Lifestyle Christianity leader Todd White has publicly repented for failing to preach the whole Gospel and criticized the American Church for refusing to address sin and repentance to a watching world.
In an emotional message delivered Sunday, White, a former drug addict turned evangelist, revealed he recently underwent a season of painful “pruning” where God impressed upon him the importance of preaching on the topic of sin and the need for a Savior.
“If people don’t know they’re sinners, they won’t see their need for a Savior,” the Watauga, Texas-based pastor said. “This is hard for people. This is hard for me, because I feel like I haven't preached the whole Gospel. And I repent. I repent. You have no idea. I will not be responsible. I believe that when I preach that the blood of people is on my hands.”
“I’m convicted. I am not perfect but I am strongly convicted. I feel like I just met Jesus again. There's just this rekindled thing inside of me. This has been the hardest season of my life. I'm like, ‘Lord, what are you doing?’ He said ‘I'm pruning every branch that you have.’ I'm like, ‘It's not OK. It hurts.’ And He said, ‘If you were dead, it wouldn't hurt. There are parts of you that need to die, so I’m going to kill them.’”
The pastor has previously been criticized for promoting the prosperity gospel, which teaches in part that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth. Such blessings can be obtained through positive confessions of faith and the "sowing of seeds" through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.
Costi Hinn, nephew of Benny Hinn, denounced White as “one of the most famous ‘next generation’ versions” of his uncle and others.
White was also featured alongside other prosperity teachers, including Hinn and Joel Osteen, in the Netflix film "American Gospel," which “examines how the prosperity gospel ... has distorted the Gospel message, and how this theology is being exported.”
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After viewing "American Gospel," White condemned the film as “demonically inspired."
But in his sermon Sunday, the evangelist said he believes God is “correcting” him for failing to preach the whole Gospel in the past.
“Nevertheless, Lord, your grace is sufficient for me,” he said.
White revealed that the writings of famed theologian Charles Spurgeon and evangelist Ray Comfort have been “rocking” him. He referenced Comfort’s parachute illustration, which explains the dangers of embracing Christianity in hopes of achieving a better life.
“When you come into the Gospel because you come in for a better life, you’ve come in for the wrong Gospel,” he stressed. “When you come to Jesus because He’s going to give you this and give you this, you really didn’t surrender.”
The Bible says we are “dead” in our sin, White said. “We have to somehow get to people and not just promise them a better flight. Am I the only one that’s convicted to the core? This isn’t legalism, it’s the truth. There is a day of wrath coming. It’s no joke.
“We have to know that we’ve sinned against God. 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 completely brand new. What I won't ever do is take the miraculous out of the Gospel. It's a miracle that I can come to Jesus through all my junk and all my sin and Him say, ‘Not guilty.’ That's a miracle.”
The Church in the U.S. has largely “overlooked” the reality of sin and the need for a savior, White said.
“The Gospel brings conviction,” he said. “Righteousness is the answer. I want to be convicted of sin, leave my sin, leave that, and enter into being convicted of righteousness. That’s the goal of the Gospel.”
“What is the sign of repentance? That you hate sin. Your goal as a Christian is to be conformed into His image, is to be transformed into His image, into His likeness, and to actually walk like Christ walked. Jesus didn’t despise sinners, but He hated sin and He addressed it all the time. He said words like ‘sinners’ to people that were in sin. Yet He loved them and everybody followed Him. What has flip-flopped in the Church today?”
White warned that one day, every human will “face the Lord,.”
“I've been going through it, buddy. I've been in a new place to bring the reality of the law into a witness, to show a person their need for grace," he said. "How can you want to be found if you don't know you're lost? How can you want to see if you don't know you're blind? How can you want to live if you don't know that you're dead?”
White said he believes there’s a “movement on the earth of twisted demonic stuff,” adding, “We do not have a license to live however we want. That’s not true. That’s not the Gospel. We live like Christ, we be imitators of God.
“If we don’t see that we sinned against a holy God, there really can’t be repentance, and that’s it. Totally different. Who is this Todd guy? This Todd guy got hammered by the Lord. He’s still doing. It’s a hammering and pruning and it’s a good thing. He loves me. We’re about to step into something beautiful and wonderful.”
He concluded: “We have to get it right, our foundation has to be completely solid, and there can’t be any holes. This is the Gospel.”
Watch White's full message below.