“‘I feel like I haven’t preached the whole Gospel. And I repent. I repent.” said a visibly emotional Todd White to a group of students during his July 26 Encounter sermon, fighting to hold back tears as his voice cracked with conviction.
It was a change of tone for the word-of-faith prosperity preacher, who has been by relegated by much of the Christian world as a wacky side-character in the fringes of the faith, a caricature who manifests the worst excesses of the charismatic movement, and who’d be right at home “grave sucking” with the Bethelites or staring at the roof of a church auditorium while claiming angel feathers and gold dust is raining down like NAR folk.
It is not an undeserved reputation. You can see an extensive list of his problems HERE but needless to say his reputation precedes him as a false teacher, false healer, and false Christian who preaches a different gospel.
In contrast, the message he preached on Sunday had a decidedly different tone and message. It was enough that the entire YouTube combox was alight with excitement, commenting on the differences they saw, asking themselves what the heck happened to the dreadlocked disaster.
In terms of the sermon, which we suggest everyone listen to in full, the first thing to notice is Todd has been reading Spurgeon, Whitfield, Ray Comfort, and it shows. He spends much of the sermon detailing a repudiation of the prosperity gospel while promoting one that is focused on the law/grace distinction. The fact that he seems blown away by the Prince of Preachers is a good sign. “Did you ever hear of Spurgeon? I’ve been reading Spurgeon. Oh my gosh, he’s rocking me.”
Given that he’s seemed to have discovered a more biblically faithful gospel, White has a pretty incredible, passionate way of articulating it. He actually does a tremendous job of it, with a few miscues on the topic of healing and miracles, but all in all, the whole thing is fantastic. Here is a small portion of the message.
And lastly, the brokenness and grief that Todd seems to be experiencing looks real. He says multiple times that he’s being pruned by the Lord, and that is painful, which he mentions in the next three clips. He says thing like:
God’s been like cutting me and sifting me and shifting and changing things in my heart.
I’m in school, again. I am. I’ve been going through the most amazing pruning. and it’s been really painful. That’s crazy because it wouldn’t be painful if I was dead. But I’m alive – yet I’m dead. It’s crazy. Don’t ever think you’re above correction from the Lord. Please don’t think you have it ever have it figured it out because you don’t.
I saw this when I got saved. And for some reason it’s taken me 16 years to explain it! And I feel like I’ve just seen something complete brand new!
This is hard for people, hunh? It’s hard for me. It’s hard for me because I feel like I haven’t preached the whole gospel. And I repent. I repent.
It comes down to this: we don’t know if Todd has been saved. He’s been preaching heretical garbage for so long and engaged in scriptural shenanigans to such an extent that we’ve no doubt it has infected every part of his theological framework. He has some very bad beliefs, and while the whole sermon is excellent and is mind-blowing when you listen to it, it’s likely that the demonic devotions he’s been delving into are screaming to come to the surface. And so we don’t recommend Todd White to anyone, yet, given that he still has a lot of bad beliefs and teaching of which to repent.
But what is obvious to even the most casual observer who has even a passing knowledge of Todd White is that something has changed. This is not the sort of sermon he has ever preached before. This is something altogether different. This is a miracle in the making, hopefully, and the saints ought to be praying like crazy for him.
Last year Benny Hinn repented of the prosperity gospel, and yet that seems to have gone by the wayside, as he’s still preaching about sowing thousand dollar seed offerings today.
But to see a man who is seemingly so broken with his sin and unworthiness, publicly say so and speak of the way the Lord has been working in his life – Let’s show him grace and love and patience for his errors, and pray that he gets hooked up with some sound brothers to disciple and teach him, and that Christ is indeed doing a work in his life. Because by all accounts, He is.
Update. Saw this tweet from Costi Hinn. Excellent.