Ravi Zacharias Scandals

PaulCLawton

Puritan Board Freshman
Who knew we needed an authority on life transformation?

This went off the rails a little. For the record, in principle, I have no issues with: professional haircuts, healthy and attractive smiles, transforming one's life, the RPCNA. I just always thought it was funny that Dr. Ganz was the one exception to the "You know a Christian book is bad if the author is smiling on the cover" rule.
 

ChristianLibertarian

Puritan Board Freshman
This went off the rails a little. For the record, in principle, I have no issues with: professional haircuts, healthy and attractive smiles, transforming one's life, the RPCNA. I just always thought it was funny that Dr. Ganz was the one exception to the "You know a Christian book is bad if the author is smiling on the cover" rule.
I simply found the notation on the book cover amusing. I have no particular opinion of Ganz having never heard of him before today. I will save my opinions on the RPCNA for another day and another thread.
 

Beoga

Puritan Board Freshman
If the world's response to #MeToo is to believe all women without proof, is the church's response to ignore all women without consideration?
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
If the world's response to #MeToo is to believe all women without proof, is the church's response to ignore all women without consideration?
Collateral damage from false reports made for political reasons. Blame the liars, not the doubters.

Sort of like the 'fake hate' cases. There have been too many of them to accept any claim at face value at this point.

A few of them may be true, but don't be gullible and certainly don't believe the agenda driven media.
 

CovenantPatriot87

Puritan Board Freshman
I think the only thing that's going to clear the air and bring closure is the next report of the details of this. I have appreciate rzim through the last decade, as they helped me understand certain truths about the Christian faith including apologetics (im presup, but I have appreciated empiricism) that I would not have known otherwise.
 

Beoga

Puritan Board Freshman
Collateral damage from false reports made for political reasons. Blame the liars, not the doubters.

Sort of like the 'fake hate' cases. There have been too many of them to accept any claim at face value at this point.

A few of them may be true, but don't be gullible and certainly don't believe the agenda driven media.

There have been so many cases in the church of women who were abused that were ignored, dismissed, and ridiculed. Where is the collateral damage there in your mind?
I think we are finding out more and more, not just from the liberal media, but from our own churches, that we are not looking at a few isolated cases.
As the church we need to be a light to the nations. That means we should not accept an accusation without two or three witnesses. We also need to take these charges very seriously (especially aware of the many factors involved, not all of them with a media agenda). We need to avoid what I see as an unbalanced swing in the opposite direction where we assume the worst of the accuser, especially if they are our sisters in the Lord. If accused is innocent until proven guilty, then so is the accuser.
 

ArminianOnceWas

Puritan Board Freshman
Going to be interesting to see the new ways to blame the victims now that the final report has been released. Perhaps, keep your eyes and ears closed and chose to believe only what you wish.

 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
The situation looks very bad. Let us all pray that we do not fall into such dire sexual sin as we are all just as capable. It is sad that RZIM has not already completely dissolved. I hope it is not pride that is the only thing keeping them open, because I would say the witness of that organization is gone.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Maybe it is a tongue-in-cheek question, but I'd just like to ask why pastors can't just sin like other people. People fornicate and commit adultery every day and yet in most of these evangelical scandals there is almost always some predatory element and abuse involved, often involving children or others who are exploited. At least make it consensual...yikes.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
Some years ago I discovered a close relative of my wife's was living a similar sort of double life. In spite of my worldly knowledge and full conviction of total depravity, I suddenly found it very difficult to psychologically process that someone I knew and trusted could be capable of such thought and behavior.

