Tony Evans steps away from ministry over past sin

Pastor Tony Evans is a popular pastor and author.(Facebook/Tony Evans)

Tony Evans has announced he is stepping away from ministry for a time of "spiritual healing and restoration" after saying he had previously fallen short of the standards expected of a pastor. 

The 74 year old did not go into specifics but suggested it was "due to sin" and said that his family and church elders had been informed. 

Evans, who pastors Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, said that although his conduct had not been criminal, it did not reflect "righteous judgment".

He will now undergo a process of "healing and restoration" under the guidance of church elders.

"The foundation of our ministry has always been our commitment to the Word of God as the absolute supreme standard of truth to which we are to conform our lives. When we fall short of that standard due to sin, we are required to repent and restore our relationship with God," he said.

"A number of years ago, I fell short of that standard. I am, therefore, required to apply the same biblical standard of repentance and restoration to myself that I have applied to others. I have shared this with my wife, my children, and our church elders, and they have lovingly placed their arms of grace around me.

"While I have committed no crime, I did not use righteous judgment in my actions. In light of this, I am stepping away from my pastoral duties and am submitting to a healing and restoration process established by the elders. This will afford me a needed time of spiritual recovery and healing." 

A statement from the church elders said it was "obligated to govern the church in accordance with the scriptures" and that the decision to step away from pastoral duties had been made "after tremendous prayer" and "multiple" meetings with Dr Evans. 

"Dr Evans and the elders agree that when any elder or pastor falls short of the high standards of scripture, the elders are responsible for providing accountability and maintaining integrity in the church," the elders said.

"We serve a God that is merciful to forgive and gracious to restore. In the days ahead, Pastor Bobby Gibson and the elders will provide more information regarding interim leadership and the next steps for the future of our church."

Evans has pastored Oak Cliff for 48 years. He told the congregation that while he is working on his spiritual recovery, "I will be a worshipper like you."

He concluded his announcement, "I have never loved you more than I love you right now, and I'm trusting God to walk me through this valley. Thank you for your love, prayers, support, and forgiveness as I continue my spiritual healing journey. As we walk this journey together, keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."