Abdu Murray’s Unnamed Board Challenges Apologists’ Findings That He’s ‘Disqualified’

By Julie Roys
Abdu Murray
Former RZIM Senior VP Abdu Murray speaks at New Hope Community Church in Traverse City, Michigan, in 2021. (Source: Video screengrab)

The unnamed ministry board of Abdu Murray, former senior vice president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), is reportedly challenging the conclusion of a group of leading Christian apologists that Murray is “disqualified” from ministry.

The apologists—William Lane Craig, Sean McDowell, Mike Licona, Debbie Licona, and Paul Copan—said they invested about 1,000 hours investigating Murray, former RZIM CEO Sarah (Davis) Phillips, and President Michael Ramsden. The group concluded the former RZIM executives had abused and deceived their former staff and were unrepentant for their actions.

However, the board members for Embrace the Truth, the ministry of Abdu Murray, this week reportedly released a statement to The Christian Post (CP), refuting the apologists’ findings. CP did not name the board members. It also did not link to a copy of the ministry’s complete statement.

Abdu Murray RZIM
Former RZIM VP Abdu Murray

“We find the characterization of Mr. Murray as an individual who has ‘not displayed godly sorrow nor demonstrated the fruit consistent with repentance for their actions,’ to be wholly unfounded, if not absurd,” the statement read, according to CP.

“Mr. Murray has readily and publicly admitted his own failures and shortcomings, including his trust in Mr. Zacharias and his role in initially defending him against allegations that were later proven to be true. Moreover, Mr. Murray has proactively sought the forgiveness of certain parties that suffered hurt at the hands of Mr. Zacharias, and then subsequently himself, and he has spent numerous hours in conversations with the board, his senior pastor, and various other spiritual advisors to learn from these experiences.”

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The Roys Report (TRR) called Embrace the Truth Wednesday and requested a copy of the board’s complete statement, as well as the names of the ministry’s board members. 

Dominique Cochran, who answered the phone for Embrace the Truth, said the ministry would respond to TRR’s requests by email. When Embrace the Truth did not respond by email, TRR sent two follow-up emails, which additionally asked for the name of Murray’s church and senior pastor.

To date, Embrace the Truth has not responded.  

However, according to documents filed with the state of Michigan, Embrace the Truth has three directors, the minimum required by Michigan. They are Abdu Murray, Michael Kern, and Brian Wassom. Kern and Wassom have served on the ministry’s board for at least a decade.

A co-founder and longtime, former vice president of Embrace the Truth (formerly Aletheia International) is Mickey Badalamenti, discipleship pastor of Rockpointe Community Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

It’s not clear what relationship, if any, Badalamenti still has to Murray and Embrace the Truth. TRR reached out to Badalamenti for clarification but did not immediately hear back.

The other officer with Embrace the Truth is Murray’s wife, Nicole Murray, who serves as both treasurer and secretary.

According to CP’s article, Embrace the Truth claims that Murray has reconciled with several offended parties and his ministry has “paid all the costs associated with those efforts, including counseling and reconciliation.”

“Certain individuals have accepted his heartfelt apology, and those relationships have graciously been restored in a God-honoring manner,” the Embrace the Truth statement reportedly reads. “Understandably, other relationships are still in the process of being restored even as Mr. Murray continues his genuine efforts to do so.”

One of those who apparently has warmed towards Murray is Sam Allberry, an author and former speaker with RZIM. He tweeted in response to CP’s article on the board’s statement: “I’ve been grateful for the evidence of deep repentance I’ve seen in Abdu’s life in recent months.”

Similarly, Xandra Carroll, a former RZIM speaker who worked for Lighten, tweeted what appeared to be support for Murray and critique of the apologists.

“My heart is breaking,” Carroll wrote. “Some of our most respected apologist voices have forsaken the Apostle’s Creed. We can no longer link arms and recite together: ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins.’”

