The Rev. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Church in Dallas. (Photo courtesy Tony Evans)

The Rev. Tony Evans is pastor of the 10,000-member Oak Cliff Bible Church in Dallas. He delivered the sermon “A Biblical Response on Race” on Sunday, July 17. By Thursday, July 21, it had been watched 114,000 times. Below are excerpts from the sermon.

Father, we need you today at a level that is beyond the ordinary … We need the supernatural extraordinary now. Because you have allowed it to be clear that we have human limitations so we cry out to you Lord, for wisdom and knowledge and understanding, starting in this house.

Every four years, there are the Olympics where the elite athletes come together to compete. They have worked hard to be viewed and be seen as the very best of the best … however, when the gold medalist stands on the platform … they play the national anthem of the country of which they are a part, with their flag flying high because it is understood while that athlete used their talents, and skills and effort, they represent a bigger country. They represent a bigger kingdom; it’s not just about them…

God has a kingdom. It’s made up of citizens. Some black, some white, some red, yellow, Spanish backgrounds. His intention was never that the individual uniqueness would cause them to lose sight of the flag flying over them. The flag of the cross …  America in particular is reaching an all-time low in this issue of race and culture and class. Just under the surface there is this ever-bubbling problem that has gone unresolved…

We have voices about which life matters. All life is created in the image of God. All lives matter. However, underneath the banner that God has created all people in his image, there are inequities that must be addressed. For example, the life of the unborn matters. And so there is this emphasis on injustice in the womb. But that injustice in the womb must be under the umbrella that all life matters. Black lives matter, as a subset of all lives matter. So any injustices to a particular group must be addressed specific to that group but under the banner that all life is created in the image of God…

Once you extract any specific scenario and remove it from the umbrella of God’s creation, you create your own independent cause. There is no discussion of sociology that, at least from a Christian point of view, shouldn’t be plugged into theology; that is God’s view of it…

(Evans preaches on the Biblical Book of John and the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well)

Samaritan woman looks at Jesus, after he offers to drink from her cup, she is shocked, she can’t figure out: ‘You, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink of water?’ Why is this important? How did she know he was a Jew? He never identifies himself. He’s obviously a Jew, his look, dress, accent, he’s obviously Jewish. In other words, Jesus didn’t stop being who he was to reach somebody else. He didn’t find out how to speak Samaritan and find out how they dress.. He was able to maintain his racial and cultural identity, even though he didn’t let it get in the way of doing what his Father called him to do. And that is to reach across the railroad tracks to reach someone who was different from him who the rest of his culture would not reach out to…

God is not calling any of us to give up how he made us. He is not expecting us to use how he made us to relate inappropriately to people he has made different than us. God is not asking you to be anything other than what he’s made you, as long as you submit to how he has made you, to how you relate to other people who he has made different than you…

It is technically incorrect, technically, to call yourself a “black Christian,” or a “white Christian,” or a “Hispanic Christian.” Then you make your color or culture an adjective. It’s the job of the adjective to modify the noun. If you put Christianity in the noun position and your color or culture in the adjective position you have to keep shaping the noun so it looks like the adjective that describes it. So if your color stays in the adjectival position you got to keep shaping Christianity to look black or to look white or to look red…

A lot of folk want to tell folk about Jesus who aren’t willing to drink out of the cup. ‘I want to get your soul to heaven; I just don’t want to deal with you on Earth!’ ‘I’ll witness to you but I won’t eat with you.’ ‘I’ll witness to you but I won’t drink with you.’ Jesus … demonstrated by his touch, his sociology gave validity to the theology that was to come…

We are operating on illegitimate standards that are not rooted in God, but rooted in culture, rooted in history, in background. And all of that may be facts but the question we must ask is: Is it the truth? You can have facts, but it not be the truth. The truth is an objective standard by which reality is measured; it’s God’s point of view on any subject. Just because you were raised a certain way. Once how you were raised disagrees with what God says, how you were raised was wrong! …

If our pulpits were right we would have solved this problem of racism a long time ago. Slavery would have been solved, Jim Crow would have been solved, segregation — all of this would have been solved. But because the pulpits were anemic and allowed to take place the evil in America, we are still fighting that evil today! Because pulpits were silent biblically on this issue, maintaining a manifest destiny ideology that was in contrast to biblical theology! But that also explains why the Civil Rights movement was able to change it, because the church got out in front of it…

Truth overrides tradition! Truth overrides color! Black is only beautiful when it’s biblical! …

You must be Christian first. If we could get enough Christians to be Christian before white, Christian before black, Christian before Spanish … it doesn’t take 240 years to fix this. It takes about two minutes and 40 seconds…

We had a guy came into our church some years ago noticing more and more Anglos are coming to our church. He was getting upset … He said: “You know how they are.” I said: “What do you mean?” “They got this way of doing things, trying to take over.” I can tell he had some bad experiences. I said, “You better keep winning blacks to Christ so we outnumber them!” He said: “Well, I don’t know if can stay here.” I said: “Bye!” That didn’t take long.

A link to Evans’ sermon:

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