It took me more than a year to get my head around it. And weirdly enough, I still have trouble believing it sometimes -- in spite of all the evidence. I suspect in this I am not anomalous
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
[Sigh] In another example of evangelicals missing the point, I just read a post from a pastor railing against Day Spas and massage therapists, as if COVID is not already enough of a challenge to their profession.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
A further wrinkle: Despite the good work many do (Traditional Thai massage was just listed on the cultural heritage list by UNESCO and the Buddha's physician invented Thai massage and it was taught by monks) it is difficult to get a visa for a thai masseuse, and the lady brought to the US was listed as working another job. If this girl and others were listed falsely as working other jobs and yet were brought to the US to pleasure this man, this is very clearly human sex trafficking. It was not merely a "mistake" or "sexual sin" (all men lust to some degree, and some act out on it), but this was an intentional process of immigration fraud and human trafficking. He is not just a man, therefore, who "stumbled" or even "fell" but was a predator. And considering that such paperwork is complicated, there are, no doubt, others in the organization that aided and abetted human trafficking. No wonder the org protected him because they are also at fault.
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
David Robertson, who is not usually someone who is given to hyperbole, has some very strong words to say in relation to this situation (do take the time to read the article attached to the below tweet if you get the opportunity). It needs to be repeatedly emphasised that if you lack self-control in relation to seventh-commandment issues (even if it falls short of literal fornication), you are disqualified from church office and especially from the ministry. Irrespective of your wishes to do good, you will only expose yourself to further temptations once you are ordained, especially since you are in a position of power and influence, and will likely fall into scandal and cause the enemies of the gospel to blaspheme.

 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
A further wrinkle: Despite the good work many do (Traditional Thai massage was just listed on the cultural heritage list by UNESCO) it is difficult to get a visa for a thai masseuse, and the lady brought to the US was listed as working another job. If this girl and others were listed falsely as working other jobs and yet were brought to the US to pleasure this man, this is very clearly human sex trafficking. It was not merely a "mistake" or "sexual sin" (all men lust to some degree, and some act out on it), but this was an intentional process of immigration fraud and human trafficking. He is not just a man, therefore, who "stumbled" or even "fell" but was a predator. And considering that such paperwork is complicated, there are, no doubt, others in the organization that aided and abetted human trafficking. No wonder the org protected him because they are also at fault.
Yeah... This is what I was trying to get at it with my earlier comment.

This is no longer your typical "fallen pastor" story; this is a sordid, criminal, double-life story.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Yeah... This is what I was trying to get at it with my earlier comment.

This is no longer your typical "fallen pastor" story; this is a sordid, criminal, double-life story.
One one occasion (in public and with others), I interviewed a weeping trafficked Indonesian woman. She seemed to see me and flee to me and began to sob. I hope it was because I represented a safe refuge and did not look creepy (she said she saw me give a meal to a beggar and had began following me). She was told to come to X City for a job. The visa broker then collected her visa and held her documents. Then she was told what she was actually expected to do. Pay was withheld when she did not perform. Away from home, scared, without money, and without travel documents, she could not even purchase tickets home to flee. We paid for her tickets and arranged booking and confirmed that she got on the plane back home. We think of these 3rd world visa brokers as the scum of the earth. But what if you are a poor 3rd world therapist and find yourself in a strange land (the USA) propositioned by a powerful man who holds your visa and pays your travel and bills? I see no difference. This is not consensual. It is predation.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
My dad took me to hear Ravi Zacharias once in Hamilton, Ontario. I must have been about 12. I don't remember much, but one moment (for some reason) stayed with me.

In the Q&A time following Zacharias's talk, a young man stepped up to the microphone.

"Hi, I'm an atheist," he said, then added, "I hope that's OK."

"For now," Zacharias replied with a grin.

The audience erupted into laughter.

I don't remember anything else, of the talk, or of the man's question. That is the only memory of Ravi Zacharias that I have. I shudder to recall it now.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
but I'd just like to ask why pastors can't just sin like other people. People fornicate and commit adultery every day and yet in most of these evangelical scandals there is almost always some predatory element and abuse involved,
It's safer. If there was equality of power, the risk of exposure would be too great. So they prey on weaker targets that are less likely to cause public scandal, and more likely to be marginalized if they do complain.

