Paula White “Does Not Endorse” Ralph Messer “In Any Way”

(Updated – thanks to commentators below for highlighting relevant YouTube video)

Paula White’s lawyer on White being wrapped in a Torah scroll by Ralph Messer: “My client categorically and unequivocally denies that that ever happened”

Paula White on Rabbi Ralph Messer, 2009 (or perhaps earlier):

With me today is my very special guest. He is no stranger to many of you. He is a man of God that God has gifted to this generation: Rabbi Ralph Messer. He’s an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher, conference speaker from Denver, Colorado. For over 27 years he has taught the Hebrew Roots of faith to thousands all across the United States and internationally. He’s a pioneer in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ and the Torah to all the nations of the earth. Please welcome Rabbi Messer to Paula Today.

Paula White on Rabbi Ralph Messer, 2012:

…In the past, Pastor Paula has interviewed Rabbi Messer on her television show. However, to be clear, Rabbi Messer has not been invited to participate in any service of New Destiny Christian Center or any other service with Pastor White. She has no ties or affiliation with him. She does not endorse him in any way, and she will not be participating in any events with him. Any suggestion to the contrary is totally false.

White’s announcement follows a story in the Florida Courier that Messer (background here) was planning to “enthrone” White as a “queen”, just as he recently enthroned Bishop Eddie Long by wrapping him in a Torah scroll that had supposedly been rescued from Auschwitz. That incident – during which Messer made a number of bizarre statements about the supposed meaning and symbolism of the Torah to Jews – went viral, provoking widespread comment ranging from disgust to mockery.

The Florida Courier’s evidence for its bandwagon-jumping scoop was non-existent, although readers were assured that Orlando was “abuzz with word” about an upcoming White enthronement. However, the paper now cites a claim that such a ceremony has already taken place:

On Friday, Orlando’s WEUS-AM 860 aired a live episode of “The Don Miller Show” that harshly criticized both Long and Messer. Featured guests on the show [included] Rabbi Ira Michaelson of the Beth Tefillah congregation in Clermont, just outside of Orlando.

…Michaelson said, “He actually already did this to Paula White some years ago…this was after she was divorced from Randy White and before the scandal with Benny Henn [sic] came out. He took her and rapped [sic] her in a scroll and said the same thing – ‘She’s wrapped in the Word of God.'”

…When asked directly about whether Michaelson’s charge was true, [Daniel] Beirute, Paula White’s attorney, wrote to the Florida Courier, “I don’t know where Rabbi Michaelson gets his information, but my client categorically and unequivocally denies that that ever happened.”

I originally suspected that Michaelson’s “information” was a garbled account of an appearance which Messer made with White’s ex-husband Randy in 2007. This was just after the Whites announced their intention to divorce; according to Tampa Bay Online

Messer hugged [Randy] White, telling him, “I love you. I love you so much.” White, a prayer shawl draped over his shoulders, stood clutching a Torah scroll, head bowed, with a pained expression on his face.

However, as seen in the photo above, Michaelson’s account is in fact quite correct.

UPDATE: Eddie Long is also backing away from Messer; the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Bishop Eddie Long has apologized for last Sunday’s service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church that drew the ire of Jewish groups and religious scholars.

“The ceremony was not my suggestion, nor was it my intent, to participate in any ritual that is offensive in any manner to the Jewish community,” Long wrote in a letter sent Saturday to Bill Nigut, Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

…Long “[denounced] any action that depicts me as a king, for I am merely just a servant of the  Lord.”