Discernment

Tony Evans

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.


This article is kept continuously updated as needed.

I get lots of questions about particular authors, pastors, and Bible teachers, and whether or not I recommend them. Some of the best known can be found above at my Popular False Teachers tab. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on him.

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Tony Evans
Not Recommended

Tony Evans has been the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship for over forty years. He has authored over 100 books, hosts a daily radio program, The Alternative with Tony Evans, and served as chaplain to the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Cowboys.

But in women’s ministry circles, he’s probably best known as false teacher Priscilla Shirer’s (and Chrystal Evans Hurst’s) dad. Tony contributed to the new edition of Priscilla’s book Discerning the Voice of God, which teaches the unbiblical doctrine of extra-biblical revelation, and Priscilla wrote the foreword for his book, Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfarewhich contains some of Tony’s unbiblical views of spiritual warfare. Tony also seems to hold to inclusivism.

Unfortunately, Tony yokes in ministry with a number of other false teachers as well.

Lois Evans, above right

Notice the captions in the images. Priscilla declares that the women in her family -which would include her mother, Tony’s wife- “love and admire” T.D. Jake’s wife, Serita. Lois says she’s “proud” of Priscilla for winning this award from a heretical (modalism and Word of Faith) organization, and that Priscilla attributes her success -yoking with heretics/false teachers, preaching to men, teaching false doctrine- to the support of her family, which includes her father, Tony.

One of the biblical qualifications for a pastor is being a godly husband and father:

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

…his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.

1 Timothy 3:4-5, Titus 1:6c

Tony Evans has a (late) wife and two daughters who are enamored of and yoke with false teachers. His daughters teach false doctrine. At least one of his daughters (Priscilla) preaches to men. This is not a man who has managed his household well, so, as Paul says, “How will he care for God’s church?”

Even if we were to stipulate that these verses are speaking of minor children in the home, Tony is still not carrying out his Titus 1:9 duty (also a biblical qualification for the pastorate) to rebuke them for their violations of Scripture:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus 1:9

Rather, he encourages them in their ministries by endorsing their books and allowing them to teach and minister in his church. According to Scripture, he is disqualified from the pastorate.

Tony’s position on the role of women in the church is also unbiblical:

Let me add that I am not talking about spiritual gifts here, but the office of elder. Women in the church are very gifted, even more so than men in many cases. And God allows women to use their gifts in the church. In fact, I believe women can do anything in church except be an elder or a pastor. But final leadership in the church is restricted to men.”

God’s Glorious Church: The Mystery and Mission of the Body of Christ, p. 182

An article on the OCBF website entitled The Ministry Value of Women says:

The important scriptural principle for women’s leadership in the church is that it must be under legitimate male authority…Women can have any gift that is authorized under the authority of the final leadership of the church.

“Women can have any gift that is authorized…” is, at best, an extremely poor choice of words. God gives spiritual gifts to Believers. No human gets a say in whether or not she “can have” a certain gift, nor can any human “authorize” a gift. Furthermore, since God is the giver of the gift, and our Creator and Master, He, and He alone has every right to place parameters on how we can or can’t use the gifts He gives us. And the parameters he places on women to whom He gives the gift of teaching (presumably the “gift” mentioned) is that we must only use that gift to bless women and children.

But aside from erroneously conflating a spiritual gift with the use of that gift, this is again an unbiblical belief, and patently false on its face. If it is an “important scriptural principle” that women can lead as long as they’re under “legitimate male authority,” where does Scripture say this? Why was no Scripture reference given to accompany this pronouncement?

Because there isn’t one. Because Scripture doesn’t teach this. As I’ve explained at length, “No one – not your pastor, your husband, your parents, your best friend, the Pope, nobody – has the authority to tell you that it’s OK to do something God has said is sin.” When God says “no,” no man has the right to say “yes.”

These beliefs of Tony’s aren’t just a mishandling of Scripture, they invite and encourage women to sin by doing things like preaching the Sunday morning sermon to the congregation, teaching co-ed adult Sunday school and Bible study classes, preaching to men at co-ed Christian conferences, etc. Scripture is abundantly clear that women are not to hold the office of pastor / elder or preach to, teach Scripture to, or hold authority over men in the gathering of the body of Believers.

Exhibit A that these beliefs invite and encourage women to violate Scripture: Jada Edwards, a long time former member of, and current women’s Bible study teacher at OCBF preaches to men (this is the 2021 Mother’s Day “sermon” at the church her husband – former singles’ director at OCBF – pastors.)

Also, if Tony believes women can’t be pastors or elders, why is a female pastor speaking at his church’s women’s conference, Desperate for Jesus 2021, this year?

Jan Greenwood is the “Equip [discipleship] Pastor” at false teacher, Robert Morris‘ Gateway “Church”. According to Tony’s own beliefs wouldn’t that mean she is living in unrepentant sin? Why would he allow someone he would view as living in unrepentant sin to lead the women of his church when it could lead them into sin?

