Repentance? Todd White and Zaccheus

Zaccheus was a scoundrel and a cheat.  Then, he met Jesus.  Luke recorded the story of Zaccheus’ salvation in Chapter 19 of his gospel.

(Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:1-10 (NASB)

The Jews looked upon Zaccheus with derision, for he was an agent of their Roman overlords.  Not only was Zacchaeus a traitor to his people, he was apparently crooked, a trait which was not uncommon for tax collectors of that day.  Nevertheless, he sought Jesus.  Much to the shock of the crowd, Jesus accepted him and chose to lodge at his home that night.  As an act of repentance, Zacchaeus pledged to give half of his wealth to the poor and to repay, with interest, any man whom he had defrauded.  His contrition was evidence of his conversion. God had saved the worst of the worst.

Todd White is a cheat, a holy-ghost flim-flam artist.  As a street evangelist, White has pretended to lengthen legs in the name of the Lord.  He has even claimed to have healed a pastor who was crippled by polio.  White has partnered with a number of prosperity gospel heretics and false Apostles.  He claims arch-heretic and prosperity pimp Kenneth Copeland as his “mentor” and “spiritual father”.  Through preaching a truncated gospel, partnering with wolves, and making unsubstantiated miracle claims, Todd White has become a rich man.  He has grown his brand, LifeStyle Christianity, into a seven-figure cash cow, out of which he was paid a salary of nearly $600,000 (in 2015). When Todd White was given a copy of the film American Gospel, in which he is criticized for preaching a truncated gospel and failing to emphasize conviction of sin, he rejected it, calling the criticism of his preaching “demonic”. 

Todd White has a been the subject of a number of articles on this website.  One article includes the testimony of homeschool mom who confronted White about his not preaching from scripture.  He fled the rebuke.  Another article solicits testimonies from people who can provide verified testimonies of being healed by Todd White.  While many people have responded to inquire if we have received stories of healings, no one has provided a first-hand account of being restored from infirmity after an encounter with Todd White.  Yet another article solicits feedback from anyone who can substantiate Todd’s dubious backstory of going from a drug-addicted atheist to a Spirit-filled evangelist.  No one has responded to vouch for him.  In 2017, I was contacted by a former missionary and youth pastor named Grant who claimed to have traveled to Israel and tracked down the family of a sick man Todd White supposedly prayed for and healed. According to this video, provided to me by that youth pastor, the man’s family claimed that he later died.

Todd White is a fraud who has become rich in the course of pretending to be a man of God.  He is exactly what his critics have accused him of being.  However, he may have repented.  White recently delivered a message in which he emotionally “repented” (his word) of not preaching the “whole gospel”.  In other words, Todd White has admitted before a massive audience that he is guilty of exactly what his critics have accused him of doing (or not doing as the case may be).  In his July 26 message, White related that he has been reading the writings of Charles Spurgeon and George Whitefield.  Like never before, White stressed the need to repent of sin to be saved.  Like never before, White stressed that the Christian life can lead to persecution and hardship.  God can save the worst of the worst and Christians should respond with joyfulness and thanksgiving every time He does so.

But has Todd White truly turned the corner?

When he gives away his ill-gotten gains, sells his mansion, dissociates with heretics, admits to faking his healings, and steps down from his Lifestyle Christianity “ministry” to learn sound doctrine, Christians will know that he, like Zaccheus, has.  Until then…

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant