Ravi Zacharias & The Depths of Shadows
This is not an article I ever thought I would write nor it is one that I want to write. I know that many of you have heard about what is going on with the late Ravi Zacharias and his ministry. If you don’t, you can watch a video by Mike Winger
Essentially, Ravi used his status and power to manipulate many women into sexual acts. He did this for years and essentially lead a life in the shadows of his sin while we all believed that he was a wonderful teacher, man and Christian.
You can read about the probe and the third party investigations here: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/rzimmedia.rzim.org/assets/downloads/Report-of-Investigation.pdf
What I am interested in doing here is not going over all the things that Ravi did because that has been done above and other places many times. I want to respond in a short way that discusses what we do as both believers and listeners of someone like Ravi.
Our shadows of sin can sometimes be more real than the Christian faith we proclaim. That is to say, those shadows, can sometimes be the reality while the Christian faith we proclaim is a shadow of something longed for or desired. I do not know Ravi, I spoke to him once in my life, I spoke to his team a few times and am still connected with some of them and I think that they are just as blindsided in all of this as anyone else.
We have video from the woman who started this all and as she breaks down reading her story I will not be the one to say “shes lying and this was a ploy for money” because I think what happened happened. We have texts, emails and other data showing that Ravi had a history of sexual misconduct. What I will say is that anyone who accepted money, anyone who accepted his gestures, his talk, his persuasions, his whatever else - ie., any woman who wants to play victim but accepted something for it forfeits their victim hood here.
That may be a tough swallow but it’s a reality that this hierarchy attempts to exist where women good (even though they do wrong) and man bad. This odd discourse of victimhood suggest that women in general are powerless and in this case powerless to an old man with a perversion. The data shows that these women continued to come to him and accept jobs of being a massage therapist for him. That doesn’t scream victim. In my time as an anti-human trafficking worker I saw actual victims who could not escape because they were literally bond hand and foot. I saw little children who knew not about the life outside of being trafficked. I met 9 year old girls who were abused in african slums at their schools and could not escape because they had no where to go.
THIS IS NOT THAT.
These grown adult women accepted their fates. Do I think manipulation is real? Absolutely and nothing I say here absolves even 1% of what Ravi is accused of doing nor should anyone believe my statements here are to take the heat off of Ravi or RZIM - he is no longer on this earth and is paying for what he did no confess of or did confess of while he was here.
My only objection is to how we are treating both ends of the sinful spectrum. We cannot come to the aid of a victim if the victim hierarchy is as western as we’ve created it to be which means to say - one plays victim by accepting it knowingly. The victimhood of these families and RZIM families can be noted that they believed lies. That is what they are a true victim of and hopefully this kind of thing does not continue.
This is a deeply sad and horrific situation where many people are hurting. I pray that these women effected find strength in new ways to not need the reliance of being a victim. I pray that RZIM finds their way forward to share the Gospel and apologetic works. I pray that anyone listening to these matters and is guilty of these things takes the road that Jordan Peterson says is “doing right for a time so that one can change their life” ie., make it stick.
Do we need to throw out his books? I mean, I threw out his books when he admitted he never attended Oxford or Cambridge. He lied about credentials over and over and over again. This was smoke to the fire we are in now.
Prayerfully as a Christian community we can hold eachother to higher standards. Prayerfully we can move forward, those hurt by Ravi can find healing and his family can reconcile the issues.
Biblically speaking, we should expect this. This isn’t a jolting mechanism in the wheel of Christianity because the Bible predicts these things and Paul even tells us how to react to such things. He tells us that “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.” Philippians 1:15
and goes on to tell us that we should rejoice that the Good News is being preached otherwise. Let me put it this way it is not the carrier by which the News is truth, it is the News itself that is truth. It is not the carrier that saves but the Spirit within the News that saves.
I hope that clarifies any doubt.
Yikes, have a good weekend.
1 Timothy 5:24
”The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.”