Should We Cancel Ravi Zacharias?

I did not know Ravi Zacharias, but I esteemed his worldwide ministry and have been impressed by the organization he founded and led. He was a winsome and eloquent advocate for Christianity, especially in public lectures. My appreciation only grew when I recently read a chapter about his life and ministry in a reference work called The History of Apologetics. Ravi was a consummate evangelist who employed apologetics to trouble “happy pagans” with truth and to bring Christianity to cultural influencers around the world. He said that “Apologetics is the seasoning; evangelism is the meal.” I agree. I prayed for his recovery from cancer and was saddened by his passing. Now I am concerned about his legacy.

I fear that Evangelicals may follow unwise cultural trends in light of the new allegations of serious sexual impropriety made against both apologist and evangelist, Ravi Zacharias, and allegations about how Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) may have handled these and other financial matters. If these are substantiated (or even if they aren’t), some may be tempted to cancel Ravi and his ministry. Many today want to cancel—meaning destroy or dismiss—aspects of American history they reject. Yes, there is much about America that needs to be repented of and replaced by something better. But the cancelation spirit is dangerous when its zeal for absolute purity leads it to ignore the good that is so often mixed with the bad in a fallen world. We don’t burn down the house to disinfect the shower, and we should not cancel Ravi. Nor should we cancel or ignore any women whom he may have hurt. If there are victims, they need love, support, and perhaps compensation. Nothing I will write minimizes the significance of the charges made or the consequences that might follow if the charges are substantiated against Ravi or against RZIM.

However, we should not make irresponsible accusations, as seems to have been done by some in the #MeToo movement. We should not commit false witness against Ravi or anyone else (Exodus 20:16). It is better to apply Paul’s counsel about evaluating prophecies to this scandal: “Test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV). Or as Jesus commanded, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24. NIV).

Canceling Ravi Zacharias could mean that publishers take his books out of print, that readers no longer read them, that contributors withdraw their support from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and that Christians generally disparage or disregard his half century of apologetics and evangelistic ministry. Before going that far, let’s think things through.

I am not taking sides or casting stones. I hope and pray the truth will emerge and that right actions be taken by the right people at the right time. But however things shake down, prurient interests should not be satisfied, since it “is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret” (Ephesians 5:12, NIV). RZIM is investigating the charges against their founder through a law firm. Zacharias’s denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, is looking into matters as well. I have no association with these investigations and no relationship to RZIM. Rather, as a journeyman Christian philosopher and apologist, I write to issue a warning. Before that, we should review biblical ethics concerning ministry, since any scandal is a cautionary tale.

Paul admonished Timothy to “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16, NIV). True doctrine and godly living are equally necessary for ministry. Paul further stipulated that an overseer must be “above reproach” (Titus 1:6-7, ESV). That applies to all Christian leaders.

Those with high callings need high standards, lest the messenger discredit the message and the messenger lose integrity. Christians continue to sin, but no Christian should be controlled by sin (1 John 1:8-10; 3:6). High profile leaders fall hard when they fall and often drag down many others with them. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12, KJV).

Since we are vulnerable to immorality, we should heed Jesus’ words: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3, NIV). Paul paid close attention to his own integrity. “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NIV). Christian ministers should fear being disqualified and take radical measures to defend themselves against it. We do so by guarding our hearts and being accountable to wise friends, counselors, and leaders (Proverbs 1:7; 4:23-27; 27:17; Matthew 5:27-32).

When Christian leaders fall and are exposed, they can repent and be restored—or they can run or dissemble. This scandal has surfaced after Ravi’s death, so that is impossible. He has faced his Master, who knows all things and judges righteously. We only know in part and often judge wrongly. How might we discern the matter as it stands?

First, whatever the verdict on Ravi, nothing should discredit the value of his apologetics or the fruit of his ministry, which brought many thousands to Christ and encouraged many others to do apologetics (1 Peter 3:15). Paul rejoiced when the true Gospel was preached even out of false motives, since the gospel will have its effect (Philippians 1:15-18; see also Romans 1:16-17). I have no evidence that Ravi had bad motives in ministry. However, Paul’s point stands: Irrespective of the faults of the preacher (or apologist or evangelist), the gospel will do its work, and for that we should rejoice. Ravi’s ethos may be tarnished, but his logosshould not be. 

Second, arguments are good or bad apart from the character of the arguer. To think otherwise, is to commit the ad hominem fallacy. Ravi’s apologetic method, called “The 3.4.5 Grid,” was sound. In a nutshell, this grid tests a worldview logically (Is it consistent?), factually (Is it empirically adequate?), and existentially (Is it livable and meaningful for life and death?). This agrees with my apologetic method I articulate in Christian Apologetics. Ravi used the 3.4.5 grid to great and global effect. We dare not discount that.

Third, without excusing sin, we might remember “the weakness of God’s servants,” as Francis Schaeffer wrote in No Little People. Moses, “the man of God,” murdered an Egyptian. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba’s and had her husband killed. The Apostle Peter denied Jesus three times. No one is sinless except Jesus. “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV).

Fourth, when a high-profile leader is accused of wrongdoing, it raises concerns about ministry culture. Is every ministry leader held accountable to his or her organization? Will the organization fairly investigate charges? Are prestigious leaders held to a lower standard because of their significance in an organization? If wrongdoing is found, will organizations repent and clean house? It’s time to examine ourselves and our ministries. “The Judge is standing at the door” (James 5:9).

In 1983, Ravi Zacharias prayed for $50,000 to start a ministry aimed at the thinking skeptic. He told no one. Not long after, a stranger gave the $50,000 that marked the beginning of RZIM. When Ravi asked the man what he would like in return, he said, “All I want is your integrity.” That is what God wanted from Ravi and is what God wants from us.

66 thoughts on “Should We Cancel Ravi Zacharias?

  1. Several years ago, similar accusations were brought against the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder after his death. After investigation, those allegations were demonstrated to be essentially true and Yoder’s publishers and the schools where he taught and lectured face similar quandaries. Their responses I think struck the right balance. Those who were theologically influenced by Yoder continued to recognize the validity of much of the work he did during his life, while at the same time recognizing the great harm that he had done to several individuals and the resulting shame that his actions brought on the institutions who supported him and his work. His publishers continue to publish his important works like “The Politics of Jesus” ((1972) and others. They did add a publisher’s note to his works indicating their awareness of the seriousness of Yoder’s sin and reminding readers that while his books are still important, they must be set in a larger context that makes clear the gravity of his sin. My hope is that something similar will happen with Ravi Zacharias and the works he has published.

  2. I will be charitable to Dr. Groothuis and simply say that this is an extraordinarily naïve piece.

    No, the scandals did not just emerge after Ravi died.

    The following is undisputed.

    In 2015 it was revealed that Ravi been dishonest about his academic credentials. He claimed to be “a professor at Oxford “ to be “Cambridge educated“ and to have studied “quantum physics“ at the Cambridge. (And much more.)

    Each of these claims was not just false, but was outrageously false. This was willful deception, pure and simple. (Ravi’s response was not boldly to step up to the plate and confess to fans and donors. No, in August of 2018 he very quietly admitted these deceptions in a single email to an obscure Christian blogger. He had never been a professor at Oxford and had never in enrolled at Cambridge. To my knowledge he never apologized for these false claims anywhere else.)

    As an academics Dr. Groothuis well understands the seriousness of such false claims.

    In 2017 Ravi was accused of sexually grooming a married woman. He threatened suicide in writing to pressure her not to confess to her husband. He then sued her in federal court and paid her for a nondisclosure agreement.

    Ravi privately admitted making the suicide threat but when Christianity Today magazine asked him about it he refused to comment.

    None of the above is disputed.

    Groothuis is correct that the spa scandals did not come to light until after Ravi died. But there’s no dispute that he owned two massage spas where he had massages alone in small rooms with women. This by itself makes his loud proclamation of adherence to the Billy Graham rule a deception.

    Now three women who were contacted by the Christian press after Ravi died have shared their personal observations. Ravi Zacharias was an out of control sexual predator.

    I interviewed two of these women. I also interviewed Ravi’s then business partner, Mr. Anurag Sharma, who told me in no uncertain terms that one of the reasons the spa had to be closed was because of Ravi’s treatment of the women.

    The evidence is absolutely clear and it is disappointing that Groothuis downplays it.

    Please google “Ravi Zacharias spa” for extensive Christian investigative reporting on Ravi’s misconduct in the spas and elsewhere.

    I invite Dr. Groothuis to contact me to set up a phone call where we may discuss the evidence. It is important that the apologetics business world raise its ethical standards and this would be as good a place as any to start.

