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Pastor Michael Todd Pours Syrup, Sprays Whipped Cream on Bible as Sermon Illustration

By Liz Lykins
michael todd syrup whipped cream
On Jan. 28, 2024, Michael Todd acts out a sermon illustration at Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Video screengrab) 

Michael Todd, pastor at Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently poured syrup and sprayed whipped cream on a Bible and communion elements as a sermon illustration.

Todd used the audience’s shock at defacing Christian symbols to show how much more members should care for their bodies, which are “temples of the Holy Spirit.”

“Y’all stop acting like you care about this,” Todd said in a sermon on Jan. 28, while throwing food on a stage set that represented the church. “Why do you care about. . . these symbols of Christianity when it’s not even the place where the Holy Spirit is dwelling? I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Todd’s message was delivered in-person to his congregation of about 5,000. The sermon then was posted on Transformation’s YouTube channel, which has 2.1 million subscribers. At the time of publishing, the sermon had 129,000 views.

Many commented positively on YouTube to Todd’s sermon.

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Michael Todd, Carl Lentz, Transformation Church
Transformation Church in Tulsa, OK.

“His illustration is literally how I have been treating my body,” one person commented.

Another wrote, “This was one of the best messages I have seen and listened to you preach!!” The person added that she had exchanged her “life of gluttony” with one of “prayer and fasting,” and now was believing God for what she believed was a promise of another child. “(T)hrough this lifestyle change I am doing my part and believing him for the miracle in his part in this coming to pass this year!!!!”

Yet, David Croteau, dean of Columbia International University’s Seminary and School of Ministry, called Todd’s performance a “very sad commentary on the sensationalism in much of the Church today.” Todd’s message demeans the work of the Bible and Christian symbols, Croteau said.

david croteau
David (Courtesy Photo)

“His message focused on himself,” Croteau added. “This careless sensationalism is of no value to all of our brothers and sisters who hold the Eucharist in high regard . . . it is hard to see it having much value for anyone.”

In his message, Todd preached about the importance of people taking care of their physical bodies. He explained that he was not preaching about body image, or a “vanity message,” but rather on God’s image and “your actual value.”

“We’re talking about being healthy and holy, not just holy,” Todd said. “I’m coming to humbly submit to you that we may be cutting off our influence, our purpose, and God’s desire and design for us because of how we take care of our body.”

The pastor said that seven years ago he was challenged by God to improve his physical health. He then showed the congregation a picture of himself without his shirt on when he was at his heaviest weight of 275 pounds.

At the time, Todd said eating helped him manage the stress of leading a church. However, he couldn’t play with his kids like he wanted to. He said his weight was impacting his ability to serve.

“Is diabetes going to take you out?” Todd asked his congregation. “I just want you to be able to meet the required purpose God places on your life.”

Todd elaborated that some people might be called to minister to a remote village in Africa, but their physical health could prevent them from fulfilling that call. “Your desire is there,” Todd said. “Your knees aren’t.”

He claimed God told him there are many things God wants accomplished on this earth but can’t because of people’s health. “The enemy has taken out more people with lack of discipline with their fork and their health than anything else,” Todd said.

lentz transformation
Pastor Michael Todd gives a sermon recently at Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Video screen grab)

Todd then started to explain how our bodies are the temple of Christ, referencing 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Following this, Todd began a demonstration to show how we are “treating” our temples by throwing food on stage set that represented the church. The set was made up of walls, pictures, and chairs. He grabbed various food items, such as ketchup, Cheetos, and Chinese takeout, from a table on the stage and started throwing them all over the set.

“If this is the temple, the House of God, I’m just going to start acting how we be acting with our bodies in the house,” Todd said while tossing more food. He started to sing worship songs while covering the set with food.

Todd next grabbed maple syrup and poured it on several communion elements and a Bible. Some of the audience gasped as the sticky liquid covered the book. After, the pastor sprayed whipped cream on the Bible.

“Stop acting like you care about this,” Todd said. He explained that people should care more about what they put into their own bodies — the temples of Christ — than they should about what goes on the Bible.

“We get it,” someone from the audience called out.

“No, you don’t,” Todd retorted, and went on to ask why people care about these “symbols of Christianity when it’s not even the place where the Holy Spirit is dwelling.”