But there are cases where the pastor's mistress is of equal or greater social standing. Take Walker Railey (First Methodist, Dallas). His defense to accusations that he strangled his wife was that he was with his mistress, commonly referred to as Papillon, at the time. Attempts to frame the Klan were unsuccessful, although he was eventually acquitted since there wasn't sufficient evidence to overcome the alibi. (He lost his pastorate and later served in a PCUSA church).

And Barry Bailey First Methodist Fort Worth, saved a number of troubled marriages in that church by giving women the attention that they weren't getting from their husbands. His career ended when he offered his special counseling to a single woman employed by the church, and her rejection went public. Some of the wealthy matrons of the church were offended to find out that they weren't so special, after all, and some of the husbands were upset as well.

Bill Pruitt of Highland Park Presbyterian better fits your model, as he targeted daughters of missionaries who were separated from their families. There, he likely sought out a position that would give him access to targets (it seems to be frowned upon to ask if he suddenly abandoned his actions when he moved to Dallas).
 

Timmay

Puritan Board Freshman
So Ravi is guilty. Thompson is guilty (she sent pics), and I would imagine some of these women have committed actions that would make them guilty.

But his wife and children aren’t guilty and there’s not a lot of talk about prayer for them. My goodness how terrible they must be feeling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Maybe it is a tongue-in-cheek question, but I'd just like to ask why pastors can't just sin like other people. People fornicate and commit adultery every day and yet in most of these evangelical scandals there is almost always some predatory element and abuse involved, often involving children or others who are exploited. At least make it consensual...yikes.

This reminds me of something I had learned in the field of fraud investigation: high-ranking, influential men naturally give heightened credence to wrong conduct; and the force of authority adds an element of arm-twisting to it. Also, a sense of "This powerful or influential man seems to think it's okay, so what can go wrong?" That's how some accountants have gotten snagged into partaking in actions that became massive public scandals. The behavior was clearly wrong and fraudulent, but because such-and-such Big Man said to do it, it's probably okay... at least they hoped anyway. That's immense pressure. So too, when pastors and religious influencers are involved.

Sadly too, the name and reputation seem to shield these men as well. If enough men love an influential figure, even some of the best of men will rally to their defense against reasonable suspicions.

It works the other way too. The woman has a special lure to succumb to seduction. "Hey, I could get in with Mr. Big-Shot? Oh, what good things lie in store for me!" First she might feel the pain of the arm-twisting, but the thrill of being with Mr. Big-Shot could numb the pain rather quickly.

I imagine that's how it played with David and Bathsheba. Did she think to herself, "Really? The sweet psalmist of Israel? I don't get it, but surely it must be okay! And who in her right mind wouldn't want to be the secret mistress of the king?"

Of course there's some circumstantial difference between a woman in the US and a manipulated masseuse stranded moneyless and helpless at the mercy of merciless officials (though the fornication/adultery is still their sin), and people tend to pity a starving thief even though it will justly be demanded he restore sevenfold for his sin (Proverbs 6:30-31); but the women without such pressure are simply senseless (Proverbs 6:32-35). But nonetheless, that pull of power, authority, influence will be enough without the arm-twisting to suspect a woman of beng a willing accomplice.
 
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LadyCalvinist

Puritan Board Junior
I will pray for his family, I cannot imagine what they are going through. I have a number of his books and Cd's and last night I got rid of one of his books and one of his tapes. I can't bear to read/listen to him now.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
He has like five messages. And his books are compilations of Chesterton and Kierkegaard and Muggeridge. I stopped reading him around 2006 for that reason.
 

Ben Mordecai

Puritan Board Freshman
I have not read 100% of this thread, nor have I examined 100% of the charges against Ravi, but as Puritan Board we have a duty to handle this theologically.

