When you listen to Todd White talk about Jesus, he literally oozes agape love—and he's equipping a generation to flow in Holy Ghost power and devotion that deliver people from demons, heal them from diseases and root them firmly in their divine identity.
Viral YouTube videos show Todd walking the streets of the world, at times risking his neck to demonstrate the healing gifts of God to people who may only know the Jesus of religion but not of relationship. Todd's power evangelism ministry has set the stage for miracle healings that have inspired many unbelievers—even sold-out Muslims—to turn their hearts to Christ.
What many don't know is before God could use Todd as a conduit for the perfect love that casts out pain, infirmity and fear, He had to flood a wounded man's heart with kindness that led him to repentance from a life of atheism, drugs, alcohol and violence. Todd lived the better part of 34 years broken, angry, bitter and high on whatever would numb the pain before he finally surrendered his life to the Lord.
Here's the backstory: When Todd was only 11 years old, his parents split up. Mom left him at Masonic Homes—a program for Masons and their families—never to return. As soon as Todd was old enough, he joined the Marine Corps on a dare. But even the Marines could not break the strong-willed youth's rebellious nature. Twelve days after entering military service, he went AWOL, stole money in a drug deal and landed in military prison before ultimately exiting with a Bad Conduct Discharge.
The story waxes worse from there. Even though Todd couldn't hold down a job, he found a girlfriend and fathered a baby. When the girl threatened to leave him, a drug-addicted Todd threatened to murder her and commit suicide. In a moment of desperation, he went to a church, where God was waiting to speak to him through a man named Dan Mohler.
"Dan shared the gospel and told me I needed to give Jesus my life," Todd recalls. "I was like, 'Fine, whatever. I don't want my life anyway.' I had no idea what I was getting into, no clue. I prayed and said, 'God, if You're real, You show me You're real. I'll live for you.' Simple as that. I went home and called my girlfriend, but she wouldn't talk to me. I told my daughter to tell her Daddy found God."
Living Like a Hypocrite
That loving confrontation opened Todd's eyes to God, but his life wasn't radically changed by reciting the sinner's prayer. Although his atheist girlfriend gave him a second chance, Todd continued smoking crack and worse. He was confessing Christ, but he was stoned out of his mind much of the time. He describes the first five and a half months of his walk with God as a Romans 7:15 life: "For what I am doing, I do not understand, for I do not practice what I will to do, but I do the very thing I hate."
If Paul was the "chief sinner," Todd may have been by his own confession the chief hypocrite. His double life came to a screeching halt the night he impersonated a cop and stole a crack dealer's stash in New York City. As Todd fled the scene, the dealer unloaded a 9 mm pistol on him at 10-foot range. He should have been dead, and he knew it. But he heard a voice say, "I took those bullets for you. Are you ready to live for Me yet?"
"I was baffled by the voice," Todd recalls. "I didn't know what it was, but I knew that it was not from this world. I did drugs to try to get the voice to go away. I couldn't get it to go away no matter how many drugs I took, no matter how high I tried to get. I went home, and my girlfriend told me to get out of her life. My daughter was screaming. I went away to a place called Teen Challenge three days later."
Todd spent two months in rehab and started reading the Bible every morning, asking the Lord to open up the Scriptures. After about six weeks, the Bible came alive to him, and God started training him in righteousness. He realized God is real and the Word is alive. That sharp Word started cutting through Todd's wrong thoughts, and soon, supernatural encounters with the God who loved him enough to die for him—and take bullets for him—began.
"For three nights, I had encounters with Jesus in a valley," Todd recalls. "He took me to Psalm 23 every morning. On the third night, He told me to go home. I packed my stuff 10 months early and went home to tell my daughter I was sorry. I realized I was a father for the first time in my life. I held her as a dad would hold his daughter. I told my girlfriend how sorry I was, and we decided that day to get married."
Determined not to live a double life anymore, Todd went into the house with Hefty trash bags and filled them with drugs, pornography, drug paraphernalia and every other wicked thing he could find in the home. He emptied the bags into a beer barrel, smashed the barrel with a sledgehammer, saturated it with gasoline and burned it to oblivion.
