A statement regarding the investigation into now proven allegations of sexual sin, abuse, and rape by Ravi Zacharias:
Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Christ has given to His church those who are to lead, feed, protect, and promote peace and growth within the body. The qualifications for these men are clear, and include character, integrity, purity, and the ability to carry out the task assigned (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). This means, of course, that ministry does not depend upon a brilliant mind, the gift of rhetoric, and the personality to influence, persuade, and even impress the hearer. In fact, we are warned about those who through smooth talk are able to deceive the undiscerning among us (Rom. 16:17-18).
The main qualification for those who would lead in the church is that a man must be above reproach. All of the other qualifications modify this one. This is a term that denotes that when one is accused of wrongdoing, the accusation simply does not stick. Anyone who knows the minister is taken aback by the idea that the accusation has any basis in fact.
Being above reproach is required for service in the church because, for all of us, what we believe works its way out in how we behave. Character is a measure of the inner man and our faith.
We have learned that this can be faked. There are men who shine in the spotlight of gospel ministry and who excel at teaching and influencing. Some are genuine. Others are not. And it takes great effort to pretend, to dodge accountability, to hide sin and iniquity, all the while sounding and looking like a genuine Christian leader.
We in the church must constantly guard against those who “by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” would mislead us, preaching truth while at the same time actually opening the gate that leads away from holiness and maturity in the faith. These men can teach many great truths and teach them greatly. But the Word of God is plain – these things will be exposed, these men will be held to account, and it will be a stricter judgment to claim to serve and lead in the church while seduced and seducing others by sin (James 3:1; 2 Peter 2:18-22).
This is a painful lesson for the church to learn, when supposedly godly men falter and fall. This is not even taking into account the many that are involved in a ministry that is not directly overseen or carried out through the local church and under the oversight of elders. Para-church ministries disregard the example and exhortations of Scripture that God has designed the work of gospel ministry to be carried out by pastor-teachers and evangelists who are qualified to serve the church as elders. Evangelists and apologists who operate outside of the oversight of a local church open wide the doors for deception and abuse. Of course this does not mean those in the church are exempt from temptation and sin – but the parachurch organization takes things another step away from necessary accountability to a local body with elders and a congregation that may exercise discipline if needed (1 Tim. 5:19-21).
Many have been encouraged in their faith and ministry by the work of Ravi Zacharias. Despite warnings that initially led many to respond, “Oh no, not Ravi….he couldn’t.” But it turns out he could and he did. He manipulated others and expertly avoided accountability. His sins against others and his abuse of women is unconscionable. These sins are disqualifying. He was not above reproach. Whatever good does remain from his “ministry” can only be attributed to the power of the Spirit working through the Word of God, which never returns void, and can be proclaimed, if needed, even from the mouth of a donkey (2 Peter 2:12-16). The messenger does not determine the message and we must admit that even a false teacher may say the right thing once in a while, knowing God uses His Word, the message, and not the messenger to accomplish His purposes (Isa. 55:10-11).
As a result of these things coming to light, we have removed all books, resources, and links from RZIM from our church and ministry sites. You can read the statements of the board of directors of RZIM in the US and the UK (who take an even better stance), and the findings from the independent investigation that prove that our faith must not be placed in fallen men, but in Christ alone. Indeed, we echo Paul, “Let God be true but every man a liar.” (Rom. 3:4).
RZIM US – Statement from the Board – https://www.rzim.org/read/rzim-updates/board-statement
RZIM UK – Statement from the Board – https://www.zachariastrust.org/news
Final Miller & Martin PLLC Report on Abuse – https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/rzimmedia.rzim.org/assets/downloads/Report-of-Investigation.pdf
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