However, former RZIM spokesperson Ruth Malhotra, who claimed Murray and other RZIM executives had bullied and harassed her, tweeted: “Calling our brothers and sisters in Christ to repentance before they are restored to ministry is not cancel culture. It’s gospel culture.”

Also, in a statement sent to TRR, Malhotra wrote:

Abdu Murray was a key architect of Ravi Zacharias’s false narratives at RZIM, while also bullying those who raised important questions and concerns. His abuse of power over several years harmed many people, including—at times, especially—me.

I have not heard anything from Abdu since I went public in 2021. His silence to me—while he’s out there relaunching his ministry and releasing his new book—has caused further pain and confusion.

I’ve come to understand that while forgiveness is unilateral, reconciliation requires both parties—and godly sorrow and repentance on the part of the oppressor are necessary for relationship to be restored. I’m grieved that most of RZIM’s senior leadership have not demonstrated this posture nor have they reached out to me; but I still believe in the possibility and beauty of reconciliation and continue to pray for that to become a reality.

Likewise, Carson Weitnauer, former RZIM director and founder of Uncommon Pursuit, told TRR that Murray has rebuffed his attempts to reconcile.

Weitnauer told TRR that from June through October, he initiated and engaged in a “mediation process” with Murray. Weitnauer said he had two conditions: that Murray write and send a letter “acknowledging how he hurt me (which I promised to keep private)” and that Murray publicly acknowledge those issues later.

Weitnauer said Murray wrote the letter, which the mediator said she was authorized to read. But the mediator said Murray was unwilling to send the letter or confess the wrongs publicly, Weitnauer said. As a result, Weitnauer said he didn’t want to hear the letter, but added, “Despite the pain Abdu has caused me, I continue to pray and hope that we will be able to reconcile.”

Of the three former RZIM executives deemed “unfit” and “disqualified” by the apologists, only Murray remains in public ministry. Sarah (Davis) Phillips launched an apologetics ministry last year, called the Lighten Group, but that ministry recently announced it’s shutting down.

This article has been updated to include Malhotra’s statement, which was sent after our initial publication, and to clarify the mediation process between Weitnauer and Murray.

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5 thoughts on “Abdu Murray’s Unnamed Board Challenges Apologists’ Findings That He’s ‘Disqualified’”

  1. Since the men and women are hiding behind the curtain, I see no reason to believe and trust these ‘invisible’ members. These people claim to ‘know the Truth’?

  2. Imagine trying to compose the article above as a journalist taught to confirm the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a story. “We dispute the claims about Mr. X. He has publicly admitted his faults and spent many hours talking with us, his pastor, and spiritual advisors. But we won’t tell you who we are, nor will we identify his pastor or his advisors. Also, we will not provide details of when said public declarations of fault occurred or specific examples of why we find your critique to be absurd.”

    How can we trust Murray or RZIM to be truthful absent such basic information? Until they consent to give names, their protests ring as hollow as supermarket tabloids reporting how “reliable sources tell The Gossip Guru that Mrs. Y had a facelift.”

  3. Welcome to the ring of the Brood of Vipers. This is what malignant narcissists do. Abdu and his wife on the board declare their innocence without proof. This guy is just like Mark Driscoll. They swirl around a big pot of Mammon and look for people to sell a false go$pel to. They are condemned before the creation of the world. We will all stand and see their judgment:

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matt. 7:21

  4. Ralph I never blame the vipers. I blame the sycophants who attend their churches or meetings or conferences and give money to these godless ilk.

  5. First and foremost, this entire organization needs to completely close down.

    Secondly, everyone associated with same needs to come clean as to what they knew, when they knew what they knew, and what they did with the information.

    Finally, each of this people need ongoing counselling to deal with the issues around this organization. Once these issues have been satisfactorily dealt with, then, perhaps, people can begin to consider a return to ministry.

    And it goes without saying, that some should not return to ministry of any kind at all.

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