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2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference is Affirmative Action in Action, with Predictable Result

News Division

H.B. Charles plans most diverse speaking lineup in SBC Pastor’s Conference History, but with tragic results in his selection of Tony Evans

For some, it was a big deal that H.B. Charles was elected the first Black president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference, which precedes the annual convention meeting each summer. Charles is the pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a council member for The Gospel Coalition. The Baptist Press called his election, “historic,” and he was elected without opposition during the heated 2017 Convention in which leftist and progressive pastor, Dwight McKissic, convinced Southern Baptists – using media pressure – to condemn “alt-right racism.” Seeing through the guise, Southern Baptist messengers at first resisted the resolution, but due to insistent pleading by Southern Baptist entity heads who feared media backlash, the propagandic resolution was passed. With everyone walking on egg-shells over race because of this heated environment, Charles was unopposed and elected by the sound of a standing ovation of cheering.

Ken Whitten, the pastor who nominated Charles, claimed that he wasn’t nominating the preacher because of the color of his skin, saying, “I want to be real clear about one thing — I am not nominating H.B. Charles because of the color of his skin. I’m suggesting that he be the conference president because of the character of his soul and the convictions of his spirit.”

However, it is unclear that race has played no factor in Charles’ selection of the 2018 conference speakers.

According to the Arkansas Baptist News, “Pastors’ Conference President H.B. Charles Jr. announced the theme, drawn from 2 Timothy 4:5, and speakers, half of whom are non-Anglo, late last week in a blog post. Five African American preachers will join one Hispanic preacher and six Anglos” [emphasis ours].

It’s certainly odd that race would play no factor, when a Baptist Press outlet is lauding their ethnicity in its reporting.

Tony Evans

The Baptist news site gives the race of each speaker, as though that is a part of their credentialing. Black speakers include Bryan Carter, Charlie Dates, and Tony Evans. The question for many is not whether the speakers are Black, White, Hispanic, or some other ethnicity, but if they are theologically sound. The only problem of conscience should arise if certain speakers are chosen because of ethnicity who are problematic doctrinally. And, that certainly seems to be the case with some of Charles’ selection.

Tony Evans, one of the speakers chosen by Charles to preach to Southern Baptists, is a Pelagian, an Inclusivist and an Open Theist.

As Brandon Hines writes at Learning the Path:

Tony Evans was born September of 1949. He studied at Dallas Theological Seminary and founded Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in 1976. He is married to Lois Evans and has four children with her, including the self-proclaimed prophetess Priscilla Shirer. His son, Jonathan, is the chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys and a former NFL player. His other son, Anthony, is a Christian singer and his daughter, Chrystal, helped him write Kingdom Woman .


“If a person believes somebody’s up there that created this… I don’t know who He is but I want to know Him… if that person were to have a heart attack at that moment, God could not condemn him and be just because God says he who seeks shall find, so since God makes that promise, if God doesn’t give him the Gospel or give him a direct revelation then He has to judge him out of another dispensation.”  (Interview with Glenn Plummer)
Tony Evans clearly explained that he believed if someone had not heard the Gospel but died believing that there was a god and wanting to know that god, that person would be saved. This is the heresy of Inclusivism. Evans is essentially denying the necessity of faith in Salvation. The Bible says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18, ESV)
“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.” (Totally Saved, Page 360)
Evans is the one who made up the word, “Transdispensationalism,”
and it is essentially just a rebranding of Inclusivism. John MacArthur said about this comment, “Obviously, there is no biblical defense for that, and none is attempted in the book—none. There isn’t even a verse to defend that. Furthermore, living up to natural human light, apart from the revelation of the true and living God, wouldn’t save anybody in any dispensation. But, it is a very—it is a very strange thing and, to this degree, to the degree that He gives salvation to those who have never heard the gospel, it’s a departure from what we believe the scripture teaches.”
“Your battle is fought in the spiritual realm.  You must not fail to realize that.  If you do, you will not fight for the win.  As we have seen, when Daniel first offered his prayer, God heard it and responded immediately.  Yet because there is a battle taking place in the invisible, spiritual realm, there was a delay in God’s response reaching its intended destination.  In fact, another angel – Michael – was needed in order to eventually remove the demon from acting as an obstacle for Gabriel.  Ultimately, the prince of Persia was double-teamed so God could deliver His message to Daniel.”  (Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare, Page 18)
To imply that God needed the help of his angels in order to do anything denies His all-powerful nature.  It is the heresy of Limited Theism. It is all too common in charismatic writings that people will devalue God and overestimate the devil in a Manichaen fashion that puts them on the same level.
“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.”  (Interview with Glenn Plummer)
This is a modified version of the Pelagian heresy. He is claiming that Original Sin no longer applies, and this is refuted by verses like Romans 5:12 (ESV), “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” He even acknowledges that this is classified as heresy later in the interview.

Now, let’s think about this for a moment. Did H.B. Charles – who is a Calvinist and purports to be “Reformed” – choose an Inclusivist, Pelagian and Open Theist to speak to Southern Baptists because of the content of his doctrine?

It’s doubtful. One thing that’s not doubtful is the inevitability of Southern Baptists cheering the most diverse speaking roster in the history of the SBC (by far). What they shouldn’t cheer is a heretic like Tony Evans at the helm. But this has nothing to do with race, surely.