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False Teacher of the Day #11: Tony Evans

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Tony Evans is Priscilla Shirer’s father. Evans’ heresies include (but are not limited to) Pelagianism (the denial of original sin), Inclusivism (you don’t have to be a Christian to be saved), and Limited Theism (the denial of God’s omnipotence).

In an interview with Glenn Plumber at the NRB Convention in 2004, Evans affirms a Pelagian view of Christ’s death and resurrection, stating,

But the thing that the death of Christ did was cover and overrule original sin so that no man is condemned because they are born in Adam, but men are condemned because they consciously reject salvation.

Evans also holds to inclusivism, that is, you don’t have to actually know Christ personally to be saved. In this same interview, In his book, Totally Saved, Evans echos the false teachings of Billy Graham and the Universalist/Inclusivist movement:

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In the case of a person who never hears the gospel and never knows the name of Jesus, but who responds to the light he has, God treats that person like an Old Testament saint, if you will. That is, if the person trusts in what God has revealed, God deals with that person based on the knowledge he has, not the information he never received. I call this transdispensationalism.

By this I mean if a person is sincerely seeking God and desiring to know Him, and is responding to the truth he knows, if there is no missionary or direct manifestation of God, then God judges that person based on his faith in the light he has received. And as in the case of Abraham, God will retroactively count this person as righteous by applying the death of Christ from the dispensation of grace.

John MacArthur responded to this, calling it a “serious departure from the gospel.”

Tony Evans also holds to a heretical view of the Trinity. Attempting to illustrate the Trinity has been a fruitless endeavor for Christians for over two thousand years. There is no proper way to illustrate the Trinity using a worldly or material illustration. The proper way to describe the Trinity is found in the creeds of Athanasius and affirmed by the Church for thousands of years. That the Godhead exists as one God in three co-equal, co-existing persons, all of which are fully God and do not make up incomplete parts of God. None of these attempts at illustration capture that truth and all of them describe a God that does not exist in Scripture.

The first illustration, the water-ice-steam, illustration is a heresy that is popular in Word of Faith circles and includes teachers like T.D. Jakes and Steven Furtick. This heresy is known as Sabellianism, also referred to as modalism. It teaches that the Trinity is one God in three “manifestations” that only exists in one manifestation at a time, either Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. The three cannot exist simultaneously according to this heresy.

The other illustrations are all versions of the heresy known as partialism. Partialism is unlike modalism in that it teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do all exist together simultaneously, but make up three distinct “parts” of the Trinity to form the whole God. This separates the divine nature into three distinct parts of the divine nature. The pretzel illustration, the egg illustration, and the shamrock illustration all convey this heresy.

But that’s exactly what Tony Evans preached this week at the SBC 2022 annual meeting. During a mini-sermon where he and former Southern Baptist presidents, Ed Litton and Fred Luter were joining forces to fight against racism, Tony Evans described the Trinity as a pretzel with three different holes in it.

This is now at least three heresies that Tony Evans has embraced: a denial of the orthodox view of the Trinity, partialism, and a denial of original sin, Pelagianism, and a denial of the exclusivity of Christ, inclusivism. There is certainly no doubt that Tony Evans should be avoided at all costs.


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