Opinion: Evangelical Response to Ravi Zacharias Scandal Reveals Our Desire for a King

By Russell Meek
Ravi Zacharias

Americans love celebrities. And Christian Americans love Christian celebrities. After all, it’s nice to have someone we can point to and say, “See, Christianity is cool.”

Unlike in broader American culture, though, which makes no bones about “canceling” people when allegations of sexual abuse arise (such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey), American Christian culture balks forcefully when allegations come out against our “heroes.” Ravi Zacharias is only the most recent of a long line of evangelical leaders to face allegations of abuse and to be defended to the teeth by Christians.

The Old Testament provides some insight about celebrity culture and the human tendency to elevate humans to a place they were never meant to be, in short to worship them. This sin causes us to excuse the “faults” of our leaders and rationalize their deviant behavior, making our churches more and more unsafe for the vulnerable.

“This sin causes us to excuse the ‘faults’ of our leaders and rationalize their deviant behavior, making our churches more and more unsafe for the vulnerable.”

Saul is the textbook example of our desire to have a human leader, a flesh-and-blood person to guide and direct our lives. Though the Lord was meant to be their king, the Israelites demanded a human king “to lead us, such as all the other nations have” (1 Samuel 8:5 NIV). Samuel warns Israel that a human king will abuse them; he will rob them of their sons and daughters, their income, and even their bodies (see 1 Samuel 8:10–17).

And you know the rest of the story. Saul does everything God says he’ll do. Even David, the very best of the kings, commits rape and murder.

In addition to Samuel’s warnings, the people could look to their recent past. The book of Judges is filled with powerful men who took what they wanted with no consequence. Even today these people’s abuse is explained away.

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For example, when I ask my Old Testament students—mostly young men and women who grew up in church—why Samson’s story is in the Bible, the most common response I get is, “To show that God can use anyone.”

Sure, Samson’s story does show that. Why, though, do we brush past Samson’s sins—refusing even now to hold him responsible—while we don’t do the same with Pharaoh and Pontius Pilate, whom God also used?

I think it may be for the same reason that we are quick to condemn men like Harvey Weinstein (or the film Cuties) while making excuses, defending, and otherwise covering for sexual predators nearer to us. Anna Salter points out in her book Predators that we (humans in general but especially religious people) naturally want to believe the best about others, and even more so when:

  1. Those people are in our own “camp”
  2. Not believing the best about them will cost us something.

In cases involving evangelical “heroes” accused of sexual abuse, bias gets us on both counts. In the first case, we simply can’t believe that an evangelical Christian would commit sexual abuse. A Catholic priest, sure (and definitely an atheist), but never an evangelical, and certainly never one who is so nice, speaks so eloquently, has shared the gospel so much, and has helped so many people. The cognitive dissonance is simply too much for us to overcome our confirmation bias.

“(W)e simply can’t believe that an evangelical Christian would commit sexual abuse. A Catholic priest, sure (and definitely an atheist), but never an evangelical . . .”

Second, to believe that one of our “heroes” committed such an offense would mean that we are in some way also defective. We didn’t suspect the abuse or see it coming, and what does that say about us? At the very best it says that we were deceived; at the worst it says we were complicit in enabling a sexual predator. It’s not a pretty thought, but it’s one evangelical Christians must confront if we want to put even a dent in the scourge of sexual abuse in our midst.

Despite God telling Israel that kings would abuse them, and despite reading about such abuse in Scripture, and despite headline after headline of abuse committed by Christian leaders today, we still lionize men. Just like Israel in the Old Testament, we demand a king over us, and all the better if it is a king who is handsome and golden-tongued. And once we have that king, we refuse to believe he may be capable of the abuses we’ve already seen and been warned about so many times before.

Should Christians eschew all Christian leadership? No, of course not. The Bible is clear that God gives us leaders in the church. The problem comes when we make those men gods—usually unconsciously—and develop a celebrity cult around them.

Can Christians avoid all abuse all the time? No, of course not, and even thinking that implies that the victims themselves are to blame.

However, we can and should recognize that this particular sin—desiring a king over us instead of God—makes us that much easier to target. Predators will use such infatuation with “men of God” to manipulate and control both their victims and the broader Christian culture, which, it turns out, they’ve also groomed.

Russ MeekRussell L. Meek (PhD Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a speaker, writer, and professor who specializes in the Old Testament and its intersection with the Christian life. You can visit him online at RussMeek.com.



