Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) announced Saturday that the group will change its name and remove all Ravi Zacharias-related content over the next few months.
RZIM CEO Sarah Davis released the update on RZIM’s social media pages.
Besides the removal of all Zacharias-related content, Davis announced the creation of an abuse hotline on the RZIM site. She also said RZIM would pay a severance to staff who resigned from RZIM for reasons of conscience during RZIM’s investigation of Zacharias’s sexual abuse.
“We continue to grieve deeply for the victims who have been treated in ways that are completely antithetical to the gospel,” Davis wrote in the statement. “We also painfully and increasingly recognize organizational failures that have occurred and the repentance that needs to take place in both heart and action.”
Davis’s letter also announced that RZIM will go through an independent investigation by Guidepost Solutions to learn why the group’s structures permitted abuse.
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“We want to understand all areas of unhealth in our organization so that we can take that learning and do everything we can to prevent any kind of abuse in the future,” Davis wrote.
Responding to the statement, Lori Anne Thompson, one of Ravi Zacharias’s victims, said she planned to reach out to Guidepost and encouraged other sex abuse survivors to do the same.
"We encourage any survivors of abuse or harassment who wish to provide information about their experiences to contact Guidepost… Your identity will remain confidential… or you may remain anonymous at your discretion."
The truth matters. You matter. Reach out. I will too. https://t.co/9syLsVHKAh
— Lori Anne Thompson R Kin. BSCH Kin. MA CHAD (@LoriAnneThomps2) March 7, 2021
As of yet, RZIM has not announced a new name. Its site displays only an explanation of the Zacharias investigation, an open apology letter from the International Board of Directors, a link for donor receipts, and links to an abuse hotline.
Removing all Zacharias-related content will be a costly endeavor for RZIM. Zacharias’s YouTube videos have sometimes attracted hundreds of thousands of views. His books have sold two million copies.
Davis is Zacharias’s daughter and has been the CEO of RZIM since 2019. Before that, she served as RZIM’s global executive director and her salary topped $216,000 in 2015. (RZIM has not reported executive salaries since 2015.)
Though RZIM no longer discloses the names of those on its board, Davis is also listed as a board member on RZIM’s 990 tax forms from 2011 through 2015. Most recently, Davis served as chairman of RZIM’s board, but she resigned that position in January.
During Davis’s time as an RZIM executive and board member, the Executrix of Zacharias’s estate has refused to release Lori Anne Thompson, from a nondisclosure agreement signed with Zacharias.
Recently, former RZIM Innovation and Ministry Partner Specialist Carson Weitnauer suggested in a public letter that Davis should step down from leadership due to her obvious “conflict of interest.”
Weitnauer added that after he asked Davis questions about Thompson’s nondisclosure agreement with Zacharias, senior RZIM leaders confronted him for doing so.
Some people have questioned why Davis remains a leader after presiding over RZIM’s alleged cover-ups of Zacharias’s sexual abuse.
On Twitter, Steve Baughman suggested that a “complete purge” of Zacharias content should include dismissing people who enabled Zacharias. Baughman founded RaviWatch, a site that investigated Zacharias’s false claims.
Wouldn’t “a complete purge of all Ravi Zacharias content” mean a purge of all the people who enabled him also? https://t.co/O2ni1DuKbb
— RaviWatch.com (@RaviScam) March 8, 2021
RZIM tweeted that it will provide additional updates about changes as it seeks “to walk a path of repentance, restitution, learning, and serving.”
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.