The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, RZIM (Ravi Zacharias' Evangelism Business), Beliefs vs. Thus, anybody can act like a true-blue evangelical in their presence and be taken for the real deal. It takes a lot to pierce through their illusions. Ravi Zacharias died this past May of a fast-acting, malignant cancer. “The only way I can see the public credibility of this organisation being restored is for there to be a brand-new Global Board of Directors and Global CEO, none of whom are Zacharias family members, and to file Form 990s ... for the years they haven’t been filed.”. Carson Weitnauer almost experienced it himself, as he writes: Yet the day after I asked her [Ravi Zacharias’ daughter, one of RZIM’s leaders] a series of questions about the non-disclosure agreement between the Thompsons and the Zacharias estate, two senior leaders challenged me on the propriety of my questions. Zacharias, a widely popular author and speaker, died of cancer in May at age 74. You can also support this blog at no extra cost to yourself by beginning your Amazon shopping trips with my affiliate link — and, of course, by liking and sharing my posts on social media! Also, send me the Nonreligious Newsletter. Zacharias founded his international ministry, known as RZIM, in 1984, with a mission to engage in “Christian apologetics” — defending Christianity with powerful intellectual arguments. Ravi Zacharias tells the story of a man who went to School in Wheaton with Billy Graham and later entered into politics. However, RZIM hired an Atlanta law firm, Miller & Martin, in October to conduct an independent investigation. My PayPal is email@example.com (that’s an underscore in there) for one-time tips. If it tallies up with their current beliefs, it must be true. Ravi Zacharias (26 March 1946 – 19 May 2020) was an Indian-born Canadian-American Christian apologist who founded the RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministry). In a statement posted online on Dec. 23, Thompson and her husband thanked RZIM employees who questioned the organization’s handling of the case. Regarding RZIM: The first time I ever heard of RZIM was on the comment section of a Christian post years ago, maybe 2012 or 2013. (See endnote.)). Such information about nonprofits is normally accessible to the public via IRS Form 990s, but RZIM has not disclosed a Form 990 since 2015; Malhotra said it became exempt from filing after asking the IRS to reclassify it as “an association of churches.”, “The board’s continued secrecy, not only to the employees they oversee, but also to the public who rightly want full accountability, has irreparably damaged the board’s credibility,” Baker-Hytch wrote Dec. 20. It faces calls from within its own ranks to change its name, pay reparations to any victims and oust some top leaders, including Zacharias family members. At any given time, she's running out of bookcase space. It’d be even easier if they can mimic the cadence of evangelical speech and use Christianese jargon. Even now, his family and close associates seem completely gobsmacked, just utterly mystified that the Ravi Zacharias they knew could possibly have done such terrible things. However, various misconduct allegations have trailed along in his wake for years. “I have felt a sickening combination of revulsion and grief.”, RZIM staff members “have been badly misled by our secretive board and senior leaders,” he continued. More humbling and embarrassing was the realization that the public evidence was sufficient for me to have pieced together the truth in 2017. There’s more, and it is all really awful. A few months after the death of Ravi Zacharias, three women came forward to accuse him of long-term sexual harassment. He started in the Defense Ministry, and after several other positions, ended up in the Home Ministry. But there’s another piece to this puzzle of how Ravi Zacharias got away with sex abuse for years. Zacharias’ wife, Margaret, is listed as vice chairman of ministry; their eldest daughter, Sarah Davis, as executive director; and their younger daughter, Naomi Zacharias, as vice president for a grant-making division called Wellspring International. It wasn’t until this year that he realized the truth: As I studied this information carefully — again and again and again — it slowly dawned on me that Ravi had personally and repeatedly lied to me and others in the ministry about his relationship with [Lori Anne Thompson, the 2017 accuser]. The conservative voice and Christian content is being silenced more and more. In his autobiography Ravi claims that he was chosen to preach at his graduation from the Ontario Bible College in April of 1972. Like all apologetics businesses, they exist more for current Christians than anybody else. So these accusations just didn’t fit their image of the great apologist and weren’t made the way the tribe likes best, so they rejected them. I guarantee it. Scroll down to WARNING It faces calls from within its own ranks to change its name, pay reparations to any victims and oust some top leaders, including Zacharias family members. CRN has a list of professing Christians to mark and avoid (Rom 16:17-18). Writing on his blog, he said his faith in the organization’s leadership has been shattered. RZIM and his family responded to those accusations in a predictable way: They insisted all of the accusations just had to be false. Ravi Zacharias, Why Jesus? Dad was a very important man and was very busy. Ravi had built a sizable empire with his ‘Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.’ With charitable status in Canada and the US (at least), he had amassed millions of dollars in donations. Behavior: Evangelicals’ Redefinition of ...". I sense a hint of plausible deniability going on here, too. In 2017, Christianity Today reported on various academic and credentialing claims Ravi Zacharias made that aren’t true. The ploy and the lawsuit both worked grandly. “Looking at your future, Ravi Baba, you will not travel far or very much in your life,” he declared. Ravi Zacharias died this past May of a fast-acting, malignant cancer. Yesterday (May 16, 2020) I was contacted by two students, both Christians, who were at OBC with Ravi … "As Christian philosophers and apologists who have respected Ravi Zacharias, we have been deeply troubled and grieved by Ravi’s documented sexual misconduct against women," the letter opens. And just to cap off this shit sundae with a C. diff cherry, here’s the worst part of all: Predators who can fake evangelical sincerity well will go much further up the ladder of power — and faster — than Christians who try their best to realistically and authentically live out their faith. This blog exists because of readers’ support, and I appreciate every single bit of it. See, he had much bigger skeletons in his closet than that. She thought tracts were super-duper useful and powerful. This misconduct is deeply troubling and wholly inconsistent with the man Ravi Zacharias presented both publicly and privately to so many over more than four decades of public ministry. While I believe most of my colleagues are not only talented but earnestly committed to serving God, we have been badly misled by our secretive board and senior leaders. Even a true-blue follower who even questions a powerful leader can expect the full retaliatory brunt of the tribe’s rage. (RZIM still trucks along. But when it comes to evaluating the behavior of their tribemates and leaders, they’re even worse off. "But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning." “It was a great honor,” he wrote. My Dad worked for the Indian government. Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. My story of faith and belief, like many others, cannot be told without some admittance of wandering to and from that faith, in and out of God’s presence, walking with and without Father, Son, or Spirit. It also means punishing and silencing their accusers by any means possible. The only way evangelicals can ever tell someone’s faking is if ultra-strong, ultra-conclusive evidence comes out contradicting their image of that person. Also please check out our Graceful Atheist podcast interview! However, one aspect of the story caught my eye. 166-167. Now a comfortable None, she blogs on Roll to Disbelieve about psychology, pop culture, politics, relationships, cats, gaming, and more--and where they all intersect with religion. RZIM expects to release the investigation’s findings in the next month or two. Among them is Carson Weitnauer, a specialist in online outreach for RZIM’s Zacharias Institute. Evangelicals’ shows of piety all consist of performative and transactional behaviors. These accusations paint the picture of a powerful man in a very authoritarian organization who’d clawed his way to the top and now intended to enjoy every bit of the power he’d amassed. He also filed an extortion lawsuit against the accuser, made her sign a non-disclosure agreement that silenced her for good, and acted like he was being totally persecuted by Satan himself for being soooooo Jesus-y. Who’s even surprised these days when a big-name evangelical leader turns out to be a sex abuser? Based in suburban Atlanta, RZIM has operations in about 20 countries and a roster of scores of traveling speakers. The disclosures already have had tangible impact. As mentioned, a few months after the death of Ravi Zacharias, more accusations surfaced from the spa employees. Even then, as previously noted, they will probably reject it. [. Captain Cassidy grew up fervently Catholic, converted to the SBC in her teens, and became a Pentecostal shortly afterward. NEW YORK (AP) — A posthumous sexual misconduct scandal involving the man who founded, in his own name, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries has placed the global Christian organization in a wrenching predicament. In the process of going down that way, to fame, to popularity and power, he … Nor did any evangelicals that I know of. He writes, “I was ministering in Vietnam in 1971, and one of my interpreters was Hien Pham, an energetic young Christian. They print tracts and apologetics material, then sell this stuff to confrontation-averse Christians to hand out to heathens. Zacharias founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in 1984, and "launched a global team of nearly 100 Christian scholars and authors who continue to … In recent months, the organization has been plunged into crisis, precipitated by a Sept. 29 article in the evangelical publication Christianity Today asserting that over a period of about five years, Zacharias sexually harassed three women who worked as massage therapists at two day spas he co-owned in an Atlanta suburb. He had worked as a translator with the American forces, and was of immense help both to them and to missionaries such as myself. Nor does he care about protecting the sheep from them. RZIM