… God can transdispensationalize people …
The following interview between Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, and Glenn Plumber was conducted at the National Religious Broadcasters’ Convention in 2003 or 2004. Hopefully Dr. Evans has abandoned this view and is restored to orthodoxy. Shame on Moody Press (A Name You Can Trust?) for publishing this heretical work in the first place.
Listen to the Interview (15 minutes):
What follows is a transcript of the recording (transcript credit: Marianne Thompson):
RAMONA FALLS: Hi, hello and welcome to another exciting edition of CTN Live.- I’m your co-host, Ramona Falls, joining Mr. PLUMMER. We have a fabulous show planned for you today. We are going to show you highlights of our trip to the NRB, the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, which was held in Nashville, Tennessee, a beautiful state. Everybody was so kind and friendly. It was nice to get involved with some southern hospitality. It was a great trip, and we want to share with you some of the highlights of that trip.
Also, I want to welcome our national viewers via Sky Angel. Welcome United States of America to Detroit, our humble abode. We are happy to be reaching you for the Lord Jesus Christ. Please call us with your questions or comments during the program. We would love to hear from you. But, as I said before, when we get into the program today we want to show you an interview from the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Bishop Tony Evans is the pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas, and he sat down and talked to Mr. PLUMMER in Nashville. Wait until you see what they talked about. It was a fantastic interview. You stay tuned and we’ll see you in a few.
MR. PLUMMER: Well, there are many men and women that the Lord is using all over America to impact culture, to impact all kinds of different levels of society. My guest is probably one that is at the very top of what the Lord is doing not only in the church but, frankly, throughout the entire nation both in the African-American community and in the white community as well and the Hispanic community. I mean really, the Lord has raised Dr. Tony Evans where he has a voice speaking to the nation and yet he is a pastor of one church in the Dallas area. So it is a pleasure to welcome to CTN Live, Dr. Tony Evans. Bless you, my friend.
DR. EVANS: It is my honor. Believe me. It is my honor.
MR. PLUMMER: It is my honor for sure. How have you been?
DR. EVANS: I have been doing good. I have been doing good in not letting any grass grow under my feet. There is plenty of good work to do, and I’m honored for the opportunity. I am also honored to call you my friend so it is great to be with you.
MR. PLUMMER: You have authored a host of different books. How many different books have you written now?
DR. EVANS: Twenty-two.
MR. PLUMMER: Twenty-two. You are about to release a new book.
DR. EVANS: A book called Totally Saved. It deals with the doctrine of salvation. I find that on one hand there is a lot of confusion about salvation, about understanding it. There is a lot of confusion about assurance of salvation. There is confusion about the means of salvation and whether Jesus has to be Lord in order to be Savior, or do you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. There is confusion about the terms of salvation. What is propitiation and how does it relate to me? And justification. How to take the doctrine of salvation off the theological shelf, where you can’t really understand it, but give it substance and also give it application. That is what we have tried to do.
I have tried to answer some of the hard questions. What about those who can’t believe – children, those who were born with mental deficiencies? What about those who don’t get access to the Word and yet they are condemned by a Holy God? How does all that work? We try to tackle some of those questions too.
MR. PLUMMER: Let’s jump into it then. What about children? What do you say about children who have died?
… no man is condemned because they are born in Adam, but men are condemned because they consciously reject salvation.
DR. EVANS: Well, here is the thesis. This is where there will probably be a theological skirmish over this one. But I believe that Jesus Christ in his death covered original sin. 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. Therefore, since an infant cannot consciously reject salvation and since original sin was covered, infants go to heaven. People who have mental deficiencies so that they cannot understand, they would go to heaven. And then I have the big controversial one and that is people who are in foreign lands.
MR. PLUMMER: Well, that is where I was getting ready to go because I was going to say, “now wait a minute because if I take that as a thesis then, of course, I no longer have any real work. I can sit back here because those who are over in foreign lands, those who haven’t heard of the Gospel of course as long as they don’t hear it, they’re straight. They are okay.”