(Anita Phillips is not a pastor, but also preaches to men.)

Finally, Tony’s views and affiliations in the area of race relations are unclear, and thus, possibly of concern.

In this video, What Is Systemic Racism, Tony seems to say that America is systemically racist, yet also says America offers equal opportunity to all.

In this video, Race and the Church – Tony Evans on Faith & Prejudice, at the 15 minute mark, interviewer, Nona Jones asks Tony about the racism section of the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (which was produced by John MacArthur, James White, Justin Peters, Voddie Baucham, Tom Ascol, Darrell Harrison, and other doctrinally stellar men). Tony’s answer: “They do not clearly understand ‘the whole counsel of God’.” They are “heavenly minded, and of no earthly good, except when the issue affects them”.

I beg your pardon, but not only were three of the initial crafters/signers black, but in a world where white people are told to repent for their whiteness, pay reparations, that they are intrinsically racist, and so on and on, the issue of racism most certainly affects us all.

Yet, at 27:29, when asked what advice he would give black people, he gives a great answer that’s consistent with Scripture: “Never use racism as an excuse for irresponsibility.”

On the other hand, he participated in Blackout Tuesday 2020:

He also included Lecrae in his recent documentary, Kingdom Men Rising, and is promoting a Lecrae concert on the OCBF website. (Lecrae has taken quite a woke turn in the past few years, supporting Black Lives Matter, and promoting racialists like Jemar Tisby, Eric Mason, and others.)

And yet, this seems right on the money, biblically:

In November 2020, the presidents of all six Southern Baptist seminaries, along with SBC president, J.D. Greear released a statement declaring that the “affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message.”

The statement drew backlash from a few progressive/woke black SBC pastors, some leaving, or threatening to leave, the SBC. In response, the members of the 2019 SBC resolutions committee, which crafted Resolution 9 (a resolution passed at the 2019 SBC annual meeting, which affirmed CRT as a “useful analytical tool,” and was the impetus for the current division in the SBC over CRT) released a statement, Affirmation of Recent Statements from Christian Leaders on Critical Race Theory in which they briefly invoked Tony Evans’ name, saying,

“Recently, we have been encouraged by and agree with, statements by Dr. Tony Evans on CRT. In a sermon in which he deals with CRT, Dr. Evans makes a clear affirmation for the sufficiency and authority of Scripture over all ideologies.”

Perhaps surmising that CRT and other race relations advocates would take this allusion to his sermon as his denunciation of CRT, or that he was now in some way on the wrong side of the race issue, and desiring to distance himself somewhat from both the seminary presidents’ and the resolutions committee’s statements, Tony released his own statement “clarifying” (actually reiterating) exactly what the 2019 resolutions committee said of his sermon: he “[clearly affirms] the sufficiency and authority of Scripture over all ideologies”:

“Members of the 2019 Resolution Committee of the SBC, without my awareness or permission, used my name in their recent [statement]…They have referenced a portion without giving it the context of my sermon…I did not say, nor imply, that CRT or other ideologies lack beneficial aspects – rather that the Bible sits as the basis for determining that. …”

It would seem that Tony would be in alignment with the original position of the 2019 resolutions committee, that CRT can, in some instances, be beneficial.

I’m not saying Tony’s position on race is necessarily unbiblical or woke, just that it’s a bit unclear at points, and worth keeping an eye on in the future.

Tony Evans seems like a great guy, a dynamic speaker, and he certainly loves his family. But I’m afraid, for all of the reasons above, I cannot commend him to you as a pastor or Bible teacher.


Additional Resources:

Tony Evans & Spiritual Warfare: Demon Busting With A Less Than Sovereign God at Berean Research

Can Faith in Christ be Attributed?: Transdispensationalization and Dr. Tony Evans by Jim Sutherland

Pastor Tony Evans Addresses Critical Race Theory After Southern Baptist Leaders Reject CRT as ‘Incompatible’ With Their View of the Bible at Faithfully Magazine

Answering a Fool, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Answering a Fool #2

 

Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26:5

There’s a lot of foolishness masquerading as Christianity these days. Occasionally, I get e-mails, messages, and comments showcasing this type of foolishness. It needs to be biblically corrected so these folks can stop “being wise in their own eyes,” repent, and believe and practice the truth of Scripture. From time to time, I’ll be sharing those messages in The Mailbag with a biblical corrective, not only so the e-mail/message writer can be admonished by Scripture, but to provide you with Scriptures and reasoning you can use if you’re ever confronted with this kind of foolishness.


(This reader’s remarks {in blue} are reprinted in full.)

I read your piece on Priscilla Shirer and it’s simple – you’re a White woman who knows nothing about Black Christianity or Black people in general.

