On Ravi Zacharias. “Lord, what about this man?”
Matthew 23:1–3 (ESV)
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.’”
We are all stunned and disappointed by the news that the sexual sins of Ravi Zacharias has been exposed, after his death last year. There will be no court of law to condemn him as guilty, but his ministry has hired a private firm to investigate the claims, and it was their conclusion that the charges made by multiple women were true. His ministry and his family have accepted those conclusions, and I am not in the position to second-guess them.
It may seem unfair to accuse a man after his death, but that doesn’t change the truth.
Now comes the question: if you benefited from his ministry—his books, recordings, sermons, conferences—what to you do with that? I have one of his books, and his writings, videos, and soundbites are “embedded” in many resources. The excellent Truth Project is one, for example. Perhaps you knew him personally and admired him–what then?
It is often easier to identify a false teacher than a false Christian, or, a false-living Christian. I can’t estimate his repentance in his last days and will not attempt to do so. I cannot say if he was a Christian, but I have an opinion which I will keep to myself. Some things must be left to the Lord:
John 21:21–22 (ESV): 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
We must look after our own following—what Zacharias did does not change that.
Jesus recognized the reality that people who are living false-lives can still speak truth. He instructed the people to do as the scribes and the Pharisees taught them, but not to do as they lived.
A few Recommendations:
If the books by Zacharias helped you, keep them. Don’t loan them out or give them away. Spend the effort to find other apologists for the faith who are just as helpful. The same goes for audio materials.
I assume his works will be removed from online ministries.
One of his problems was that he was a celebrity—and this is a problem in the modern church today. We love our celebrities. This creates a “too important to fall” mentality, and worse, “too important to criticize” adoration. The celebrity culture within evangelicalism is soul—destroying, but mostly to the celebrities themselves, not to us. If we love these men, we must not worship them.
If our faith and commitment to Christ is destroyed by the fall of another believer, our faith is not in Christ at all.
Pray for his victims and his family. I think the best course of action for RZIM is to liquidate its assets and create a fund to assist the victims.