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  • Writer's pictureDawn Wallis

Another One Bites the Dust: Tony Evans in Sin

For the past couple of days, my heart has been heavy. Dr. Tony Evans, and his ministry The Alternative, has had a transformative effect on my life for over 25 years. When my children, now in their 20s were little, I would strap them in their car seats and drive around our neighborhood during the noon hour to listen to Dr. Evans expound on Scripture. In fact, as he would get to preaching and his volume grew, my children would moan because they didn't appreciate his passionate delivery. When he visited our church, which at the time was Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, I was thrilled to hear him in person. Throughout years of a difficult ministry marriage, Dr. Evans' continued commitment to preach the Word, uncompromised, provided the guidance, encouragement, conviction, and strength needed on many days, for many years. 

But today, I am sad. And angry. I understand that all people have a proclivity to sin, it's our fallen nature. I also that those in ministry have a so-called target on their back. I believe the devil rejoices when he can take down anyone whose ministry has impacted the multitudes. But what I don't understand is why the church continues to cover up the failures of its leaders. 

When my former pastor, Bob Coy, resigned from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, "moral failure" was cited as the excuse. When my former husband stepped down from the pulpit, it was under the guise the he needed "to work on his family." Both of these men were actively engaged in sexual sin, yet it was swept under the rug. Why? 

I don't believe hiding the truth is conducive to repentance and restoration. When the prophet Nathan confronted King David about his sin, David owned it. In 2 Samuel 12 we read his humble confession. "Then David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.'" As a result of his repentant heart, he penned the beautiful Psalm 51. Do we really believe that concealing the truth will help these men in the long run?

For the two former pastors cited above, it did not. They disqualified themselves from ministry and without submitting to a true repentance and reconciliation process through the local church, neither one of them have found restoration. If this breaks my heart, how must the Lord feel?

So, now it's Tony Evans in undisclosed sin. All men have feet made of clay, which is why it is imperative to follow Jesus and not a man. But can someone help me understand how Dr. Evans stepped down due to the urging of his elders on a past sin issue, but yet he is going to remain a spiritual leader and teacher through The Alternative? To me, this seems like a double standard and it is incredibly disappointing. If he has disqualified himself from the physical pulpit, then how is he qualified to stand behind the radio pulpit?

In no way, do I believe the sins of the fallen need to be divulged in great detail. However, covering them up is part and parcel to deception, in my humble opinion. Regardless of whether the sin was in the distant past or in the recent days, preserving a man's pride by keeping the nature of the sin hush, hush does nothing but propagate the problem. 

Dr. Evans is supposedly going to attend Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and worship alongside his former flock. How is that going to work? When Bob Coy resigned from CCFTL, a lot of people didn't care that he was in flagrant sin, they just wanted their pastor/comedian back in the pulpit. Is it realistic for a charismatic leader to step aside and join the masses they have influenced for nearly five decades?

I don't stand in judgement of any of these men. I pray you hear my heart. I am undone that the church promotes pride by covering the failures of their discredited leaders. It destroys the church. It destroys the family of the pastor. It destroys the Christian testimony. 

I don't have an answer, I just know my heart is broken. Again. Jimmy Swaggert. Jim Bakker. Tony McCreary. James McDonald. Mark Driscoll. Perry Noble. Bob Coy. Tony Evans. These men were used in unfathomable ways by the Lord, yet now each of them has a mar on their ministry. 

My takeaway from all of this is to follow the wise counsel of Paul when he instructed that believers should aspire to live quietly and mind their own affairs (1 Thess. 4:11). I so desperately want to be a published author with a thriving writing career, but the Lord knows my heart is prone to wander, prone to wonder. So, I pray: Lord, if success would cloud my walk and warp my witness, then change my heart's desires. I fail many times, but I don't want my private failures to become subject for public fodder.  Let me walk in a spirit of contrition so as not to disgrace Your Holy Name or to mock the love, kindness, and grace You have repeatedly poured out on me. Keep me humble, precious Lord. And heal the lives of these men who have fallen. I pray for truth in their inward parts. Help them come back to their first love. For those who are disheartened by their failures, I ask that you use this to draw these precious sons and daughters into a deeper relationship with you. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Tony Evans


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