One Steps Aside … and Another Steps Down

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Tony Evans
Robert Morris

Disclaimer 1: I don’t know all of the facts regarding these two pastors and their ministries. I don’t know anything about these men’s walk with Christ.
Disclaimer 2: You don’t either.
Disclaimer 3: I am a sinner, saved by God’s transforming grace. (Romans 3:23; Titus 2:11-14)
Disclaimer 4: Any judgment passed should be according to the Bible; the basis we judge others is the same basis by which we will be judged. (Matthew 7:2)

This afternoon, the elders of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas accepted their Senior Pastor’s letter of resignation from his position, following news from Monday about sin from thirty years ago. The Senior Pastor was Robert Morris, the church’s founding pastor. Gateway claims that 100,000 people around the world watch their worship services each week.

Last week Tony Evans stepped aside for sin he committed in the distant past, Evans says his sin was not criminal. He reminded the church that Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas — a church that he founded — had always submitted to the Bible as their authority and that he had not measured up to the Bible’s standard of behavior. Dr. Evans did not reveal what his sin was, only that he was submitting to the elders of OCBF. He and church elders look forward to Dr. Evans’ restoration after a “healing and restoration process”. OCBF posted a copy of Evans’ statement to the church here, which I highly encourage you to read.

As of this writing (6/19/24 12:00 am), Gateway has not posted anything on their church website regarding Morris’ resignation, however shortly before midnight, Morris’ picture and name were removed from the Leadership page. Unlike Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, it does not appear that Robert Morris will be afforded an opportunity to be restored as Gateway’s Senior Pastor. Plans were set in place in 2022 for his son, James to replace him in 2025.

In the case of Robert Morris, the victim was twelve years old at the time. No one has determined yet if the Statute of Limitations has run out on Morris’ sexual abuse crime.

It’s a mess and the godless news media and social media are in another anti-Christian frenzy. Many unbelievers will look at this and say, “Uhm-hmm. There goes another one!” Many believers will look at this and question their faith. Many “believers” will deconstruct and drop out.

In all of this, at a minimum, people will see God’s reputation and the reputation of Christianity as tarnished.

I fear that Gateway will see a quick exodus of attendees (and some staff). I fear that Gateway will see a huge falling away similar to Hillsong, leading to closing campuses [which might be a good thing?]. Or that Gateway people will bow up in denial, convinced that this is merely “spiritual warfare”. Or perhaps all three.

I hope that people can see the differences between moral sin and criminal sin — and the consequences of both. Morris’ sin was said to have been dealt with “biblically” by his church in 1987 and that Morris stepped away from his evangelism ministry for two years for counseling and freedom ministry. He says his victim’s father forgave him, however, the victim denies Morris’ claim.

Obviously, Morris’ sin was not truly dealt with biblically if the authorities were not notified when the events occurred. Morris was clearly not forthcoming in his references to his past. He said that he had had “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” from 1982 until 1987 when he was in his twenties. His victim was not quite a “young lady”; she was only twelve.

On a side note, I wonder why the victim brought this out thirty years after the events. Could someone be looking for a payout? Could they have looked for a payout and were denied? I’m just wondering … . (Edit: I just read that in 2005 Morris’ accuser was offered $25,000 to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) after she had demanded $50,000). His accuser refused to sign the NDA.)

For now, Gateway appears to be lawyering up. The Trinity Fellowship Association of Churches (TFAC) — Gateway’s authority organization — may be doing the same.

I briefly addressed Tony Evans in my sermon last Sunday and encouraged our people to keep their eyes on the infallible Jesus and not on men who are pre-disposed to err toward sin, as all of us are.

Perhaps, God is judging His bride. (1 Peter 4:17) Perhaps this is one thing that must happen to move Believers to take seriously 2 Chronicles 7:14 and do our part to bring revival.

I just pray that God will be merciful to us.

Hopefully, we’ll repent and return to God’s simple instructions in Micah 6:8.

Please join me in praying for Tony Evans and Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. And please join me in praying for Robert Morris and Gateway Church. Pray for Robert Morris’ victim. Pray for Believers and lost people who hear about these pastors and their churches. Pray that they will look to the infallible Jesus and not to fallible people.

Sources:
Everything We Know So Far About the Shocking Abuse Claims Surrounding Pastor Robert Morris – Faithwire
Gateway Church founder and senior pastor Robert Morris resigns after sexual abuse allegations
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church Senior Pastor Tony Evans steps away from duties due to unnamed ‘sin’
This past Sunday’s Sermon at Faith Community Baptist Church
Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up: The Fall that Changed Everything
Robert Morris, Tony Evans, and the path to spiritual victory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *