Tony Evans Steps Away from Pastoral Duties After Acknowledging Past Sin

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Pastor and author Tony Evans announced Sunday he was stepping from his pastoral duties for a season at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, saying he had fallen “short of the high standards of scripture” and would be entering a period of repentance and restoration. Evans said in a statement that the incident happened years ago and was not criminal. He was the founding pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in 1976 and had a nationwide radio ministry. 

“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,” Evans said in a statement. “When we fall short of that standard due to sin, we are required to repent and restore our relationship with God. 

“A number of years ago, I fell short of that standard,” he added. “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. 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. This will afford me a needed time of spiritual recovery and healing.”

In a statement, the church said the “difficult decision” was made “after tremendous prayer and multiple meetings with Dr. Evans and the church elders.”

“The elder board is obligated to govern the church in accordance with the scriptures,” the church said. “Dr. Evans and the elders agree that when any elder or pastor falls short of the high standards of scripture, the elders are responsible for providing accountability and maintaining integrity in the church.”

The Oak Cliff statement added, “We serve a God that is merciful to forgive and gracious to restore. In the days ahead, Pastor Bobby Gibson and the elders will provide more information regarding interim leadership and the next steps for the future of our church.”

Meanwhile, Evans said he will continue to attend and worship at Oak Cliff. 

“During this time, it is critical that the ministry of OCBF continue as vibrantly as ever,” Evans said. “Remember, you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, not a man. Pastor Gibson and our leadership will keep you informed on how things will continue moving forward with the ministry. During this season, I will be a worshiper like you and look forward to seeing all that God is going to continue doing to make his name great as we continue to build kingdom disciples, who function as kingdom servants, in order to make a kingdom impact as He advances His kingdom agenda at OCBF. I have never loved you more than I love you right now, and I’m trusting God to walk me through this valley. Thank you for your love, prayers, support, and forgiveness as I continue my spiritual healing journey. As we walk this journey together, keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

Evans and his late wife Lois held the first Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship service in their home on June 6, 1976, with ten members attending. Today, it has thousands of members. 

“It has been my glorious joy and privilege to serve as your senior pastor over these last 48 years,” he said in his Sunday statement. “I praise God for giving me the opportunity to witness his hand of power and blessing that took ten people in a house and brought us to where we are today.”

Photo Credit: ©Facebook/Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship 

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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