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63 thoughts on “Opinion: Evangelical Response to Ravi Zacharias Scandal Reveals Our Desire for a King”

    1. This article series seems to be appealing to those who relish gossip and scandal at any cost.
      A true Christian soul should have no interest in pursuing something that has the potential of causing deep hurt to an already grieving family family and loved ones of a man who lived most of his adult life sharing his extensive knowledge of our world, our God, and the hope we can have in Him. What Ravi taught was of value to anyone who chose to listen. The teacher was never the focus of the message.

      1. However, Christians really do go for the jugular if the leader in questions (think John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King) is not a conservative evangelical. I think, in both instances, consideration needs to be given to the family, but also that the truth needs to be acknowledged. In the case of evangelicals, who say we hold our leadership to a higher standard, the sin (even after death) also needs to be acknowledged. I often wonder what would have happened if someone had come alongside Ravi, as Nathan did David, and called him out. The board must have known something, yet nothing was ever done. Most of my family is non-Christian, and they can call out the public trespasses of each preacher who has hit the nightly news because of their indiscretions. They pull it all out and say, “Of course, I have never done any of those things.” II know it’s an excuse, but it makes it that much harder for me to plead the cause of Christ to them.

        1. Elaine, what is the truth? Do you have the evidence laid out in front of you? I believe the truth should be pursued in court. Not in the media, especially Christian media. I think justice should be served rather to RZIM or to false accusers if accusation are or can be proven false. The article has some good points mixed with a little poison.

      2. True Christians hope for what Jesus does, including godly sorrow that leads to salvation, not worldly sorrow that leads to death. (II Cor. 7:10) The Zacharias family, including those who now take large salaries from RZIM and control it, have shown zero godly sorrow. Instead, they have covered up Ravi’s sin for many years with lies. Ravi’s name is still central to drawing in some $40 million/year for RZIM, and now that name is a hypocritical embarrassment to everyone associated with RZIM, which needs to face this with complete transparency, not more deceptions. One step in this direction would be to release the Thompsons from the NDA, as they have requested, if RZIM has nothing to hide.

        The grieving family has for too long been the Thompsons, who are to be commended for courageously coming forward with more information that will hopefully help other Christian leaders take warning and bring more holiness to Christ’s Church, as well as bring additional healing in their own lives from the abusive lies Ravi publicly told about them. RZIM still owes them a huge, public apology if real repentance ever occurs in the Zacharias family.

      3. Very true Barbara, Ravi was a champion for the faith! Do we all forget David or Samson?! This all seems like this might be the evangelical version of “cancel culture.” If Ravi did these things at least wait a year…geeessh

          1. “It’s people like you” is the lamest way to reply to someone. You don’t know me and what I’ve been through. I’ve actually kicked a worship pastors ass for abusing someone close to me… So my point is Grace does not end for the abusers, I know it’s hard to say but it was true for David, at least I’m honest enough Christian to admit it!

        1. Repentance and grace are key. I am a hypocrite if I preach about repentance and grace to all, but forget that Ravi, if he repented, got exactly that. I hate what he did…but I love that he was forgiven if he repented. He taught me so much about Jesus and the faith. I will not forget the great concepts I was taught. He needed Christ badly it seems… and so do I.

  1. This is a difficult circumstance for sure. The revealing of sin is God’s loving hand towards those He loves. Everything that God does or allows in our lives is done with the intention to draw us nearer to Him and cause us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

    What I say above, most Christians know and understand. Yet, when faced with it in regards to a sister or brother that has been used by God in such a public way across the world it does take time to reorient ourselves.

    I myself spent 3 – 4 years studying, reading, listening too the articulations from Ravi. I grew tremendously under that mentor-ship. Ravi did not know me even by name and yet I felt like I knew him. In a way, a fatherly figure as well as lover of Christ and teacher.

    Considering the length of time that this man and his positions of Christ and philosophical arguments from a non biblical position is weighty. So it is no surprise that a slow almost unbelieving response has come from the Christian community. This is to be expected and not chastened.

    How can the new “facts” be trusted as true? How could I have been deceived so easily? How could someone so well spoken and demonstrated nearness to God carry on in a dual life? If this mature and secure Christian man with such a public ministry can be tempted and fall. . . what hope is there for me?

    It will take time. The facts will have to continue to be verified and presented. We all will need time to process this and we will refocus our eyes to Christ.

    My prayer is for the current staff and board of RZIM. Let God purify them individually and collectively if they had any part in allowing this sin to both manifest and continue. Let God in Christ continue to build His church, His body, and prepare us for the marriage supper of the Lamb.

    1. jenniferthorne-A false teacher has a hardened heart which is always revealed if you look beneath the surface. A false teacher holds to a false theology. His theology can be found on his website where his staff posted spiritual formation, contemplative spirituality & mysticism. He was confronted on this & promised it would be removed—it was not. He preached in a Mormon church, praised false teacher Joyce Meyer, falsely put Dr. in front of his name. The latest revelations of his sexual sin is not something that “just” appeared, rather it was simply more light being shed on an apostate appearing as an angel of light.

  2. Reading about Ravi leaves me with a deep sense of sadness on many fronts. I feel sad that someone who I respected and learned a great deal from in the area of apologetics has had this hidden part of his life. I remember reading his story about how he came to Christ when he was on the brink of suicide and how God began to use him in the world.

    I also feel an immense sadness for his victim and how he used her longing for a father figure to fulfill his own unmet needs. This really is emotional incest.

    I also feel an immense sadness that the Christian culture here in the U.S. makes Christian leaders celebrities. And then when they fall, Christians turn the other way and justify it by how God has used this person in the world for the gospel. It makes many of us feel like we’re going crazy, because we don’t know who to believe.

    I also feel an immense sadness for Ravi and his family. What led him (and other Christian leaders who fall) to be in such a place where they separate their ministry and what they teach from their personal lives? What keeps them from being vulnerable about their areas of struggle, whether it be sexual addictions, lack of intimacy in marriage, etc? Somewhere we have been taught as Christians that these weaknesses are not acceptable for “leaders”. And so those who follow these leaders also don’t think weaknesses are acceptable.

    The Bible makes it so clear that we are all servants of God and on the same level as each other. I might be a pastor or missionary but I can learn and should learn from the “least of these”. After being a missionary for 15 years I told this to a pastor who looked at me like I was crazy or naive.

    I believe one of the big problems is that we are living a half-brained Christianity. We have over-elevated the acquiring of knowledge while not giving enough attention to how we are actually transformed into the image of Jesus. There is a book that was recently released by an organization called Life Model Works. It is called “The Other Half of Church” and talks about how brain science, Christian Commmunity and spiritual transformation are all connected. If a leader were a part of a healthy Christian community where they are not the leader and where they can be vulnerable with their struggles, difficulties and hurts, many of these kinds of situations could be avoided.

    I would love to see some Christian reporting on what the church in America needs to become more holy and pure and weed out the narcissism that is so present. Yes, we need repentance before God and others, but we also need a way of being the church that actually prevents this kind of thing from happening in the first place. We need to understand how God made us and what we need to be healthy emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

    Thanks, julie, for your great reporting!!!

    1. Christopher Mays Sr.

      The Bible makes it so clear that we are all servants of God and on the same level as each other. I might be a pastor or missionary but I can learn and should learn from the “least of these”.

      Well said, well said indeed.

  3. “Prophet for Profit”
    How many times have we seen it?
    Should we not therefore be suspicious of men and women who prowl about in luxury, traveling on private jets, wearing gold, diamonds and Rolex watches, calling themselves “Doctor” so-and-so when they have earned no such distinction, preaching in the name of Jesus Christ?

    Well, let’s consult Jesus Christ Himself:

    “Now as He (Jesus) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
    “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, “I am the Christ”, and will deceive many” Matthew 24: 3 & 4.

    “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” Matthew 24:24 & 25

    Seems pretty clear, however in Matthew 7 Jesus makes it crystal clear what will happen to these deceivers:

    “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    Someone has said:

    “The church began as a movement in Jerusalem. It became a philosophy in Greece, an institution in Rome, a culture in Europe and, when it came to America, it became a business… a highly profitable business. But God is coming back for a movement.”

    Because so many profit from this business how can they easily discard one of their golden geese. They cannot. It is not that they don’t know the truth, it is that the money is far more important. The so called Christian publications promote these golden geese and run interference for them. Anyone who raises any doubt or speaks the truth is first condemned and then denigrated. You should know this from experience Julie.

    It is truly an “old boy” network. They get together in conferences and plot together. They train each other. Sharing what has been successful in bilking more money from the deceived. They hire so called experts to speak on the latest techniques. They buy radio and TV networks to mutually promote themselves and the “golden geese”. They promote each other’s books.

    I read an article recently about how these celebrity pastors get rich. This was the table of contents:

    Table of Contents
    • Introduction
    • The Multilevel Marketing Pattern
    • Books
    • DVDs
    • Hyped Conferences
    • The Christian Speaking Circuit
    • Pastor Owned Businesses that Feed Off the Flock
    • The Honor the Pastor Scam
    • High Pressure Offerings
    • Cathedral Building Wars
    • Siphoning Cash into Property
    • Excessive Wages
    • Perks
    • Nepotism
    • Their Fabricated Tithing Doctrine
    • The Carrot and the Stick

    Pretty self-explanatory.

