Is Todd White A Heretic?
Should I Listen To Todd White, Or Is He A False Teacher?
Some time ago, I shared a video of Todd White sharing his thoughts on the whole “Spiritual Father” thing. It’s a really healthy perspective, although it contrasts with large segments of the Charismatic movement we are part of. I quickly got a whole lot of pushback with vague accusations saying “Todd White is a heretic.” Only when I pressed the matter of “why?” did people post several articles and videos against him.
Many of my readers probably appreciate Todd White. However, it’s helpful to know how to discern truth and how to help other people to discern. I also get a good deal of search engine traffic from people wanting to know if Bill Johnson is a false prophet or if Bethel Church is a cult. I’ve met individuals who genuinely wanted to know the truth and were disturbed by so articles or videos criticizing Bill Johnson or other teachers.
Consider my response if you have seen such articles or videos. People who are discerning consider what a person actually says, not just what people say that they said, and they listen to both sides of the issue. Otherwise, it’s not discernment, it’s faultfinding, something Jude 1:16 doesn’t speak well of. It might be helpful to check out my articles How To Discern Other People’s Discernment and Discerning Your Own Discernment.
I highly appreciate many leaders associated with the Toronto revival and the “NAR” (New Apostolic Revolution). I see it as a move of God. Even so, I disagree strongly with a few things like the tithing doctrine and the overemphasis on spiritual fathering that some, and not all, of them teach. Just read scripture and you’ll see that true churches in which the Holy Spirit is moving miss it and need correction. Of these issues, Todd’s position on spiritual fathering agrees with mine and the guy who most influenced him, Dan Mohler, agrees with my position on tithing! So I actually feel that Todd brings something that is more healthy to the movement in certain aspects.
I don’t share all the same views as Todd White. Few Christians have all the same theology! But I want to respond to some of the main accusations that Todd is a heretic or deviant from Biblical Christianity. There is so much stuff people come up with that I can’t respond to everything, but we will look at some of the primary criticisms.
Todd has a lot to offer the body of Christ and I don’t want people to miss out on it because they’ve been disturbed by people who oppose him. Todd, like any genuine Christian leader, is a jar of clay whom God has placed treasure in and we should test everything he says. However, in several cases, the opposition to Todd is itself based on harmful and less-than-biblical theology.
Here’s the post I shared:
Guilt By Association
One site’s indictment of Todd White says that he calls Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland his “spiritual fathers.” While Todd has been influenced by both men, I guess they didn’t see the video I posted of Todd White sharing his view that we must primarily look to the Lord himself as our “Spiritual Father.” Benny Hinn himself has recently shared, with tears and sincerity, that his views have changed so much, he has grieved the Lord many times, and he wants to do so no longer. Scripture is full of people who walked with God mightily and also missed it in big ways. What if we were unwilling to learn anything from King David because of his errors?
I don’t agree with everything that Benny or Copeland has ever said. In fact, I strongly disagree with Copeland about tithes. It’s not fair to write off Todd or anybody because of the other imperfect people they have learned something from. In fact, it takes wisdom and humility to receive the treasure that God places in imperfect “Jars of Clay.”
Francis Chan, a guy with a great heart and a much different background then Todd, also gets pulled into this “guilt by association” thing for his fellowship with Todd. I suspect that while Chan has different theology than Todd, he recognizes how many accusations against Todd White grossly misrepresent what Todd teaches. It takes humility, godly maturity, and wisdom to receive the treasure God has placed in imperfect vessels and to unite around the gospel message while disagreeing on non-essentials.
In an article responding to critics, Chan makes it clear that he does not agree theologically with everyone he takes a picture with. He then shares how he himself fell into the trap of slander when he was younger, and writes “We should all be careful to guard against false teaching of any kind. In the process of refuting false teachers, however, we can unintentionally falsely accuse good teachers. That might be equally harmful to His Kingdom. God desires unity in His body, so it is no small crime to bring division into the church.”
We should also consider that the guy who has had the most influence on Todd is Dan Mohler, not Hinn or Copeland. Dan Mohler does not even believe in tithing is relevant to New-Covenant giving, and his teaching sharply contrasts with some of the more popular prosperity doctrines. Dan is such a solid guy that like Daniel, if you are going to find anything against him it probably has to do with his devotion to God. (Daniel 6:5) A while ago I found an article written against Dan Mohler. I’m not sure if I can find it now, but the sole complaint was “Dan Mohler talks about love too much.” What!? I guess they wouldn’t like the apostle John either!
Do Miracles And Healing Make You A False Teacher?
Many points calling Todd a warlock, heretic, or fraud are based on a theology that says God doesn’t do miracles anymore or that miracles are only up to God and have little to do with our faith and obedience. One article takes Todd’s own testimony of how he used to be a trickster and deceiver, doing anything for drugs, and uses it against him as an accusation that the miracles are false. That’s hardly fair! Maybe they should interview some of the people who have been healed when Todd ministered to them.