DR. EVANS: Well, if you could take that as a thesis but you can’t. The reason why you can’t is this: the Bible says in Romans 1 that men suppress the truth. Now you cannot suppress what you don’t have. It’s like holding a beach ball under water. It wants to come up but you are forcing it down. When a person rejects the revelation of God in nature or in conscience, they are condemning themselves because something wants to come up that they keep forcing down. That is not the scenario I’m painting. I’m painting a scenario where a person wants to know the true God and desires to know the true God. That gives God three options: 1) God can send him a missionary, the traditional way; 2) God can give him a direct revelation of Himself like he did Paul on the Damascus Road; or 3) and here it is, God can transdispensationalize him. That is, relate to him out of another dispensation because dispensations are based on information given. So that all throughout the Bible all people had to do was believe what God had revealed and they were saved. If a person believes somebody is up there that created this, somebody created me, 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.” 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.
MR. PLUMMER: Now I would imagine you have people coming at you with every direction with guns blazing.
DR. EVANS: I’m right and they’re wrong. You cannot argue. See, people are trying to solve this problem in a lot of ways. The reform theologians come up with election as a solution to their problem. But that creates an unjust God who holds people responsible for that which they cannot be responsible for, and all the double talk in the world doesn’t change that. You’ve got the Arminian side and what they do is they whittle away the sovereignty of God. You’ve got to have a God who is sovereign, who legitimately offers salvation to all since he paid the price for all, who legitimately gives everybody an opportunity or a solution. That is the only way God can be just. I have read all the literature, I believe all the literature, and nobody was addressing this problem. They were just dismissing it under some generic non-understandable sovereignty of God. And I said, “no this cannot work that way.” So I went back and did my research and here I am with you.
MR. PLUMMER: Well, now wait a minute. Tony, you graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.
DR. EVANS: Right.
… I don’t care if Dallas Seminary calls my view ‘heresy”
MR. PLUMMER: I can only imagine that there are people there that would almost call this heresy.
DR. EVANS: Probably, but I don’t care.
DR. PLUMMER: But you do know that they would call this heresy.
DR. EVANS: And I’m, I’m — Yes.
DR. PLUMMER: While you were going to Dallas Theological Seminary, you would have called this heresy.
DR. EVANS: Yes, but some would call my view of the death of Christ covering original sin heresy. See I’m arguing — Jesus says in John 3 a man is condemned because he does not believe. You can only be condemned for not believing if you have something to believe and if you have the capacity to believe it.
MR. PLUMMER: Well then, what that says is that the Hindus, who are doing the best they can with the information they have, having never — I’m talking about the Hindus who have never heard of Jesus, never heard of the Savior, never heard of salvation in Christ, the only begotten Son of God, then there is salvation for them is what you are saying.
DR. EVANS: If –but we’ve got to put in this proviso – if they are not suppressing the truth in all righteousness. See that is the proviso.
MR. PLUMMER: What does that mean?
DR. EVANS: That means that there is a revelation of God.
MR. PLUMMER: I mean you are out here. I am just listening. I’m shocked at this.
DR. EVANS: I understand. It is a revelation of God that they are responding to. God can’t skip that. God can’t do it. He can only skip it if you suppress it. That’s what the text says. So if they are not suppressing it –
MR. PLUMMER: What do you do with the truth of “he that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son hath not life?”
DR. EVANS: The point is very simple. It is the same thing I do with a baby or a person who is born without the capacity. Because Jesus covered original sin you are now condemned for personal sin combined with rejection of knowledge. So I do the same thing with them that I do with babies or else with that argument all babies are in hell.
MR. PLUMMER: All babies are —
DR. EVANS: In hell.
MR. PLUMMER: In hell, yeah.
DR. EVANS: Yeah, if you quote that verse, all babies are in hell. Yet we know that is not true because David said with his baby he would go to be with him.
MR. PLUMMER: But there are those that would say that the children are sanctified by their believing parents.
DR. EVANS: Okay, well then all babies of non-Christians go to hell. You still have —
MR. PLUMMER: Right, but do you know that that — I’m sure that has been — I’m sure that that understanding has been part of your fundamental training initially or maybe I should ask. Wasn’t it?
DR. EVANS: But I never accepted that. I heard that and it is still wrong. It is still wrong. You cannot tell me — you cannot use these phrases in contradiction. You can’t tell me God loves me, Jesus paid for my sin, but you are not going to give me any data and hold me accountable for that. That is a contradiction. In the most logical mind that is a contradiction.