    So why is the evangelical community reluctant to condemn the guilty? MONEY!

      1. True Doug, unless it is included under pastor owned businesses that feed off the flock. I happen to know of instances by tour operators who arrange tours for some of these pastors and put the money received from the tour into an account that the pastor controls rather than back into the ministry that sponsors the tour or cruise. Absolutely no accountability and the non-profit boards know this and allow it to happen.

    1. George-would you provide a link to the Table of Contents you mentioned? That would be interesting to read the rest of that article.

    2. What guilty do you speak of? There hasn’t been any “proof” of his guilt. So he is innocent until proven guilty. I never heard Ravi call himself Christ, or king. Do you have that footage? It’s not a sin to be rich.Personally I’m glad he had a private jet. He was carrying the word of God to the nations and was able to do it most efficiently. No, I’m probably not rich by your standards but I’m not jealous either.

  4. I would not say that Evangelical Christians or even Evangelical Churches are willing to dis-believe the accusations against their leaders. I seen a lot of Churches and Ministries that have dismissed leaders who were thrown into the clutches of immoral behavior and sometimes including sexual sins. Sometimes without any evidence other than just an accusation. Granted, their may be some Churches and ministries that will defend their leaders above all else. At the same time Elder and Oversight Boards need to be willing to examine all the evidence. Did the act really happen or was it a misunderstanding? Is the accuser credible? Is there a pattern? Why is the accuser coming out with the accusations long after the incident? If I was involved in an investigation committee or team I want to know these questions of who, what, when why, where and how. It is always a problem for those who investigate these things that maybe the accuser does have some grounds but, if their is a question of the credibility or the evidence has holes in it or the witness is not giving clear indisputable evidence I am much more willing to let an accused person off then to give a incorrect judgment. That is the proper Christian response. Jurisprudence. It is in line with Jesus’ admonition for his followers to not be gullible. In fact, we need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

    Personally, in the case of Ravi Zacharias I am not convinced of the accusations against him. It smells more like a set-up. Granted, he made a mistake by positioning himself alone in the presence of a woman not his wife which every Christian Minister if even just a Sunday School Teacher or Choir Member needs to avoid. That to me was his only mistake If the RZIM would not accept that fault then that is a problem. All I see is a set-up in an effort to get some settlement money. Hopefully, RZIM will not submit to any of it. In the end the guy is deceased.

    1. Dirk, you are a voice of reason I want justice served though the court . As hard as it would be, if Ravi is proven guilty, I would hope RZIM handles it honestly and with compassion for the victims. But its an unGodly injustice for Christians to allude or down right claim his guilt with out knowing the facts. .

  5. There was a book written called Money, Sex and Power that was upfront about temptations Christian men in leadership face. These three traps are more accessible to men in leadership. This would apply to us as well. I do not mention women in leadership as this book was geared towards men. I also do not know if these specific temptations are what women in leadership face.

    I still have seen no mention of this controversy in The Christian Post yet. Interesting.

  6. Professor Meek, you get to the “heart” of the issue and back it with Scripture from the beginning of your argument. Thank you, and I could not agree more. I also strongly believe that since so many of these men have huge institutions riding on the backs of their ministries (whether a para group or a church), they believe they must do everything to protect the incoming dollar. No, I have no interest in ever becoming a Catholic, but appreciate the coverage in this ministry about why Mark Galli and others have turned to Catholicism. I am not shocked as I saw Thomas Howard do this a few decades ago as well as others. The one thing I do appreciate about the men and women who are “supposed to be serving correctly” in the body of the Catholic church, is their vow to a simple life. We “non prosperity Gospel types” can not throw stones at the Prosperity Gospel gurus as we hypocritically follow in their footsteps in many ways.

  7. Christopher Mays Sr.

    George Hale posted in a previous comment…“The church began as a movement in Jerusalem. It became a philosophy in Greece, an institution in Rome, a culture in Europe and, when it came to America, it became a business… a highly profitable business. But God is coming back for a movement.”

    The Big Evangelical Machine, the Christian celebrity circuit, the “clergy” has nothing to do with New Testament Christianity. Sure there were leaders (Elders/Overseers), but they were part of the body, they were not regarded as the clergy; there were no big names, as a matter fact, the first 12 verses of Matthew 23, our Lord instructs the disciples not to use exalted titles for themselves. The church on the west needs a reformation, to destroy the institution and get back to the movement, where we’re not looking to the select few to instruct and teach us, putting them on a pedestal that God never intended any of His followers to have, but as Paul said in Ephesians 4:16… “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.”

