In response to the scandal now coming out around Ravi Zacharias, we merely wish to say: It is deeply troubling, heartbreaking, enraging, and sickening at the same time, and for many different reasons. If you know me (RB) then you know I taught martial arts for a long time, and one specific avenue of martial arts in which I heavily focused was self-defense. To the point, I took my own training to people who had worked with law enforcement agencies and specifically looked at violent assaults. We had an acronym for the system we were working within that time, called S.H.A.R.P. This acronym stands for Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Rape Prevention and the people who put the system together had looked through the darkest studies on the Earth. Learning this stuff was not easy, it was inherently edifying at the time of learning, but as I was able to teach men and women how to defend themselves it became much more edifying.
When you start to study the information around sexual harassment, assault, and rape you start to see really what is wrong. First, the victim did nothing wrong! There are so many who, sadly, put the blame on the victim (even when they do so unintentionally) with words like, “Well, if she hadn’t gone there,” “If she hadn’t worn that,” or many other epithets. But, the victims have done nothing wrong! The perpetrator carries all blame, whether they are psychologically sick (needing psycho-therapies), or merely the perpetrator of the vile deed. It is only they who are guilty, the victim bears no guilt nor should be treated as such. This information brings us to the scandal around Ravi Zacharias.
I, as a fellow Christian, will not judge whether or not he was truly saved, that is between him and the Lord God, however, I am totally sickened by his perverse, predatory acts. In my mind, there is a divide, between the speaking, writing, and apologetics work he did and the acts which he committed. However, this is not acceptable. I agree with what many have said: The actions he committed do not make what he said wrong. However, several people I highly respect have put the nail in that particular coffin: He was not the only one to have said what he said. In two thousand years of Church history, this is nearly an impossibility. According to the open letter from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) Board and the report they made public (which I highly recommend you read all of it) Ravi Zacharias was not merely a sinner in the typical sense of the word but was a sexual predator. And, barring any further evidence which may come forth, he went to his grave as an unrepentant sexual predator.
The Church has no right to use the materials of such a person. He wrote books on all topics, some of which are hypocritical in light of what has come forth. There is a difference between a repentant sinner and someone who is keeping a secret life. When we look at the lives of believers, they are supposed to marked by one important thing: They don’t reflect the world, but their Lord Christ. This is mentioned several times throughout the Scriptures. Most significantly we see it in Romans. We know God is active in conforming us into the image of His Son (8:28) and we need to continually be active in our transformation (12:2). We also know a believer is washed, regenerated, and renewed (Titus 3:5) at our conversion. The story of Ravi Zacharias shows just how important it is we take these things seriously. Again, I will make no judgments on the man’s status before God, I am not God, I can only look at the fruit which is now so publicly on display. The Church and specifically among Christians should be the safest places for people to be. We have seen, however, how much corruption is within the Church over the past decades. Rich and powerful personalities have fallen consistently. Between Catholic Priests to mega-church pastors, through to televangelists. So, many people have been put in places of power where those under them felt as if they couldn’t speak out.
We need to make the Church a safe place for these people. The Church should be a place where the light shines. All actions should be visible and open to everyone. This doesn’t mean all things, should be completely open. If someone is receiving private counsel form the leadership their privacy and confidence should be kept, but what it does mean is actions are clear. We are to abstain even from the appearance of evil, living quiet and peaceful lives, protecting each other. Sadly, something like this brings reproach upon the name of Jesus, and to His Church. These victims should be able to find their greatest, safest place being in a relationship with God, and by extension within His Body. However, these actions hurt and turn people away instead.
Let us pray we will finally learn from this scandal rather than continuing to perpetuate this problem. It is so important for people to be under Biblical leadership who will be able to admonish and teach, removing the dross and polishing the gold.
These are my broken, rambling thoughts. In whatever you do, or say in regards to this, think it through, before you say it. Bring no harm. There are victims who have been horrendously abused. Take care of them! It was not their fault a sexual predator took advantage of them.