We are excited to welcome Dr. Tony Evans to the Prophecy Pros Podcast. Dr. Evans is the founder and senior pastor of the 10,000 member Oak Cliff Bible fellowship in Dallas, Tx. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,000 U.S. radio outlets every day and in more than 130 countries. On today’s show, Dr. Evans talks with us about leadership and the hope Bible prophecy brings in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about Tony and his books at TonyEvans.org
Produced by Unmutable™
Jeff: Welcome to the Prophecy Pros podcast. I’m Jeff Kinley, along with Todd Hampson and today our special guest is Dr. Tony Evans. And you obviously know who Tony is, if not, you’re about to learn. He’s the founder and senior pastor of the 10,000 member Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas. The founder, and president of the Urban Alternative, a former chaplain of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and a present chaplain at the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans can be heard over a thousand US radio outlets every day, and in more than 130 countries. And for me personally, I’ve had the privilege of studying under Dr. Evans way back in the day at Dallas Seminary, where I had him for Evangelism and some other courses, and it was never, ever a dull moment. Dr. Evans, thank you so much for joining us. Welcome to the Prophecy Pros podcast.
Dr. Evans: Thank you. Good to be with you.
Todd: Well, Dr. Evans, you’ve written books on leadership spoken at leadership events. Actually I’ve even been to a couple of way back in the day, I’m from the DC area. So I was at a RFK event and Stand in the Gap and got to see you get your preach on and just really enjoyed that. But you’ve had some very impactful ministry organizations for many years. What wisdom can you share about leading through difficult and challenging times?
Dr. Evans: Well, difficult and challenging times show whether leadership is really there or not. A leader has to know the way, go the way, and show the way. He must be able to ascertain the reality of things, know how he should proceed, show others why they need to go in that particular direction, modeling it for them, and then leading them there. We do have a crisis of leadership today where we do not have enough leaders who are bringing God’s viewpoint to bear on life’s realities in such a way that people are following them to replicate them and the application to whatever the issue is that they are supposed to provide leadership for.
Jeff: Hmm, amen. You know, Dr. Evans, you’ve been a pastor for many decades. I’ll remember back at Dallas Seminary one of the first things you taught us was that you didn’t like dead preaching. It was one of the things you thought that a pastor needs to be passionate about what he’s talking about. And obviously you’ve done that through expositional teaching through books of the Bible, but also a wide range of topics, including eschatology, which is one of the topics we talk about on here. What is, in your opinion, the usual response, when you teach on the topic of eschatology or revelation or something like that, what’s the response you get from your congregation?
Dr. Evans: Well, it’s very interesting because we get a lot of questions because that’s a pretty big subject and people are, want to know about the future and what God is saying about the future and how it relates to them, not only in the future, but for the decisions that they need to make today. So we try to make it not only relevant for tomorrow, but impact their decision making today. And when you can blend those two together, then it becomes a relevant topic and not only a futuristic one.
Jeff: Absolutely. And along with that, just in terms of overall discipleship, philosophy of ministry, that type of thing, as you teach on these type of topics, I know it’s hard sometimes for people to see the future and how it impacts the present. What would be one way you would say that teaching about eschatology and God’s prophetic promises does change our lives in the now?
Dr. Evans: Well, when you learn about the eternal state of mankind, it should stimulate evangelism. When you learn about the judgment seat of Christ, it should stimulate obedient living. When you learn about what happens with the soul, when the soul leaves the body it ought to give you comfort. I lost my wife three months ago, four months ago and knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and what that eternal hope is, gives you comfort in your tears. So when you can connect it to your responsibility and your understanding, then it’s not pie in the sky information. It’s transformative because it’s affecting you even now.
Jeff: Hmm, amen. I think of Paul’s words in 1st Thess four, when he says at the end of teaching on the rapture, he says, “Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” And that comforting that we get from the Holy spirit and the word of God certainly is powerful. One of the questions before I put you back to Todd here, why do you think so many believers today tend to shy away from the study of eschatology, kind of avoid revelation, almost like the pandemic kind of thing. What are some ways that we can use the teaching of eschatology to present it to a new generation? And why do people tend to avoid it, you think?