    1. Dear Sir, Our Lord did select and instruct only a few, twelve to be exact and one of them was a “devil”. And the rest were martyred for Christ. And then our Lord gave prophets, apostles, teachers, shepherds, evangelists as gifts to the Church. What about you Sir? Would love to hear your part as part of His body. Souls won for Christ and disciples built through you?

  8. Had anyone close to Ravi obeyed Lev.19:17 when he continuously lied about his credentials as having a doctorate or his false claims of teaching where he did not, then he would have been outed years ago. I guess no one really cared enough about the truth to do something about it.

    1. well, it would have cost them too much.

      i just love it when christian speakers and the staff of their organization promote integrity. and then hide the truth behind lies to protect themselves.

        1. Really wanted to avoid responding to your comment Carmine. Maybe you do not know this. Not everyone with a Doctorate degree or has the DR. Before their name is a medical professional. Doctorate degrees can be awarded to people based on their Graduate Degrees. You can be a Doctor of Philosophy or Religion if you continue an education after a Masters Degree. A lot of Educators have a doctorate degrees and might not even know to apply a Band-Aid. Only writing this as you may not know this.

      1. My, my, my. Billy, you should research your subject just a little before posting such comments in public. I did a quick search (took about 30 seconds) and many, many places spoke to this subject. Here is a sample.

        From Wikipedia:
        “With regard to the use of this honorific, the policies of institutions of higher education generally ask that recipients “refrain from adopting the misleading title” and that a recipient of an honorary doctorate should restrict the use of the title “Dr” before their name to any engagement with the institution of higher education in question and not within the broader community.”

        The policy from this University is typical:
        “In no instance will the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Florida Atlantic University represent the award as being an earned doctorate or an earned academic credential of any kind. This award does not entitle the recipient to use the title of “Dr.” or append “Ph.D.” or any other earned degree designation after his/her name. Inappropriate use of the award could result in its withdrawal by action of the President and Provost, with the input of the University Faculty Senate Honors and Awards Committee.”

        Just saying … deception is never acceptable. The only reason to use such an unearned title is to deceive. Don’t you think that Zacharias was intelligent enough to have known this?

  9. I think it’s not so much we want a king to rule over us, but a hero/champion who will lead the fight for us or encourage us. Much of the 1 Kings 8 desire was for the hero rather than the ruler – kings those days fulfilled both roles.

    It’s sad when our heroes fail. When lots of scandals arose in Catholic churches we thought, well those priests aren’t really Chrstian. When there were scandals in churches that major on hype, the supernatural, that ‘anointed’ leader, we say thank God we’re not like that. But now we intellectual evangelicals have seen much dishonesty in our own camps – people whose faith looked real and whose teaching was sensible & biblical – and we can no longer say it doesn’t happen here.

    One reason this hurts us, as I am now reflecting, is that we believe in a Holy Spirit who lives in every believer and makes us like Christ. When leaders who are supposed to be full of the Spirit prove to be hypocrites, our friends can say our faith is a placebo.

  10. Start in Genesis 38, why not? Christ’s own forefather, Judah, set the standard for sexual impropriety among God’s people. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah knew what it was to have skeletons in the family closet. For all the rhetoric about adhering to the clear teaching of Scripture, evangelicals are pathetically selective as to accepting what the Zacharias case trumpets yet again – WHY DO WE INSIST ON IGNORING THAT SCRIPTURE NEVER, NEVER, NEVER COVERS THE SINS OF SPIRITUAL ICONS?? And we wonder why we have minimal credibility with thinking folk?!?!

  11. To all those who are doubtful that Ravi could have done this or that we are chasing the gossip column as we follow this…..WAKE UP, OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE REALITY OF SIN IN ANYONES LIFE. For several years we have read and seen lives destroyed in the secular realm by Weinsteins &Epstein’s,
    TV personalities, movie stars, et al and decades long non stop bankruptcies of catholic archdiocese due to molestation by priests, the newly bankrupt Boy Scouts, and untold “Protestant” pastors ( from ALL denominations ) who have been arrested and / or removed from the pastorate.

    Think about this ………none of those offenders chose to act out in a vacuum…..they made victims out of innocent people…..and STOP saying they “fell into sexual sin” or “they were thrown into the clutches of temptation”
    That is simply a man made lie, it’s putting lipstick on the pig that is sin.
    When I sin, it is NEVER an accident or moral failing ……..it is my choice, the single greatest attribute our Creator gave us, FREE WILL.

