Televangelist and prosperity preacher Paula White wants her followers to start 2018 on the right foot. How? By giving her a big chunk of their hard-earned money, of course.
White, who serves as the chairwoman of Trump’s evangelical advisory committee, says the money is for God, of course. By starting off the year by giving your paycheck to
her “God,” the donor is making an investment for a good year. The people who can’t offer money to White won’t be as lucky. HuffPost explains:
Those who don’t pay up could face “consequences” from God as he demands the dough as a “first fruits” offering.
“The reason is God lays claim to all firsts,” White wrote on her website. “So when you keep for yourself something that belongs to God you are desecrating what is to be consecrated to God.”
In this case, the “firsts” are money, which “supernaturally unlocks amazing opportunity, blessing, favor and divine order for your life.”
If the idea of a God only providing good things to people who donate money to wealthy televangelists sounds off, you’re not alone. It’s a particularly exploitative tactic that other Christians have made note of.
The concept of Biblical first fruits is real, but as I read your article I cant help but feel as though youÃ¢ÂÂre being manipulative. Laying the foundation for first fruits and then launching into a Ã¢ÂÂfinancial seedÃ¢ÂÂ campaign seems to be a misuse/abuse of the Biblical intention.
— Heather Norton (@heatherre517) January 2, 2018
Experts on Christianity at Got Questions Ministries told the Christian Post that in spite of White implying that a donation is required for God’s blessings, her reasoning is inaccurate.
While some preachers today use the concept to encourage their parishioners to give an offering above and beyond tithing, the Bible does not support it as a requirement for Christians.
"The problem is, the first fruits offering was for the Jews for a specific purpose. Nowhere does the New Testament mention that the church is required or even encouraged to give a 'first fruits offering.' Like tithing, giving to the church is left up to the personal convictions of the individual believer. There is no blanket policy for giving," the group explains.
Of course, White and her ministry wouldn’t want her followers to know that. She’s not exactly hurting for money; numerous websites list her net worth at $5 million.