Pastor Tony Evans’ ‘sin’ confession stuns Christian community, sparks questions and prayers

Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas and founder of The Urban Alternative.
Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas and founder of The Urban Alternative. | Courtesy of MM Public Relations

Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship has declined to elaborate on the stunning decision of its influential leader, Pastor Tony Evans, to temporarily step down from his pastoral duties "due to sin" as followers of his massive public ministry offered prayers while wondering about the nature of the unnamed sin he confessed.

"There will be no one to speak to about that statement. It's true; he announced it at both services [on Sunday], and that's it," a representative of the church told The Christian Post Tuesday.

"The person who's taking over for him is stated in that little paragraph, and that's about it. There will be nothing anyone else will be able to tell you. It's over."

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Evans, 74, confessed in a written statement Sunday 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."

While many people offered prayers for Evans, others like Roy E. Ciampa, Armstrong Chair of Religion and Chair of the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies at Samford University in Alabama, are disappointed with his statement and believe the decision to confess may have been forced.

"This is very disappointing. If this took place years ago. Is he (temporarily) stepping back now, bc he was just recently exposed? In any case, he covered it up for years & he's supposed to be ready for healing & restoration? Consider me skeptical," Ciampa wrote on X.

Michelle Lesley, a Christian blogger and co-host of "A Word Fitly Spoken Podcast," accused Oak Cliff Bible Church's statement of finessing sin.

"When they euphemize in every way possible without naming the sin, it's usually some form of sexual immorality. If you're truly repentant over your sin, you'll confess it, not finesse it," she wrote on X. "I hate that this happened, but he was already not someone to follow."

Evans, who has authored over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies, has been the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship for over 40 years.

He "is one of the country's most respected leaders in evangelical circles," according to his bio on the church's website.

His radio broadcast "The Alternative" is aired in some 130 countries via more than 1,400 radio outlets. He is the first African American to write and publish a full-Bible commentary and study Bible. He is also the first black American to earn a doctorate in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Evans, who once served as chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys, was also listed as a member of the Dallas Theological Seminary Board.

Seminary officials did not immediately confirm if Evans is still a board member when contacted by CP Tuesday.

Church planter and lead pastor of Hope Church in Georgia, JC Groves, said the news broke his heart and issued a message for church leaders. 

"You. No matter who you are. No matter how long you've been in ministry. No matter how big or small the ministry is You are one decision away from stupid," Groves tweeted. "One decision away from ruining it all. Don't be a statistic. Tony Evans news absolutely breaks my heart."

While admitting that he once "fed" on sermons by Evans and doesn't believe him to be a "wolf in sheep's clothing," Christian podcaster Nick Jones raised concern about Evans continuing in ministry for several years knowing that he was "unfit due to sin."

"To some people it doesn't matter. Some people are saying you know what, this whole time he was preaching knowing that he was unfit due to the sin, due to the transgression that he committed. So why was he on stage? That's some people's perspective," he said in a Monday video. 

"I don't want to just gossip for no reason, but I am curious if he was trying to get it ahead of something leaking …, so he made a statement first because potentially something was going to come out. I don't know. … But it is interesting that that [so] much time went by, and now he's finally saying that he needs to step away," Jones argued.

Pastor Tony Evans' Mexican Riviera cruise planned for November 9-16, 2024, is still on.
Pastor Tony Evans' Mexican Riviera cruise planned for November 9-16, 2024, is still on. | Screenshot/Inspiration Travel

While Evans may be stepping down temporarily, he will remain active in his Christian Bible teaching and resource ministry, The Urban Alternative. In partnership with Christian travel management company Inspiration Travel, Evans and The Urban Alternative will host a Mexican Riviera Cruise planned for Nov. 9-16, with tickets starting at $1,198 per traveler.

An agent with Inspiration Travel told CP Tuesday that the cruise is still on because The Urban Alternative is a separate entity from Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. The agent noted that The Urban Alternative also has a contractual obligation to continue with the cruise.

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

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