    The counseling offices, pastors offices, psychiatry hospitals, AODA clinics and graveyards are full of the wounded & destroyed minds. These untold millions,the world over, suffer needlessly because another’s perverse choice twists and confuses the human mind….many that are not fully developed.

    To all the doubters, I urge you to read, listen or watch the stories of the many men & women who are survivors of sexual abuse. Check out some of the local victim impact statements in your local court system , even better get a hold of your local district attorneys office for victim impact. It is an eye opener.

    Simultaneously , I am convicted that now is not a good time to present this in consideration of Ravi’s family. But is begs a bigger question”WHEN IS IT A GOOD TIME?”………the reality is there is no good time for a painful issue to be dealt with….the pain to any offenders family doesn’t change with the passing of time nor does it change for the victim.

    The longer sexual abuse stays hidden in the darkness , it’s impact of destruction of peoples lives grows exponentially. This destruction occurs to offender and victim alike.

    I will not choose to adandon the Church Universal because of one of my top three Christian leaders chose to sin…..even if my remaining two favorites choose to sin…….they are mere humans…….we worship only one God, the Trinity who NEVER fails. What a huge relief that’s is…….
    Kind Regards,

  12. This author writes…
    “Should Christians eschew all Christian leadership?
    No, of course not.
    The Bible is clear that God gives us leaders in the church.”
    I’m-a-thinken… the Bible is NOT so clear on “leaders in the church.”
    Unless you are talking about Jesus being “The “ONE” Leader.”
    Jesus teaches His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders.”
    For “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    And, in the Bible, NOT one of His Disciples…
    Called another Disciple “Leader.”
    Called themself “Leader.”
    Mat 23:10-12 NASB
    Do NOT be called Leaders;
    for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
    If someone calls them self “Leader?”
    Allows folks to call them “Leader?”
    Are they still one of His Disciples? :-(
    Or just a disobedient Disciple? :-)
    Isa 3:12 KJV
    …O my people, *they which lead thee*
    cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.
    Isa 9:16 KJV
    For *the leaders* of this people
    cause them to err;
    and they that are led of them are destroyed.
    The only “ONE” who referred to Himself as…
    The “ONE” Shepherd
    The “ONE” Teacher
    The “ONE” Leader
    {{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}}

  13. Hmmm? Christian Leadership???
    Have you considered the ANT?
    The ANT is small and insignificant – Or is it?
    Proverbs 6:6-8 KJV
    6 – Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
    7 – Which having **NO guide,** **overseer,** **or ruler,**
    8 – Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
    Guide – 07101 qatsiyn
    KJV – ruler 4, prince 4, captain 3, guide 1; 12
    Thayers – chief, ruler, commander, dictator, ruler (of one in authority)
    Overseer – 07860 shoter {sho-tare’}
    KJV – officers 23, ruler 1, overseer 1; 25
    Thayers – official, officer./
    Ruler – 04910 mashal {maw-shal’}
    KJV – rule 38, ruler 19, reign 8, dominion 7, governor 4, 81
    Thayers – to rule, have dominion, reign, cause to rule, exercise dominion.
    If God is asking WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Church…
    To, consider the ways of the ANT and be wise???
    And – If “The Ant” needs, NO guide, NO overseer, and NO ruler?
    Why do WE?
    Why do WE? His Sheep? His Ekklesia? His Church? His Called Out Ones?
    His Body? His Servants? His Kings and Priests? His Ambassadors?
    His sons? His Friends? His Disciples?
    Who can “Go to Jesus?” Directly? NO Middle Man?
    John 10:27 KJV
    MY Sheep, Hear MY Voice, I know them, and they Follow ME.
    It does take a leap of Faith to believe and trust that…
    You can Hear His Voice…
    And Jesus, can, ”Guide you,” ”Oversee you.” ”Rule you.”
    John 16:13
    Howbeit when HE, the Spirit of truth, is come,
    he will ”Guide you,” into ”ALL Truth:”
    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “Hear My Voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16 KJV
    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader – One Teacher
    If NOT now… When?
    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  14. Most of the replies above speak to our ability and/or need to cover sin or ignore it. And so we assume now one way or the other that Ravi is guilty or innocent based on our philosophical predisposition. None of that matters; our disposition speaks to what we may ‘want’ to believe, but not what is true. The only thing that matters in Ravi’s case is the evidence and the correct (truthful) understanding of it. Period.

  15. Drop the Ravi stuff already. He’s dead. Lori Ann settled out of court. Let’s stop the gossip fest. If there’s anything evangelicals like to do, it is gossip about others’ sins.