    Frankly, in my secular world the false claim to being “a professor at Oxford“ would be enough to get someone canceled. But we have higher standards than the Christian Apologetics business world does. It would be nice to see greater parity. In this regard, Ravi has given you an opportunity. I hope you seize it.

    Steve@lawbw.com

    • Thank you, Steve. Well explained. Much of the abuse by RZ became public during his life, Douglas. The existence of the NDA is evidence of that.

    • Steve Baughman, the self deception thing atheists practice is real. They can cast a verbal stone all day long at Christians for the past deeds of the popes and other religious leaders but then they will deny that atheists through communism committed crime. You couldn’t rise in the Soviet communist party ranks unless you were an atheist so the linkage between the two is clear.
      Why would atheists ask for evidence so much when it is clear the evidence that God sent Jesus to deal with is sin? Atheists also make the category error of thinking too literally about God because they refuse to love and respect Him as a superior being then reinforce this overly literal thinking in others and treat God as if he is just another sinful person when He is not. He is a supremely holy God and with all his divine attributes that puts Him in a unique category by Himself. That is why He is worshipped and glorified. With God all things are possible and you never subject God to the limitations of men but people transfer this erroneous type of thinking to others a lot.
      You have to learn God’s truths about Him as conveyed by the Bible or else you will commit the category error and fail to pay God the love and respect He deserves.
      Have you ever read some of the eisegesis unbelievers project onto God? It’s horribly offensive and doesn’t paint an accurate picture of things at all. They use this cherrypicked history and bad eisegesis to stop any relationship with Jesus forming dead in it’s tracks. Of course, some Christians have a superior knowledge of God to unbelievers because some form a relationship with Him based on the knowledge He provides though some believe in God before reading the scriptures at all. Stay away from the people who are offending God, Steve, and do not learn their ways. God can read all their thoughts.
      Honesty must start with ourselves. Imagine you let someone who failed to think critically about God transfer his erroneous thinking to you? You have to learn to identify the holy in scripture and not make false attributes of evil to God. God is holy no ifs or buts about it. Many atheists just don’t have all the information they need to make a well reasoned decision. They just assume and fail to see God’s perspective. So seek and get your own answers. Don’t rely on others to have told you everything right. This is God we are talking about and God is not a man to tell a lie.

      • Susan. With all due respect, I am not interested in talking or hearing about theology in this forum.

        And I don’t mean to be rude, but as soon as I see that you’re witnessing to me, I don’t read further.

        I feel I should let you know that.

        Thank you for your kind intentions anyway.

      • Ok, Steve but I wasn’t witnessing. I was sharing my findings on atheist spiritual blindness. I have talked about religion to almost 600 atheists and you notice patterns after a while.

        What if you were too openminded and shared your thoughtlife with untrustworthy people. We tell kids not to talk to strangers but not adults. We assume adults can handle things but maybe they can’t. Look at where all the Nazi propaganda got the science and philosophy loving Germans. God says to guard your heart.
        Think about it. Have a good day!

      • Sin exists. It is God’s evidence. Imagine pointing out sin exists in another person while denying it exists in oneself and while denying it is evidence,

        Some people are self deceptive evidence deniers.

        Christians are not delusional. We know we sin and we know we need forgiveness of sin to go on with our lives.

      • I just came across L Paige Patterson. Apparently he mishandled two sexual abuse cases but the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary stripped him of all benefits, rights and privileges. See Christianity Today.com on it.

  3. Deeply saddened if the accusations against Ravi prove to be true. Your counsel for caution, humility and graciousness are well taken. A recognition that the failure of our leaders points to our failure to faithfully pray for them should humble us all. Well spoken Doug.

  4. While I believe Steve Baughman meant well in his comment above, I believe Steve missed the point of the article. The article does not set out to defend or condemn Ravi. The article is about whether we should “cancel” Ravi in light of the allegations and actions. I believe Steve’s comments are a side effect of the very issue Dr. Groothius laments – outrage coupled with closed ears/minds. The outrage in Steve’s work is evident from the first sentence and proceeds throughout, but the closed ears aspect is evident by him addressing something that is relatively off-topic – Ravi’s guilt. Ravi did good work and he sinned badly. The question is not whether he did it or not, but whether we should add him to a rapidly growing list of black-balled personalities that did not live up to our expectations. I hope anyone else who reads the article will read it for what it is and not get stuck in the culture quagmire of outrage that ensnared Steve. Should we cancel Ravi? If any one of us is without sin, let them be the first to throw a stone.

    • Dave. Well said. And you got me thinking. So I went back and re-read Groothuis’ piece.

      It would be hard not to see a misleading pro-Ravi agenda in Groothuis telling us that he “hopes and prays that the truth will emerge.” (As though it hasn’t!)

      Indeed, one could read his piece and have no idea that there is compelling evidence of systematic career-long credential fraud by the “consummate evangelist” who “brought many thousands to Christ and encouraged many others to do apologetics.”

      Nor does Groothuis offer even a hint of the now undisputed fact that Mr. Zacharias threatened suicide to cover up his online sexual misconduct and then actually paid for the woman’s silence (after a vicious lawsuit that now appears to have been full of falsehoods.)

      Does all of this not matter to Groothuis? If it does, why does he direct our attention only to the current financial issue and the spa abuse allegations, with a note that they are still under investigation (by Ravi’s own people.)

      No, Groothuis is not just urging Christians to be biblical. (He could have invoked Ephesians 5:11, but skipped it and began at verse 12.) Nor is it just about Christians avoiding hasty overreactions.

      Matthew 7:3 is the favorite evasive tool of Christians who find their gurus under fire, with King David a close second. It would be naïve to think that Groothuis employs both of these in his article with no awareness of their diversionary powers.

  5. Guess what? Ravi is dead now so why don’t we leave the judging to God. Is the world a Christian’s judge? I doubt it. So he blew his witness. The world is still not Ravi’s judge. He will give an accounting to God. He’s no longer accountable to the world. Don’t let the people like Gandhi who said I love your Christ but not you Christians fool you. They should have believed on Christ’s witness not on Christ’s followers’. Yes, a Christian should have a good witness but who except the actual person and a few of his close acquaintances and God really know how much he changed. We’re suppose to love everybody. Merge some grace with truth and realize we’re not all that right ourselves.
    A Christian will always have his detractors. The world rejected Jesus for pete’s sake. So let go of the perfectionist standards that hurt you inwardly and make it harder to follow Jesus…we Christians never claim to be finished works in this life do we? So stop hyperfixating on sin. Ravi is dead and God already budgeted for all his sins before he was born. We’re human and have limitations and maybe that’s what is engaging to God that He sees us in all our limitations responding to His exhortation to be like Jesus in spite of it all.
    World work on yourself. Let Ravi rest in peace. He’s dead.

  6. Susan. Would you like to cancel the whole field of history? (It is, after all, about researching dead people.)

    Also, Ravi Victim‘s live on, as do his enabler‘s and those making big money by keeping his dirt in the closet.

    Do we leave all that alone?

    • Hi Steve, I wrote my reply before reading the wiki bio of Zacharias and before reading your reply. It’s likely you are correct. Christians are to judge other Christians as per 1 Cor. 5 but we are not to judge unbelievers. I had pointed out to me recently on another Christian blog that sometimes when we judge in that moment we suspend love and help and we could lose some humility ourselves.
      All of the psycho-spiritual aspects are a deep mystery to me. I truly do feel I am learning to judge with righteous judgment but the more important thing to do is to learn to love more. God is easy to love. He’s perfect but people are not that easy. Was Ravi a predator? Sounds like it. Maybe in the constant need to be right in the apologetics light he lost himself. It’s hard to say. I did apologetics for quite a while but now believe evangelism and the simple truth is the better way. I tried mastering theology outside of theology school and came to find out most of unified theology’s core doctrines are wrong and nobody is teaching the salvation of all though 1 Tim 4:9-11 says to do so.
      Jesus and his apostles didn’t engage in systematic theology. We allow unbelievers to cast false burdens of proof in apologetics because we’re so darn busy arguing like Greek philosophers when God never told us to prove to anyone what He already proved through Jesus and in Romans 1. All we really have to do is tell the Gospel truth and stand on it. The truth saves people. Arguments do not though maybe a few will think more deeply. Love keeps the most. Sorry, for the tangent Steve. I applied to a Ravi program some years ago but thankfully was not accepted because I am more evangelist than apologist and evangelism is offense with the Sword of the Spirit while apologetics expects you to dabble a lot in worldly arguments trying to win.
      But God didn’t say to win arguments. He told some to be His disciples and spread the truth and everybody else to seek. What if by playing the lazy skeptics’ game with the skeptics we keep them too lazy to seek? They do so love to cast evidence burdens on us that God already answered. They really have attitude not evidence problems any way as shown by the insincere way most of the skeptics view the evidence. So don’t argue. Exhort these unbelievers to take responsibility for their own souls and seek. God doesn’t reward arguers. He rewards seekers.
      And go light on Ravi. We’re judged by our own measure. He’s got God to answer to now. What if he gets striped or loses his reward? The book of Luke says a believer can be striped. And Christ might say he never knew him. Wiill he make it to the blessed and holy first resurrection? The strange thing is both goats and sheep are clean animals.

