Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship denies hosting prayer meeting for Tony Evans after confession of sin

Pastor Tony Evans
Pastor Tony Evans | Baptist Press/Karen McCutcheon

Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship has denied a report that it hosted a prayer meeting for its embattled pastor, Tony Evans, on Thursday. This comes days after he temporarily stepped away from pastoral duties for committing an undisclosed sin years ago.

"There is not a prayer meeting tonight [for Pastor Tony Evans]," Shari Carroll, a media relations representative for the Texas-based megachurch, told The Christian Post on Thursday. "That is not correct."

The prayer meeting was reported by CBS Texas on Thursday morning, but Carroll insisted that she had no knowledge of such an event taking place at the church for Evans.

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In a written statement on Sunday, Evans confessed that though he did not commit any crimes, he fell short of the biblical standards espoused by his ministry "a number of years ago," suggesting it was "due to sin."

"The foundation of our ministry has always been our commitment to the Word of God as the absolute supreme standard of truth to which we are to conform our lives. When we fall short of that standard due to sin, we are required to repent and restore our relationship with God," Evans stated.

"A number of years ago, I fell short of that standard. I am, therefore, required to apply the same biblical standard of repentance and restoration to myself that I have applied to others. I have shared this with my wife, my children, and our church elders, and they have lovingly placed their arms of grace around me," he added. "While I have committed no crime, I did not use righteous judgment in my actions. In light of this, I am stepping away from my pastoral duties and am submitting to a healing and restoration process established by the elders."

The undisclosed nature of his sin has led to much speculation and debate online about whether Evans' statement was sufficient.

Carroll refused to respond to any further questions beyond the church's statement on Sunday. But online influencers like Christian podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey argued on a recent episode of her show "Relatable" that Evans owed his church much more transparency than he has delivered so far.

"I do think, from my perspective, …that he owes his congregation more clarity than his statement gave. He may not owe the internet clarity, but I do think that he owes his congregation specificity," Stuckey said.

Pastor Matt Chandler
Pastor Matt Chandler | Screengrab: YouTube /The Village Church

She pointed to how Matt Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, handled his ministry failure in 2022 as a good example of being transparent as a leader.

Chandler was forced to take a "leave of absence" by his elder board for his use of inappropriate language in Instagram messages to a woman who is not his wife.

"When Matt Chandler had to come forward and say that he had fallen short of the biblical standard for a Christian, a biblical standard for a husband, and a pastor, he stepped down from his pastoral position because of that," she said.

"He had to say what he had done, which was engage in messages with a woman at his church that were not sexual in nature, but he described them as too familiar, as maybe bordering on flirtatious just not appropriate for married people, coarse joking," she explained.

"He [Chandler] had to admit this, confess this in front of his congregation and this was put online, and of course, it was talked about in the media. I'm sure that that was not easy for him. That takes a lot of humility. It was not easy for his family, I'm sure, but I see that as part of the consequence of unwise choices especially when you are in a position of shepherding and authority," Stuckey added. "That is part of the repercussions of not acting in a way that exemplifies the self-control and the above reproach way of life that really we're all supposed to lead as Christians but, … especially pastors."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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