    1. Wherever Ravi is, he shouldn’t care about what’s being said about him by those still on earth. If he had cared more about integrity and telling the truth, we wouldn’t be left with trying to clean up the ugly mess he left regarding matters of tremendous import for those still waiting to meet their Maker.

  16. This in reality really isn’t about Ravi, at this point. It’s about those around him, friends, family, co-worker, fellow heads of ministries. Who would have known the truth, what ever the truth is. So where are those voices in united denial of these claims?

    I have searched and yet to find someone or a group willing to defend Ravi’s honor. That, and that alone, is very telling.

    If accusations were made against my friend/boss/pastor whomever and I knew they weren’t true I would fight to the end to defend them. For the sake of their honor but more importantly the Kingdom.

    Can someone please point me to those who are testifying and saying that Lori Anne, and now Julie are lying, or twisting the truth.

    Not any of us here, I mean actual close friends and family. Because I have yet to see a single person do this, and that is very telling.

  17. Sadly, none of this surprises me about Zacharias.

    In fact, I can think of one very prominent deceased American minister who allegedly molested kids, was a Freemason, and even had ties to Satanism. But I would be totally roasted if I mentioned his name here. ;)

    Also, many years ago, I suffered spiritual abuse at the hands of a now-deceased female minister who had written at least 6 books and was fairly well-known in certain evangelical circles. It wasn’t sexual abuse, but it was horrific verbal/emotional abuse. And then whenever you try to tell your story, as this article attests, so many other Christians will defend their hero “to the teeth.” :P

    Well, it’s good to see hypocrisy exposed, even after the abuser has passed on.

  18. I think the article misses the point entirely. We are not looking for a king in the Evangelical world, we are looking for a saint! We want someone who has truly mastered this battle over sin and is above all our “common” failings. That is what is so hard to believe about this maybe true story about Ravi. He was the one guy that wouldn’t pull anything like this!!! That’s how I saw him all theses years. All these prosperity guys and the like ok, but not Ravi! We don’t want a king, we want a saint who hasn’t failed. And that is the problem. They set that bar so high (or were taught to) so to speak and then let us down when they fail to live to that standard. This is where true Grace comes in and sadly a lot of people in the evangelical world bristle against “hyper Grace” teaching when that’s what they want all along! I think the solution is, teach radical GRACE so when a pastor or teacher “falls” they don’t fall in the eyes of anyone because they already were held in forgiveness. That is of course if they have been preaching Grace and let that grace flow to there lives to not feel like they are walking on a wire. That is why so many fall, it’s the pressure! I would say to Julie as well, “be careful how you judge because by the end of the day you may be hanging from your own gallows.” I would never excuse abuse, if this is what Ravi has done, but I will also not turn into a Puritan and expect perfection from already saved saints. Julie, don’t think of yourself as the Puritan guard here of evangelicalism! Leadership does require more accountability and should always be a safe place for Christians to turn. But All sin is not the same and most importantly Ravi is not here to clear his name anymore (a key point!) but the good the man did in his defense of Christ far outways this sin (if it is true) I believe. Bring people to account indeed in this life if possible but don’t look for a Puritanical goal that will leave everyone hopeless in the end.

    1. I’m sure as Hell exists am glad you are not an elder or overseer at my church. I wouldn’t trust you to hold people accountable for their actions.

      1. Jerome your the worst. I’m glad I’ll never step foot in your puritanical church. Have fun with your “witch hunt” attitude. I never excuse abuse and go straight for the jugular literally when I know for a FACT that someone has commited abuse against someone (per my previous reply) I am a man who protects those around me but also is mature enough to not believe every report. Have fun in Hell of constant reactionary accusation world. I’ve been there and it’s no place to stay. Grace and Truth are not enemies bud.

    2. I believe innocent until proven guilty But a man of God not sexually harassing woman….. Is that really setting the bar too high? If it is we really are doomed.

  19. There is such a thing as innocent until proven guilty. While there may be evidence that something our of sorts occurred. It may be less elevating to god status and more wanting proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

  20. Thanks for this article, Russell and Julie.

    In decades of church work, I’ve noticed that there has always been a certain percentage of people who desire a leader that will tell them exactly what to do. They would rather follow instructions than rely on the Holy Spirit themselves, and often repeatedly join churches or parachurch organizations where the leader takes a strong role in their individual lives, sometimes to the point of abuse. It seemed to me to be a personality issue.

    I’ve been thinking about this in light of the recent studies focused on the political realm that show “18 percent of Americans are highly disposed to authoritarianism, according to their answers to four simple survey questions used by social scientists to estimate this disposition. A further 23 percent or so are just one step below them on the authoritarian scale. This roughly 40 percent of Americans tend to favor authority, obedience and uniformity over freedom, independence and diversity.”