      1 Timothy 4:9-11
      King James Version
      9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

      10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

      11 These things command and teach.

      God bless, Steve. I see your point but still learning to judge with mercy and grace. Justice is not co-equal with mercy in God’s mind. Mercy guides God’s judgments. The false Roman perspective of the scriptures liked to make justice co-equal with mercy. Probably came from the Roman emperors influence on Christianity. The emperors had an empire to rule so they exalted justice and came up with a new state religion. God’s perspective is Hebrew and Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world. So why do Christians act like they should judge and rule others. That’s putting the cart before the horse. Save the people first. How do you judge or rule someone without the same value system? Cf. 1 Cor. 5.

  7. Thank you for your article. I have grieved over this more than usual.. I think I see how flawed, Fallen and fractured we are. God uses all kinds of people (sinners) if the accusations are Somewhat true, restitution must be made. But I agree with you. Don’t burn down house! I am 87 and I still have to fight and mortify lust. I was hoping I would outgrow it. But alas No so. The Christian life is still a battle with flesh and it’s still all up hill…. God bless you, sir N Mayfield

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Wonderful honesty Norman but you can put your mind over matter and do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

      Proverbs 16:32
      Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

      Any issues then act like Joseph with Potiphar’s wife and remove yourself from temptation fast!
      God bless!

    • Oh, what’s going on inside of me?
      I despise my own behavior
      This only serves to confirm my suspicions
      I’m still a man in need of a Savior
      Oh, Lord be my light and be my salvation
      All I want is to be in the light

      Charlie Peacock

  8. I am commenting only on your use of II Corinthians 4:7. We can see from reading the several verses both before and after this one, that the “jars of clay” are not fallen humanity’s sinfulness, but ordinary human limitations and the unbeautiful appearances of Christian suffering. Moses and King David were punished for their sins, Peter had to repent of his sins, and this passage by Paul doesn’t address that. It is not relevant to your third point of how should we discern what to do about RZIM.

  9. Unfortunately, the apologetics community has long been silent about immorality and greed among their own ranks and attacked anyone who attempted to call out their hypocrisy. I mean, where was the outcry when F. Graham and R. Jefress endorsed Paula White’s book and her position as Donald Trump’s spiritual advisor? Or when the SBC was called out by Beth Moore about endorsing Trump and not addressing the rampant sexual abuse cases happening (last time I looked there was 700 leaders legitimately accused with strong evidence by the cover up other leaders did for them). What was the apologetics and academics response? To go after Beth Moore on the grounds women should not be preaching from the pulpit or teaching men. Sounds like cancel culture to me it just happens to align with your sinful nature as opposed to a **Gasp** progressives.

    Or when supposed men of God who make their living proclaiming God’s word and call themselves Pastors and teachers of the flock start having for profit businesses and getting heavily into politics. especially in not so up and up businesses (I mean day spa? Why not open a chiropractic clinic and go the actual medical route and have male as well as female masseuses, and you only see the male ones in a clinical setting. Any of these steps would have avoided the appearance of evil.) look at Jerry Falwell Jr. it wasn’t that he was investing in real estate, it was who he was investing with, in very questionable real estate ventures and with whose money was it being purchased. Then we find out about the sexual immorality.

    Greed is very deceptive and allows us as, Tim Keller has said, to serve our true idols. It is quite clear Ravi’s ministry had become his true idol. He used its “burdens” that it put on him as justification for his need for sexual immorality. Idols are task masters. God is not. God does not drive us like cattle, he leads us like sheep. If you are feeling driven and burdened that is not God, that is your flesh and the devil. May we all repent of our idols of self importance and Glory stealing before we too have to stand before our God and we will either hear well done or I never knew you.

    I pray for my own repentance so I will not hear the latter, that I realize I do not have to be anywhere or ever make a sound for God to save someone. It is a privilege and a blessing that we are allowed to be used at all. The only way to being allowed to be used by God is in constant prayer and repentance. As teachers and preachers, we need to understand our message is as much for us as it is for the hearer. We are simultaneously in the pulpit and the pew. Giving and receiving all at the same time. Sometimes the message comes from struggle in the past or is indicating what God is about to have you wrestle with. When you stop receiving the message yourself and put yourself above it you are in trouble.

    • I agree with you a lot, Tammi. There is a greed factor today. You can’t even give to a charity without them sharing your name with other non-profits without your consent. They are on donation auto pilot request and you are their ATM.
      Apologetics has been all involved in all sorts of worldliness for a while now borrowing from Greek philosophy and mixing Protestant apologetics with Catholic apologetics indiscriminately. Did you know that futurism and preterism in eschatology were started by Jesuits named Ribera and de Alcazar to counter the Reformation then shelved. A few centuries later the Protestant John Nelson Darby came across it and popularized futurism and the rapture. Almost no apologists will point that out. But all the Reformation leaders followed the historicist view. The Protestant apologists don’t even separate themselves from the Catholic crimes and Inquisition. Why would a Presbyterian like Tim Keller feel he has to apologize for Inquisition crimes?
      “Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you.”
      It’s all man pleasing mainstream organized traditional religion. You can’t even show most teachers and preachers and apologists the error of their doctrine. Many of them think they know everything but lack the teachable spirit but Satan deceives the whole world and judgment starts with the House of God. People have bought bad ideas all over Christianity hook, line and sinker! People don’t even realize God qualifies those He calls not a seminary education. The ordination is from God but then men are deceived by appearances a lot.
      Have a good day!

  10. I find it ironic that a renowned New Testament scholar like Dr. Goothius so blatantly lifts Ephesians 5:12 out of context to downplay the behavior of an alleged sexual predator hiding behind the cloth. The verse immediately prior states, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11, NIV). Things did not turn out well for Eli who minimized the predatory behavior of priests under his watch (see I Samuel chapter 1-4).

  11. So far exactly ZERO prominent Christians have spoken out against Zacharias’s misconduct. His extensive and systematic credential fraud apparently was not a problem for Christian leaders, like Dr. Groothuis. And one gets the sense that there is cowardice in the leadership ranks about Ravi’s systematic sex abuse.

    That is a far more revealing issue than yet another abusive Christian minister.

    • This seems a bit severe, Steven Baughman. How do you know what the intentions of a whole group of Christian leaders is? Besides Zacharias is dead.

      I’m more concerned that Christianity can’t seem to shake the eternal torment doctrine when the Bible plainly says Jesus saves all. Cf. 1 Tim 4:9-11.

      Have a blessed day!

      • Harsh? Evangelicals knew 25 years ago that Ravi was exaggerating his credentials. Not a single one spoke up. (This is per Christian theologian John Stackhouse in his interview with Christianity Today magazine.).

        When Ravi threatened suicide to cover up his online sexual misconduct with Ms. Thompson, and I shared the suicide threat widely, not a single prominent Christian leader spoke out.

        Ravi’s own ministry has now confirmed his “many years” of “sexual misconduct” and that “more serious“ contact will be revealed in January or February. Not a single prominent Christian has spoken out.

        Harsh?

      • Oh I see you have been observing the evangelical leadership for a while now. My problem with Christianity is I think mainstream Christianity has been doctrinally deceived by translation errors into believing a false eternal torment doctrine since everything was transferred from Greek into Latin in Jerome’s Vulgate.

        Numerous people down the centuries have tried to reveal the doctrinal error to correct Christianity from the erroneous literal to the more spiritual interpretation but most Christians act like they are stone cold blind to the truth when it is told to them.

        Why do they think Catholicism locked the scriptures into a poor Latin translation of the Bible then refuse anyone to re-translate into the
        vernacular. Aion-Aionios by the Rev John Wesley Hanson, Eternal Truth, Godly Love? on merciful truth dot com and Joseph E Kirk in his online essay “The Salvation of All, When Should It Be Taught?” have all publicly announced the correct doctrine but most of Christianity remains stubborn and unteachable on this horrendous error. Remember Revelation 18?
        It says to come out from among Babylon. The Roman Catholic Church merged with Babylonianism and we still haven’t got clear of all the evil lying doctrines.
        But perfect (that’s mature) love casts out fear.
        A lot of people are gradually figuring this deception out. So yes Satan deceives the whole world especially gullible Christians who refuse to search things out like Bereans. Nice talking with you. Have a blessed day and may His grace abound to you!

