Dr. James Dobson: Welcome everyone to Family Talk. It's a ministry of the James Dobson Family
Institute supported by listeners just like you. I'm Dr. James Dobson and I'm thrilled that you've joined us.
Roger Marsh: Well, welcome to Family Talk, the radio broadcasting division of the Dr. James
Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, and today we are in for a treat. We're going to hear a classic program from the Family Talk Archives featuring a friend of Family Talk, Dr. Tony Evans, having a conversation with our own Dr. James Dobson. They'll be discussing Tony's movie entitled Kingdom Men Rising. Now, this conversation took place just before the movie's premiere. Dr. Evans will be discussing the trials he faced as he built his ministry to lead others to Christ. The two of them will also look back on their years of friendship and also about some of the struggles that they have endured together.
Dr. Tony Evans has been the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas since 1976. He's also the founder and president of the Urban Alternative. Now, you may know that Dr. Evans was the chaplain for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks for many years. He also served as chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League. Dr. Evans is also the author of over 100 books. Now, Dr. Evans was married to his wife Lois for over 50 years before she went home to be with the Lord in late December 2019. She of course is in heaven now awaiting her reunion with Tony someday. Together, they have four children, 13 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren as well. Let's listen now to Dr. Tony Evans and our own Dr. James Dobson, right here on Family Talk.
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, I am so excited to be sitting here with you, my friend, a great influencer in my life, a great mentor for me, and so much of what has happened in my life and my family and with my children and in my world of ministry is tied back to my relationship with Jim Dobson, Shirley Dobson, and what you have meant to me, and I want to just start this conversation off by expressing appreciation for the fact that you came alongside of me and God brought you alongside of me at a strategic time in my ministry.
Dr. James Dobson: Tony, that goes two ways. How I love you, brother and appreciate what you are doing for the Kingdom. And I knew it when I first met you. I knew it. Something inside of me told me that, and that's why we came alongside of you. And you were then showing the promise that the Lord has made clear at this point. And so to be here with you is just a great honor for me.
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, just thinking back, Peb Jackson connected us many years ago at Focus.
Dr. James Dobson: He did.
Dr. Tony Evans: And you and I and my wife Lois, we went out to get some hamburgers. He introduced us, but, because I had it you were a hamburger and fry kind of guy.
Dr. James Dobson: I ate one today.
Dr. Tony Evans: Yeah, yeah. And we were sitting down and I was sharing my burden and my vision specifically with the issues that were happening in the African American community and families. And of course, you were so engaged in helping families be defined correctly and biblically and righteously and strengthening parenting and all of the things related to the family. And that was a burden for me in light of many things that I was seeing in my life. And as we began our ministry, it started as Tony Evans ministry then became the Urban Alternative, but when we sat over those hamburgers and I shared my burden with you that day and you ended that conversation by saying, "Whatever Focus has that we can help you with, I'm going to instruct them to make available to you." That statement changed everything.
Dr. James Dobson: Tony, I don't want this to sound self-serving, but I felt early on that one of my primary responsibilities in this ministry, Focus and now Family Talk, was to help other Christian endeavors that people didn't know anything about and to give them the publicity and a little bit of help to get started. If I have a legacy, that's one that I want to remember because there were people like you that the Lord just tapped me on his shoulder and said, "This is one of them." You were one of them, Tony, I'm telling you. You had the education, you were so articulate, you had an inroad to the inner city, which frankly some of us don't have and didn't have then, particularly, and it just was a pleasure to come alongside of you. And then look at what God has done. It's incredible to see where that little conversation in a restaurant led to what all has happened to you since then. I am so proud of you and what you've done.
Dr. Tony Evans: I am so grateful. When I think back and when I got that phone call, I don't know who you called at Focus, but the training we needed, how to handle mailing lists, and then the financial resources that you gave launched us into the beginning of or expansion of a radio opportunity. And that's what was able to take the ministry to a whole 'nother level because it exposed us to so many more people.
Dr. James Dobson: You say who I called. I had a board of directors that also understood that mission and understood that by sharing our resources with particularly younger ministries, there was a lot of them, like Moms in Touch or Family Resource Council or the Alliance Defending Freedom, a lot of those organizations were out there and had great potential, but people didn't know about them. The Lord took those resources in the first part at Focus on the Family to let people know what was going on and our audience grabbed it. And that's what happened to you. You went straight up, man, when we began working together and that pleased me.
