- Paula White
name = Paula White
image_size = 200px
caption = Pastor Paula White
birth_date = birth date and age|1966|4|20
Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
Televangelist, Missionary, Author, Inspirational Speaker
children = 4 (3 step children)
website = [http://www.paulawhite.org/ Paula White Ministries]
Paula Michelle White is a preacher, life coach, author, motivational speaker, and former senior pastor of Without Walls International Church in
Tampa, Florida. She and her husband, Randy White, divorced in October 2007 ending their marriage of almost nowrap|eighteen years. Paula White will continue work in her for-profit and non-profit entities, including Paula White Enterprises, PWM Life Center, and Paula White Ministries,cite web |url=http://www.tbo.com/news/nationworld/MGBA6S84Q5F.html |title=Without Walls Founders Divorcing |author=Michelle Bearden and Baird Helgeson |date=2007-08-24 |accessdate=2007-09-11 |publisher=" The Tampa Tribune"] which currently has a presence in New York, Tampa, and San Antonio.
Paula White was born Paula Michelle Furr in Tupelo, Mississippi to Myra Joanelle and Donald Furr in 1966, before her parents' marriage began to fail when she was five years old, her mother took Paula to Memphis. Paula’s father followed with an ultimatum for her mother to give Paula to him or he would commit suicide, but White's mother refused, and later that night Donald Furr killed himself by running his car into a tree.cite web |url=http://www.cbn.com/700club/Guests/Interviews/Paula_White063005.aspx |title=Turning Trash into Treasure: The Testimony of Paula White |author=Steve Hubbard and Lisa Ryan |accessdate=2007-09-11 |date=2007 |publisher=
Christian Broadcasting Network] Paula’s mother, Myra Joanelle Furr, became an alcoholic. While her mother worked, White was looked after by caregivers, whom she said sexually and physically abused her for seven years between the ages of six and thirteen years.cite web |title=Pastor Paula White |url=http://www.precious-christian-dailydevotionals.com/Pastor-Paula-White.html |accessdate=2007-09-11] cite web |author=Sherri Day |title=Questions tarnish rise to top |publisher= St. Petersburg Times|date=2007-07-15 |url=http://www.sptimes.com/2007/07/15/Hillsborough/Questions_tarnish_ris.shtml |accessdate=2007-09-11]
Young adulthood and growing ministry
She had a baby out of wedlock but soon married the baby’s father. At age eighteen, while living in Maryland with her new born baby, partying, and living a wild lifestyle, she was introduced to the gospel and became a Christian. This marriage ended after a short time. She met her future husband, Randy White, when he visited a church where she was working as a cleaning lady. Paula says that some didn’t approve of their relationship because of their different backgrounds. They married in 1989 and moved in March 1990 to
Tampa, Floridawhere they started South Tampa Christian Center, renamed Without Walls in 1997. It became one of the fastest-growing congregations in the nation. Paula White quickly overshadowed her husband in popularity. Randy and Paula did not have any children together but had four children from previous relationships: Kristen Hernando, Angie, Brandon, and Bradley. Two grandchildren, Drew and Emma, were born in June 2005.
Ebony magazine" said of White, "You know you're on to something new and significant when the most popular woman preacher on the Black Entertainment Network is a white woman."cite web |publisher=Christian Communication Network |date=2007-02-22 |title=Renowned Life Coach 'Paula White' Offers Transformational Advice |url=http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/156562304.html |accessdate=2007-09-11]
White hosts a TV show called "Paula White Today" (usually shortened to just "Paula"). Her show is broadcast on
Trinity Broadcasting Network, Black Entertainment Television, The Miracle Channel, The Inspiration Network, The Word Network, and Daystar Television Network. Paula White has also been a featured guest on numerous television broadcasts, including ABC's " 20/20", Benny Hinn’s " This is Your Day", Bishop TD Jakes’ "The Potter’s Touch", " The 700 Club", and others.cite web |title=Paula White Profile |publisher= [http://paulawhite.org Paula White Ministries] |url=http://www.godsleadingladies.com/_downloads/bio_paula_white.pdf |accessdate=2007-09-11 ] .cite web |title=Paula White: Unable to Blush|url=http://www.apostasyalert.org/REFLECTIONS/Paula_White_Blush.htm |date=2006-10-21 |accessdate=2007-09-11 |publisher=Apostasy Alert |author=Jackie Alnor ]
Divorce, Home Purchase, and Ministry Realignment
In an article published in "
The Tampa Tribune" on May 20, 2007, when Paula's husband (Randy White) was asked whether he's contemplating a divorce he replied, "No one can predict the future."cite web |url=http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB9CH2XW1F.html |title=Of Faith, Fame & Fortune |date=2007-05-20 |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author=Michelle Bearden and Baird Helgeson |publisher=" The Tampa Tribune" ] On Thursday, August 23, 2007, Pastors Randy and Paula White announced to their congregation (Without Walls International Church) that they would divorce. Randy White stated, "I take full responsibility for a failed marriage 100 percent. I don't blame Paula, and I don't blame other parties. But as the man of the house, I take full responsibility for that." cite web |url=http://www.sptimes.com/2007/08/24/Hillsborough/Megachurch_founding_p.shtml |title=Megachurch founding pastors to seek divorce |date=2007-08-24 |accessdate=2007-09-11 |publisher= St. Petersburg Times|author=Sherri Day ] He also said, "I want to apologize for the poor decisions I've made in my life, to my congregation and to the body of Christ." Dorreen Fawkes, a former administrator of Without Walls International Church, stated that "They grew at an unbelievable speed. It became less about God and more about self-promotion."