      • I am quite bothered when discussions of the serious sexual Misconduct of a major evangelist and the systematic cover-up of his international organization, and the cowardice of his Christian colleagues, gets hijacked into a discussion about theology.

        It happens all the time.

  12. Where did my former comment go? I disagreed with DG about RZ and whether his materials should be used for future evangelism. So someone nixed the entire thing? First, I’m not a shallow reader and have probably read more outside of Steve Baughman on this subject before writing my comment. Steve is impeccable in his research and honest in his conclusions, so much so, that when he draws a faulty conclusion, he admits it readily. I would too, had someone been kind enough to point out any error in what I wrote rather than just hit the delete button.
    Doug states that he never met RZ. I met him multiple times and he even remembered me by name on the latter few occasions. A couple of decades ago, I was a volunteer for his ministry and I read everything he had written up through 2005, when I began to see inconsistencies concerning his “three doctorate degree that were conferred upon him,” as his old literature stated. I know many Ph.Ds and none of them, including my former professors, stated it this way. Upon my inquiry I found that he lacked any legitimate degree beyond his MA at Trinity (TEDS). In opposition to Steve B, I have the highest respect for TEDS. But in total agreement with Steve, he needed to be exposed for using fraudulent credentials. I always called him Dr. to his face. He relished in the accolade and often gave antidote stories where other called him Dr. For example, he said: “Lee, one time I met a young man like you and he asked me, ‘Dr. Zacharias,’…” and the story continued I noticed this in his lectures h e did this often, so he set the groundwork for anyone approaching the microphone to address him as Dr. Zacharias. He knew it was a lie and Steve Baughman had the tenacity to (1) confront RZ personally about his over dinner and (2) publish the results. Kudos to him, even if we are at opposite poles theologically.
    What I do not get about the most recent sexual “misconduct” revelation of RZ is that DG offered a prayer, ” I hope and pray the truth will emerge…” I stated that his prayer was answered. The truth came out on the RZMI website itself that RZ committed very serious sexual misconduct with several young ladies (who were younger than his daughters). It was also in Christianity Today and the preliminary letter from the investigative law team was published at RZIM.
    I have a sister who was sexually abused, so I know the mental and spiritual damage this does, yet the attitude of many male Christians is that the women in some way deserve it or prompted it. Anyone who promotes egalitarianism should be wise to that error. When I stated that this makes RZ a sexual predator (unwanted touching was alleged by all three women and he was the perpetrator). CT magazine revealed that he masturbated over 50 times in front of one of the women, How is this not a predator? I also stated that had these ladies come forward while he was living instead of dead, then this is precisely what puts men in jail. There would have been a police investigation instead of a “Church” investigation.
    Nixing the hard truth is why we, as Christians, have so much of this going on unchecked. It is easier for the likes of Jim Bakker to pay hush money to Haun than to tell the truth. Think also of the sexual exploits can brought down Jerry Falwell Jr. recently. I also stated that the world (police, prosecutors, investigative journalism) makes us more accountable to the morals that we claim for our own theology than what we do for ourselves. Yet this was too much for someone and it got nixed. Maybe that person should read the three CT articles and are public, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, World magazine, and the Thompson’s blog site, and others who did first-hand interview of the victims and published their side of the story. RZ had at least two occasions to publicly confess his sexual actions, in 2017 with the Thompsons, but, instead, he victimized the victims again. Then when the CT article stated that the co-owner of RZ’s massage spa confronted him in his office with the spa manager and he became defensive and blamed the “girl,” as he called her, then he missed is second opportunity after confrontation. He, of course, should have had the last three years since 2017 for the Holy Spirit to convict and convince him to go public, but he kept is silent and allowed the victimized girls to bear the weight of guilt that they did something wrong. One stopped going to Church because of it, another one was fired because Ravi called her a liar, and on the victimizing goes.
    Finally, I asked the question about what should we say if we continue to use RZ’s material to evangelize? If I lead someone to the Lord through a RZ book and then later that person discovers RZ’s sexual scandals, then how can I tell that person that I did right by giving them RZ when other books are available? It makes no sense, I think that the verses cited by DG are not on-point in this discussion, but rather, look at the Apostle Paul and how he handled sexual misconduct in 1 Corinthians, a man having sex with his father’s wife. Paul was outraged and reproved the Church for not handling it right and he turned that perpetrator over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that his soul should be saved in the day of the Lord. Thankfully, after the man heard this, he repented, as found in 2 Corinthians. When we have scandals like the one brewing over RZ, we should handle it with what the Bible directly states about sexual sins (and it has a lot to say) instead of using unrelated verses about the speck in one person’s eye while we have a log in our own. No, not all of us have the log of sexual misconduct, so it does not fit the situation. Instead, take a long hard look at the direct sexual sin statements, for within the context of the speck and eye, Jesus also said “if any many looks upon a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery already.” Somehow that part of the Sermon on the Mount was not quoted above.

    • Lee. Nice bits of original information about Ravi. Thank you for that. Filling the record out is important. Someone’s going to write a book on Ravi, Inc. in the future, and original material like this will be nice part of the historical record.

      In 2015 when I first confronted Ravi and his ministry about his “doctorates” they were very dishonest. The line they adopted publicly was that “Dr.” was something Ravi did not want his employees to use in addressing him, and that he discouraged others from using it, but it just got foisted upon him in certain situations.

      That was sheer and utter bullshit. When I called his office to speak to him his personal secretary answered with “Dr. Zacharias‘s office.” There was a sign with “Dr. Zacharias“ on his office door. It was all over his official RZIM bio. And now you have shared your “Dr. Zacharias” experience.

      He and his ministry lied to us big time about this small matter. (“Dr. Zacharias” is the most minor of his deceptions, and the one that has ministry succeeded in drawing the most attention to, away from the far more serious “professor at Oxford“ and “Cambridge educated“ claims.)

      This may all seem trivial compared to what we now know of Ravi being a systematic sexual predator. But it is NOT trivial. It shows that there is deception in the very DNA of RZIM. Not just in Ravi, but his staff, the people who managed his website and who wrote his press releases and managed his ever-more-serious crises. They were dishonest people who put Ravi’s reputation above the commands of the God they made so much money claiming to serve.

      Douglas Groothuis can pray till Kingdom come for “the truth” to come out.” But it’s right in front of his nose. RZIM was, and is, rotten to the core. Doug actually is praying that it’s a dream. But it ain’t.

      I interviewed two women at the spas before I broke the story. Their experience with Ravi was chilling. Both were extremely reluctant to speak and insisted that I maintain confidentiality as to their identities. They did not want publicity, money, nothing.

      Yes, Ravi waved his penis in their faces. This was a perk to which he was entitled as a hard-working minister of the gospel. That is the same M.O. he used on Ms. Thompson, the Canadian woman he paid $250,000 to in 2017 to keep quiet.

      The law firm looking into this has told us that the worst is still to come. I can’t say a whole lot, but remember that if Ravi was willing to be this brazen with women in his own neighborhood, imagine how free he would have felt with the women in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur! Stay tuned.

      And then there is what former SBC president Johnny Hunt told me minutes before I filmed my video, that Ravi brought women in from India to work in the spa. Trafficking? (Hunt told me he was a regular at the spa. He should know.)

      Incidentally, the law firm has access to Ravi’s personal electronic devices. So we should be hearing directly from Ravi.

      Yes, Doug. Keep praying that this evidence isn’t. It’s a shame, because Dr. Groothuis could be the first prominent Christian to speak out forcefully against Ravi’s conduct and to demand greater integrity in the apologetics business. But he’d rather pray. (He is in good company. ZERO prominent Christians have spoken out, and it’s been five years since the credential fraud surfaced, three years since we learned that Ravi threatened suicide to cover up his sexting and paid money to keep the woman silent.)

      As an atheist I envy the option that you religious folks have. “I’m not a coward. I’m a prayer warrior.” Sweet!

