Paula White Is Still Preaching the Prosperity Gospel to Predominantly Black Worshippers


Less than a day after the man she spiritually mentored won the presidential election, the pastor who has been called “Donald Trump’s God whisperer” preached a black church revival in the state’s most pro-Hillary Clinton county.

Paula White did not come to Durham to talk about politics. She did not mention Trump. And many among her listeners seemed unaware of her now famous connection.

Instead, the celebrity preacher in stiletto boots and a black dress gave her personal testimony Wednesday (Nov. 9) as her husband, former Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, played music softly in the background.

“You are in a year of greatness. You are in a year of restoration,” White preached to a group of some 100 worshippers, almost all of them African-Americans. They had gathered in a large, windowless room at Faith Assembly Christian Center, a simple building in a predominantly black neighborhood of Durham.

Asked afterward about her ties with the president-elect, she declined to be interviewed “out of respect for the church.”

Pacing around the stage, her Southern accent thickening as she grew more animated, White echoed basic themes of the prosperity gospel: God wants people to thrive. It is possible to transform your life through positive thinking and prayer.

“I want you to wake up tomorrow with a different attitude. I want you to change your mind. Because when you change your mind, you change your circumstance,” she said.

These are themes that might sound familiar to Trump, who has praised Norman Vincent Peale, a mid-20th-century pastor whose willingness to link faith, positive thinking and personal success helped lay the groundwork for today’s prosperity gospel preachers.

This preaching often shies away from explicit invocations of politics. If White does become a kind of Billy Graham to the Trump administration, she will have to balance that role with the apolitical message of the prosperity gospel that aims to cross racial and political lines.

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