Donald Trump discovered Paula White the same way legions of fans and followers did: on television.
Fifteen years of prayer, visits, and friendship later, the Florida preacher now serves as the top spiritual adviser for America’s president-elect and, essentially, his guide to the country’s religious conservatives.
Her behind-the-scenes counsel became news as Trump prepared for the presidency. It was White who arranged a meeting at the Trump Tower for fellow televangelists (including Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, David Jeremiah, and Jan Crouch) to anoint him in prayer back in 2015. She defended the sincerity of his faith to fellow Christians, and continues to network Trump with members of his evangelical advisory board to discuss appointments and policy going into office.
“I’m the bridge-builder,” said White, pastor of New Destiny Christian Center near Orlando, in an interview with Christianity Today. “It really, truly is the board and the wisdom of so many great men and women of God.”
But White’s involvement carries major baggage, especially for evangelical leaders who have for years lamented the endlessly positive health and wealth theology associated with her ministry (even doing so in rap). Critical voices within the church worry that White’s political prominence will push the prosperity gospel mainstream—or prove that it’s already there.
“The massive congregations and television and Internet audiences that people like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, T. D. Jakes, and others enjoy show us that this theology is already mainstream,” said Leah Payne, who directs the Center for Pentecostal-Charismatic Theology Practice at George Fox University. ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more