made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon in an update to its staff, donors, and supporters. Neither their leader’s predatory behavior nor RZIM’s reaction surprises me in the least. ... You can either believe it is from a real loser who likes making up stories or I am the Christian leader who spoke to the three spa people and writes at such length because I care about Christian ministry, values, and integrity. Three women who worked at the businesses, located in a strip mall in the Atlanta suburbs, told Christianity Today that Ravi Zacharias touched them … As a result, it is completely, utterly, and in every single way impossible for evangelicals to tell a hypocritical predator from a sincere, decent-hearted TRUE CHRISTIAN™. It was 1963. Some lady who worked for RZIM in some capacity got very snippy at me in response. This news story is posted for informational and research purposes and is not in any way intended as an endorsement of The Roys Report. Some details made it into Christianity Today in 2017, and Baughman’s snarky self-published 2018 book, Cover-Up in the Kingdom: Phone Sex, Lies, And God’s Great Apologist, Ravi Zacharias. They possess no critical thinking skills, which means they cannot evaluate truth claims at all, except to measure them against whatever they currently hold to be true. This exchange with a hypocrite was literally the first time I’d ever heard of RZIM — and it’d be a while still before I found out what the “RZ” part of the name even meant. Related stories. Zacharias had been entangled in some previous controversies over how he had publicly described his academic credentials and over his claim, later challenged in legal proceedings, that he was the target of an extortion scheme related to sexting and sexually explicit photos. ), Come join us on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter! Hiding information that might paint a big-name evangelical as a sex abuser and predator? 2. Completion of the report, and its promised public release, is still weeks away. An unhappy 17-year-old locked himself in his … “We were targeted, groomed, exploited, malevolently litigated against, falsely accused as elaborate extortionists,” the statement said. See you tomorrow! Oh, that represented the very least of his offenses. Of course it had to have his name in the title! To top off the dumpster fire of 2020 comes a story that is also not even really news anymore: a big-name evangelical leader turned out to be a prolific sex abuser. During his lifetime, many evangelicals regarded him as a great apologist. THE RAVI ZACHARIAS STORY "Nothing is as important as the truth." Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) says that an investigation into the conduct of its founder has uncovered "that he did indeed engage in sexual misconduct." Such a conversation would have definitely looked improper to his tribe no matter what he did during it, so he apologized to his fans. Get updates from Roll to Disbelieve delivered straight to your inbox. Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. RZIM’s leadership initially challenged the claims, asserting that the allegations “do not in any way comport with the man we knew for decades — we believe them to be false.”. The higher-up an evangelical leader is in a given evangelical’s estimation, the harder it is for that evangelical to perceive that leader in any objective way. The Dream MLK Had (Won't Belong to Evangelicals). NEXT UP: The lessons authoritarians learn about kindness. In a letter to its staff on Dec. 23, the trust’s board members said they were urging the U.S. leadership to issue a “profound apology” to any victims and commit to “reform radically the governance, leadership and accountability of the RZIM organization.”. Lori Anne Thompson’s 2016 Allegations Against Ravi Zacharias Lori Anne’s husband, Brad, was a “huge fan” of Zacharias and his ministry prior to meeting him in person, according to a close friend of the Thompsons. He was involved in Christian apologetics for a period spanning more than 40 years. When he finally shouts for someone to give him the true meaning of Christmas, the diminutive Linus takes the stage. Oh wait...", "I'm not sure I see a path where, as long as elections are still FPTP, ...", "For today's piece of useless trivia, the earliest historical event which can be accurately dated ...", "A President Harris may support it, though.". In his book Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias tells the story about how God, the Master Weaver, sovereignly works to … I don’t think very many fans of Ravi Zacharias did. “RZIM must change its name, remove Ravi’s material, repent for its many failures, and provide a restorative response to the harm that Ravi’s victims experienced.”, In a follow-up post, Weitnauer asked if the board would resign “to acknowledge their failure to provide accountability to Ravi Zacharias for more than a decade.”. The investigation began after multiple women came forward in August 2020, alleging that Zacharias … How Ravi Zacharias Got Away With Sex Abuse for YEARS. In disclosing the interim findings, the RZIM executive committee members described themselves as heartbroken and expressed remorse on behalf of those victimized by Zacharias. Hilaria Baldwin: Yet Another White Person Faking Her Ethnicity (LSP #172), "They should let them in and lock them in the basement. Ravi Zacharias. October 16, 2020. 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