Evangelist Todd White made waves last week for saying that he was repenting for not preaching the whole gospel. The preacher, who has previously been known for his street evangelism and miracle-working ministry that some have categorized as prosperity gospel preaching, has been speaking about sin, God’s judgment, and the need to repent. Now, in a new sermon he gave at Lifestyle Christianity Center in Texas on Sunday, White says that while his conviction has grown to preach the gospel and to “wake up a sleeping church,” it is his critics, not him, who need to realign their priorities.
“To say that someone’s wrong and to not get on your face and cry out for their soul…you actually hate me,” White said emphatically, alluding to his critics. These people, claim White, love their own opinions over the person they criticize. “If you have a problem with someone, you better be praying for them,” White told the congregation.
While White insisted the subject of his sermon was not a “defense of Todd,” he spent quite a bit of his hour+ message addressing the issue of criticism—both his personal experience with it and also what the Bible says about it. White said his new conviction and seeming shift in ministry focus is the result of him spending a lot of time with God and feeling he’s “about ready to explode” with the new things he’s been learning.
Todd White Addresses the American Gospel Documentary
White began his sermon with a question: “Why would people join a church that’s fighting against itself or hypocritical?” Before he mentioned his critics, White said:
If any of you think that you know it all about the Gospel, you’re deceived. I don’t care who you are; I don’t care what theologian you are; I don’t care if you’re a doctor of theology; you’ve got your masters of divinity. If you think you know it all, I’m sorry you’re wrong.
Next, White addressed the makers of the film American Gospel, which was made available on Netflix in May and which portrays White as ascribing to and preaching the prosperity gospel. The film shows clips of preachers such as White, Joel Osteen, and Benny Hinn preaching—either on television or at live events—and essentially breaks apart their theology using interviews with other preachers—mostly reformed preachers—such as Costi Hinn, Matt Chandler, and Jackie Hill Perry. In the sermon, White says “not one” of the people involved in the film called to talk to him while they were making it. He said he was portrayed as guilty by association due to his being friends with Bill Johnson, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn. “Now all of a sudden Todd’s the biggest heretic on the planet,” White said dramatically. He goes on to compare what the filmmakers did to murder and racism:
Shame on you for not praying for me or talking to me but making a movie thinking that you’re God’s police. You’re going to stand before a Holy God and answer for your life of judgment and hate and it’s called murder. It’s no different than racism. It’s the same thing! It’s called no love. You have no love. If you think that being God’s police officer is love, you’re wrong because you haven’t prayed with vehement tears.
White then asks, hypothetically, whether his critics are “really going after God like you say you are?” He then answers the question in relation to what he does: “My wife will tell you that I love the Lord. She sees me in my prayer closet. She sees how I talk. My kids will tell you that I love the Lord. I don’t settle for anything less than Jesus.”
Emphasizing this point, White said he’s come to a “new awareness” of his role in God’s Kingdom:
I have stepped into a new awareness of why I’m really here. I feel like I just got saved. I feel like I’ve just met Jesus. The truth is if I didn’t meet Jesus when I got saved, I would have continued in sin. But I’m very concerned for a large majority of the body of Christ that says that they’ve met him and yet lives in sin. I’m very, very, very concerned—my heart is broken—because Jesus says all or none. He says gather or scatter. He says for or against. …He didn’t say come to the altar all of you who have messed up. He said come to the altar all of you who want to give up on this life and enter into a life of eternity.