Dr. Evans: I think today people are so centered on this world, their lives, their livelihoods, and we live in a very individualistic me-istic generation that that doesn’t seem relevant. Part of that is how it’s proclaimed and how it’s preached, because when it was taught in scripture, it was very relevant. So it wasn’t a pie in the sky doctrine. And so when we fail to let this next generation see that this relates to you where you are, then it will be dismissed because they’re not there now in their thinking and in the world view. I mean, when you look at technology, when you look at the media and how minds have been just infiltrated with this world’s thinking that it shouldn’t surprise us, that the world to come has faded. So what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to up the ante and make this world connected to that world.
Todd: That’s well put, and that’s a perfect lead into the next question because Jeff and I have been noticing because of COVID-19 and recent global developments, even a lot of it’s been blown out of proportion. There are just so many prophetic things linked to it. And we’ve had a lot of people that used to say, we were crazy for talking about end times, Bible prophecy, all of a sudden saying, “Hey, what does the Bible say about this?” So how does the current global instability with all the effects of COVID-19 and other perplexing wild issues that we can’t really get a grip on, how do those demonstrate a convergence of end time conditions in our day?
Dr. Evans: Well, first of all, everybody should be very aware of the fact that the world can be turned upside down on a dime. I mean, this thing happened virtually overnight and it’s affected the whole world. So when the Bible talks about things happening on a worldwide scale, you know that that can happen right now. The Bible also talks about various kinds of plagues. Well we’ve seen this plague, plague us. And we’ve seen the repercussions of that plague, so we need to take the potential of God’s judgment really serious, because who would have thought that something like this could happen this way. We see the battle with China. That’s a whole nother thing with the rise of China in the midst of this. We see how an economy can collapse almost overnight. Look at the economic stress that we’re going through and that much of the world is going through. So you can see how an antichrist could come in a situation like this and have a one world economy. So you can see whether this is the end time or not a template for how it could happen, which should make you rethink how real God’s prophetic future is because of what you’re seeing right now.
Todd: Absolutely. Yeah. If one little germ caused this much global disruption, you can only imagine what the rapture will do when that happens. And it’s funny, the more we talk about this, there’s no gray anymore. We either get people like, I see what you’re talking about. This is all in scripture. And then we get a whole nother perspective. Like you guys are crazy and you’re being sensational, which we steer away from sensationalism and that kind of thing. But for the skeptic, what are one or two key signs we could point them to right now that might even just get their attention to say, this is pretty concrete evidence. We are in the end times, or we’re nearing that time period. The tribulation is casting its shadow on us. What are one or two things who might be able to share with them?
Dr. Evans: Well, one thing that you can share with them is the worldwide scope of it, because the whole world is being affected at one level or another. So I look at the scope of it as a big deal. Not only because of how far it’s spread, but it’s affected every category of life. So all of life has been uprooted, so the two are interconnected. And so when you, when you look at how quickly it happened, how broadly it happened, how devastating it’s been, then I think you have to reconsider your prophetic orientation.
Jeff: Absolutely. It does get people’s attention. I mean, I can’t think of a time in my lifetime where the entire world has been talking about one single thing. And again, it’s, it’s affected every single person just about on the planet here. Dr. Evans in these kind of times where there’s a lot of white noise, there’s a lot of stereo, there’s a lot of height. There’s like conspiracy theories. All these things are floating around. How do we, as Christian leaders help Christians kind of distinguish or discern between hysteria, hype and hope? In other words, how do we bring them to that biblical perspective? So they can see the world clearly and not lose their sense of peace?