One writer said “My doubt and concern is not in healing or miracles but rather how some use these things to bring attention to themselves and to avoid persecution for preaching the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18).” This logic is funny considering how the miracles are stirring up opposition for Todd just as miracles consistently did for Jesus and the apostles in scripture. In fact, Paul wrote that everybody who wants to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted, and in scripture, it was the religious people rather than outsiders who opposed Jesus and the apostles after miracles happened.
The articles calling Todd a warlock notes with an “eyes rolling” kind of tone that Patricia King met Todd White at a “Glory School.” I was at that glory school. I’ve been to few Christian events that got as much into scripture as Patricia King’s glory school, with teaching solidly rooted in Jesus’ death, resurrection, and incarnation. God’s glory and God glorifying us are solidly biblical concepts and it’s worth getting out a concordance and looking up the topic!
As far as the healings, I knew Todd as an acquaintance before he was well-known, when he was delivering ice and ministering to people on the way. He is from where I grew up. He was ministering to everybody he could long before anybody put things on video. The miracles are real, no manipulation. I myself have been healed and there’s no way you can convince me it’s a lie, I’ve seen hundreds of people healed. It’s sad that Christians are citing an atheist skeptic’s arguments that it’s a farce, because their form of religion has more in common with atheism than they like to admit.
So this criticism of Todd is based totally on a false theological premise that God doesn’t do the things anymore that he used to, an antichrist premise which denies the role of the church as the body of Christ (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) commissioned by Jesus to do the same works and greater. This anti-supernatural doctrine came straight from the influence of gnostic teachers who denied Christ came in the flesh. They believe God doesn’t do miracles anymore, so they believe anybody who ministers healing must be phony.
Does Todd White Sell Miracles?
I’ve read that Todd White puts miracles up for sale. This is one of the most laughable accusations since Todd sometimes gives a generous cash gift to someone after ministering healing if they are struggling financially! He frequently ministers to waitresses and gives a ridiculously large tip.
Of course, essentially selling miracles by suggesting giving money might be the key to your healing is a real problem in some circles and I find it abhorrent. But accusing Todd of this? Yeah, it’s laughable and it says something about the bias and lack of credibility of those bringing the accusation. Accusations like this should really be specific and point to something that people can see, such as a video in which the accused actually did attach people’s healing to their giving.
Does Todd White Teach That Jesus “Stopped Being God?”
The Youtube video Todd White Denies Jesus Is God claims Todd White denies Jesus’s divinity because Todd is teaching Jesus’s humanity. This is the same argument they use against Bill Johnson, even though Bill always says plainly, flat out, that Jesus is God and never stopped being God.
Todd teaches that Jesus became weak as a man, which scripture says as well. Hebrews says he became like us in every way, but without sin. Todd’s preaching makes this very clear if you listen to all of it, and Christ’s deity is clearly laid out in Lifestyle Christianity’s statement of faith.
Pastor Gabe also brings the same argument against Bill Johnson. His reasoning is absurd. I already responded in an article to Pastor Gabe’s hit piece on Bill Johnson, and Pastor Gabe’s theological objections are really that Bill teaches the hypostatic union and justification. Gabe twists that to say Bill denies Jesus’s deity and sanctification, both of which Bill very clearly teaches. In order to accuse Bill, Gabe pits Jesus’ humanity against his divinity and pits sanctification against justification, as if these truths were in opposition to each other.
It becomes evident that Pastor Gabe himself doesn’t fully accept what scripture teaches about Jesus’ humanity, that he became like us in every way. The accusation that Todd rejects Jesus’ deity is based on similar false premises as the accusation against Bill, in that the accuser does not fully accept what scripture teaches about Jesus coming in the flesh. While not explicitly denying the fundamental and orthodox truth of Jesus’ incarnation, the ones making this accusation against Todd and Bill border on doing so because they deny what scripture teaches the incarnation implies. They deny the scriptural point that Jesus came with every weakness we have, and yes, without sin.
As the discussion continued on my Facebook post of Todd’s videos, the guy who was most adamant that Todd was a heretic began making statements which reeked of Gnosticism, especially the Gnostic view of the human body. Gnosticism was a heretical group that denied Jesus came in the flesh and that negatively influenced Christianity through Augustine. He converted from Gnosticism to Christianity but still retained many aspects of Gnostic thinking and became the most influential theologian in church history. It is actually the people making this accusation against Todd who are on dangerous theological ground as regarding Jesus’ incarnation.
Does Todd White “Flip The Gospel Upside Down” And Teach We “Deserve” Salvation?
