing is not having authority over others and it’s explicit that women are not to be in a position of authority over other believers. Pastorship is a position of authority and is forbidden to women. This is written and settled in Scripture. Those who claim that title are in rebellion against God and their actions are automatically suspect.
Not so sure she was much of a ‘pastor’, certainly not a great example. Jesus told her to bring her husband. She said she didn’t have one. Jesus said that this was so, she had had five husbands - but the man she slept with now was not her husband. This impressed her and she told her people that he was a prophet.
“those who drink of the water from your well will thirst again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Isn't this lady just great - mocking her "flock" for placing so many demands of her precious time and all. Thought that was what she wanted - mega-church, mega-following, mega-attention. Did she think it was "all about ME" when she embarked on her mission?
Perhaps this lady, like many so-called leaders in mega-churches, see the demands of "leading" congregations as obstacles to overcome, as they sit back in their chauffer-driven Benz, outside the buildings.
Knowing how so many of the status of many of their "following" actually live, she's just a bit high on her opinion of herself and her needs.
Just left one myself, where the pastor, wife and family have just about bankrupted the church (15 million in debt) with shrinking congregants and shrinking tithes to support their lavish life styles, world class trips, etc. Buildings will be repossessed by S & L and pastor continues to beg for monies to "support God's mission."
Fortunately, for me and my family, we do know the Lord and don't rely on our opinion of Him to the goings and comings of this guy, but I worry about new believers; believers who really joined "the church of Pastor X" not the church of Jesus Christ!
Lastly, the "name it and claim it" crowd are living the lifestyle they simply do not deserve, while preaching in the Lord's name. He does charge His leaders with a higher standard of behavior than the lowliest new believer.
Somewhere I remember the verse, "Many will come to Me on that day and say, Lord, Lord. I will reply, get away from Me, I never knew you."
“I’m not here to look cute ... I came to let the devil know ... I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.”
Can you get any more shallow?
Judge Deborah would have something to say about that.
There's always tomorrow for Paula!
Did you miss this one?
I think it's time we stop being hypocrites in the pulpit.
Does that 'we' mean she assumes every other pastor is a trollop as well?
Thought those things belonged to God...
According to the Bible she is 0 for 2 in the first sentence.
She sounds like an Obama voter.
Likely she meant the many kids they support with the ministry.
And that's likely why she alluded to the millions of dollars. She wasn't bragging that it was her personal money. It's the money they use for charity.
White's known Hinn for decades. I think there's a more than even chance that she was meeting with him for counsel.
There are things that I may not like or even agree with in the Scriptures, but it's not my place to question God as to why He does something. It's my place to say "Speak Lord, for your servant hears" and then DO WHAT HE COMMANDS. He has commanded, through Paul, that women are not to be in authority over other believers. Why are so many willing to challenge God's Word on this? I swear I could almost hear "has God truly said" being whispered.
Simply put, everything about her is wrong. Women aren't allowed to be in authority. The Gospel is not to be sold for a profit. Pastors are not to be divorced. An out of control ego is a reflection of pride, which is sin. Pastors and others in positions of authority are called to be held to a higher standard than other Christians because they are the most visible representatives of Christ and His Church. Her actions bring shame and reproach upon Christ. Do I really need to spell out why that's not acceptable?
Seriously people, this woman shouldn't be looked up to but should be called to account for her actions.
This Religion Forum thread is labeled “Evangelical/Protestant Caucus” meaning if you are not currently, actively eithr Evangelical or Protestant then do not post on this thread.
Then you and I have nothing to discuss. This attitude of "I'll believe what I like and disregard what I don't" is what's wrong with much of the Church today and will lead you to hell. Paul was counted among the Apostles by those same Apostles. Who are you to dismiss him? You claim to follow Christ, yet those who actually knew Christ personally and followed Him physically accepted Paul as one of them and ordained him. Even demons recognized Peter and Paul as Apostles of Christ, but who are you to make such a judgment?