      By the way, Lee, I have much respect for Trinity. (TEDS.) Did I suggest otherwise? Before I wrote my Ravi book I contacted them and reviewed their MDiv program. It was rigorous. If I ever write my book “Famous People I Have Taken to Dinner,” it will include my taking William Lane Craig and his wife, Jan, to dinner in San Francisco a few years ago. Craig was Ravi’s classmate at Trinity and they took trash out together at night. As you know, Craig is a serious scholar with two doctorates and impressive publications. He is the real deal. So I don’t diss TEDS. I just don’t think having an MDiv from there entitles you to call yourself a leading expert in philosophy, theology, and comparative religion.

      But Dr. Zacharias disagreed. Or I should say, he behaved as though he disagreed.

      At some point I hope we all realize that this isn’t about Ravi. This is about evangelical Christian businesses not giving a shit about integrity. God, Inc. has the same ethical standards as Tobacco, Inc. and Roman Catholic, Inc. Let’s stop pretending otherwise. There’s too much power, sex, and money involved for it to change. It won’t. And why should it?

      For it’s part, RZIM has adopted a strategy of hanging Ravi out to dry in the hopes that nobody looks too closely at their own complicity in his multi multi multi million dollar deceptions. They will issue loud press releases about how shocked, shocked, they are. There will be tearful promises of reform. And they will desperately hope that nobody realizes that they are Ravi.

      Ugly, but important.

    • Mr. Werge don’t use Ravi’s materials then. The reason is “you will know the tree by it’s fruit” and by using his works you could pass his bad doctrinal analysis onto people. We should be going directly to the Bibles themselves anyway except many of the Bibles themselves have been corrupted from the Latin Vulgate bible. Jerome posted keyword translation errors in the Vulgate that persist among many of the most popular bible versions today. The Young’s Literal bible, Rotherham’s and the Concordant Bible correct these errors and there may be other bible versions that do also. Check Gary Amirault on it. The KJV copied and transferred the errors and it was one of the most popular versions ever so, of course, the bad ideas went mainstream early. Imagine learning to take to heart the bad idea that God is a psycho bully but that is exactly what the idea of eternal torment conveys to some people and exactly what the more literal minded Christians and unbelievers latch on to. Turning some Christians into avid hell fire advocates like the Westboro Baptists and turning unbelievers with weak biblical educations who cannot understand why God is so angry into militant atheists.
      Ideas are sown….so if the text is suspect don’t use it. Go find one that has the cleaner, clearer more holy ideas.
      No wonder Christians have so many moral issues. The popes have been deliberately sowing rotten ideas on Christianity for centuries and on top of that they substitute the doctrines of men through catechisms for the Word of God. It’s a miracle anyone gets Jesus at all any more. A lot of the Catholics seem to idolize the pope in Christ’s place. With all their bowing and scraping to him when he’s just a man and Christ is still the head of his church. Read Wesley’s Notes on Revelation 17. Wesley’s Notes are online for free. All the Reformation leaders said the papacy were the antichrists. There are even claims by some that the RCC started Islam but I am still investigating that claim. He who controls the interpretation of God’s Word is wielding a lot of power on this Earth so the people wielding that power should be inspected thoroughly and many, many of the popes were corrupt. Google the crimes of the papacy or find “Wicked Popes!” a short essay by Henry Halley online. You have to guard your heart from the transfer of evil thinking…that is what God in the Bible says to do. Guard your heart. Ralph Waldo Emerson of Harvard Divinity School wrote:
      “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
      ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
      Emerson’s idea is derived from God’s ideas in the Bible and he is right. I wrote and told RZIM ministries among many others Christian groups and leaders that Christianity was wrong on the eternal torment doctrine. They are all suppose to be defenders of the doctrine and most ignored me without checking. Probably because they were too busy or deceived or over relied on the bad translations to be right. It’s all very diabolical of the devil. The laborers are already few and he manages to corrupt core doctrines to corrupt the few laborers that God has. May His grace abound to you. Have a great day!

      • Just think about it Mr Werge. Christ comes to earth to save people from their sins and add them to the very family of God and the devil diverts many people away with an evil doctrine from translation errors that most can’t see or refuse to spot when pointed out. The tactic is pure evil genius. Seriously, who doubts God’s ability to save everyone unless the idea is planted on you long and deep. God created a whole world and all the people and He can’t save everybody any time He wishes? All are created through Christ and all are reconciled through Christ and he will lose some of these children created through him? God doesn’t lie….but men can make errors and lies the doctrinal tradition of men. Aren’t the few more critical thinkers than the many? Who really takes the time to latch on to every word out of the mouth of God until he thoroughly absorbs and understands it? Did you know there are women deaconesses, disciples and even apostles in the New Testament? The women prophets in the Old Testament out numbered the men prophets. But people today still think they can quote one bible verse out of context to shut spiritual women up. Why all of Christianity rests on the witness and testimony of Mary Magdalene. What if she hadn’t spoke? If you shut all the women up with bad doctrine then the laborers are even fewer. It’s diabolical how Satan manipulates the immature natural mind’s thinking. Spiritual growth takes time….fruit matures…over time. God bless!

  13. Sorry, for sharing theology with you, Steven Baughman. I thought you were a Christian because you were on a Christian blog. You can seek out God on your own if you want to know things or need any evidence beyond that provided in Romans 1. God rewards seekers.

    There really is no burden of proof on theists as the subject of the existence of God is theological not philosophical. For several thousand years now enlightenment has been sought by individuals personally. Some how unbelievers got this confused in modern times. Must be all the internet memes putting out misleading examples.

    Have a great day!

    • No offense taken, Susan.

      But I suspect I would object to your bringing theology in even if I were a Christian. If you learn that your pastor is embezzling money from the Sunday school lunch fund do you start talking theology?

      Sorry if I’m wrong, but I just think it’s a way to avoid dealing with the ugly fact that the Christian apologetics community nurtured and enabled a man who was so brazen a pathological deceiver thar it should’ve been clear to all with eyes to see.

      After five years of complaining about Zacharias to Christian’s I am less and less hopeful that a serious discussion about his conduct will take place. But the still, small, naïve, voice in me still keeps me hopping.

      Thank you for being gracious and kind in communicating with me. Merry rest of the Christmas week to you and I wish you a happy 2021.

      • I think Steve, Christians are trying not to be judgemental about Ravi. I have seen you commenting about Ravi but no one cared. This is a problem in Christian Society but the matter of the fact is Christians are pretty much aware that demonizing Ravi is not going to help anyone except some people who find pleasure in seeing that. So I think they listen to any preacher or apologist until they find their mistakes. But the best part is nowadays Christians are trusting only in their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and not any mere humans which is a positive thing .

      • Stained makes a good point, Steven Baughman. As Christians we’re not really supposed to be keeping records of wrong and we really aren’t suppose to dwell on loose or coarse talk.
        There is a big problem with people making illegal substitutions in their minds of Christians with wall issues with Jesus Christ to deny him. Gandhi did it. He said “I love your Christ but not you Christians” or something to that effect and thereby missed the whole point and object of Christianity which is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We follow him not other Christians. He is the pattern of scripture prophesied about.

        There are and always have been weak or hypocritical Christians. You will know them by their fruits and we should expose evil to correct people and destroy sin which is the work of the devil but at some point you have to give up these grudges because they can cause roots of bitterness or other heart problems. Besides the Bible says never to go to bed angry. Expose the evil but at some point you have to let it go.
        Seriously, who substitutes a bad Christian walk for Jesus Christ. That could make your relationship with God fail before it has even begun. The people that do that should examine themselves. This may be the great dividing line between believing and not believing and being a truly repentant Christian and merely a nominal one. We all need to take stock of sin and be wary of it while we walk in newness of life because we still have the 3 enemies: the flesh, the world and Satan. Sin is a genuine reality in this world but we still have to recognize we are forgiven and go on and that requires fixing your eyes on Jesus and following him faithfully. He is the Christian’s better half so we focus on him.
        Have a wonderful day and happy New Year, Steve. God bless!

      • Am I being too harsh on Dr. Groothuis? I am considering that, but I don’t think so.

        I am not a part of your tribe, so how y’all handle integrity issues is your business, for the most part. But I am a long-term part-time philosophy of religion student and I value an honest debate and discussion between our camps.

        Fake credentials mess that up. And you guys I have shoddy ethical standards on that front. Doug Likes some of the stuff he read in Ravi’s books and is apparently unbothered by the fact that Ravi used false pretenses to sell those books. “ Cambridge educated“ appears in his author bios, including on the jacket of some of the books I’ve seen. “Professor at Oxford“ gives Ravi an air of authority when he speaks, writes, and sells merch. These are brazenly false claims and obviously so. If Doug had simply googled Ravi’s he would’ve known about this. Or maybe he did and he just didn’t think it’s a big deal. After all, when it comes to the marketing the gospel the ends apparently justify the means.