A PirateChristian.com article and a PulpitAndPen,com article , as well as some YouTube videos, claim Todd flips the gospel upside down and teaches we deserve salvation, based on the quote “The cross isn’t just the revelation of my sin, it’s the revealing of my value. Something underneath of that sin must have been of great value for heaven to go bankrupt to get me back.”
The accusations that Todd is making light of sin by saying Jesus died to reveal our value are way out of context. Anybody who has heard Todd speak very much knows that he doesn’t make light of or excuse sin. Not even close! Todd saying what Scripture says, that Jesus died because of God’s love for us. Even in the Old Testament scripture calls God’s people his inheritance, precious to him.
Todd NEVER SAYS OR IMPLIES that we deserve salvation. If you think he does, show me where. It is an immense fallacy to say that “Jesus died for us because of our value to God” = “Jesus died because we deserved salvation.” Our value to God does not come from anything we did to deserve it, but our value is in being loved by God and made in his image. God gave his one and only Son for us because he immensely values each of us! Todd never said Jesus did not die for our sins, and if you listen to him much that should be clear. He simply said it’s about more than just that. Jesus’s death reveals how much God values us because HE LOVES US! (See 1 John 4:10 and Romans 5:8 for example on how Jesus’s death reveals the Father’s love for us/our value to the Father.)
Quoting Dan Mohler, Todd’s mentor: My Bible doesn’t say “For God was so frustrated at wit’s end and fed up with the world that he sent his Son.” Or “God was so disgusted with the repetitive failure of humanity that he couldn’t take it anymore and finally sent his Son.” My Bible says “For God so loved the world…”
Does Todd White “Tell God What He Must Do?”
Some show videos of Todd rebuking sickness or something and claim he is “telling God what he must do.” This is a gross misrepresentation, but it has been unfairly leveled against other people as well.
Rebuking sickness or demons and speaking God’s word to situations is not commanding God! Rather it is adding our “amen” to God’s “yes,” just as the prophets of old did and as Jesus taught his disciples to do. It joining our wills to God’s as he has revealed his will to us in Christ. It is part of an incarnational mindset that understands that we are the body of Christ and his Spirit dwells in us. Christ himself taught his disciples to rebuke sickness and expel demons.
Does Todd White Teach Man-Centered Theology?
Often when I hear accusations of “man-centered” theology, it’s because the Accuser has a problem with the scriptural implications of the incarnation. God came as a man. And God is not narcissistic. He has plans for men. His plans aren’t just all about himself. The incarnation is about God being glorified in man and the invisible nature of God being revealed in humanity. Scripture clearly teaches God’s purpose to glorify men. However, this is not a man-centered message. It’s about God being glorified in man, and man being glorified in God.
Of course we reject a self-centered false gospel. If you listen much to Todd’s teaching and the teaching of Dan Mohler, who mentored Todd, you’ll notice that they both talk extensively about rejecting a self-centered, self-serving perspective to live a life of love. That is why it’s so ironic that anybody would accuse them of preaching a self-serving gospel.
Does Todd White Teach He Has Never Sinned?
The point of contention with Todd is that First John says we deceive ourselves if we claim to be without sin. Of course, it is clear from Todd’s testimony that he does not claim he has never sinned. He is talking about walking with a clear conscience because God has given him a new heart and he’s been cleansed from sin by Jesus’ blood. Here I’m sharing a little more of the context in first John to help us understand what it’s saying.
Of all the verses here, those in bold green letters could be taken out of context in order to argue that anybody who claims a clear conscience is a liar. Yet those in bold blue letters could be taken out of context in order to argue that Christians cannot ever sin and anybody who ever slips up or sins is not a real Christian! Both of these conclusions are erroneous.
1 John 1:5-10, 2:1-6, 10, 29, 3:6-10 (NIV)This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
The verses in bold green letters above are not talking about having an expectation that we as Christians will always mess up, walk in sin, stumble, and miss the mark. Of course, all have sinned, we must admit that and receive God’s gift of salvation, but we can actually find freedom in Christ. Romans 7 talks of life under the law, Romans 8 contrasts that with living by the Spirit.
Here, Dan Mohler explains so clearly how a few verses in First John get twisted so that Christians fall into an expectation that they will always mess up. First John says we have an advocate “if” we sin, not “when” we sin. Scripture does not teach that we must always expect to fail. Romans 6 is so clear that the old nature was crucified with Christ and we are to consider it a fact that we are dead to sin and alive to righteousness. On the contrary, we hear many Christians talking as if they were alive to sin and anybody who thinks Jesus’ work can set us free from the bondage of sin is a heretic! Yes, the righteousness we receive is imputed, it is Jesus’s righteousness, not our own, but it bears the fruit of righteousness. For more on how this works, see our article Falling Out Of Sin And Into Righteousness.
