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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Opinion: How Many Survivors Will Be Heard?

By Carson Weitnauer
survivor survivors roys
(Licensed Photo / TRR graphic)

Julie Roys is a liar.

For years, that’s what I believed, because Ravi Zacharias and his team told me it was true.

But now I see that Ravi had to attack the motives of anyone who sought to tell the truth about his life. It’s a powerful technique that enabled him to control the narrative.

In the same way, Ravi needed to slander Lori Anne Thompson as a manipulative extortionist.

By calling Julie and Lori Anne “liars,” Ravi cleared the way for his board, senior leadership team, denomination, publisher, and powerful friends to walk by their wounded neighbors on the road to wealth, fame, and ministry success.

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Baptistland: A Memoir of Abuse, Betrayal, and Transformation” by Christa Brown. To donate, click here.

Ravi Zacharias RZIM
Ravi Zacharias speaks to students at the Zacharias Institute in Alpharetta, Georgia, in July 2018. (Photo by Gary S. Chapman)

Worst of all, the deception enabled Ravi to abuse more women.

But unlike nearly everyone else, Julie kept investigating.

She interviewed the Thompsons’ lawyer, accountant, counselors, friends, and family. She reviewed cell phone logs, shipping receipts, tax documents, emails, letters, and denominational records.

Julie invested dozens of hours of research, writing, editing, and fact-checking to find and tell the truth.

When she published her findings, she did so only a few months after Christian leaders from around the world had hailed Ravi as “the greatest apologist of this century.”

In doing so, she demonstrated tremendous courage. Her reporting challenged the evangelical leaders and institutions who benefitted from promoting Ravi’s side of the story.

But Julie’s work extends far beyond exposing Ravi and RZIM.

It’s sad, but many Christian leaders appear to have a vested interest in discrediting her work.

For instance, in private, Christian leaders have warned me not to associate with Julie. They’ve explained it gives me a bad reputation and limits my ministry. They’ve quoted chapter and verse to add God’s endorsement to their perspective.

Why?

I think it’s because they also fear losing control of the narrative.

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Ravi Zacharias (lower right) pictured with celebrity pastors Bill Hybels (left) and Carl Lentz. (Photo collage: TRR)

Julie threatens their ability to manipulate people to trust them, no matter how many people they or their friends have abused – spiritually, financially, or sexually.

It’s a binary choice: either they discredit Julie or face accountability.

But despite the opposition, Julie and her team remain steadfast, courageous, and compassionate as they investigate allegations of abuse.

They’ve developed groundbreaking practices to make their reporting trauma-informed. Yet, they equally insist on meeting objective standards for journalistic integrity. Every day, they address complex issues that require professionalism, wisdom, and sensitivity.

It’s why survivors trust The Roys Report to tell their stories.

John MacArthur shaming
John MacArthur (Video screengrab)

It’s why Julie’s team keeps breaking stories about John MacArthur and Grace Community Church, Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer, Alan Scott and the Dwelling Place, and dozens of other heartbreaking situations.

In a recent example, only days before Thanksgiving, Julie showed up at a church town hall meeting at Fellowship Monrovia in southern California, seeking answers from embattled pastor Albert Tate.

She was prompted by congregants’ allegations against the pastor of sexual harassment, bullying, and misuse of church funds — issues which The Roys Report documented and continues to investigate.

An hour into that town hall, Tate and church leaders opened the floor for Q&A, and Julie introduced herself. Tate was stunned, asking, “You flew to California for this?”

Then he disparaged her reporting, while the audience urged him to let her talk. It’s all on video

julie roys fellowship monrovia
On Nov. 19, 2023, journalist Julie Roys asks a question to Fellowship Monrovia Lead Pastor Albert Tate during a town hall meeting at the church in Monrovia, California. (Video screengrab)

It’s time to ask ourselves: What kind of church do we want to support?

As it stands, millions of dollars build the reputations of celebrity Christian leaders. They can afford PR consultants, mass-market advertising campaigns, and slick social media productions.

woman silhouette shadows survivor
(Photo: Molly Blackbird / Unsplash)

By contrast, survivors typically don’t have money, platforms, or even hope.

So, it’s urgent that Julie and her team are empowered to hire more staff to tell more stories. Imagine reaching out to Julie, hoping she can help you, and being told, “I’m so sorry, we want to help, but we just don’t have a journalist available to look into your story right now.”

Whenever The Roys Report lacks funding, survivors remain silenced, Christians are misled, and abusive pastors can prey on more victims.

But we have a choice. Our support can make a difference. We can invest in an organization dedicated to finding and telling the truth.

When we give to The Roys Report, we empower those trampled on, free those trapped by lies, and hold accountable the leaders who violated our trust.

I can tell you from my own experience that Julie’s reporting helped me recover from the trauma of spiritual abuse at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

So, as you consider where to give, please join me in supporting The Roys Report.

Carson Weitnauer is an author, speaker, and the founder of Uncommon Pursuit, a Christian ministry focused on spiritual growth. He has authored and co-written multiple books. Learn more at uncommonpursuit.net.

Editor’s note: Click below to watch Carson’s session at the recent Restore Conference. 

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve known Julie Roys for over 35 years, and served with her on a youth ministry team for a season. She is a person of the highest integrity, and I respect the wisdom, strength, and courage she lives her life with. I’m thankful God has raised up Julie and her team at the Roys Report to tell the stories of the victims of abuse in the Church….

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