After Tony Evans’ sermon, the ERLC can shut this conference down. Dr. Evans said everything that needed to be said on the topic of racial reconciliation in the body of Christ.
Speaking during the first session of the 2015 ERLC Leadership Summit on the Gospel and Racial Reconciliation, Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and author of the book, Oneness Embraced, said that he believes the solution to the racial divide in the church is not as difficult or as complex as it may seem. He stated, ‘The Gospel can change an environment and it can do it in a day.’ Explaining that racial reconciliation does not have to take long, Evans showed how Jesus reversed 800 years of racial conflict within 24 hours.
Drawing from the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman, he explained the historic animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans, comparing it to the animosity between races today. Jesus deliberately chose to go through Samaria at a time when all orthodox Jews avoided even passing through their land because of their disdain for its residents.
Pointing out how that Jesus did not try to hide His Jewishness as He talked with the Samaritan woman, Dr. Evans said, ‘Jesus didn’t stop being who He was to reach somebody else. God is not asking you to stop being who you are to reach somebody else. God isn’t asking blacks to be white or whites to be black. He’s asking both to be biblical.’
Evans also explained that the mistake many people make is allowing their ‘color, class, or culture’ to modify their Christianity, when it should actually be the other way around. Our Christianity should modify our humanity — our ‘color, class, or culture.’
Dr. Evans said the racial divide in America is controlled by the church. Stating that ‘God cannot work in a place where there is disunity,’ Evans explained that true racial reconciliation will not happen until the Christian community decides to start acting like Jesus in how we deal with and relate to those who are different from us. And, he said, that doesn’t have to take months or years for it to happen: ‘Some people are satisfied with reconciliation events that don’t produce any results… When you take a stand on God’s word, racial reconciliation doesn’t take long.’
Evans believes that the church is ground zero for the eradication of division in America’s culture. He explained that when churches of all races and denominations come together to help their communities, the community in turn will pay attention to what the church has to say about social and cultural matters.
Taking a turn to politics, Dr. Evans said neither party can solve the racial division issue in America. He said, ‘God doesn’t ride on the back of donkeys and elephants’ and added that ‘God will not skip the church house to fix the White House.’