        The whole not judging thing is a little confusing to me. Jesus said turn the other cheek, not turn the other way. “ Rebuke them sharply” Titus 1:13
        Ephesians 5:1 “ expose the darkness.” Etc etc.

        It is not Groothuis’ job to police the apologetics world. But the only time, to my knowledge, that he has ever spoken up about Ravi, he threw some mandatory platitudes to the victims but his main concern was that we not “cancel“ the apologist who has been deceiving people for decades.

        That says some thing about priorities.

      • Steven if you read what Paul says about correcting people he says to do it with care so you don’t get caught up in sin yourself. People may be under estimating the power of sin. At the mere suggestion of temptation Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife. He didn’t linger around continual temptation. He knew it would just weaken him. Weaken his will and resolve.

        I have given it some thought and evolution does damage to men’s thinking. When you identify with animals you are identifying with instinct. Animals have souls but there is nothing proving they can reason to the degree a person can. When you identify with God and follow Jesus’ pattern he’s teaching you how to put mind over matter. It starts in the scriptures. Mind over matter is the fruit of the spirit of self control. Essentially Jesus is building up a spirit in people and that takes time. The scriptures are given as good to build us up. So if Ravi drifted away from the scriptures too much to engage in worldliness too much it could have left him weak.
        When you’re engaging the world all the time you really need to stay in the scriptures then because a Christian’s battle is spiritual and our weapon s are spiritual. He must not have been as strong in the Lord as he needed to be. You see in apologetics you are probably spending too much time on science and philosophy and none of that feeds your spirit . You need to be a spiritual warrior to overcome and defeat temptation. Not be an intellectual. Also the ordination comes from God not human institutions but we are all deceived by appearances vs. reality. None of Christ’s disciples had degrees. They were all common folk but his hand picked men. Of course, he had to retrain them all but they all seemed to have the teachable spirit because they all changed for the better.
        Have a good day!

      • I’m really not clear on what your rules are. You’re not supposed to judge, but you are supposed to expose evil.

        People take the “do not judge” option and it turns into a Predator’s Paradise (One where you can call yourself a “professor at Oxford“ and “Cambridge educated“ and your apologetic colleagues will let it slide, for your entire life.)

        In my secular academic tribe we have much higher standards. So does the secular publishing industry.

      • The world’s criticism of people when they mess up can be pretty harsh Steve. Plus a real Christian might take a fall and be really hard on himself in self judgment and repent and changes his ways. Christians don’t go around asking other Christians if they repented. Repentance is the gift of God given in God’s timing. Sometimes it precedes baptism and sometimes it follows later.

      • Oh by the way, Steve Baughman, the reason you didn’t see the apologists correcting Ravi Zacharias might be that you’ve never heard of how they are done. The correction happens in the church body of the church group a person belongs to. Where they go to worship . Not in the professional community.
        It just occurred to me because I have rarely heard of it happening and almost forgot. It would be kept quiet most likely too because gossip is a sin and discouraged. Words have power and we are suppose to use them wisely.

        Hope this helps.

      • So if the sinner decides to keep abusing, keep lying about their credentials, keep selling books based on false credentials, they get to keep all of that in-house?

      • Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize you had a financial
        question. I don’t have any idea on that.

        I will leave the thread now so it stays on topic for you.

  14. Sorry for being off topic Prof. Groothius but I didn’t know how else to get this tract to you. From the Tentmaker site:

    A Short Tract on “Aion”

    How would you feel if I used the word “age” in the following manner. First of all I would use it as a period of time with a beginning and an end. I could use it for a very short period of time like 3 days or for a very long period of time covering thousands of years. Then I would also use the word to mean world or course of this world. I would also use the word to mean eternal or everlasting. If I said, “age of the age,” I really mean forever or forever and ever or for evermore. If I said, “age (singular) of the ages (plural),” I mean throughout all the generations of. If I said, “age (singular) of the age (singular),” I also mean for ever and ever. In addition, if I used the word age in the plural form, ages it means more than one age. If I used it as an adjective, I would mean eternity.

    It should be clear to anyone reading this, that we would have a very difficult time communicating with each other if I used the word age in the manner I just described. The Greek word aion, which should consistently be translated age, was used exactly as described in the above paragraph in the King James Bible.

    A thorough study of this word in a good concordance such as Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible will reveal that the King James Bible butchered that word. Why? If they didn’t twist the word the way they did, the doctrine of eternal punishment could not be supported by the Bible. So they took a word which simply means an indeterminate period of time or an age and twisted it into a word which can be as short as a day to the concept of timelessness, that is, eternity.

    The fact that the King James Bible says that the Aaronic Priesthood is an “everlasting” priesthood when the book of Hebrews clearly states an end to it should make one think. (see Ex. 40:15 and Heb. 7:14-18) KJV has Jonah in the belly of the whale “forever” which actually ended three days later. (Jonah 2:6) Dozens of examples like the ones above should make one see that the King James translators did not handle the translation of this word aion and its Hebrew counterpart olam correctly.

    Modern Bible translations have come a long way in clearing up much of the outright contradictions found in the King James Bible. But there is still more work to be done. The doctrine of eternal torment is what is at stake. If the translators render the word aion and its adjective aionios consistently as a period of time with beginnings and endings, then the teaching of “eternal” punishment will no longer find a place in the Bible. This teaching has been the main instrument used to hold people in institutional churches. Those who use fear to hold people will not abandon this weapon.

    Write for a list of Bibles that have already removed the false teaching of “eternal punishment” from their pages. Also, we have gathered dozens of books, booklets, tracts, etc. which will prove to the open-minded that the teaching of eternal punishment in hell is a pagan concept which is not found in correctly translated Bibles.

    Thanks for reading the above Professor and God bless!

  15. Oops Steve. Typo meant to say the scriptures are given as our food. We mentally digest and assimilate God’s ideas into our being and it changes us over time. Doesn’t everyone change over time? God uses our circumstances to change us too. He is the Potter and we are the clay.

  16. Steven Baughman, you’re a bit like me and like to research. I read a lot of biographies and sometimes unearth secrets and I also have been known to debunk a few bad doctrines. Just wanted you to know there are a lot of online sites where you can get to know God better for free. To know Him is to love Him. One of God’s good servants is the former atheist Gary Amirault. Amirault is now dead but he converted, became a serious bible scholar and wrote a blog dedicated to revealing a great doctrinal cover up. You may develop a more perfect knowledge of God by reading it. A lot of serious students of the Bible like to research and make discoveries about God. The Bible is a very ancient book and parts of it are shrouded in mystery so doing the deep, deep resarch and unearthing spiritual truths is essential. I bother to say this and upset the topic again because God owns everything by right of creation and every Christian should be promoting a clearer understanding of who God Our Father is to everybody who isn’t a Christian. Evangelism isn’t a gift it is the calling of every Christian. Hope you read that site. Especially Amirault’s testimony. It’s on the Tentmaker blog. Have a blessed day.

