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A portrait of Jack Evans Sr. and his wife, Patricia Officer Evans, is shown above 12 memorial stones at the funeral.
Photo by Don Mooney

A spiritual prize fighter for the Lord

'I am not under my own orders,' Jack Evans Sr. said. 'I am under the orders of God.'

TERRELL, Texas — Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

In life, Jack Evans Sr. did just that.

He preached so hard that often he put on an overcoat after he shared the Gospel because he was soaking in sweat, and he needed to cover his body to retain the heat.

Evans Sr. was more than the president of Southwestern Christian College for nearly 50 years. He was a spiritual prize fighter with a mean left hook for the Lord. No matter where he preached or what event he attended, he gave everything he had to ministry and never backed down from delivering God’s word.

Related: ‘A giant has fallen’: Longtime Southwestern Christian College president Jack Evans Sr. dies at 81

“Peter didn’t say, ‘Well, just say you’re sorry that you killed Jesus.’ He said, ‘Repent and be baptized’ — isn’t that right? — ‘for the remission of your sins,’” Evans Sr. boomed during the 2011 Crusade for Christ in Washington, D.C., where several people decided to be immersed one night.

After the service, Evans Sr. stood by the baptismal pool. I asked him why he preached so hard.

“I am not under my own orders. I am under the orders of God. The Bible says when a man speaks, let him speak from the oracles of God,” he replied, quoting from 1 Peter 4:11.

Related: ‘Daddy, it’s all right. I’ll see you a little later’

From Los Angeles to New York City, this devoted man of God will never be forgotten.

James O. Maxwell, the longtime vice president of Southwestern, said Evans displayed the same passion in working with students that he did in the pulpit. That’s why so many alumni — many of them gospel preachers — returned to East Texas to celebrate the life of this preacher, teacher and father who was indeed a mighty spiritual warrior.

“He would seldom make a mistake in his presentations because he really wanted excellence,” Maxwell told me hours before hundreds gathered to remember Evans Sr.

Jayon Hunter, a current Southwestern student, said he wanted to attend the funeral because Evans Sr. made such an impact on so many.

“He touched us in our ministry,” Hunter said. “He taught us, and he loved us.”

Countless others shared similar sentiments as they mourned this champion of the faith once delivered to the saints.

HAMIL R. HARRIS is a Christian Chronicle correspondent and veteran journalist. He preaches for the Glenarden Church of Christ in Maryland.

Filed under: Crusade for Christ historically black colleges and universities Jack Evans Sr. National Perspective Racial reconciliation and the church Southwestern Christian College Texas Top Stories

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