Home Christian News Tony Evans: On Male Leadership, Grieving His Wife and Correcting Kirk Franklin

Tony Evans: On Male Leadership, Grieving His Wife and Correcting Kirk Franklin

Do you think women have roles, as you write men do, to rise up and be examples for their families, churches and communities?

Every Christian has that role but when God created Adam before Eve, he created Adam because Adam would be held ultimately responsible. The Bible says, “In Adam, all die.” When Adam and Eve sinned, he said, “Adam, where are you?” not “Adam and Eve, where are y’all?” So there is a lead role God has called men to take and own, and we shouldn’t shy away from that.

You say racial reconciliation should go beyond Christians playing a video of a nonwhite preacher at a white church, or vice versa, or posting online that they’ve read a book like “White Fragility.” What else should people be doing?

Here’s where the church, which helped foster a lot of this division, needs to step up to the plate. We have a three-point plan for Christians to change their community, and that is when you come together to serve somebody else worse off than you. So what that means is you adopt a public school together where you serve the average students in that school. The Christians in those churches adopt the police precinct and become the bridge between the police department and the community. It’s where every church in that gathering adopts a homeless family and brings them to self-sufficiency. So the way you have unity is through serving somebody else, not just by having sensitivity meetings.

You describe a mentor of yours, a Jewish businessman, Martin Resnick, who helped pay for your first year of college. How does his legacy fit into the lessons you are teaching about supporting the next generation?

A great deal, because what that did was expose me to a bigger world. I was in a small world in urban Baltimore growing up. I hadn’t seen much outside of my community. He let me see a world of business, a world of economics, a world of entrepreneurialism that was much bigger. When I saw that bigger world, it gave me bigger vision. That’s where my burden for the next generation helped to come from — because too many of our young people are living in too small a world, and therefore they possess too small a vision. I want to make sure they see the potential of what they can be and to align that potential to their relationship to God, who has a unique ability to make dreams come true. So I use my story to inspire their story.

In recent weeks, Kirk Franklin, who has cited you as a mentor and father figure, apologized for an obscenity-laced audio that he said was released by his oldest son after they had an argument. Did you have any reaction to this turn of events and/or are you advising him?

I had a big reaction. I called him. When I heard about it, I corrected him. I told him he needed to apologize publicly since the rant went public. I know about the situation in the family and I know how that situation could have led to an escalation of anger. But what he did was let righteous indignation become unrighteous communication, and he was both challenged and corrected for that. And that’s part of the accountability that every man needs in his life.

You became the first African American with both a study Bible and a full-Bible commentary with your name, you have continued to lead your various ministries and you have said you don’t have plans to retire. So, what’s next?

One of the things is seeing how we are going to reshape things in light of COVID because it has re-situated how people work, how we return to worship. The big thing is the next generation, because we want our ministry to outlive us. We still have some new books coming out this year. So we’re just expanding what we have already built and taking it deeper and transferring it as we go along.

Do you have a successor in mind?

(laughs) Well, my son, Jonathan Evans, is working with me a lot more. And so we’re just going to see whether that naturally happens. We don’t want to do anything that’s unnatural — and that has to be welcomed and not just by me but by our congregation — but that is one option we are looking at.

This article originally appeared here.

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Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.