HarperCollins publishing, the Christian & Missionary Alliance, and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Africa have distanced themselves from Ravi Zacharias, following the release of a report confirming sex abuse allegations against him.
HarperCollins once published over 20 books either authored, co-authored, or edited by Zacharias. By the time of his death, his books had sold over 2 million copies. As late as May 19, 2020, HarperCollins leaders publicly praised Zacharias. Now, no books appear when Zacharias’s name is searched on their site.
“I had the unique privilege of working with Ravi Zacharias for more than 25 years,” said senior acquisitions editor Joey Paul in May. “Over the years we developed a close friendship that enabled me to witness his brilliance as a world-renowned Christian apologist, and to know him as man that loved his family deeply. He was well-respected in his field.”
HarperCollins leaders changed their story after the release of a February 11 report of an investigation by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). The report found Zacharias had used his position as a leader to sexually abuse multiple women. One woman claimed Zacharias raped her.
The report also confirmed the accusations of Lori Anne Thompson, who publicly accused Zacharias in 2017 of sexually abusing her.
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“In September, when the most-recent sexual misconduct allegations against the late Ravi Zacharias surfaced, HarperCollins Christian Publishing immediately suspended all projects and shipments of his work,” said Casey Francis Harrell, corporate communications vice president.
“Following the findings in the independent report, the company will immediately take all his publications out of print. We are deeply saddened, and we mourn for the victims.”
Christian & Missionary Alliance
The Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA), which ordained Zacharias, revoked his ordination on Feb. 12.
Zacharias had spent 46 years working as a C&MA minister and is believed to be the first person in the C&MA’s 134-year history to be posthumously expelled from ministry.
“It is with great sorrow that The Christian and Missionary Alliance . . . acknowledges that one of its licensed workers, Ravi Zacharias, now deceased, engaged in a pattern of sinful behavior that has caused enormous pain to many and undermined the witness of Christ’s Church,” its statement reads.
“Recent independent investigations commissioned by both the C&MA and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries confirmed the accusations made by massage therapists that he engaged in sexual misconduct. He then constructed elaborately deceptive schemes to conceal his activity,” it continues.
The C&MA in 2018 conducted what it labeled a “thorough inquiry” on Zacharias, but did not find enough evidence to begin a formal investigation. For years, RZIM touted C&MA’s inquiry as an “investigation” that cleared Zacharias of wrongdoing.
“In recognition of this gross violation and its painful consequences to the victims and others who were impacted, the C&MA posthumously expels Mr. Zacharias from licensed ministry in our denomination. This comes with the automatic revocation of his ordination,” the CMA stated.
RZIM Africa took down its entire website and replaced it with a statement of apology for Zacharias’s actions and RZIM’s handling of the case.
“While Ravi Zacharias is responsible for his own sin, we must also acknowledge and repent of our own wrongdoing,” the statement read. “By believing Ravi Zacharias and forwarding the statement by the International Board of Directors alongside Ravi’s statement following the testimony of Lori Anne Thompson in 2017, we participated in slandering her and her husband Brad Thompson. For this wrong and for compounding their pain, we are truly sorry and are filled with grief,” the statement reads.
The RZIM Africa statement also calls for a thorough and independent investigation of RZIM’s “structure, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices” to reveal how RZIM handled abuse allegations against Zacharias.
“Merciful and Just God, we come to you in this time of need. Teach us to sit with the pain of the many women who have been broken and wounded by the devastating actions of Ravi Zacharias. Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord. Have mercy,” a prayer in the statement reads.
Jackson Elliott is a Christian journalist trained at Northwestern University. He has worked at The Daily Signal, The Inlander, and The Christian Post, covering topics ranging from D.C. politics to prison ministry. His interests include the Bible, philosophy, theology, Russian literature, and Irish music.