  17. These comments have generated multiple threads of thought. I am happy to see that Steve Baughman, an atheist, feels comfortable talking with us. His real point is the same as in his videos—he just wants to raise bar a bit for Christians to act responsibly beyond our typical suppression of corruption in the Body of Christ. We need to be more like Jesus, the apostle Paul, and the other apostles who were a soft as sandpaper about public sins.
    Why would Jesus say to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan,” unless he had acted contrary to Christ’s will? Peter had opportunity to repent, but when we find heinous sins that damaged multiple lives from a Christian icon who was living a secret double life, then it deserves no less directness than what Jesus spoke to Peter. The apostle James tells us that a (Christian) man who looks at his face in a mirror and then forgets what manner of man he is, then he is double-minded. Jesus said that you cannot serve two masters, you will either love the one and hate the other. The evidence is that RZ did not hate his sexual misconduct and even bought a “health spa” to engage in it all the more.
    First, what I state that the information below is based upon the firsthand interviews with the spa girls by CT, Newsweek, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, World magazine, RZMI’s webpage (Public Statement—Dec 23, 2020), Miller and Martin law firm, and Steve Baughman. It is high time that we feel sorry for RZ’s victims instead of crying about what will become of his ministry. Some of these girls were Christians and who have left the Church in direct response to RZ satisfying his sexual drive by feeling their thighs, crotch, exposing his genitals to them, and masturbating in front of them. Any Christian who attempts to defend RZ is as sick as what he is for doing it.
    What if it was your Christian daughter in the spa? One father would not even let his daughter return to gather her things. He went to collect her belongings at work after her bout with RZ’s sexual appetite. Face it, RZ damaged these girls mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Steve Baughman asked the right question when he wanted to know why Christians are not speaking about this. To our credit, though, CT and World magazine were bold and a number of Christian websites about victims of sexuality have done so too. We have our vocal network, but it is shallow compared to the news he has made. In fact, several Christian websites quote him as their source, thus indicating that he leads the way and is more vocal than what we are. That is the right question and he asked it of DG too. Why the soft-shoe instead of leading the way with a strong condemnation of sexual sin by leaders and supporting the victimized girls.
    A double-minded man who lives a secret life contrary to Christ’s commands about looking and lusting after a woman, which is adultery, touching them in contrast to Paul, “Touch not a woman,” and RZ’s other grotesque perversions. Did not Paul call out Alexander the Coppersmith by name for being against him? Didn’t he tell us to “mark” the deceivers among us? Didn’t he tell us to not eat with such a one? Didn’t he call out by name the sins of Hymenaeus and Philetus? Didn’t he rebuke Corinth for not addressing the sexual sin of a member, whose sin is not so mentioned among Gentiles, and then turned the man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh? Why do we ignore all of these verses?
    We are quick to quote the “do not judge,” verses, but they simply do not fit this situation and Paul would have been under the same restraint, but he called out sins and the name of those who committed them. Jesus sternly warned us that if you cause the least of these little ones to stumble, it is better that a millstone is hung around your neck and you are cast into the sea. What about these girls who RZ abused who left the Church and had to get therapy? RZ was well-alive when he was confronted about two incidents that surfaced, but instead of repenting, he victimized the victims by calling them liars. We now see that he was the liar, not them. Defend the victims, not the liar who called them liars.
    P.S. for Steve if he reads this. In answer to your question, I took your comment in one video about TEDS being unaccredited as your disrespect of TEDS, but thank you for clarifying it. By the way, even in your profession, not all law schools are regionally accredited, most only have ABA recognition to get the job done and pass the bar. Similarly, Christian seminaries get the job done our own way without governmental interference, although some are also regionally accredited.

    • Great comments, Lee.

      Yes, I want Christians to raise the ethical bar in their own tribe, but not because I’m meddling. I care very much about the philosophical and apologetic discussions about God. They become corrupted when people parade false credentials around. Ravi did that from his earliest years as a licensed minister.

      Second, yes, I also care about sex abuse and there sure is a lot of it being committed by Christian ministers, and the old boy network is not exactly working to root that out. (The Baptists get more excited about critical race theory than they do about sex abuse.)

      As for Trinity, I don’t remember calling it unaccredited, but I will take your word for it. It’s still a good school and it was when Ravi went there. Thank you for calling on me to clarify that.

      I hope people print your comments here out and hang them on the refrigerators. (Best thing I’ve read all year and it’s already 2:18 a.m.) 😂

      Thank you.

  18. You’re not interested in the doctrinal cover-up, Steven? Too busy pursuing your own agenda? What if I told you the cover-up is likely to increase spiritual blindness in people and also foster spititual terrorism? What if Fred Phelps’ thinking of the Westboro Baptists was a product of the doctrinal lie? God doesn’t lie but people do. Why do you think Martin Luther fought the pope to get the church to stop charging for God’s free grace? This is a big coverup. So big I have dedicated time to telling everyone about it and as I do I occasionally run into a few Phelps like people who have so let the lie alter their psyche that they lose all love and instead of checking like a Berean would they verbally assault me and call me a heretic. Do you want to have faith established so you can have a genuine relationship with God in this world who is the greatest person in the universe or do you think people should let lies rules their heads by assimilating bad doctrine. This bad doctrine could even be an underlying cause of unbelief in the overly literal minded people. A lot of militant atheists are every bit as literally dogmatic as literal fundy Christians. I know because I have been on the receiving end if both groups. As an apologist and as a universal reconciliationist. This is your soul on the line Steven so have a care for it and look at what Amirault has to say. God bless you. Or watch the short videos on Youtube by The Total Victory of Christ church. You and everyone should be getting to the heart of this deception because all of us were handicapped by the Roman Catholic Church because they didn’t teach us Greek or Hebrew in a REVEALED religion. Why do our religious leaders forage aroundin dictionaries to get the meaning of words to interpret passages? The Roman Church kept everything locked up in Latin while it reinforced bad doctrine that hinders people’s thinking for centuries and centuries. Not everyone is going to be able to think critically enough to shake off the effects of bad ideas and find their way to God. Remember the wheat and tares parable? The tares look like the wheat. The difference is in their heads and what they take to heart. We are all personally loved by God and we should all be able to build a relationship with Him yet not everyone does and that is supernatural if you think about it. So let Amirault show you. He thinks very critically on doctrine and maybe if you catch some key points with him you may change your mind on a few things, Einstein said intelligent people can change their minds and God said:
    Proverbs 12:1, New King James Version
    Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.

    You are so important to God, Steve, don’t ignore Him to satisfy the opinion of men who might be wrong. Establish the truth through serious personal investigation for yourself. God bless you and keep you!

    • Susan. I don’t believe in God. So I really don’t care about doctrinal disputes any more than you care about whether Hinayana or Mahayana is the true path to spiritual awareness.

      What I do share with many Christians is an interest in integrity and minimizing sexual abuse. And I think your tribe is a little weak on those.

      My hope is that exposing Ravi will help. That’s why I’ve been doing it.

      • Well maybe you spend too much time looking at the worst people pretending to be Christians, Steve. Yeshua tells you “You will know them by their fruits” (words and deeds).

        Everyone sins. Have you looked at some of the people in your own tribe with a critical eye starting with yourself. If you do you might be able to agree with God that every “tribe” sins.

        The Marquis de Sade was an atheist. Diego Rivera was an atheist and a cannibal. Kim Jong Un of Korea, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Mao, Trotsky, etc. All were atheists. Google the League of the Militant Godless and see what the did in the Soviet Union. They show Trotsky on Netflix saying he was willing to kill 90 or 100 million in support of his ideas.

        Find “Marx and Satan” by Richard Wurmbrand and read it. Wurmbrand did a 14 year stint in an underground Moscow prison for delivering the Gospel to the Red Army. They knocked every bible verse out of him and he still had the spirit. He said he forgot every verse under torture but got out and started the Voice of the Martyrs. How is that for evidence of the spiritual? Wurmbrand contends that Marx concocted his theories while leaving his family to starve just so his new political system could destroy religion. He had a talent for languages and could have made money as an interpreter so they didn’t starve but he was too busy concocting his political theories.

        Examination begins with the self not just others. Who said the unexamined life is not worth living? I don’t know but the same goes for the unexamined belief system because it affects the life you lead. Faith is by hearing. Hearing the Word of God

        You can spend all day pointing fingers at people and finding fault but what about yourself? What do you need to correct? I haven’t met the perfect person yet but I do believe I have met changed and improved ones.

        We are given a “measure of the spirit”. Only Yeshua had the full measure.

      • Susan, I appreciate your taking the time to try to open my eyes. But I think I’m ready to wrap this up with you. I cannot tell you how annoying it is having hundreds of Christians ask me about my own moral imperfections.

        I’m just reporting facts about a man who struck me five years ago as a deceiver about some minor matters. Then his ministry turned out to be deceptive also. And I kept digging. The facts got uglier and uglier and I kept reporting them, every once in a while I venturing to explain why those facts are important to me.

        Now a large percentage of the comments I get from Christians are about whether I have moral failings of my own. As if reporters need to be morally upright before they can report facts. That move strikes me as evasive and utterly lacking in self-awareness.

        I encourage you to look at that. And thank you for the exchange. I’ll let you have the last word.

      • Thanks for the exchange, Steve. I hope you seek the good spiritual education. It can be hard to obtain in this world. God bless.

  19. Oh and Steve, the one that gets a lot of people is self deception. Self examination is the thing that helps remove self deception. It’s easy to demand evidence but how does the person you are demanding it of really know that you are really willing and capable of receiving and examining it. The love of the truth isn’t in everyone and a lot of people practice self deception and aren’t even aware of it. A lot of people in this world have fragile egos without being aware of that either. The last thing they are going to do is self examination. It takes a more strong and secure person to do that. A person not afraid to admit they were wrong. Sorry to bother you. I got distracted in the middle of the last post because I meant to mention the self deception aspect to all this.

    Now imagine you are in a group of people all willing to engage in self deception reinforcing that tendency in each other and they don’t even know it. Have a blessed day and don’t forget. You are important to God. Important enough for Jesus to die on the Cross for you personally. Sorry if any of this offends you….but think about it…Honest self examination like Jesus recommends doesn’t let anybody off the hook.
    And some people think Christians are delusional when we’re a group that examines itself more than most and confesses our sins and imperfections. That’s not delusion that is honest realism. Sorry for bothering you…feel free to ignore me.

