Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, preaches at an SBC conference on Sunday. Photo by Eric Brown
NASHVILLE – God’s people need to tread carefully, like referees in a football game, in the midst of the nation’s political and cultural divisions, a pastor and syndicated preacher told Southern Baptists on Sunday.
Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, said referees know they may be booed from both sides, but they understand their job is to stick to the ‘rule book,’ not worry about whether they’re liked.
“The real problem arises when the officiating authorities start wearing opposing team jerseys because it is then that they lose their third-party authority in the game,” Evans said. “We carry Kingdom authority as His officials, but many people are so heavenly minded that they’re not helpful on earth while others are so earthly minded that they’re no help to heaven.
Evans was the keynote speaker at a “Send Conference” attended by some 10,000 Southern Baptists on the Sunday before the SBC’s annual meeting. The conference was a joint initiative of the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board.
“Our true calling is not to be part-time saints but fulltime Christians pulling heaven down to earth as true reflections of the imago Dei,” he told the crowd. “We have watched our nation decline because there aren’t enough accurate reflections of Christ invading the culture.”
Evans reminded Southern Baptists that football fans don’t pay to see a huddle, but the execution of the play discussed in the huddle.
The Send Conference, he said, was like a huddle. The question was: Would those gathered go out and score? Or just be happy with having had a private conversation?
Evans also told pastors that there is no segregation in the call to be crucified alongside Christ. “God is not colorblind, but neither is He blind to color,” he said. “We are of every tribe and nation, and God sees us. But the only subject of the Bible is the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom. We are never to allow the politics of men to break up our togetherness, so stand together as the Lord sends you.”