That was 12 years ago. Today, Todd and his wife, Sarah, have three girls, ages 19, 10 and 5. The couple is adopting a little boy.
"Since that day, that stuff has never, ever had a voice in my life," Todd says. "My past never had a voice in my future because Jesus has made it possible to wipe out all the things I wish I'd never done. He enabled me to follow in His godly manner. It's not just a one-time repentance. It's a lifestyle where I really look at things from God's perspective. God's training my heart so I can see with His eyes."
From Visitation to Habitation
Truly, Todd's life has been radically transformed. The 47-year-old does ministry under the banner of Lifestyle Christianity. His mission is threefold: to bring Christians closer to Christ by helping them secure an identity in the Father's love, strengthen their confidence in the Holy Spirit and keep things simple so He can flow through them everywhere they go.
"Todd White's ministry is very similar to when Jesus was on this earth in that Todd is walking around looking for people who need a Savior, who need a healer, who need a deliverer," says Robert Morris, senior pastor at Gateway Church—and Todd's pastor. "And when he meets someone, he's very sensitive to figuring out what their need is and then sharing how Jesus can meet that need."
Some may look at Todd's life—His encounters with God—and conclude it's easy for him to walk the straight and narrow because of the supernatural events that led to His salvation. But Todd says it's not an encounter or a visitation that truly transforms your life—it's the habitation of God. At that point in our conversation, Todd preached a message about identity in Christ that delighted my heart. It's the message he's taking to the nations that has put him on the map as one who truly knows God and wants to make Him known.
"I've pressed into this work called righteousness," Todd told me. "In the Old Testament, the only way [you] can be right with God is you have to obey 613 laws and 10 commandments, never missing one, because if you transgress one [commandment] in the law, you've broken the whole law. That means whether somebody was a drug addict for 22 years and an atheist and murdered people, sold drugs, stole from people and lied every day of their life, or if a person lies one time, both are equally as guilty."
Some people point to Todd's background and say he loves much because he was forgiven much (see Luke 7:47). Todd rejects that idea and calls it a subtle form of self-righteousness that claims people who have been forgiven only a little can't love much. He explains we all have the same charge to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength (Mark 12:30-31). Todd credits his transformation with pressing into a revelation of true redemption.
"Redemption doesn't just mean being purchased," Todd explains. "Redemption means being brought back to the original value we had with God in the beginning as if we never sinned, as if we never ate from the tree. That's how God sees me. If I wake up that way every day, then if I trip, if I stumble, God says He's faithful and just to keep me and to cleanse me of all unrighteousness. That means the only thing left is right standing with God. Here I am, right with God, and nobody can take that away from me."
Robby Dawkins, a fifth-generation pastor and conference speaker who has known Todd for eight years, told me the dreadlock-wearing evangelist lives in the moment and seeks kingdom opportunities as they happen—and is always willing to be interrupted or interrupt to bring them.
"What I see Todd bringing to the body of Christ is inspiration to speak the words Jesus spoke and do the works Jesus did out of being [the people] Jesus made us to be," Dawkins says. "He is a frontrunner on the identity message and on righteousness. Todd communicates so well the understanding of us not moving in signs and wonders as a task, but as living out righteousness. It isn't doing for Todd, but rather, being."
I've heard some argue Todd adheres to the hyper-grace message, which claims God doesn't see the sins of his children since we've already been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and since all our sins—past, present and future—have already been forgiven. But it's more like hyper-love. It's more like a true understanding that God's grace is new every morning. It's more like a knowledge that God's grace empowers His forgiveness and allows Him to have His way in us completely, to change us from the inside out.
"When righteousness hits your heart, that keeps you from ever wanting to sin and get away with it," Todd says. "It keeps you clean in the eyes of the Father. I wake up right with God every day of my life. He created me in His image and in His likeness. He made us. When I was at Teen Challenge, I read the Bible from the perspective of being right with God every day. I grow in the reality of who God says I am."
