Dr. Tony Evans has issued a statement clarifying comments he made during during a discussion with DTS scholar Dr. Darrell Bock charging that black families were stronger and made more progress during slavery.
"The biggest problem in black America today is the breakdown of the family...the breakdown of the family is unraveling us as a community. When 70 percent plus of your children are being born out of wedlock and the fathers are not there to tend to them, you've got chaos in the community. That's crime, that's unemployment and most of these kids are going to be raised in poverty. And that's something we control," Evans explained during the discussion, which was focused on Biblical racial reconciliation.
"The White man is not making you do that. He's not forcing you into that position. That's a convenient out. In slavery when we did not have laws on our side, the community on our side, the government on our side, the broader community on our side, our families were a lot stronger. We were a lot more unified and we made a lot more progress. We're going through regression right now and a lot of that is because of decision-making we are responsible for," he continued.
Dr. Evans' comments sparked criticism from many, including Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton who argued that the pastor's "points about strength, unity and progress seem surreal and aren't accurate in any meaningful sense."
"I hope he comes to recognize how such a statement, made in the current scene, takes us backward," Throckmorton wrote.
This weekend, Dr. Evans issued a clarification for his statements, which the Gospel Herald acquired via email.
"Slavery was ungodly, unrighteous and unbiblical. During slavery, the family was broken up by force by unspeakable atrocities even though African-Americans struggled to preserve it," Dr. Evans writes.
"To offer clarity on both my intention and meaning, the black population was largely unified in fighting against the breakup of the family being forced on them due to the evil system of slavery. Black unity was a powerful force, to the greatest degree possible within the limitations of slavery, in seeking to keep the family intact."
Dr. Evans goes on to explain the idea behind his controversial statement and condemn racism "on all levels,' expressing sorrow that his remarks were taken out of context.
"My comparison to today is that we have lost some of our unity and the shared goal of keeping our family units together, and we are often making choices that are dismantling our own families and also hurting our own communities. We do not want to do to ourselves voluntarily what slavery did by force (i.e., destroy our families)," he writes.
"I have always and will always stand on behalf of justice, and do not condone oppression in any form. I condemn racism on all levels, whether personal or systemic. I am saddened that my remarks were removed from the context of my entire discussion."