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, one of the things that came out of the trips we had to Focus, and then you put my family on the cover of the magazine, we still have that in a picture frame. My little kids were, my kids were small, and then we did the radio broadcast with you and shared our vision and burden. When I went to Focus at that time, what that did just going there helped me to define vision. Because I saw what God could do. I always believed what God could do. My theology told me that. But the faith became sight when I walked on the campus and I saw how God took your burden, and I kind of knew a little bit of your story, your expertise, and your commitment to family and how he built something that was going to serve his kingdom, but also be a benefit and blessing to so many others like you were to me. So that legacy of being able to reinvest in the lives of the future has been an imprint on my life, and I want my legacy to be the same that I not only got blessed, but I became a blessing to others like you were a blessing to us and all I saw that came out of that.
Dr. James Dobson: I told you, Tony, before we went on the air that I wanted to interview you a little bit as you were interviewing me because that's what I do. But I want you to tell me what those early days were like. Up to that point, did people know you were coming? Did people understand that you were the future or at least a part of it, or did that have to be sold to the audience?
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, I have always been kind of a man between two worlds. Because I came out of Dallas Seminary, which is known as a very conservative theological institution that was not as socially relevant as it should have been, and I think they recognized that, there was this one side of me that people applauded because of my theology. There was another side of me that people were not as affirming of because of the racial tension that was in our nation.
Dr. James Dobson: Tony, I have never said this publicly and I'll probably regret saying it now, but I had people that came to me and said, "There is no place in Christian radio for an African American speaker."
Dr. Tony Evans: Boom. Right there.
Dr. James Dobson: I don't need to tell you it's flat out racism, and it angered me. Because here God is doing something with this man and we're going to close the doors to him? Who knew what God was going to do?
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, absolutely. And in that environment, because I was told the same thing by stations of a larger network said it to me this way. He said, "You have to understand. An African American speaker on Christian radio would offend too many of our donors and we can't risk that."
Dr. James Dobson: Now that makes it about money. And there's no place in God's kingdom for that.
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, I told you what I was running into, the wall I was running into. And you wrote a letter and you sent that letter out to your Christian stations to open up an opportunity for Tony Evans, when they got you running interference, because you're James Dobson and nobody wanted to make you unhappy. When they saw you running-
Dr. James Dobson: Well, Shirley occasionally does.
Dr. Tony Evans: Oh, well we'll allow that one.
Dr. James Dobson: That's another story, right?
Dr. Tony Evans: But soon as they got that letter, we began to get phone calls. Then I got invited to speak at the NRB. With that letter and the opportunity in '86 to speak at the NRB, stations opened up, networks opened up.
Dr. James Dobson: And that pleases me more than I can tell you. I didn't know that part of the story.
Dr. Tony Evans: Yes, that letter, that letter opened up doors and it just showed how a person who God is blessed can leverage their influence to expand kingdom purposes and you did that and the rest is history coming off of that.
Dr. James Dobson: Have you tried to pass that along to younger people that are out there and nobody knows who they are?
Dr. Tony Evans: Absolutely. In fact, we're carrying on this interview right now getting ready for a gathering of hundreds of pastors who are going to come here to find out how we do what we do and we will share with them to our capacity, how we do it, how they can start it, how they can get on radio, how they can begin a writing ministry. We're going to share with them as a result of what you shared with us so that they can expand. And we've had many who are out there now with radio ministries, with training, we have an institute now that provides that training. So we are empowering people all over the nation as we were once empowered.
Dr. James Dobson: You know what had happened to me, too? I was a junior in college. My aunt heard Dr. Clyde Narramore speak, and he was a very famous Christian psychologist all over the country, and he was on the radio. He made a statement, he said, "We need people in this field who know the Lord and are trained properly, and if you know any likely to be successful young people, I will meet with them and you just have them give me a call." And so I called him.
Dr. Tony Evans: Amen that, because again-
Dr. James Dobson: So you and I are doing the same thing.
Dr. Tony Evans: We're doing the same thing.
Dr. James Dobson: We're the recipient of it and then trying to pass it on to others.
Dr. Tony Evans: Receive it and dispense it. And that's really the nature of blessing in the Bible. We live in a day when people are defining blessing is what God does for me, but God told Abraham, "I'm going to bless you and through you all the nations will be blessed." So you got to be a dispenser as well as a receiver. And so as you received it from Clyde Narramore and I got blessed because of what you have received, and now there are literally thousands of people all over America who are now either listening to the radio or reading the books or going through the training or taking the institute. That when you get to heaven, it will not only be the millions of people that you touched directly, but the millions of people God is allowing me to touch, that the king will give you recognition for.
Dr. James Dobson: It just passes it on.
Dr. Tony Evans: That's right.
Dr. James Dobson: How long did that racial resistance last for you? When did you begin to feel the barriers falling?
Dr. Tony Evans: The barriers fall progressively because many are still up. Because of my conservative theology, because that-
Dr. James Dobson: You still feel it?