How dare you suggest that there’s such a thing as white Christianity or black Christianity or any other kind of Christianity defined by race or culture? Have you never read the New Testament? The Apostles taught time and again that the gospel unites – not divides – us, because they were establishing the church in a place that had all kinds of ethnic and cultural divisions. Shame on you for trying to reinstitute division in rebellion against Christ’s command that His people are to dwell in unity!

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6

Furthermore, how dare you assume that I know nothing about black people? You don’t know me or anything about me. You are stereotyping me according to your own bigotry, assumptions, and prejudices against white people, and you’re stereotyping black people by assuming that all black people have the same worldview as you, and you’re putting race above Christianity by making this a racial issue instead of making this a biblical issue.

I have evaluated Priscilla Shirer the same way I’ve evaluated every other teacher on this blog – not according to race, but according to the Bible. You are the one who has come along and cast aspersions on me because I’m white and therefore supposedly unqualified to evaluate a teacher who happens to be black. Frankly, if I were Priscilla Shirer, I would be outraged that someone would suggest I should be held to a different standard than white teachers because of the color of my skin.

We already [sic] handling Mrs. Shirer, no need to put yourself in our lane and comment when you clearly know nothing about our ways or conduct.

Just for the sake of argument, I’m going to meet you on your own racial terms for a minute. If by “handling” you mean rebuking Priscilla for her false doctrine and insisting she teach sound doctrine, then your so-called “black Christianity” is not “handling” Priscilla Shirer, it is rewarding her.

Since you read my article, I’m sure you noticed that T.D. Jakes – who has to be one of the most (if not the most) popular, high profile, and influential black “pastors” in America – invited Priscilla to his “church” in 2016 to present her with the “Lady of Destiny” award. The audience was filled with other black evangelicals cheering Priscilla on, including her mother, Lois Evans, and her father, Tony Evans (another extremely popular, high profile, and influential black pastor) who also celebrated this “success” (Lois Evans’ word) of Priscilla’s on Instagram. How in the world can this type of thing be called “handling” her?

Furthermore, Priscilla has been teaching false doctrine since at least the early 2000s. How much longer is it going to take “black Christianity” to “handle” her?

Now I’m going to step out of the “lane” of racialism and back into the lane of biblical Christianity:

If you are a genuinely regenerated Christian, you and I (and every other Christian of every other race) are in the same lane, with the same ways, and the same conduct, because our lane, ways, and conduct are not dictated by race, they’re dictated by something that transcends race – the Bible. If you’re allowing your lane, ways, and conduct to be dictated by race instead of Scripture, you’re sinning by making an idol out of race (because anything that we prioritize above God and His ways, as revealed in His Word, is idolatry) and you need to repent.

I say this out of love so you don’t say something else and be seen as possibly prejudiced. I don’t expect a repost. That’s cool, but I do expect at least a double take when opining on us POC [people of color] in the future.

If you’re a Christian, you have no right to “expect” me to do anything but be obedient to Christ and His Word – just like I expect you to be. Just like I expect Priscilla to be. I will not degrade and disrespect the teachers I evaluate by drawing lines of racial distinction and suggesting that black teachers be held to a different standard, or “handled” differently than teachers of other races. That would be reason for people to see me as prejudiced. I will continue to judge teachers, not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character and their teaching, and whether or not that character and teaching align with rightly handled Scripture. As Jesus Himself said:

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:24

You are not saying any of this out of love. At least you’re not saying it out of biblical love, because biblical, Christian love would never falsely accuse, belittle, and slander a sister in Christ as you have done to me. Biblical love – love for Christ and His church – would never seek to divide Christians over race. Biblical love would never redefine Christianity according to race instead of defining it according to Scripture. Never.

Biblical love knows there’s only one color that matters. It’s the color that unites us together in one heart, mind, spirit, and family – the red, rich, royal blood of Christ.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Sexual abuse, Feminism, Serpent seed doctrine…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Can you please suggest an iPhone app Radio station that plays biblically sound worship, praise and messages?

A reader asked this question via Facebook recently. I mostly listen to podcasts, and though I’m aware of a few good sermon apps, I wasn’t familiar with any apps that provide both sermons and music. I asked my Facebook readers for some help and got lots of great answers. You can check out their suggestions here (even if you’re not on Facebook). I’m not personally familiar with all of these sites and apps, so use good discernment and make sure everything they’re teaching lines up with Scripture.


Do you have advice on Christian women and feminism? I have friends who are reading Jesus Feminist. The title makes me cringe.

