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Robert P. Evans

Robert Philip Evans was born February 21, 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland to Rowland and Bertha Evans.  He spent his childhood in French Cameroon, West Africa, where his parents were missionaries with the Presbyterian U.S.A. He attended Wheaton College from 1935-1939 and married Jeannette Gruner with whom he had two children. From 1939-1940 he was pastor of the West Side Congregational Church in Dixon, Illinois. He received his B.D. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Philadelphia in 1943 and was ordained as a minister in the American Baptist Convention.  He served as a chaplain in the United States Navy and Marine Corp. from 1943-1946 throughout North Africa, Italy, and France. For his service as chaplain in World War II he received the Purple Heart, a Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Medal of Commendation, and the European Theater of Operations ribbon (with 4 combat stars). Following WWII, Evans was Executive Secretary and Vice President of Youth for Christ from 1946-1948 (based in Chicago, Illinois but involving extensive travel in Europe).  In 1949 he was founder and professor of Bible at the European Bible Institute, Paris, France until 1953.  From 1952-1986 he was founder and European Director of Greater Europe Mission (GEM), which grew out of the work of the European Bible Institute.  Throughout the 1950s Evans was an adviser to Billy Graham on evangelistic work in Europe and played a major role in many Billy Graham Evangelistic Association campaigns in Europe, including the evangelistic meetings in France for the next three decades. He was also a visiting professor at several seminaries in Europe and the United States.  He received honorary degrees from Wheaton College, Illinois (LL.D.) in 1962 and from Eastern College, Pennsylvania (L.H.D.) in 1969.  Evans received his PhD from the University of Manchester, England in 1972, for his research on the contribution of foreigners to the spiritual revival that occurred in France during the post-Napoleonic years of 1815–1850.  The title of his dissertation was "Contribution of Foreigners to the French Protestant Réveil, 1815-1950." Evans also served for years as a member of the board of Christianity Today and in 1986, he retired from Greater Europe Mission but remained in Europe for several years serving as the special Europe representative of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In 1991, the Evans' returned to the USA to reside in Southwest Florida. Robert Evans died at the Shell Point Retirement Community in Ft. Myers, Florida on July 28, 2011 at age 93.