Dr. Tony Evans: Oh yeah. Not only do I feel it, we get letters that reject it even from Christians because of the political environment. Because you're conservative, you can easily be called Republican, and that doesn't work too well for many people. And so that gets all mixed up in there and so one is thrown out.
Dr. James Dobson: It's not political, it's moral. It's the essence of the scripture.
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, the tension comes with this balance between righteousness and justice. So on the one hand, let's save the babies in the womb, but then you get the other side that says, but what about equity and fairness and opportunity to the tomb? A whole life agenda, not just an in womb agenda. And so trying to pull those two together, which the Bible does say righteousness and justice, so we have to do that. But if somebody's only listening to one side, then they're just going to react to that. But I agree with you. I'm a kingdom person, and so whatever the king says is what I say. And if that happens to fall Republican or happens to fall Democratic, you know, God doesn't ride the backs of donkeys and elephants, so I'm going to hang out with him on whatever his position is based on scriptures.
Dr. James Dobson: Were you ever tempted to alter or change the commitments that you made in the beginning? Did you stay true to them or were you tempted to listen to those voices out there?
Dr. Tony Evans: I have never been tempted to exit scripture. What I have done is been strategic because I have to understand many of the people that are anti voices is because of what they have experienced or what they've heard. For example, if they were in a situation where they couldn't be allowed into a school or into a restaurant or into, that colors why they feel the way they feel. So I have to sometimes be sensitive to walk them to the biblical role rather than drive them there because of their starting place. But I've never left the scriptures to do that.
Dr. James Dobson: Tony, I don't know if I should ask you this question, but can you bring us up to date on your family and the struggles that you're having there at this time?
Dr. Tony Evans: Yeah. Well, I praise God for my family. It's been a tough season. I lost my niece suddenly at 39, lost my brother, lost my sister, father had a heart attack all within one year and a half. So it's been a Job kind of period of time.
Dr. James Dobson: But have you asked, "Why, God?"
Dr. Tony Evans: No. Here's what I've asked. Here's what I've asked. You wonder that, but I haven't asked that. What I've asked for is Job 42. Job 42, when he went through his bad season, he says, "I've heard about you with the hearing of the ear, but now I've seen you with my own eyes. So what I'm saying to God is let me see you as I've never seen you before, and you unveiling your glory to me." So that's my focus and we're going to keep leaving in the great God that we preach about, talk about, and pray to.
Dr. James Dobson: Did you meet Lois in college, at the university?
Dr. Tony Evans: No, I met Lois on a mission trip. I was going to South America on a missions trip when I was 18 years old. Her father was the head of the committee that was sponsoring the Big Crusade event. He invited me over for dinner. She was cooking fried chicken. That was it, it was a wrap. So I met her there and then two years later we got married.
Dr. James Dobson: And you have four children?
Dr. Tony Evans: We have four children and all of them are in ministry.
Dr. James Dobson: All of them are in ministry?
Dr. Tony Evans: All of them in ministry.
Dr. James Dobson: Now that's your greatest success.
Dr. Tony Evans: That's our greatest joy.
Dr. James Dobson: Well, what can we do for you now?
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, the main thing, of course, is going before the Lord and keeping our ministry before the Lord, because a lot of doors are opening now on a whole lot of levels. We're coming out with the Tony Evans Study Bible and the Tony Evans Bible Commentary.
Dr. James Dobson: And now a film or video?
Dr. Tony Evans: And now we have the film Kingdom Men Rising, and we have a series of films that are planned after that. We have the training center has now opened up. That's where we are in now, the Urban Alternative Training Center and we now have people taking courses online all around the world now so that…
Dr. James Dobson: We're going from here to a theater to watch that film.
Dr. Tony Evans: Kingdom Men Rising.
Dr. James Dobson: Is it a video or a film?
Dr. Tony Evans: It's a film, it's a film. It's an hour and a half, full-length film, challenging men to biblical manhood. Because we have a manhood problem in our culture and if we don't fix that... You know, the reason why God made Adam before he made Eve was because God was going to hold Adam responsible. He says, "Adam, where are you?" Not, "Adam and Eve, where are y'all?" The Bible says, "in Adam all die," not in Adam and Eve. Not because the women wasn't critical, but because the man was responsible. And if we don't get men to take back responsibility for manhood under God with their families, with their churches.
Dr. James Dobson: That's the key to everything. Does your heart grieve for what's happening to our nation now?
Dr. Tony Evans: Our nation, we are watching the devolution of a society. We are devolving as a society, and that is because we have walked away from biblical principles. And when you walk away from that, you walk away from God.
Dr. James Dobson: That's the key right there.
Dr. Tony Evans: And when you walk away from God... The further God is from a society, the more chaotic the society will be. And so we've got to fight the good fight of faith to bring it back if Christ does not come. Because if Jesus doesn't come back, so if he comes back, we don't have to worry about it. But if he doesn't come back for another 100 or 200 years, we better worry about it. That's our kids, our grandkids, our great grandkids.