Secular feminism is not something I handle a whole lot here on the blog, although I have touched on it in these articles:

Toxic (Evangelical) Femininity

Feminist Infiltration and the Emasculation of Christian Men

6 Reasons Godly Women are Stronger Than Feminazis

 

I would recommend that you head over to Sheologians. Summer and Joy have done several very good podcast episodes and articles on the history of feminism and its current influence on society and the church. I cannot remember whether they covered Jesus Feminist or not, so you may want to make use of the “contact us” link at the top of their site and ask. (Tell them I said hi!)


My husband and I are having sexual problems that stem from the fact that I was molested as a child. What should I do?

I have intentionally left out the specific details of this particular reader’s question, first, in order to protect her identity, second, because I have no doubt that many readers have this same general question, and third, because, being a stranger on the internet, I am not the person who can best help anyone in this situation, so I can only give a very general answer anyway.

I grieve with those of you who have had this terrible sin perpetrated against you. I hope the person who abused you was caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is also my prayer that God has taken what was meant for evil against you and used it for good in your life by drawing you to Himself, teaching you to depend on Him, and deepening your walk with Him.

As I mentioned, although I’m humbled and honored that readers sometimes reach out to me for help with staggering griefs and difficulties, I would be doing you a disservice if I tried to help you via e-mail or a blog article with complicated personal problems that require ongoing counseling from someone you have (or can develop) a face-to-face relationship with.

Generally speaking, it’s important that you understand that, as a child, the abuse was not your fault, regardless of how you responded to it at the time. A physiological response (orgasm) to the abuse does not mean you enjoyed being violated, wanted it to happen, or were “asking for it”. Neither does having kept it a secret, being friendly with the abuser, “allowing” the abuse to continue in order to receive gifts from the abuser, etc. You were a victim.

It’s important that your husband understand that the sexual difficulties you are experiencing are no reflection on him. Sex is a very personal thing, and he may be incorrectly assuming that your aversion to sex is an aversion to his performance or to him, personally. He will also need to come to grips with the fact that there’s no quick, cut-and dried, three or five or fifteen step plan to “fixing” this. It will be a growth process for both of you.

Assuming you’re in a doctrinally sound church, I would urge you and your husband in the strongest possible terms to set up an appointment with your pastor for counseling. Shepherding your souls through life’s difficulties is part of his biblical job description, and if he went to a decent seminary, he was trained in marital counseling.

If you absolutely don’t think you could look your pastor in the eye during the sermon every week after discussing such personal matters, ask him for a referral to a certified biblical counselor (not a “Christian counselor” – biblical counseling, formerly called nouthetic counseling, is different) who can help you and your husband heal by learning and walking out in your marriage the Scriptures that apply to your situation. If your pastor isn’t familiar with biblical counseling, find a referral through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, the counselor search links here, or contact a nearby (doctrinally sound) seminary or Christian university and ask if you can speak to someone in their school of biblical counseling.

I know it seems like it will be painful and embarrassing to discuss this situation with a third party, but don’t let it continue to fester. It will destroy your marriage. Getting biblical help will set you and your husband free.


What are your thoughts on a woman teaching an introductory class in biblical Greek to adults (men and women) at church?

Not knowing the context and spiritual climate of your church and assuming the class is taught in the same way other academic foreign language classes are taught – alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, etc. – I don’t see any more problem with it than if she were teaching French or Swahili or Chinese.

The biblical prohibition against women teaching men has to do with women instructing men in the content of the Bible, not the language the Bible was originally written in. Greek is just a language like any other. It is not holy or special just because that’s the language the majority of the New Testament was penned in. (Actually, the opposite is true. Greek was the most widely spoken language of the time, so God used it to get His Word out to the largest number of people.)

Even if the teacher has the class translate portions of Scripture or uses a word or phrase from a Bible verse to illustrate the meaning of a word – assuming she doesn’t veer off into preaching on that verse – she is still teaching a language, not giving Bible instruction to men in the way prohibited by Scripture.

As I said, I don’t know the context and spiritual climate of your church so there could be other factors along those lines that need to be taken into consideration as to whether or not it’s wise for a woman to teach this class, but strictly speaking as to whether or not it’s a violation of Scripture, no.


Do you have any teachings on the implications of the serpent seed doctrine?

No, I’ve never written about it because, until I was asked this question, I’d never heard of it.

I did a brief search, and I would say that the implications are racism, false doctrine, and poor hermeneutics. Apparently, the gist of this teaching is that when the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, a sexual encounter took place between the two, leading to the conception of Cain. Therefore, everyone who is descended from Cain was conceived from the “serpent’s seed” and is of the devil.

This is a concoction of an evil imagination and has no basis in Scripture whatsoever. In fact, Genesis 4:1 clearly tells us who Cain’s father was. Even Cain’s name tells us God caused Eve to conceive him:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”

I mean, that’s pretty much a mic drop moment with regard to this ridiculous “doctrine”.

Here are a couple of good resources explaining more:

What is the Serpent Seed doctrine?

The serpent seed and the Kenites


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.