While channel surfing this morning I stopped at one of the "Christian" TV stations to hear what Paula White had to say. She was interviewing some preacher who was saying God had shown him the secret of the number seven. He was AMAZED that Naaman dipped in the Jordan River seven times to be healed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5), AND this is the year 2007! So this anointed preacher was telling us that we're living in the year of SEVEN!! He said for us to just hold on, our miracle is coming!
Then Paula chimed in. She said that the Holy Spirit had given both of them the same message, even though they had not talked about it before the show! (Astounding!) Her message to us was from John 6, where a little boy brings his five loaves and two fish to Jesus, and Jesus feeds the crowd. Wait a minute! Paula said, "Five loaves and two fish... 5+ 2 equals ... SEVEN!! It IS the year of seven!!"
So, my friends, that's how to interpret Scripture. Just add up numbers and see if they agree with numbers in other Bible stories, and then apply them willy-nilly to whatever year it happens to be.
That's a wonderful Bible teaching technique, especially when you can go on to say, as Paula White did, that we need to be like that little boy in John 6 and give EVERYTHING WE HAVE to God (i.e., Paula White Ministries), so that He can give us 12 basket-fulls (of what? bread and fish?) in return.
Let's call these people what they really are: False teachers. Heretics.
If you go to Paula White's website, the first thing you'll notice on the home page (besides five pictures of Paula White) are the big words, "God WANTS YOU to succeed." Oh, is that right, Paula? What about all those people listed in Hebrews 11 who were tortured, faced jeers and flogging and even chains and imprisonment, who were put to death by stoning, sawed in two, killed by the sword, went about in sheepskins and goatskins, were destitute, persecuted and mistreated? What about John the Baptist, who lived in poverty most of his life and ended his life with his head on a silver platter? What about Paul, who finished his days in a dungeon, lonely and deprived of justice? What about Jeremiah the prophet, who was never understood or respected? What about John, who spent years in exile? What about Stephen, who was stoned to death for being faithful to Jesus?
I guess those people didn't have Paula White for a "life coach." Or maybe they failed to "sow a seed" to a TV ministry. I suppose they failed to "discover their purpose." How come "their tomorrows were not better than their yesterdays"? (These are all phrases borrowed from Paula White's website.)
What's missing from ministries like this one is the gospel of Jesus. On her website Paula White says, "I know that life is filled with challenges and opportunities and I believe that God wants us to face adversity equipped to win. God wants us to turn our stumbling blocks into stepping stones." How do we do that? Paula's answer is faith. "Faith causes change. Anytime there is change, there is opportunity. That includes the opportunity to grow more, and see more, and be more. Yes, it also includes the opportunity to fail."
Where's Jesus in all that? That message might just as well have been preached by Tony Robbins. It's not faith that causes change, it's Jesus. It's not success that God wants for us, it's likeness to Jesus. To become like Jesus requires suffering, not success. Success is not necessarily bad. But for countless millions of people it's an idol, and these health-and-wealth preachers are fanning the flames of idolatry, much like Aaron at the foot of Mt. Sinai.