In August 2007, Paula purchased a 3,300 square-foot home in Coveny Ranch, a master-planned community in the
San Antonio metropolitan area, appraised at close to $700,000. The residence rests on convert|3.7|acre|ha|1 and includes a pool, guest house and three-car garage.cite web |title=Evangelist power couple is splitting up |url=http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/religion/stories/MYSA082407.01B.paulawhite.347acf0.html |date=2007-08-25 |author=Abe Levy |publisher= San Antonio Express-News|accessdate=2008-04-22]
"The Tampa Tribune" reported on
March 5, 2008that Without Walls has put its 4,500–seat Tampa church up for sale, along with its convert|13.3|acre|ha|0|sing=on grounds and convert|94000|sqft|m2|0|sing=on offices and television studio, asking $30 million. [cite news |author=Michelle Beardon and Baird Helgeson |title=Without Walls wants to sell its sanctuary |date=2008-03-04 |publisher=" The Tampa Tribune" |url=http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/04/tampas-without-walls-church-sale/ |accessdate=2008-04-22 ]
Controversy and Criticism
Paula White has received criticism from some Christians for promulgating prosperity.cite web |url=http://charismania.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/pastor-smith-paula-white-and-the-prosperity-gospel/ |title=Pastor Smith, Paula White, and the Prosperity Gospel |date=2007-10-22 |accessdate=2008-04-22 ] Paula White’s ministries took in $39.9 million in 2006, according to an audit of Without Walls and Paula White Ministries released in June by an independent Clearwater accounting firm. cite web |title=Without Walls International Church, Inc. and Affiliates Consolidated Financial Statements |url=http://www.rickross.com/reference/wwic/wwic8.html |accessdate=2007-09-11 |publisher=Lewis, Birch, & Ricardo |date=2006-12-31 ] Paula White used about $28.6 million to help promote her church's programs, conferences and outreach efforts, the audit said.A former staff member for Without Walls International Church named Hector Gomez said, "Mansions, big planes, money, fame. That's what it's all about now; there are prophets for God, and there are prophets for profit. That's the category they fit in." and that he has received "more manipulation than inspiration" from them. Larry DeLaRosa, who left the church in 2000, stated that "They've [Randy and Paula White] built an empire and used it to gain their own financial wealth."
November 6, 2007, United States senator Chuck Grassleyof Iowaannounced an investigation of Paula White's ministry by the United States Senate Committee on Finance. [cite news | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/06/cbsnews_investigates/main3462147.shtml | title=Televangelists Living Like Kings? | publisher= CBS News|date= 2007-11-06 | accessdate =2007-09-17 |author=Armen Keteyian] Grassley asked for the ministry to divulge financial information [cite news |url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16860611| title=Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances |author=Kathy Lohr |publisher= National Public Radio|date=2007-12-04 |accessdate =2007-12-10] (Grassley's letter) [cite news | url=http://media.npr.org/documents/2007/nov/grassley/white.pdf |title=Read Grassley's Letters | publisher= National Public Radio| date=2007-12-04 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-12-10] to the committee to determine if White made any personal profit from financial donations, and requested that White's ministry make the information available by December 6, 2007. When CBS Newsbroke the story, Paula White's ministry denied any wrongdoing, [cite news | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/06/cbsnews_investigates/main3462147.shtml | title=Televangelists Living Like Kings? | publisher= CBS News|date=2007-11-06 | accessdate =2007-09-17] and on March 31, 2008, the Senate Finance Committee received a joint financial report from Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries. cite web | title=Without Walls sends financial data to Senate |url=http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/article439782.ece |publisher=" The Tampa Tribune" |accessdate= 2008-04-22 |author=Bill Coats |date=2008-04-01 ]
The investigation also scrutinized five other televangelists:
Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, and Creflo Dollar.
*cite book | last = White | first = Paula | title = He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not | publisher = Charisma House | location = Lake Mary | year = 1998 | isbn = 9780884195658
*cite book | last = White | first = Paula | title = Birthing Your Dreams : God's Plan for Living Victoriously | publisher = Nelson Reference | location = | year = 2003 | isbn = 9780785250697
*cite book | last = White | first = Paula | title = Deal with It! | publisher =
Thomas Nelson| location = Walton-on-Thames | year = 2006 | isbn = 9781599510088
*cite book | last = White | first = Paula | title = You're All That! | publisher = FaithWords | location = Nashville | year = 2007 | isbn = 9780446580236
Christian evangelist scandals
* [http://www.paulawhite.org/ Paula White]
* [http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=84743748 Paula White's MySpace Profile]
* [http://withoutwalls.org Without Walls International Church]
* [http://paulawhitelive.blogspot.com/ Paula White Live Blog]
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16860611 Article on Senate investigation]
* [http://media.npr.org/documents/2007/nov/grassley/white.pdf Letter from Senator Grassley]
* [http://www.rickross.com/groups/wwic.html Articles from Rick Ross Institute concerning Without Walls International Church]
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