Dr. Evans: Well, first of all, we have to identify the source of hope. Source of hope is never tied to your circumstances, or you’d be hopeless. A lot of it is in the character and promises of God. So you have to keep going back to his character and you have to keep going back to his promises based on his word. And therein is where you get your hope. So your focus will determine your feelings of hope or hopelessness. If all you see is what you see, then you’ll never see all there is to be seen. Everything visible and physical is preceded by something invisible and spiritual. So if you want to be able to function in the visible physical, you must be able to see the invisible spiritual.
Todd: Hmm, wow. And kind of dovetailing with that you’ve kind of already hit on this a little bit, but I’m just thinking, one thing I love about your ministry is it’s always very practical. Whether when you preach or whatever resources or books you put out, it’s not so deep and so heady that you can’t apply it to real life. So how can we, through eschatology and an understanding of end time events and God’s character and future promises, if there’s somebody watching or listening to this podcast, how can we give them just a new sense of perspective or joy in the midst of all this craziness that’s going around?
Dr. Evans: Well, first of all, I would say they need to start with looking at what Jesus says about end times, because if you’re a Christian, Jesus is your centerpiece. When he was leaving in John 14, his disciples, and they were all shook up and felt hopeless because of his disappearance. He gave them hope by giving them him. And what this pandemic should do is force us to do a spiritual reset. This is the time to draw nearer, not drift further from the Lord. And when you use, God said in Acts 8, God said persecution in order to get the church out of Jerusalem and to spread the gospel. So God will use inconvenience to move you out of your comfort zone. So look at the pandemic as an inconvenient opportunity. Churchill said, “You never let a good crisis go to waste.” So don’t let this pandemic go to waste.
Because you’re forced to quarantine more than you want to, because the economics may be shaky, let that drive you to pursue intimacy with the savior so that you can learn. When the Bible talks about peace of pastor’s understanding, the reason why it’s a peace of pastor’s understanding, is you don’t understand why you have it right now and later what you’re going through. So when you pursue him in the midst of the crisis and he still gives you peace in a rocky boat, that’s when you know your faith is real and vibrant and alive.
Jeff: Amen. Dr. Evans, as you think back over your life and your ministry, and you’ve logged a lot of miles. You’ve got some mileage on ministry and just impacting lives really around the world. As you think back on everything that you’ve done, you’ve taught, the new study Bible that’s come out now, your church, your family, everything, what do you want to be remembered by when people think about Tony Evans?
Dr. Evans: You know, our world view is called the kingdom agenda, which is the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life. So I want to be remembered as a person who advance God’s kingdom for God’s glory.
Jeff: amen. And giving him all the glory. And Dr. Evans, how can people find out more about your ministry?
Dr. Evans: They can go on Tonyevans.org. You can find out all of our resources, all of our programming. We have a training center now. People can learn about what this kingdom life is all about comprehensively. Tonyevans.org.
Jeff: Well, thank you again. Todd’s going to close us out, but Dr. Evans, from my heart to yours, thank you so much for your impact in my life and for your faithfulness to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Dr. Evans: Thank you very much.
Todd: Amen. I want to echo that as well. Just even what you shared today, there’s such a wealth of information there for our listeners and us personally, that people will be listening to this episode over and over again, I’m sure. We know you’re busy, want to thank you for taking the time out to talk with us and share your heart and share some aspects of ministry. And we thank you even more for just who you are, for your family, for your ministry, what you’ve done over the years. We thank you for your impact, your kingdom impact, and it’s affected both of us in a profound way. We pray for the Lord’s continued blessing on you, your ministry, your family, and everything that you’re doing right now. We just thank you so much for being on the show.
Dr. Evans: Thank you, God bless you.
Todd: You too, brother.
Jeff: Hey, thank you so much for listening. We’re really excited you found us. Make sure to subscribe if you have not done so already. And if you liked what you heard, please let us know by leaving a review, that does us a huge favor and helps us out a lot for more resources or to ask questions or find more about our ministries, go to prophecyprospodcast.com. And a major thank you, major shout out to Harvest House Publishers for helping us with this podcast.