Donald Trump‘s spiritual advisor is asking her followers to send donations of up to one month’s salary money to her church as a “first fruits” offering for the new year — and warns of “consequences” from God if they don’t.
Paula White, the popular televangelist who heads the president’s evangelical advisory board and delivered the invocation at his 2017 inauguration, wrote on her website Tuesday of the mission — which will allegedly come with big rewards for those who pay up.
“Each January, I put God first and honor Him with the first of our substance by sowing a first fruits offering of one month’s pay,” White explained. “That is a big sacrifice, but it is a seed for the harvest I am believing for in the coming year. And God always provides!”
The results, White claimed, are “miraculous” — whether her followers sow a month’s pay, a week’s pay, or a day’s pay. “First Fruits has impacted my life personally and the lives of countless others!” she wrote. “First Fruits is more than just an offering … it’s a principle.”
A donation shopping cart is set up on White’s website, with all money appearing to go directly to Paula White Ministries — her company that helps helm her TV show, Paula White Today (among other things).
“When you sow a First Fruits Offering of $75 or more, I will rush to you the book, the devotional and also a Paula White 2018 wall calendar! Track throughout the entire year prioritizing God with me!” it says on her website.
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Not giving will breed serious repercussions, White said, including unnamed “struggle[s].”
“God lays claim to all firsts. So when you keep for yourself something that belongs to God you are desecrating what is to be consecrated to God,” White warned.
“When you honor this principle it provides the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life, it unlocks deep dimensions of spiritual truths that literally transform your life! When you apply this everything comes in divine alignment for His plan and promises for you. When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience there are consequences,” White added.
White — who had previously argued that opposing Trump meant opposing God and who has also worked with Darryl Strawberry, Tyra Banks and Michael Jackson — received support from her church who tweeted in support of the campaign.
However, a spokesperson for White at her New Destiny Christian Center told PEOPLE that her comments were reported out of context.
“She was actually speaking of her personal, longtime commitment to ‘put God first at the beginning of a new year’ and as part of that commitment she has often donated her entire January salary to charity in gratitude to God for his blessings,” the spokesperson said. “She encouraged others to also be generous but she does not – and did not – suggest that other people must donate a month’s salary to her or her church or face divine punishment. Charity is at the heart of Christianity as it is at the heart of every religious tradition in the world, and anyone who has listened to White’s teaching within its proper context should come to this conclusion as well.”
Meanwhile, others criticized White’s reading of God’s principle of first fruits online.
“The concept of biblical first fruits is real, but as I read your article I can’t help but feel as though you’re being manipulative,” Heather Norton told White on Twitter. “Laying the foundation for first fruits and then launching into a ‘financial seed’ campaign seems to be a misuse/abuse of the biblical intention.”