    That disposition towards authoritarianism shows in the church as well.

    Perhaps that 18 percent would always “desire a king”, but even more church members have been falsely taught to submit to authoritarian leaders via bad theology–the misuse of biblical examples and doctrines of authority rooted in the high-control Shepherding movement of the 1970s and in the Gothard seminars of the 1980s but still resonated through many churches (particularly in the South and Midwest) today.

    Those–like Ravi–who wish to be “kings” have an evident self-interest in emphasizing a false view of Biblical authority and submission that deems oversight, dissent or criticism as a sin. It’s seen often even in the comment threads here.

    It is this false doctrine that someone like Mike Pence, as well as many “Christian” supporters of Trump, use to justify their willing subordination to an authoritarian leader of blackened moral character. They use exclusively Old Testament examples to do so, denying the individual authority in Christ granted to the New Testament believer.

    Bad theology has very long shadows indeed.

    1. Lea Do you know Ravi is guilty of what he has been accused of? Is the evidence laid out in front of you? And I’ve listened to Ravi many times and have never seen Ravi present himself as a want to be king. The man always came across as humble when he could have been arrogant.. I’m no fan of Trump or defend the behavior I’ve seen from Trump with my own eyes but there is no comparison between trump and ravi when only accusations, for the meantime, exist for Ravi. Be careful you are not guilty of your own condemnation of someone else. Ravi very well could be guilty, but he very well may not be.

  21. Here’s another good explanation for why people can be so slow to believe credible accusations against someone. It comes from the book “Bold Love” by Allender and Longman:

    “Few people who are evil ever appear evil, even after the evidence of their deceit, destructiveness, and hardness is exposed. The little old man who feeds birds and smiles warmly as you walk by his home might be a person who has abused a hundred children over the last fifty years. If he is caught, most will doubt the charge, or at least the extent of the harm.”

    1. Jack That’s just it , they are accusations. not facts.no matter how credible they seam.I’m not saying it is not out of the realm of possibility or even that he is innocent. I don’t know, neither do you. But I do believe, legally, that he is innocent until proven guilty. I’ve lived long enough that their are plenty of people who are willing to provide false accusations against another and smear good peoples name and reputation. just like there are people who aren’t what they seam, So I just think that should be made clear before you call others slow to believe someone they don’t know making accusations about someone that they at least have a measure of knowledge about, This is another good example of how even Christians love to hang a man based on the media.

  22. The only issue that I personally have with all of these “revelations” is that the man himself is not here to provide a response to any of the allegations. This fact alone, in my opinion, cancels any possibility of this expose’ being balanced or fair. We live in a day and age where people want to “air it all” and how odd that all these people are now surfacing when no personal response can be offered by the accused whereby people can then decide for themselves what the truth might be. Quite frankly these articles offer no human or spiritual benefit to me at all. I’m not looking for human perfection in anyone here on earth. Ravi provided intellectually challenging thought. If all of this is true then I’m sure he and the Lord have worked it all out. So what is the motive and intent of all of this expose’? If I were a massage therapist and someone exposed themself to me and they were the owner- then I would quit and if they had some ministry position then I would expose it. And if a grown adult business partner can’t address something of this purported nature then what does that also say about them? My opinion- expose situations where the people are still among the living on earth and can provide a response.

  23. what about innocent until proven guilty??? Isn’t that Godly? Isn’t that part of what makes America great??? Isn’t that what we would want for ourselves and family??? Yes, Let there be an investigation!!! If He is guilty, let there be justice and an apology from RZIM, even though Ravi, himself is deceased and can’t defend himself. If he is not and its proven, let there be justice for his accusers. The Church should call out sin no matter what. But make sure you have all the facts before you go quoting Bible verses and becoming indigent with out pause to question. This article, especially the title, really put me off because this aint about wanting a king, Its about justice and innocent until proven guilty. It’s also grieving for the devastation this does to an unsaved world..I don’t believe in putting a man up there with Jesus and I never pointed anyone to listen to Ravi Zacharias because I thought it would make Christianity look cool. Really?! Maybe there are those people but no one can dispute the mans ability to articulate and defend the word of God was amazing. Does that justify sin? absolutely not but first you are going to have to show me that a sin was committed. I’ll keep an open mind .Just for the record, I’m not ignorant and naive because I’m an evangelical Christian. I take sexual assault seriously,, especially for the victim. But what if Ravi is the victim? Here in America so many people are ready to have a trial by media. Why don’t you call out that sin in an article for Christians as well. .

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