Donald Trump’s inauguration prayer speaker Paula White has explained that while she – like every other person – has “mud on her”, she’s been forgiven and covered by the blood of Christ.
Speaking on CNN on Thursday night, White, spiritual adviser to Trump and Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, called the criticism she’s faced in recent weeks “amazing” and said there was “absolute absurdity” to many of the accusations facing her.
“This has been absolutely amazing, because not only have they said things about my personal life, but the greatest one, to me, was that I denied the Trinity,” she said. “That’s absolutely absurd to me. Jesus Christ, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit – I always have been, it’s my mission statement, right on everything. I mean, there is absolutely no denial of the Trinity. When you look at the things they want to bring up, there’s absolute absurdity to a lot of it.”
“Yes, I have mud on me,” White continued. “But, thank God for the grace of God. Not everything is perfect in my life, but I don’t think everything’s perfect in anybody’s life. That is why we need salvation, that is what redemption is all about, that we are saved by faith through grace.”
She added, “Thank God for His goodness, or we’d all be in trouble. I’m thankful His mercies are new every single morning.”
As earlier reported, White has for decades been a controversial figure in the Christian community. However, she’s come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks after it was announced she would be joining Franklin Graham, Samuel Rodriguez and other prominent faith leaders in offering prayers and Bible readings at the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20.
Since then, she’s faced a slew of criticism from a number of religious leaders – Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore called her a “charlatan” and “heretic” in a recent tweet – and reporters, who have lambasted her in articles bearing headlines like, “Paula White, prosperity preacher once investigated by Senate, is a controversial pick for inauguration”.
On CNN, White responded to those who have accused her of financial impropriety: the outlet notes that in 2007, the Senate investigated White and other televangelists who had made millions from their ministry. Her former church, Without Walls International, took in $150 million between 2004-2006, according to an audit made public by a Senate committee.
“It was an inquiry; the inquiry was found to have no wrongdoing,” she said, “I’ve never filed bankruptcy, I had resigned Without Walls, I had absolutely no part.”
As White has also received criticism over her two divorces, she admitted that she made some mistakes in her past.
“I believe marriage is an absolute sacred institution of God,” she said. “We went through therapy for many years, believed God, stood with God. It was one of the things, if you would’ve said 20 years prior, ‘you’re going to go through this,’ I never would have wanted it, desired it, but I did.”
In an earlier statement shared with The Gospel Herald, White also responded to those who accuse her of promoting the “Prosperity Gospel”, a belief that God provides rewards, including personal happiness, financial wealth and physical health, for believers who have sufficient faith.
“I also reject any theology that doesn’t affirm or acknowledge the entirety of scriptural teaching about God’s presence and blessing in suffering as much as in times of prosperity,” she asserted. “In fact, I have preached and written as much on the lessons we must learn in times of trial in our lives as I have in times of abundance.
On Friday, the televangelist tweeted a simple – but timely – message: “The intensity of the battle you are going through is indicative of the magnitude of blessing coming to you!” she wrote, concluding with the hashtag “#GetReady”.