Southern Baptists in Nashville for the denomination’s 2021 annual meeting heard a strong plea for gospel unity from Dallas pastor Tony Evans. The author of several books focused on God’s kingdom kicked off the 2-day Send Conference held prior to the business meeting. The conference, sponsored by the North American and International Mission Boards, also featured worship artists CeCe Winans, Michael W. Smith, and Crowder.
Evans started with message with an extended football metaphor, explaining that there are three teams on the field during a game—the two competing against each other, and the team of officials charged with governing the game.
“The problem is when the officials don the unforms of the competing teams,” Evans said, likening them to Christians. “Because the moment that the officiating crew dons the uniforms of the competing teams, they have lost their kingdom authority. They have lost their uniqueness.”
His message touched on several pressing issues currently facing Baptists, including racial tensions and political differences. “I don’t know if I’m going to get this chance again, so I’ve got to throw it all in,” Evans said to laughter across the crowded convention hall. During his message, one attender called out, “Tony Evans for SBC President!” (Evans’s church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, is non-denominational.)
“God is never in favor of color blindness,” he said, “but neither is he blinded by color. He never wants your humanity to trump your Christian commitment.” On politics, he urged Christians to be “kingdom independents.”
“Because you represent another King and another kingdom, and you and I are never to allow the politics of men to break up our ‘together,’ to divide the church of Jesus Christ,” Evans said. “You don’t lose you uniqueness, but you claim Christ above all.”
The Send Conference continues Monday, June 14. Go to sendconference.com to watch it online.