Friday, February 12, 2021

The Fall Of Ravi Zacharias

      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!


  1. I saw that post today. And I thought this is all coming out now and he is gone and can't even defend himself. But I too researched it and saw this was an ongoing issue. It is truly sad because we all sin, but as true christians we are to repent of our sins. I am saddened it taints his teachings and his ministry. I feel terrible for his family and friends and the victim that came forward 4 years ago. I knew God has been doing some house cleaning, more so lately than a few years back. Evil and sin are beinhg exposed, no matter where it is found.
    I think it is very smart to set boundaries for ourselves. We do need to stay in a state of repentance and just pray for each other!
    I used to listen to Bob Coy daily. He not only fell from grace but returned to his old club life. Even though his teachings were spot on, I do question his salvation now. But God's word stands even if a sinner speaks it.
    Yet it is still sad......

  2. You make an interesting statement. You see spiritual things in a different light than I do. I don't find it sad at all that we sin; but I think you see sin different than I do. In this realm, the natural, we are always in sin. The spiritual realm, and the natural realm, exist separately. One is of the mind, the other, is the body.
    Jesus gave us instruction on how to find the spiritual path, how difficult it is. We have defined the natural desires as evil; yet it is how we are, what we are created to be. The translation of evil, is to be destructive, to create chaos. Sin is different, the translation of sin, is to ,"miss the mark, or target". Evil and sin are two different things. We always fail in the natural, because the natural realm does not exist in the spiritual.

  3. Anyone who says 'I don't find it sad that we sin' because it's 'the natural [realm]' is in DESPERATE need of reevaluating every single thing they think they know.

  4. Well that put a whole new spin on things. My gosh. I don’t even know what to say. I really liked that guy. Now I’m saddened and a bit sick. Everyone has “Something” don’t they.........

  5. Our sin does not always keep us from logically knowing the truth. I also respected Ravi's talent of debate. We should never delete a truth because it was spoken by a sinner, IMHO, but we can learn from it and make it our own to share IF indeed it is the truth. Doing our own studies to make sure it is not in conflict with the Bible is our duty. I just finished an initial reading of Jay Adam's book Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage. I will be doing an in-depth study of all the references and the logic behind the teaching. We have to always keep historical context of original text in mind when studying also. It is a must in all TRUE research papers of historically significant issues.

    If Ravi's sin had been revealed beforehand, he could not pastor a church or be an elder and would need someone to hold him in check if ever tempted again. Recidivism is not as high as we think when those who truly care about us keep us aware of our triggers. It is when we are abandoned and excommunicated WHEN REPENTANT that we fail again. The pain I feel for the family is that they did not have the chance to regain their family with him as head. It is also why being a close member of a church is important. Having friends. I know what it is like to be alone. Even snipers have a buddy.

  6. Thank you for this thoughtful post. Like you, I am deeply distressed by the impact that sin has on others, especially when it comes from one in leadership who is held in high regard. I only wish you added a fourth reason for your devastation (or include in number 1) your distress for the recipients of his impure attentions and actions. Even though they participated, and perhaps willingly, they were likely in the sway of his charisma and credentials.

  7. This all seems like gossip and completely irrelevant.

  8. Thank you for your thoughtful and honest explanation. It echoes my own sadness for the tarnish to this man, and to our Savior. God forgive us all when our sin makes Jesus look bad.


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