This revolutionary revelation of the person he is in Christ has kept Todd from returning to drugs, alcohol, pornography, lying, cheating and stealing. He finds such comfort in God's love and God's voice that when the devil speaks, Todd won't listen. He just continues standing in the truth of who he is in God. That truth, he explains, keeps his conscience clean and empowers him to live and walk in the Spirit through an ongoing pursuit of God.
"Todd and I have traveled together in other countries and most of the U.S. equipping people to step in healing and calling out perfect strangers' true identity in Christ," Dawkins says. "It's what Todd lives for. I've seen Todd speak in front of thousands and then pull my six boys off in our home and call out their identity with the same passion. His heart is not to be a spectacle but to make Jesus famous everywhere he goes."
As Morris sees it, what makes Todd so effective is he has never gotten over being saved—and he shares his testimony in a non-offensive way. When people see what God has done in Todd's life, faith arises in their hearts.
"God is using Todd in two ways," Morris says. "He is using him to rekindle love in believers' hearts and lives. When believers see how passionate he is about the Lord and about helping people, it rekindles a fire in all of us to be more passionate about sharing our faith and ministering to people wherever we go. The second way God is using Todd is to equip people to share their faith and minister to others by extending God's love, compassion and power. He's a very effective communicator and equipper of the saints."
Equipping a Fatherless Generation
Bible revelations—revelations of sonship—are the backdrop against which Todd ministers in the nations. He's pouring out the love Holy Spirit has shed abroad in his heart with those snared in the bondages of drugs, alcohol, unbelief—and even religion. Indeed, his life has become a weapon of righteousness and a testimony of what understanding the extravagant love of God does in a person's heart. He's working to inspire believers to show forth the love of Christ in their homes and workplaces—on the streets and everywhere they walk.
"We need to be a people who are so heavenly minded we're not known as people with no earthly good," Todd says. "We need to be people who are so heavenly minded we're earthly incredible, and our employer wants more people like us on the job. Christians should shine the brightest because they're representing God, who is the greatest in everything. He wants us to manifest Him. All creation is groaning and waiting for the sons of God to manifest themselves."
Lately, Todd has been traveling across America with his Power and Love School to raise up an army of sons and daughters who will manifest God. It's a project he wants to devote his life to because he is determined to see the body of Christ walk in purity, power, love, grace and goodness, manifesting God's presence everywhere we go. And it all comes back to embracing our identity in Christ, which Todd calls the church's greatest challenge in this hour.
"There are people out there who are healing the sick, prophesying great prophecies and have amazing words of knowledge, but let's never forget that the disciples—before they knew who they were—healed the sick and orphans with power Jesus gave them," Todd says. "People can still have an adulterous relationship, cheat on their wife and operate in great gifting. But it says in Matthew 7, one day we'll stand before God and think the miraculous was God's stamp of approval on their life, and it's really not."
Certainly, Todd isn't saying we should not pursue the supernatural. His power evangelism ministry and the many healings and miracles the Lord has worked through his faith speak for themselves. He's saying the church scandals—whether public or private—are rooted in a lack of identity. He's saying when we understand who we are, there is no place for active sin in our lives, the kind of sin that has tarnished moves of God so people remember the sin of a man more than the power of God.
"My biggest heart-cry for the church is for us to know who God is as a Father and trust individually to be fathered by Him—to not just say we're saved, but to know what we've been saved to and what we've been saved from," Todd says.
"I long for the body of Christ to realize she has been forgiven, that she doesn't have a past, because your past is the one thing that can separate you from receiving the love of God that's in Christ Jesus," he says. "The one thing that can separate you is not believing that your past does not exist in the eyes of the Father. This revelation will change people's lives forever. It changed mine."
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma, director of the Awakening House of Prayer and author of many books, including Releasing the Angels of Abundant Harvest (angelsprophecy.com). Visit her at jenniferleclaire.org.
Todd White tells how God used him to touch a hurting man's life with His love—and how He can use you the same way—at toddwhite.charismamag.com.
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