As he closed his sermon, the pastor urged audience members to walk 30 minutes every day for the next month. He told them to be patient as it took him three years to get to a place where he was physically healthy.

“Fitness is an act of faith,” Todd said. “God has a huge plan for your life and you have to have fitness to actually finish the plan.”

Todd has led the non-denominational Transformation Church alongside his wife, Natalie, since 2015, according to the church’s website.

This is not the first time Todd’s sermons have sparked controversy. In 2022, Todd spit into his hands and rubbed the spittle onto another man’s face while preaching on Mark 8, The Roys Report (TRR) previously reported. He later apologized for his actions.

Last Easter, some called Transformation’s service blasphemous and demonic for featuring dancers, a light show, demon characters, and music by Ke$ha, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake.

In May 2023, the church also made headlines by hiring Carl Lentz, former pastor of Hillsong New York City. Lentz was fired from Hillsong in 2020 after he had an extramarital affair.

Transformation once again came under fire last September, when Tim Ross, a pastor at the church, used profanity on his new podcast “The Basement with Tim Ross.” While he initially defended his strong language, Ross ultimately said he would no longer use it on public platforms.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.



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11 Responses

  1. I live in Tulsa and have been very impressed with the people I have met from Transformation Church out serving in the community. I probably wouldn’t put whipped cream on my bible, but appreciate the point. Real disrespect for the bible comes when we accept the world’s way of doing things, such as silencing people who have been abused with non-disclosure agreements, rather than listen to God’s word.

  2. This man should have never been in the pulpit. He is a disgrace and those who follow him are being led like lemmings to their spiritual demise.

  3. I truly believe that this message was for me. The doctor have been asking me for about a year to walk for 30 minutes per day. Thank you for making me realize what I need to do this.

  4. Personally, I liked Mike’s Tonight Show audition. (I am sure Jimmy Fallon will like it too.) Mike didn’t use any F-words during his performance like other performers and stand ups do. Mike kept his act clean. The audience loved it. And like the Hokey-Pokey song says…”That’s what it’s all about”.

  5. Robert Leland thanks for your comment. Indeed this is Tulsa, “good Christian have choices when it comes to be a part of a church. There are so many. This is how Transformation works, nothing much to comment, that was an illustration. There are different churches targeting specific demographics.

  6. I’ve never been to this church, heard a sermon from this, but have heard the controversies from Michael Todd’s sermon illustrations. He should probably just stick to the text and not go so wild with his antics, just sayin’!

    1. There are a large number of of ”preachers” that would do much better just to read the text and make no commentary.

  7. Typical of “worship” theatrics in “churches” today. I went to a church where they were doing a sermon on stewardship called “Giving God His piece of the pie”. They had an overhead camera showing the pastor making his point by slicing several real pies, while explaining it to several elementary age children sitting around him. Then they had 3 staff members covered in garbage bags have a pie eating contest in the middle of the “sermon”. I was so upset I stormed out. We now attend a Bible teaching Church that does none of that type on nonsense.

  8. Actually, “You can do anything….” Isn’t that what today’s evangelical world is all about??! Why the faux outrage? At least this preacher is actually trying to address something that will actually reform people’s lives–advising healthy eating and walking 30 minutes a day. Now that is transformational.

  9. Prosperity driven- seeker sensitive church. Run, don’t walk away from it. This is not the last stunt you will see from the hucksters.

    Regarding NDAs- don’t sign one if you have any doubts…

  10. Our bodies are the temple and should be treated as such. Some people need a visual. Not everyone learns or has the lightbulb moment with just text being read to them. I agree that this was a bit different but I’ll bet many will heed and become healthier temples for the holy spirit to dwell. I admire his commitment to be a healthy vessel and to teach that as well. The sin of gluttony and laziness is no less sin but seems to be an acceptable hallmark of Christian churches as long as I’ve been in church – over 50 years.
    And NDAs…seem sinful to me. These don’t belong in the church or Christian circles ever in my opinion. We are to shine light, not promote a culture of darkness and hiding or forcing people down while we put tape over their mouths. We should always be transparent and ready to give an account. It is what it is. It happened, shine a light, deal with it properly, promote forgiveness and healing and move forward. NDAs don’t belong in the church. I cant see Jesus signing one, nor making someone sign one.

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