  20. Hi Steve. Thank you for overlooking my typos. It was 2:45 AM. Say, this discussion is becoming redundant and tedious, so I’m going to leave and catch up with your research privately through your vids and website. Thanks for being here. My background was atheism prior to discovering God’s reality. I think that Anthony Flew, whose atheism I once studied, showed us by the end of his life that theism provide a solution to an atheistic quagmire. The brilliant Michio Kaku once rejected God as unnecessary to his universe, yet like Flew, he recently reversed it, and embraced theism. That is a huge step forward for a string theorist. I would love to come to the bay area and do coffee with you once the outdoor cafes become vogue again. And, heck, I’ll listen to your banjo. I’ll be no match for your lunch with WLC, but I certainly believe that any thinking man like you could at investigate claims without the biased and snarky attitudes of (the late) Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, and Dennett. Much of their sniping relies on old, worn-out trivia that has been well-answered the past, if Christians would take time to look, but I don’t detect such attitudes from you. See ya latter, hopefully.

    • Coffee or I prefer beer is. But coffee is fine also. Yes, let me know. I could meet you at the beautiful San Francisco ferry building and we could hang out for a few hours.

      It’s one of my favorite spots on the planet and I haven’t been there all year due to do you know what.

      I’m glad our paths crossed and I hope to meet you someday in person.

      Until then. I hope you have a wonderful 2021.

    • I believe I want in on this… except perhaps for the “I’ll listen to your banjo” part. No offense intended, but for me, Lee may have gone a bridge too far there.

      Steve, thanks for all the information you have provided throughout this string regarding Ravi and RIZM. It is beyond eye-opening, and frankly, stomach-turning. Although I claim no moral superior high ground, “as the disease of the self runs through my blood,” I am – once again – saddened and angry at what appears to be one more concerted and orchestrated Christian cover-up.

      I would like to recommend an excellent book that has recently been published, and I would like to dream will be embraced in Christian circles. It is titled, “Shrinking the Integrity Gap: Between What Leaders Preach and Live” – written by a truth seeking/living couple from Oregon, Jeff & Terra Mattson.

      Best regards.

  21. Mr. Goothuis,
    I think that your article is in dire need of updating, re-thinking, and revision. It minimizes the crushed lives of the female victims who were trapped into the long-term molestation, unwanted sexual advances, and forced sexual exhibitionism of Mr. Zacharias (several years of exposing himself, turning over on a massage table with a full erection, and masturbating in front of them). Yet you are calling for upholding this perverted individual.
    Other Christian philosophers and apologists have now stepped ahead of your pandering and have spoken out against RZ’s actions, condemning them, and showing the highest concern for the victims. One is an “insider,” a RZIM leader, Carson Weitnauer, who, while on staff, wrote strongly-worded articles concluding that his employer, Ravi Zacharias, was a “sexual predator,” and is “The Greatest Fraud” in apologetics. Mr. Wietnauer has personally apologized to the Thompsons for not believing them in 2017 and states that he was hoodwinked by RZ lying directly to his face and other staff members (see https://reasonsforgod.org/a-catastrophic-betrayal/). Relevant Magazine also reveals that “Several current and former RZIM associates have distanced themselves or severed ties with the organization altogether.” If insiders have found that Ravi lied directly to their face while in the ministry headquarters, then do you think that your article may need an update and revision?

  22. Revealing article on the News24 site called: Clarifying the Islam Catholic Connection.

    It’s funny how everyone warns you about the Internet. Sure you have to surf a lot of errors on it but there are people revealing doctrinal deceptions all over it, too.

    This world contains both good and bad that’s why you ask God for discernment.

    Re: eternal torment, dictionaries can be deceptive. What is really important? How the word was used at TIME OF USAGE.

    Strong’s has been pegged by bible researchers as containing errors on certain keyword definitions. That’s why John Wesley Hanson’s essay “Aion-Aionios” is so good to read if you have the teachable spirit and can be corrected. Some people can’t be corrected it seems.

    Look at Strong’s on basanos:

    ◄ 931. basanos ►
    Strong’s Concordance
    basanos: a touchstone (a dark stone used in testing metals), hence examination by torture, torture
    Original Word: βάσανος, ου, ἡ
    Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
    Transliteration: basanos
    Phonetic Spelling: (bas’-an-os)
    Definition: a touchstone (a dark stone used in testing metals), examination by torture, torture
    Usage: torture, torment, examination by torture.
    HELPS Word-studies
    Cognate: 931 básanos – originally, a black, silicon-based stone used as “a touchstone” to test the purity of precious metals (like silver and gold). See 928 (basanízō).

    [In the papyri, basanos also means, “touchstone,” “test” (so P Oxy I. 58.25, ad 288).

    931 (basanois) was “originally (from oriental origin) a touchstone; a ‘Lydian stone’ used for testing gold because pure gold rubbed on it left a peculiar mark. Then it was used for examination by torture. Sickness was often regarded as ‘torture’ ” (WP, 1, 37).]

    Strong’s gives 2 definitions. Which was the right one at TIME OF USAGE in Revelation 20:10?

    See Youtube’s “Refined In the Lake of Fire/Meaning of Hell Fire” video.

    Even the Christian Apolgetics and Research Ministry has this wrong. If you google “basanos” on the CARM site they only give you one definition.

    When touchstone is the correct interpretation IF you know what the Greek analogy meant.

  23. Yes we need to cut him off
    The sin within the camp needs to come out
    He betrayed the trust of that donor ; he deceived the world
    The Lord holds him accountable just like He holds us accountable for our actions .

  24. 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

    This seems to be the operative verse, no matter how highly someone is esteemed publicly, if they don’t follow this verse privately, they are wreaking havoc on the ministry, themselves and others.

  25. The Ravi Zacharias cover up is small potatoes next to the one being exposed on News24 called Clarifying the Islam Catholic Connection. Also Youtube has a video called The Roman catholic and Islamic connection by End-Times Prophecy. The similarities between Catholicism and Islam are startling when compared side by side and Mohammed’s wife Khadija was Catholic.

  26. Steve Baughman, I know you don’t want the theology discussion but I think that is dangerous for you because we are all born spiritually dead and spiritually blind in our trespasses and sin and you can’t possibly know that without the theological explanation provided by God.

    I know Ravi fell but that fall could just be evidence that sin is more powerful than we know and we don’t know what more terrible things he might have done if he hadn’t believed in Jesus.

    The criteria between believing in Jesus and discipleship are different.

    Believing is easy. This is discipleship:

    Luke 9:23
    New International Version
    23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

    Since you are still spiritually blind and spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins I wouldn’t expect you to know the difference.

    Google: What are the causes and solutions for a hardened heart? on gotquestions.org for the explanation.

    Seriously, you stay spiritually blind and dead if you stay trapped in your sins.

    Ravi needed exposing and you helped do that but we’re all sinners and we all need to do the regular self examining for sin. We are in a sinful world that likes to communicate sin to us all the time. Look at the verses on communion. They tell us to examine ourselves.

    Why so many think it’s ok to argue with spiritually blind dead people I don’t know. Maybe they are weak on the scriptures. God never said to argue with anyone. He said to deliver the Gospel and an answer. An answer is not an argument. Why would you argue with a person in an emergency situation?

    Think about it and sorry for any bluntness but the truth is the truth and I would hate to see you let off the theological hook and miss out on your spiritual birth.
    The veil is not removed until you turn to Jesus. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Jesus already proved it all on the Cross.

    There is none so blind as those who will not see.

    God bless. Have a great day.

  27. How does anyone know that Ravi didn’t fall victim to an antichrist spirit or another evil spirit by dialoging too much with people in rebellion to God? Or maybe the world through a bad suggestion into his mind. Maybe he over estimated his own spiritual strength.

    From 2 John 1:

    7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we[a] have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

    A body is a person’s home, isn’t it. Maybe Christians should be more careful about who they listen to. We let the tv and all these electronic devices walk into our homes with all sorts of evil ideas. Maybe the spirit of whoredoms was communicated to Ravi and got him. Who really knows?

    We do know the Bible says we are not to see, hear or speak evil and maybe that’s because we all have personal limits and different abilities to tolerate it.

    Evil is communicable. It takes a serious effort of the will to stay set apart and we all need to appeal to God for help like Christ did.

    Hebrews 5, ESV
    7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus[a] offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

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