Prominent Evangelist Robert Philip Evans died on July 28 at 10 p.m. at his Shell Point Retirement Community home. He was 93-years-old.
By his side was his daughter, Alyce, who read to him passages from the book “Angels, God's Secret Agents”, written by his good friend Billy Graham. The passage describes "how the angels would soon come and carry him away in their arms to be with his heavenly Father.”
"Our close friendship goes way back to our days at Wheaton, and I am grateful for all our meetings throughout Europe that Bob organized. He was one of the greatest Christians I ever knew," Graham said in a statement.
Evan's was born on February 21, 1918 and grew up in Cameroon, Africa where his father, Roland Evans was a well-known missionary.
He attended Wheaton College, where he met Graham, as well as his wife, Jeanette Gruner. He then went on to Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and after that served as a Navy chaplain.
He was known for being the first Navy chaplain to enter combat areas and provide spiritual assistance to troops. His Navy career however came to an end when he ran over a land mine with his motorcycle.
Evans continued to provide aid to those affected by the war. He established the Youth for Christ movement with his friend Billy Graham and Torrey Johnson, first spreading the word of God through the U.S. and Canada, the team eventually took their cause to Europe and hosted a number of highly successful evangelistic campaigns.
Evans was also known for establishing the European Bible Institute in Paris in 1949 and the Greater Europe Mission in 1950. He served as the Europe Director for GEM for 30 years, in which he saw his dream of spearheading ongoing work of evangelicalism in Europe come to fruition. GEM established Bible institutes in France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Greece and Austria, graduate level seminaries in Germany and evangelistic ministries in many areas of Europe
To broaden the scope of his conviction, Evans wrote the book Let Europe Hear in 1962, which detailed the need for religion and spirituality in Europe and helped organize the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism.
His research on "the contribution of foreigners to the spiritual revival that occurred in France during the post-Napoleonic years of 1815–1850," according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, granted him a Ph.D. in history from Manchester University. He went on to be a board member for the magazine Christianity Today.
After an illustrious career, Evans retired in 1986, but was still active in the evangelical world, serving as the special Europe representative of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He and wife, Jeanette moved back to the US in 1991, where they lived in Southwest Florida until his death.
In addition to his wife, Evans is survived by his daughter, Alyce Johnson and granddaughter, Jennifer Rowan.