Ministerial Divorce

August 27, 2007

Randy and Paula White, pastors of Without Walls International Church in Tampa, Florida, announced they are getting divorced. This is a tragic affair, but their response to it seems to act like it is no big deal. Here are some excerpts from the Christian Post story:

"It's the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in my entire life," Randy White told the congregation with Paula by his side at the podium appearing choked up, according to Tampa Bay Online.

Married nearly 18 years, the Whites, who have both been married and divorced before, said in interviews that the split is amicable.

... Both blamed the two different directions their lives are going.

... Randy White will remain at Without Walls as senior pastor and Paula will remain based in Tampa and pledged to return frequently to preach.

Some congregants said the surprising announcement won't deter their continual attendance.

The announcement "didn't weaken the church in any way," said Kerran Fuller, who has been attending the church for less than a year, according to the TBO.
It is sad that no one sees this as a big deal. It's almost like they are saying, "Oh well, God is taking us in different directions for ministry so we'll get divorced so we can do our ministries better." I highly doubt that they are being called by God to different ministries to the point that they would need to get divorced. And I'm quite concerned that the church member quoted does not see this as a big deal.

The article also notes some apparent financial complaints about the two in recent years. Here are some highlights:
Critics have raised questions over the Whites' financial wealth with church revenues at nearly $40 million last year and a $22 million debt, according to Without Walls church board member Alick Clark of Action, Calif. The couple has a Bayshore Boulevard home with an assessed value of $2.22 million, a New York condo valued at about $3.5 million and a private jet, as reported by TBO.

... Some have left the church when the couple's theology "stopped lining up biblically," said former staff member Larry DeLaRosa.

The Whites preach a prosperity message. Critics say their message of prosperity were at the expense of humility and family values.

"Too many ministries have become big business. That message is desecrating the church today," Clarke said, according to TBO.

... The Rev. Hector Gomez, a former Without Walls staff member who left in 2000, told the Tribune that the church is all about money and fame now.

"A lot of drama inside and too much attention paid to getting exposure and publicity on the outside," he said.
Back in December of 2005, I critiqued the Without Walls International Church for its inappropriate sign. The sign said, "To Hell with the Word Holiday Put Christ back into 'Christ'mas." Maybe they should have spent less time fighting the made-up war on Christmas and more time focusing on things that really matter (like family).

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