Monday, August 27, 2007

the parting of the Whites

I want to say from the beginning that this story saddens me. I'm not linking to it because I want to make any proclamations, declarations, or condemnations. There are certain sites in the Christian blogosphere that seem to relish reporting these kinds of stories, if only to show how "their" kind of Christianity is so much better and more true than "some other kind." I'm linking to it because I think it stirs up many issues with which Christians must wrestle. I have many questions about this, and no answers.
Randy and Paula White, the founders and co-pastors of what has been one of the nation's biggest and fastest-growing churches, plan to divorce.

Members of Without Walls International Church reacted with tears and a chorus of "Oh, no's" after the Whites' announcement at Thursday night's service.

Randy called Paula to the podium about an hour into the service. He was somber; Paula appeared choked up.
I'd be interested in knowing about the sermon that Randy preached. What do you speak about just before you tell your congregation that you're divorcing your wife? Did Randy think, Well, these people are here for a sermon, so I'll give them one and then we'll tell them we're divorcing?
"It's the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in my entire life," he told the congregation, describing Paula as an exceptional woman, mother and preacher.

She pledged to return frequently to preach.
Randy had been married before, so is he saying that divorcing his first wife was not a difficult decision?

If Randy is going to continue to pastor at the church (and I see no biblical basis for him to be able to do so), why would Paula return every so often?
The Whites, who've been married nearly 18 years, said in interviews that the split is amicable and comes after visits to counselors over several years.

They blame two lives going in different directions.
If they've been married for so many years and have done so much together, how do their lives go "in different directions?"
He and Paula said the split involves no third party on either side.
What biblical basis enables them to continue their "ministry" if they are divorcing for reasons other than adultery?
(Without Walls church board member Alick Clarke) partially blamed the couple's breakup on their devotion to preaching a prosperity message, exhorting followers to give more money to the church in order to be blessed with greater wealth.

"Too many ministries have become big business. That message is desecrating the church today," said Clarke, adding that he was disturbed to learn that with revenues at $40 million last year, the church was $22 million in debt.

"That's just not right."
Well said, Mr. Clarke.

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