Not so because children are believers and I assume you wouldn't have a problem with women teaching school or Sunday school. Or would you?
You may be interested in digging more deeply into the Ephesians passages regarding women. Here's a salient point addressing the text you refer to:
In either case, we should notice that Paul did not employ his usual term for "the normal exercise of authority" (exousia). He chose an unusual word (authenteo) that could carry negative connotations such as "to usurp or misappropriate authority" or "to domineer." The unusual term probably signifies an unusual situation. In the Ephesian context at least, women had misappropriated authority by taking upon themselves the role of teacher.
Much more here:
This Religion Forum thread is labeled Evangelical/Protestant Caucus meaning if you are not currently, actively eithr Evangelical or Protestant then do not post on this thread.
The problem occurs when a woman takes authority over other believers. Teachers have a certain level of authority, but not complete authority. That authority rests with the Pastor of the Church.
A good example of a woman in a teaching ministry who is still obeying the limits set by Scripture upon women is Beth Moore.
The Ephesian church had trouble dropping all that and Paul was commanding them that women were not allowed to have "authenteo" (domineer) over men, which would imply the superiority of women.
Likely he did not mean that they should not ever teach or have authority in the normal way "exousia".
While I agree that something strange was going on at Ephesus and you’re probably right about why Paul commanded that women were not allowed to have “authenteo” over men instead of “exousia”, I also must notice that this was not the accepted understanding of this verse until very recent, being understood as such only within the last 100 years or so. If you can offer proof that this idea was around and supported by the early Church, preferably before the end of the 2nd Century, then I’d be more willing to accept it as the proper understanding.
Are you Catholic or Orthodox?
Neither, I’m Fundamentalist. Raised Freewill Baptist with Pentecostal leanings. I just hold the odd idea that God doesn’t change and neither does His ideas on what’s proper in the Body, so we should try to model our beliefs and lives as close to those first Christians as possible.
I'm not sure why you wouldn't think Paul's writings themselves were not the "early church". I find fullesst support there.
I also must notice that this was not the accepted understanding of this verses until very recent, being understood as such only within the last 100 years or so
I would not equate the "accepted understanding" of the verse with the verses themselves.
There's no doubt that culture in the early christian period was heavily dominated by pagan worship which included the worship of women. It was much different from our culture. Naturally, the comments on Scripture from those who were closer to and affected by active goddess worship have to considered in that context; their comments are not "God-breathed". All comment on Scripture did not end with them.
So Paladan,are you saying that Peter and Paul werent told by Jesus that previuos notions,beliefs and convictions of theres were wrong? If you pick and choose what you want to believe as you accuse me of,why didnt Paul continue killing Christians?Why did Peter start preaching to gentiles?Why were disciples corrected for acting diferantly when other disciples showed up?Examine also the mother begging for deliverance of her child,,when even Jesus himself seems to have corrected His own feelings about helping gentiles?Her faith seems to have made Him reconsider allowing dogs to eat from His table.
More importantly why didnt you answer my question about Jesus asking a formor prostitute to preach the gospel to the disciples?You seem to be more interested in attacking other believers.
I do think that Paul’s writing constitutes the best examples of what the Early Church thought, but since the understanding of these verses have come into question, I find it best to go back and see what the first Christians actually thought and taught, since these were the very people who Paul was writing these letters too and about. I understand that the early Christians don’t hold the same level of authority that Paul or the other Apostles do, but for me, it’s about going back to the source documents and seeing how those Christians who knew Paul personally understood and acted upon that passage.
Bluntly put, you seem to know just enough about the Bible to try to make an attack on Christians over what you seem to think is a weakness yet you don't realize that by saying you disregard Paul's teachings you flag yourself as nothing more than a troublemaker and possibly not even eligible to take part in this caucus thread, since no Protestant or Evangelical would claim to disregard Paul's writings.