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Tony Evans Stepping Away from Leading Dallas Megachurch Due to ‘Sin’

Bestselling author says he is submitting to ‘healing and restoration process’ set by elders

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(RNS) — Tony Evans, the longtime leader of a Dallas megachurch and bestselling author, has announced that he is stepping back from his ministry due to “sin” he committed years ago.

Tony Evans speaks at the SBC annual meeting in California on June 15, 2022. (RNS photo/Justin L. Stewart)

“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 Sunday (June 9) statement to his Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship church that was posted on its website.

“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. I am, therefore, required to apply the same biblical standard of repentance and restoration to myself that I have applied to others.”

Evans, 74, was not specific about his actions but said they were not criminal.

“While I have committed no crime, I did not use righteous judgment in my actions,” he said. “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.”

Evans, the founder of the Christian Bible teaching ministry The Urban Alternative, has led the congregation for more than 40 years and has a radio broadcast, The Alternative with Tony Evans, that is carried on hundreds of radio outlets across the globe.

An additional statement on the website of the predominantly Black nondenominational church said Evans made the announcement about stepping away from his senior pastoral duties during both of the congregation’s services on Sunday.

“This difficult decision was made after tremendous prayer and multiple meetings with Dr. Evans and the church elders,” the other statement reads. “The elder board is obligated to govern the church in accordance with the scriptures. 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.”

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The second statement said Pastor Bobby Gibson, lead associate pastor of fellowship, and the church’s elders will provide more details about future steps concerning interim leadership.

Evans noted in his statement that he had shared this development with his family and church elders who, he said, “have lovingly placed their arms of grace around me.”

Evans’ wife of 49 years, Lois, died in 2019. He remarried in November, and the church announced his marriage to the former Carla Crummie in December, introducing her as “Mrs. Carla Evans.”

Tony Evans, the first African American to have both a study Bible and a full-Bible commentary bearing his name, has called on others to be accountable.

In 2021, in an interview with Religion News Service, he spoke of how he corrected gospel musician Kirk Franklin, who then apologized for an obscenity-laced audio that was released by Franklin’s oldest son after the two had an argument.

Evans said at that time that Franklin “was both challenged and corrected for that. And that’s part of the accountability that every man needs in his life.”

Now, the pastor told the congregation that he is entering a period of “spiritual recovery and healing.”

“During this season, I will be a worshiper like you,” he said. “I have never loved you more than I love you right now, and I’m trusting God to walk me through this valley.”

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Adelle Banks

Adelle M. Banks is a senior production editor and national reporter for the Religion News Service, where she has worked since 1995. She previously served as the religion reporter at The Orlando Sentinel as well as a reporter in Providence, Binghamton, and Syracuse, and her work has appeared in USA Today, The Huffington Post, and Jet magazine. Banks won the 2014 Wilbur Award for digital communications and multimedia for her work on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and she has twice been honored by the Religion Newswriters Association.