Tony Evans says racial divide stems from pulpit failure
Tony Evans, the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Church, said that because the church was the root of the problem of racism in the United States, it is up to the Body of Christ to serve as the solution.
During a segment titled “Jesus the Center of Racial Reconciliation: Embracing a Kingdom Race Mindset” during the morning session of the second day of the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in June , Evans cited 2 Chronicles 15:2 to explain the unrest seen across the nation.
“As far as our racial division is concerned, it is the failure of the pulpit and the failure of the Church that has put us in this ignominious position today,” Evans said. “And we are told in 2 Chronicles that it was only when they were gathered together in unity that God brought them to rest, says verse 15, to the distress that was in the land.
“The political, social, racial, class distress that we face, which has helped to be caused by the Church, can only be properly dissolved by the Church,” Evans said. “If God cannot straighten the Church, the culture can never become straight.”
Evans pointed out that Satan “succeeded in illegitimately dividing the Church so that the power of God would be absent.”
“So it’s time for us to come to the fore with a plan to allow the nation to see something different,” he said.
In recent years, the SBC has come under fire for the way some denominational leaders have responded to racism, the critical race theory debate, and cases of sexual abuse in churches. At last year’s annual meeting, SBC President Ed Litton promised shortly after his election that he would “build bridges, not walls” during his term.
This year, Litton, along with former SBC President Fred Luter, announced an initiative called The Unify Project to build racial unity nationwide in tandem with local churches. The project will run alongside The Urban Alternative, a Christian Bible teaching and resource ministry founded 41 years ago by Evans and his late wife, Lois.
“Southern Baptist Convention, what we hope to do is start a grassroots movement, a local church initiative in your communities to break down barriers of race, different denominations and groups, to start meeting people who share the same ideas in the gospel of Jesus Christ, to provide a Kingdom solution to the divisions that exist in our country,” Litton said.
“The Church should be at the forefront of bringing hope and healing to our communities for the glory of God,” he added.
Evans said the Unify project will be based on the acronym AAA: one day a year, the community of Bible-minded, Kingdom-minded churches will come together for an annual one-day fast and prayer session. day to invite God into well-being. from the community; pastors and church leaders will address issues facing their communities and present God’s perspective on identity, race, life, marriage and other issues, and finally, perform acts of kindness in their communities.
“A good work in the scriptures is something to which God is always visibly attached…a good work is something that is done for the benefit of the people to whom God gives credit,” Evans said.
The Unify Project is an extension of The Pledge Group, which Litton helped found alongside church leaders in Mobile, Alabama, after the death of George Floyd.
As part of the initiative, which will launch in the fall, worshipers will receive “kindness cards” encouraging them to do at least one act of kindness a week to a stranger. Along with the act of kindness, prayer and evangelism are also encouraged.
“When you do the act of kindness then you pray for them because most people will accept prayer when you have been kind to them,” the pastor said. “After praying for them, you look for an opportunity to share the gospel with them.”
Evans stressed that once the Body of Christ does good works, they will no longer be “ignored”, adding, “Right now we are being ignored because we are not taken seriously and God is not helping us. because of our disunity.
“If Christ doesn’t come soon, we better hurry because it’s falling apart fast,” he concluded. “God doesn’t wait for culture. He waits for the church. It’s time for those who helped ruin it all to lead the way in fixing it.
In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Evans encouraged Christians to act as “bridge builders” and foster relationships with those who cross racial and cultural lines “without compromising the essence of the faith.”
“From the throne of God comes righteousness and justice. Justice is the standard of good and evil that is established by God. Justice is the fair application of God’s moral law applied in society. One is therefore a vertical obedience and the other a horizontal relationship. And whenever you have the vertical and the horizontal, you can have the cross. Evans supported.
“The way you know you’re serious about conflict in culture is that you’re visibly and verbally involved in reconciling things that have historically been divided. If we just argue, discuss our division and not create the windshield of reconciliation, because we live in the rearview mirror of our past history, we will not go where God is going. And if we’re not going where God is going, we’re going by ourselves.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be contacted at: [email protected]