It's stomach-churning stuff. And once you see it, you wish to unsee it: the video of popular American pastor and author Micheal "Mike" Todd smearing mouthfuls of saliva on a man's face while on the pulpit – all in the name of illustrating a point about Jesus' unusual ways of bringing about miracles.
The leader of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma has since apologised for this, but many are still baffled by his stunt. Why on earth did he think this was a good idea, and what spirit exactly moved him to do something like this, particularly in a time when we're still battling Covid-19?
“We wanna help people,” Todd said in his apology for doing something that he called a 'distraction' from the real message of the sermon. “We want people to see Jesus. We want people to feel loved. We want people who are desperate to be able to find hope and I am passionate – so much so that I try to do extreme things to help people get it. And yesterday it crossed the line.”
He's the millenial's pastor, preaching at the likes of Elevation Church, racking up millions of views on the YouTube page of his Transformation church, and followed by 1,8 million people on Instagram.
It's not just his unorthodox take on the bible, charisma on the pulpit and incredible sneaker collection that make him relevant to thousands of young Christians. He clearly seems to have a gift for preaching, often using props and parables to illustrate his message – like Jesus did.
But many agree that the Crazy Faith author went too far this Sunday.
As he delivered the sermon, entitled Receiving Vision From God Might Get Nasty, he spat on his hand then said: “He can’t see but he can hear.” The unfortunate volunteer who was on the stage next to Todd stood there with his eyes closed.
“This is the moment where many of us are in, God is doing something and we hear him changing, we hear him even in prayer and you don’t see it yet but you hear it,” the Pastor went on.
“This is where most people would not face Jesus anymore. What most people would do is turn away,” he continued, while spitting out more saliva.
“What I’m telling you is just as he’s physically standing here knowing what’s coming, God is saying, ‘Can you spiritually, physically, and emotionally be able to stand when getting the vision to receiving it might get nasty?’”
Todd then rubbed the spit on the man's face. The viral video left many disgusted.
"It’s never my intention to distract others from God’s Word and the message of Jesus . . . even with illustrations," Todd said in his apology message following the backlash.
"I apologize for my example being too extreme and disgusting! I Love Everybody," he captioned the video. "I watched it back and it was disgusting. That was gross. I want to validate everybody’s feelings.
“That was a distraction to what I was really trying to do. I was trying to make the word come alive and for people to see the story, but yesterday it got too live.”
He encouraged everyone to go watch the sermon and went on to explain that he and Transformation Church really want to help people.
The man who was used to illustrate this message is said to be okay.
Referring to him as his brother, Todd said he is doing well.