Finding Hope In The Ravi Zacharias Scandal


Earlier this month, Christians around the world were devastated by the news that the late evangelical apologist, Ravi Zacharias, had reportedly sexually assaulted and abused numerous women for years. report confirming allegations made against the speaker was released after the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry hired an outside firm to complete an independent investigation following claims of sexual misconduct against the pastor.

In a statement, RZIM offered detailed descriptions of their findings, revealing a stark contrast between the public words and private actions of the late evangelist.The report “found significant evidence of sexual misconduct involving additional massage therapists,” and stated that a review of  Zacharias’ electronic devices “found evidence of text and email-based relationships with women who were not his wife, as well as over 200 ‘selfie’-style photographs of women.”

The report concludes by saying, “We are confident that we uncovered sufficient evidence to conclude that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct.”

As a result, according to Eternity News, RZIM’s operations “have already ceased in many parts of the globe. The latest arm is RZIM Africa, which has pulled down its website except for a statement of lament…RZIM Canada announced on February 18 that it is ‘winding down operations’, after ceasing to take donations last month,” and the U.K. branch of RZIM announced that it will “make a clear separation from the global RZIM organisation,” reportedly adding that it is going to “operate without any link to RZIM US” and “choose a new name.” In Australia, the only two RZIM speakers who work full-time stepped away from the organization before the report was released.The Christian faith teaches that all people are sinners, though not all human beings struggle with the same sins, or act on temptations in the same way. Christians often discuss the complexity of sin when someone “falls from grace,” but that’s not necessarily the lesson to be learned here.

There is more to this story — a chance for people of faith to find hope. Ultimately, hope is meant to be found not in human beings or their actions, but in God and His promises. However, humans can also give hope — something I believe God provides.

RZIM could have avoided further investigation following Zacharias’ passing on May 19, 2020. These allegations and revelations are especially disarming because the man is no longer alive to apologize, explain, or even simply to accept fault. The ministry could have ignored the women’s accusations given the fact that the accused was no longer alive to defend himself. However, they decided instead to investigate the accusers’ accounts, enlisting the help of an outside group. They didn’t have to do that. Once the initial disgust and anger over the situation subsides, one has to take a step back and acknowledge that RZIM did something difficult. Something they knew had the potential to end their entire operation.

When someone navigates to RZIM’s website, the only page that comes up includes two of the organizations’ recent statements on the Zacharias investigation. They aren’t hiding the truth.

RZIM shouldn’t close its doors and end its ministry. Maybe it shouldn’t be called “RZIM” anymore. Maybe it was built up too highly around this one person to begin with, a person whose despicable actions have now ruined the ministry’s efforts and destroyed its future effectiveness.

But ending the organization altogether is letting the evil actions of one man win.

Millions of people have been impacted by Ravi’s work, myself included. When I heard news of this report, I wanted to believe that it wasn’t true. I wanted to see flaws in the research and find fault with the people sullying his name. But I didn’t. The truth will come out, and Christians are meant to expose the darkness to light and find freedom by letting go of sin and failures, and finding Christ.

I don’t know what the long-term answer is for RZIM. Maybe it’s using their remaining funds to establish an organization to help victims of sexual assault find love and acceptance in the message of the Christian faith.

What was intended for evil, God can use for good.

Good has already arisen from this terrible situation. It is found in RZIM’s willingness to accept responsibility and hold their own organization accountable.

One man does not determine the impact of the Christian story. One human being’s sermons are not the cornerstone of Christianity. The entire Gospel message is based on this concept, the idea that Christ is “the founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2)

God’s work is not limited to an organization or outreach structure, and the gospel isn’t watered down by a man’s failure to live by its teachings.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministry has been given a chance to show it.

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