MR. PLUMMER: Islam, which I believe is probably the number one enemy of the Church in this world. Now you may not agree with that. You are looking at me as though –
DR. EVANS: I’m wondering where you are coming from.
MR. PLUMMER: I’m just saying that Islam, I believe —
DR. EVANS: Oh yeah, okay.
MR. PLUMMER: Has positioned themselves as an enemy of the Church. Not only by their theology but by their practice and everything else. Now, what you are saying would then say that those Muslim believers who have not heard the truth of Jesus Christ and yet practice — who believe in God and go through all the various practices to cleanse themselves to be righteous before God, which you and I know is not righteousness, but that gives them the ability then to have salvation.
DR. EVANS: No, I would not say that because in Islam, for .the person who is practicing it, there is a rejection of Jesus Christ. See they accept Jesus Christ as a prophet, but they reject him as a Savior.
MR. PLUMMER: But if they haven’t heard –but the fact that if they had not heard the truth. I mean, here a guy reads this or he hears it from his imam, and then they tell him that he was a good prophet and he was a wonderful man and all of this and they believe that. But they have never heard the Gospel.
DR. EVANS: They never heard the Gospel. Then you have to back up to what has God revealed to them about Himself and whether they are actively responding to that. If they are actively responding to that, God has to show them more. God says, “he who seeks shall find.” That is a promise. So either God is lying or He’s got to show them something. Then the question is what do they do with what He shows them.
MR. PLUMMER: How long has this been going on? Because the book is not out yet, is it?
DR. EVANS: The book comes out the first of March.
MR. PLUMMER: Alright. So how long has this — I mean where is the genesis of this? When did this kind of start?
DR. EVANS: Years. Many years ago. It boils down to a study of the identity of the work of Christ. That is the bottom line. What did Christ achieve? If you accept the thesis .and the statement that most people miss — the Bible says in Romans 5 that in Adam all die. Then it comes in the same verse (verse 18) and says that in Christ all are made alive. Either you have to turn the word “all” to mean two different words or the same all who died in Adam are the same all who were made alive in Christ. And every human being died in Adam so in some way every human being has been made alive in Christ. But we know everybody is not saved so how is that possible? Only with regard to original sin. Therefore, nobody is condemned because of the reality of original sin, only personal sin and rejection of a Savior. Once I come to that conclusion, I can take that conclusion in any direction — even to the heathen.
MR. PLUMMER: Have you been challenged yet publicly?
DR. EVANS: It’s not out in print yet so I will be. I know I will be then. But that’s okay I like a good challenge.
MR. PLUMMER: Well, maybe this is just a very soft little precursor to that.
DR. EVANS: I’m sure. I’m good. I’ve given it some thought.
MR. PLUMMER: Oh, they are going to come at you
DR. EVANS: I know it. That’s okay.
MR. PLUMMER: You’re a big guy. You can handle it.
DR. EVANS: I like it. I welcome it. It makes me sharper and helps me to see how seriously I believe what I say.
MR. PLUMMER: Who is publishing?
DR. EVANS: Moody.
MR. PLUMMER: Moody. Alright.
DR. EVANS: It’s called Totally Saved.
MR. PLUMMER: Totally Saved. They did not have an issue and a problem with it?
DR. EVANS: There was some controversy on the staff, but they decided to go with it.
MR. PLUMMER: Well, this will indeed be a controversial book.
DR. EVANS: Yes sir.
MR. PLUMMER: By Tony Evans. The name of the book is Totally Saved.
DR. EVANS: Yes.
MR. PLUMMER: Look for it. It will be out in just a little bit. Again, Dr. Tony Evans. By the way, we didn’t say that you are working on a big building project, and things are going wonderful for the ministry.
DR. EVANS: Yes, the church is going good. The national ministry is going good. We are on more television stations and more radio stations. So we keep plugging.
MR. PLUMMER: Hey, man, keep going.
DR. EVANS: Good to call you friend, friend.
MR. PLUMMER: Likewise.
DR. EVANS: Thank you.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
What is this heresy called “Pelagianism?”
The Pelagian Captivity of the Church by R.C. Sproul (TEXT)
The Pelagian Captivity of the Church by R.C. Sproul (VIDEO)
How does God condemn people who have never heard the Gospel? Click here.