Tony Evans is speaking at the Send Conference (NAMB/IMB) at the upcoming 2021 Southern Baptist Convention. If you’re attending, you might want to know more about him.
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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 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 Warfare, which 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.
- Priscilla Shirer and Chrystal Evans Hurst frequently speak/teach at (and their materials are frequently used at) OCBF.
- Tony has written several devotions for Lysa TerKeurst’s Proverbs 31 Ministries.
- He allowed Christine Caine to serve as keynote speaker at his church’s Desperate for Jesus 2017 women’s conference.
- Tony allowed Beth Moore to speak at Desperate for Jesus 2010, and later invited her back to speak again.
- The women’s classes at OCBF are currently using materials by Priscilla Shirer, Anne Graham Lotz, Lysa TerKeurst.
- The OCBF bookstore carries a number of heretics and false teachers including T.D. Jakes, Bill and Beni Johnson, Joyce Meyer, Brian Houston/Hillsong, Paula White, Mike Bickle, Steven Furtick, and more.
- Robert Morris has preached at OCBF.
- In 2015, Tony was one of the featured speakers at T.D. Jakes’ The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide at Jakes’ “church,” The Potter’s House (other speakers included New Apostolic Reformation leader Samuel Rodriguez, and James Robison).
- In 2016, Tony’s wife, Lois, was in attendance at The Potter’s House, where, during a God’s Leading Ladies graduation ceremony, their daughter, Priscilla Shirer, accepted the “Lady of Destiny” award.
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.
Tony Evans & Spiritual Warfare: Demon Busting With A Less Than Sovereign God at Berean Research