1. The scandal associated with a public Christian with lots of Christian support is the business to the broader church to discuss. It is not gossip to discuss these matters out of hand.
2. Sheer number of accusations do not make a person guilty. The standard is multiple witnesses (counting physical evidence as witnesses) for the same accusation. Having multiple people making standalone accusations is not proper evidence for establishing guilt.
3. The truthfulness of some accusations does not automatically translate to the truthfulness of all accusations, though it does lend additional credibility.
4. In matter of sexual immorality between adults outside of forcible rape, there are degrees of culpability shared by both parties. Even if someone is seduced or manipulated, they are still culpable for their actions. Extenuating circumstances should be taken into consideration, but ultimately their either willingly participated or did not.
5. It is possible for legitimate victims to deal with their own victimhood sinfully (for example, with blackmail, or teaching against the genuine truths of the faith while learning on their victimhood for credibility).
6. True victims of sexual crimes have a moral requirement to make accusations and to do so in a timely manner. While this may require courage, it is courage that God requires.
7. When lawyers are involved people are rarely fully transparent about their story. They may not lie but they will spin their stories.

The above are all timeless principles that are true regardless of the facts of this particular case.

My read on the situation is that Ravi is guilty of at least some of the accusations that have been made against him, and the fact that he died without making any confession publicly casts a shadow on his ministry and worse.

Assuming it is true, at least some of it was consensual. We have no issue rightly speaking against Ravi for such sins, but we must not treat the women involved as victims, or at least not pure victims. This denies female agency and the need for women to repent of sexual sins. The fact that "Ravi was a rich and powerful man" probably explains her willingness to engage more than it does her "fear of saying no." Lawyers coach people on these statements in search of large settlements. It is well established that adulteresses are attracted to the rich and powerful.

No matter what is true here, the whole thing has bad stuff all over it.
 

EuphratesRiver

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, I was upset to hear about these allegations. However, this should encourage leaders and public figures within the Church to tread carefully, especially in these times where everything will be scrutinized and/or possibly accused of misconduct, whether there is collaborating evidence or not.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
So Ravi is guilty. Thompson is guilty (she sent pics), and I would imagine some of these women have committed actions that would make them guilty.

But his wife and children aren’t guilty and there’s not a lot of talk about prayer for them. My goodness how terrible they must be feeling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
The wife might be guilty if she knew what was happening and turned a blind eye and lived off the proceeds of his fame.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
The wife might be guilty if she knew what was happening and turned a blind eye and lived off the proceeds of his fame.
It could be something similar to Bill Cosby's wife (but this cannot be known at this point with the information we have).
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It's safer. If there was equality of power, the risk of exposure would be too great. So they prey on weaker targets that are less likely to cause public scandal, and more likely to be marginalized if they do complain.

But there are cases where the pastor's mistress is of equal or greater social standing. Take Walker Railey (First Methodist, Dallas). His defense to accusations that he strangled his wife was that he was with his mistress, commonly referred to as Papillon, at the time. Attempts to frame the Klan were unsuccessful, although he was eventually acquitted since there wasn't sufficient evidence to overcome the alibi. (He lost his pastorate and later served in a PCUSA church).

And Barry Bailey First Methodist Fort Worth, saved a number of troubled marriages in that church by giving women the attention that they weren't getting from their husbands. His career ended when he offered his special counseling to a single woman employed by the church, and her rejection went public. Some of the wealthy matrons of the church were offended to find out that they weren't so special, after all, and some of the husbands were upset as well.

Bill Pruitt of Highland Park Presbyterian better fits your model, as he targeted daughters of missionaries who were separated from their families. There, he likely sought out a position that would give him access to targets (it seems to be frowned upon to ask if he suddenly abandoned his actions when he moved to Dallas).

He has like five messages. And his books are compilations of Chesterton and Kierkegaard and Muggeridge. I stopped reading him around 2006 for that reason.
I had a similar experience. RZ seemed to be a great memorizer and could deliver strings of quotations as a speech very well. I never read his books and only listened to him when I used to listen to the radio in a vehicle which would have been < 2005.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I had a similar experience. RZ seemed to be a great memorizer and could deliver strings of quotations as a speech very well. I never read his books and only listened to him when I used to listen to the radio in a vehicle which would have been < 2005.

And the accent. Let a Southern redneck say the same thing, and while it will still be eloquent (because Southern orators are eloquent), it won't have quite the punch.
 
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