Pastor Faces Criticism for Wiping Spit on Man's Face to Illustrate Jesus' Miracle

Michael Foust | Contributor | Monday, January 17, 2022
Pastor Faces Criticism for Wiping Spit on Man's Face to Illustrate Jesus' Miracle

Pastor Faces Criticism for Wiping Spit on Man's Face to Illustrate Jesus' Miracle

A viral video of an Oklahoma pastor wiping his spit on a man's face as part of a shocking sermon illustration sparked controversy on social media Monday over its appropriateness – not to mention its lack of hygiene.

The video shows Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Okla., spitting multiple times in his hand before he rubs it across the forehead, cheeks and eyelids of a man standing on stage. The man was his brother, Brentom Todd.

Todd was preaching from Mark 8, where Jesus healed a blind man. The chapter says Jesus "had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him."

The video sparked dozens of news stories, including ones in TMZ and the British newspaper The Independent.

At the moment he wiped spit on the man's face, he was making a point: "receiving vision from God might get nasty." Following God, the pastor said, may require selling much-beloved possessions.

"This is where most people would not face Jesus anymore," the pastor said, before wiping the spit on the man's face. The action drew gasps from the audience. "What most people would do is turn away. ... What I'm telling you is just as he's physically standing here, knowing what's coming, God's saying. 'Can you physically and spiritually and emotionally be able to stay in when getting the vision or receiving it might get nasty?'"

The church's Facebook page thanked Brentom for taking part in the illustration.

"We are so grateful for Pastor Mike's and Brentom's obedience to God, allowing themselves to be used, so God's children can clearly receive His word," the Facebook page said, according to The Tulsa World. "We pray that as you seek God, He gives you clear vision, and you always remember that."

Social media users were mostly critical of the illustration.

"If your pastor rubs spit on your face … find a new pastor," Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie wrote on Twitter.

"It's okay to acknowledge a gross mistake was made and move on," one person wrote on the pastor's Twitter timeline. "You're a great Pastor and leader, and what happened doesn't define you, but public acknowledgment is necessary, I think."

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.