Been thinking about the PAULA WHITE thing and politics. Also been reading the biography of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher who immersed himself in the ‘holy’ crusade to elect Abraham Lincoln. He was virulently hated in both the North and the South for pushing the terrible conflict into the faces of the people that could only lead to conflict. Beecher wanted that conflict. He wanted that war that he saw as necessary.
Of course, many Christians tried to use the Bible to tone him down. For one, they attacked his theology as heterodox. He had no right to speak for Christian values, they asserted. And he was suspect on that score, having eschewed hell and the wrath of God. Second, he was already known by some as a bit too flirtatious with women. As they said, on any given Sunday, he was preaching in his large church of over 3,000 (extraordinarily large for his time) to seven or eight of his mistresses. Third, Beecher was flamboyant and overwrought. His Sunday sermons were spectacles, and his church had been constructed to look like a theater. Beecher’s response: he raised money to send Bibles and guns to Kansas free staters to protect themselves from Missouri marauding gangs. The guns were called ‘Beecher Bibles.’
It was Beecher who was chosen by President Lincoln to speak at the ceremony at Ft. Sumter raising the Union flag. Without Beecher, he commented, there would have been no flag to raise. Paula White meets the criterion of American history as to who is allowed to speak for the President’s cause. Not my type of Evangelical, for sure. But neither was Beecher. And our country owes a great debt to Beecher for stoking the Emancipation conflict and keeping the North in the war until victory was won.