Dr. James Dobson: You know in Romans 1, it's very clear that you go too far out there, you get moving into a sinful dimension like that, there's a point at which the Lord can give you up.
Dr. Tony Evans: That's right.
Dr. James Dobson: Give you over to a reprobate mind. I fear we're pretty close to the edge.
Dr. Tony Evans: Yeah, we are tilting over. We're tilting over, but the hope I have is this: God says in 2 Chronicles 15:3-6 says, "There was no true God, there was no teaching priest, there was no law." Everybody was doing their own thing and chaos. But then it says in verse 4, it says, "In their distress, they cried out to God," and then it says, "and he let them find him." We need to get enough people crying out to God so that God will do what he'd done a number of times in scripture, change his mind.
Dr. James Dobson: And the question people often ask me is, what is it going to take to bring a revival to this culture that is sinking? And change occurs in a crisis. It's when people get scared and uncomfortable and are going through all kind of distress is when they start saying, "Wait a minute, isn't God here? Maybe he will hear us." And that could bring a revival. I'm not asking for that, because only God can bring that kind of pressure on a people, but I know how he works. I mean, you can't read the scriptures without understanding that you shake your fists at him and defy him and get involved in that kind of willful disobedience, which is what I see occurring, there are consequences to that and we're close to them.
Dr. Tony Evans: We are close to them, but that's why the word has got to go out stronger than ever. That's why what you're allowing us to do has got to get out there in spite of the opposition. Because if the Christians don't do it, there's nobody else who can, because God always starts with his people first.
Dr. James Dobson: You know, the reason I love Billy Graham so much is that he remained humble despite all of the accolades and everything that occurred to him. We were in the Capitol building a long time ago and he got the gold medal for citizenship. That's got a name, but I don't remember what it is. You know what he did? He stood up, here were all or many of the members of the Senate and the House had gathered there to acclaim him, and he got up there and preached a gospel message. And he remained humble. I never saw him in any context begin to take the credit for what he was doing. That's a message to you and me.
Dr. Tony Evans: Absolutely. We got to be deflectors, because the moment you start owning your own glory and God shares his glory with no man, you in trouble. And you have modeled that humility and that kind of spirit and I'm piggybacking on it.
Dr. James Dobson: Well, I see it in you, Tony, and I'm grateful, because a lot of good things have happened to you, and people say a lot of nice things, but you have kept that humility and kept the focus on what you started to do. I don't know that you have drifted from that at all. I certainly have not seen any evidence of it. And your heart still belongs to the Lord, doesn't it?
Dr. Tony Evans: Well, I love him and I want him to strengthen me for this next leg of the journey and people like you and our history together, our friendship as well as the ministry connection helps to shore that up.
Dr. James Dobson: Are you my brother?
Dr. Tony Evans: Yes, sir.
Dr. James Dobson: It's so much fun being with you, Tony, just talking together here. Blessings to you, Tony.
Dr. Tony Evans: God bless you.
Roger Marsh: Well, what a great reminder that we should always seek God to receive our strength, to overcome challenging times. I think of the words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:29. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the week." That was quite a stirring conversation featuring Dr. Tony Evans and our own Dr. James Dobson here on Family Talk. And as many of you who follow the Evans family know, Dr. Evans' wife Lois went home to be with the Lord in 2019. Tony and Lois were married for over 50 years. And if you'd like more information about Tony Evans and his movie Kingdom Men Rising, visit drjamesdobson.org/familytalk.
You know, children are our most precious resource and sadly, the battle for a child's life often begins before birth. Too few people realize that their local pregnancy resource center is literally on the front lines of the mission field, sharing the gospel with young women who are confused about a pregnancy that perhaps they didn't plan.
And as they minister to these pregnant women, young moms, and ultimately their children, it's a great mission field. To encourage these inspiring ministries, the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute urges every church and also every believer to adopt a PRC or a pregnancy resource center. Now, if you'd like to find a PRC in your local area, we've created a special resource for you to accomplish that task. Simply go to dramesdobson.org/prc. It's that simple. Once you hit that link, you'll see all the pregnancy resource centers right in your own community, and remember to keep expectant moms and their babies in your prayers as well.
Again, that's drjamesdobson.org/prc.
We appreciate you remembering that the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute is a listener-supported ministry. We're so grateful that you've joined us today. We appreciate your prayers and the financial support that you provide as you stand with us to protect truth and the lives of the pre-born as well. I'm Roger Marsh. Have a great weekend. May God continue to richly bless you and your family as you grow stronger and deeper in your relationship with him. And be sure to join us again on Monday for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.