It has been known for a while now, but I only learned about it yesterday (2-11-21). Perhaps the greatest Christian apologist of our time, Ravi Zacharias, who died on (5-11-20), had been living a double life . I first saw it mentioned on social media. Of course, that made me immediately skeptical, so I looked into it. It led to "hours" of looking into it. It ended with me on his website, reading a long apology from those still working in the ministry he founded.
The sin of Mr. Zacharias was "sexual sin." The charge was brought by numerous women. The details are graphic. I am not going into those details.
Just like me, when the first charges came, those at the ministry refused to believe them. Mr. Zacharias vehemently denied them. They stood behind him, and defended him. They posted their support of him on the website. They impugned the credibility of the women who had brought the charges. However, after his death, as evidence was mounting, they hired a law firm to investigate. The law firm found overwhelming evidence that the sex charges were true. Those working at the ministry, who had previously defended him have offered a long, and sincere apology to those who brought the charges, repented, and asked for forgiveness.
There is much more to this story, but I will leave that at that. So, why am I even mentioning it? Because this news hit me HARD. As I mentioned this on Facebook, and that I was removing quotes of his from my website, I received comments from several friends pointing out that I was "flogging" him for his sin publicly, or that I was perhaps failing to understand his "humanity," and that we must be careful about putting Christian leaders on a pedestal. But, it isn't that....
I learned long ago not to put pastors or Christian leaders on a pedestal. I have seen too many fall. Nor am I "flogging" Dr. Zacharias publicly. My favorite verse in the Bible is (1 Cor 15:10), "But by the grace of God I am what I am." I truly believe that if not for God's grace, ANY of us could fall. ANY of us could commit ANY sin. To me, one of the most dangerous sentences is, "I would NEVER do that." That is "pride," and "pride goeth before a fall" (Prov 16:18).
No, my devastation comes from three things that his "secret life of sexual sin" has left behind.
#1. Of course, the horrible pain he has left for his wife and children to face. The husband and father they knew was not who they thought he was. Their lives will never be the same.
#2. The impact of his sin on the significant ministry he left behind, and how it will affect that going forward.
#3. The destruction of his future legacy.
There is a quote from David Jeremiah that I heard many years ago, and I have never forgotten it. I am paraphrasing, "I could take everything I have built up over 35 years in my ministry and destroy it all if I went out tomorrow and committed one act of rebellion." Honestly, I believe that is exactly what Mr. Zacharias has done. His defense of the Christian faith was unparalleled in recent times. The truth he spoke, and his Biblical teachings are no less true because of his "secret life of sin," but their impact will never be the same.
For example, as I was erasing his quotes from my website, here was one of them:
"It is a mindless philosophy that assumes that one's private beliefs have nothing to do with public office. Does it make sense to entrust those who are immoral in private with the power to determine the nation's moral issues and, indeed, its destiny? One of the most dangerous and terrifying trends in America today is the disregard for character as a central necessity in a leaders credentials. The duplicitous soul of a leader can only make a nation more sophisticated in evil."
Knowing what I know now, can you guess what I think when I see this quote? And, that is my point. What he said in that quote is "totally" true, but knowing what he was doing when he said it.... It diminishes its impact. Honestly, one word comes to mind, "hypocrite." And, one of the top two reasons why many non-Christians hate Christians is, "So many Christians are hypocrites."
Going back to the David Jeremiah quote, one of the most terrifying things to me personally is that I have spent 19 years building the JesusAlive ministry, and in "one act of rebellion," I could destroy everything. I could destroy my wife, my children, those I minister to, my credibility, my legacy, forever.... I pray for God's help and strength not to do this: EVER. I set boundaries. I try not to open doors for the enemy. I try to be accountable.
"That" is why I am saddened and burdened by the story of Mr. Zacharias. It isn't that he sinned, because we all do; it is that his failure to "turn" from his sin at the first beginnings and repent has forever tarnished his legacy. I am terrified it will happen to me. Lord, please help me!