WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (BP) – Noted pastor and author Tony Evans tells of his courtship with his late wife Lois. A scary ride at an amusement park was his ticket to speeding her approval.
“It had a rollercoaster called the Wild Mouse. It went to the edge like it was going to jump off the track and then turned real quick,” Evans said in the broadcast conversation with National African American Fellowship (NAAF) President Frank Williams.
“So I got two tickets on the Wild Mouse. The wilder the ride got, the closer she got,” Evans said. “By the time the ride was over, you’d (have) thought only one person got on there. … Why did I get those two tickets? To create distress, because I knew if it got bad enough, she’d get close enough.”
In the same way, God maneuvers things to draw His people closer to Him, Evans said in the discourse on critical Kingdom issues facing the church today. It was the first in a planned series of NAAF-sponsored Kingdom Conversations on critical contemporary issues facing the church in America.
“What God has allowed is multiple pandemics stacked on each other. He’s allowed a virus, a political crisis, a racial crisis, an economic crisis,” Evans said. “This is stacked purposefully by God.”
Evans referenced the distress recorded in 2 Chronicles 15:3-6.
“It says nation rose up against nation – international conflict. City rose up against city – urban conflict,” he said. “And then it says at the end of verse 6, ‘For God troubled them with every kind of distress.’
“Let me tell you what we’re experiencing in America. We’re experiencing the passive wrath of God,” Evans said, drawing also from Romans 1:24, 26, and 28. “God turned them over (to their own minds and desires.) In other words, God said, ‘I’m out of here. I’m abandoning you. Since you don’t want Me, My values and all of that, I’m leaving.’ Whenever you create that space, evil and conflict take over.”
Evans addressed the church’s pathway forward in racial reconciliation against a centuries-old backdrop including slavery, racism and injustice, a point of his Kingdom Race Theology he unveiled to this congregation at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and poses in an upcoming book.
“What God has done, He has allowed the chaos, because He’s sovereign,” Evans said. “So people made up their own rules. So now you’ve got all this conflict. Masks; no masks. This; that. … Everybody’s all over the place. So because of spiritual departure, there was divine departure.”
Is there any hope for the church today, in the face of hypocrisy, pretense and self-righteousness those outside the church have perceived for generations, Williams posed in the conversation broadcast Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. from First Baptist Church of Crestmont in Willow Grove, Pa., and available on the NAAF Facebook page.
“In their distress, they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and He let them find Him,” Evans responded. “He wanted to be found, but only on His terms. He’s not going to be found on our terms, our sermons, our preaching and our programs. He’s only going to be found on His terms.”
Evans summarized church history he said has been at odds with God’s Word and His Kingdom, which he points out in Kingdom Race Theology.
“We’ve been in a racial quicksand, and the harder we try to come out of it, the deeper we sink,” he said. “What is missing is we have been more cultural than Christian. Anglo Christians have wrapped their faith in the American flag and have developed a Christian nationalism that is foreign to Scripture.
“Ezekiel 43 says don’t bring your kings next to My throne like we’re equals. There must be a distinction between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men.
“Often what the Black church does is wrap our faith in Black culture,” Evans said, “so that if it’s Black and we feel it, it must be biblical. And so I saw flaws on both sides.”
Scripture never separates righteousness and justice, Evans said, referencing Psalm 89:14.
“We were missing this comprehensive view, and so now we get stuck with CRT (Critical Race Theory) and Black Lives Matter and 1619 Project and 1776 Unites,” he said. “What does God have to say about this subject? And since the Kingdom is God’s overarching theme, then I wanted to give a Kingdom view of race.”
Evans summarizes Kingdom Race Theology as “the reconciled recognition, appreciation and celebration of the ethnic differences, the multiracial ethnic differences established by God, through which He manifests His Kingdom purposes.”
“The Bible is full of race,” he said. “In heaven, everybody’s going to be the same race they were on Earth. … John says, ‘I saw people from every nation, every tribe … and every tongue. He said, ‘I saw them.’ So there were visual differences.
“So God is not colorblind. He’s just not blinded by color.”
Williams is senior pastor of both Wake Eden Community Baptist and Bronx Baptist Church in New York. As NAAF president, he serves a group of more than 4,000 Black Southern Baptist pastors. Jerome F. Coleman pastors First Baptist Church of Crestmont, which hosted the event.
The full conversation is available on the NAAF Facebook page and YouTube channel.