Todd is talking about walking free from sin by walking in communion with Christ. He’s talking about living in the Romans 8 life, not the Romans 7 bondage. He says he doesn’t remember the last time he lusted after a woman. So what’s wrong with that? Really, people are calling Todd a wolf and a false teacher because he teaches walking in freedom from sin with Christ? People are calling him a false teacher because he teaches righteousness and walking in holiness by God’s grace?
I’m much more concerned about the attitude that “We’re just always going to fail, because we’re human,” and the epic of porn addiction in the church. I’m much more concerned about the expectation that everyone is just going to mess up. I know it doesn’t have to be like that. I haven’t walked perfectly. Even so, I’ve shunned porn since I was 12 years old. Before I was married I fell madly in love, yet kissing my girlfriend mouth-to-mouth or anything beyond that wasn’t even a consideration. Not because of some religious legalism but because I loved my girlfriend so much and didn’t want to do anything to hurt her by violating her conscience or going somewhere she would regret later. I was shocked when a pastor came to me with the assumption that I must have already slept with my fiancee before we were married. I thought “Do you know me?” It’s sad that this is just what so much of the church has come to expect.
It feels so good to live in communion with God, to not remember the last time you violated your conscience, to just be aware constantly of the love of God reigning in your heart towards others…a constant flow of living water. I’ve experienced living in that consciousness of Christ and not of sin for weeks at a time, taking communion with no awareness of having violated my conscience since the last time I did a month ago. I’ve also messed up many times. But where is the limit in scripture to how closely we can walk with God? Enoch walked with God until he was translated! Where is the point that scripture says “Well, you’re just going to have to sin now, because you’re human?” What is the limit scripture puts on how long you can go without violating your conscience?
Remember, Jesus Came As A Human!
Remember, Jesus came as a human, had every weakness we do, walked in communion with the Father, never sinned, and died to set men free from the power of sin. He is the only man who has never sinned, but he came to set men free from the power of sin and bring many sons to glory. Applying Christ’s redemption frees us from sin, not death as “liberation” from this “sinful human body.” Death is not our savior, not even in part! The idea that our humanity means we must keep sinning, is Gnosticism!
The Gnostics believed that the body and physical world is corrupt and spirit is pure, so they denied that a pure and sinless God could come in a human body. They taught that Jesus was a spirit who only appeared to have a body but really didn’t. They saw salvation as liberation from the physical world. Sound a lot like the notion that “we’ll only ever really be free from sin when we die.”
Here’s part of my response on the Facebook thread to a guy who argued that Todd is a heretic and we will always fall into sin because we live in human bodies. He also claimed Todd and Bill Johnson deny Jesus’s deity because they teach his incarnation and humanity.
However, scripture puts no limit on how much we can walk in freedom from sin, and it has nothing to do with being in a human body, as Jesus came in a human body, and our human bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Todd claims a clean conscience so you accuse him of teaching sinless perfectionism. However, the apostle Paul claimed the same in 1 Corinthians 4:4. 2 Corinthians 1:2 and Acts 23:1. There is actually such a thing as being able to say “my conscience is clean before God.”
We who are born again do have the divine nature of Christ, because as scripture says we have the spirit of Christ if we are his, we have been joined to him in spirit, and we have become (and are becoming) partakers of his divine nature. He is the head, we are the body.
You also don’t seem to acknowledge that Jesus was made like us in every way as the firstborn among many brethren, could do nothing of himself, was a weak as we are and learned obedience through what he suffered, and was tempted in every way as we are and did not sin (and not just because he was God). Unless you acknowledge these scriptural points instead of saying that Jesus could only do works of power and walk in holiness because he was God, you have a major problem in your Christology and incarnation theology.
Your most serious accusation of both Bill and Todd, that they deny Jesus’ deity, is contrary to what both of them have repeatedly and explicitly stated. As tolerant as Bethel church is when it comes to weirdness, Bethel Church takes Christ’s deity so seriously that Bill Johnson warned the church to stay away from a teacher who was denying it. And the very basis for your insistence that Bill and Todd deny Christ’s deity is based on the major error in your theology stated above…you have not accepted the above points that scripture teaches the incarnation implies.
I hope this has helped some people who have had genuine concerns about Todd White. Again, I don’t agree with Todd about everything and you should test what he says, as you would test what I or anyone says.
In essence, some of the main accusations against Todd have to do with him teaching that Jesus came in the flesh (as a man), teaching walking in holiness, demonstrating God’s power through the enablement of the Holy Spirit, and teaching God’s love for people. Faultfinders who are always resisting the Holy Spirit and believe that God stopped doing miracles a few thousand years ago twist these teachings and take his statements out of context to make fallacious accusations.
Now a scriptural admonition about people who do this:
Romans 16:17 (NIV) I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. I warn you to turn aside from them, to avoid them.