RZIM CEO Apologizes for Failures, While Former Director Blasts Remaining RZIM Leaders

By Julie Roys
Sarah Davis
RZIM CEO Sarah Davis apologizes for her leadership failures in a statement released on May 26, 2021. (Source: Video Screengrab)

Sarah Davis, the CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and daughter of Ravi Zacharias, today broke her months-long silence and apologized for her leadership failures. Davis also signaled that the apologetics ministry may reboot sometime in the future.

Meanwhile, Carson Weitnauer, former RZIM U.S. Director and founder of Reasons for God, posted a blog today extremely critical of Davis and RZIM Senior Vice President Abdu Murray, and President Michael Ramsden. (Just four days ago, Murray apologized for his actions surrounding the RZIM scandal. Both Murray and Ramsden have also sent letters of apology to Lori Anne Thompson, Zacharias’ victim in the 2017 sexting scandal. These are published at Thompson’s blog, along with her response.)

Weitnauer said all three RZIM leaders are responsible for RZIM’s implosion, yet to date, none has resigned.

“To my knowledge, every senior leader who was part of enabling and concealing Ravi’s repeated abuse and misconduct is still employed by the organization . . .” Weitnauer wrote. “For a ministry committed to the truth, it is strange that there are so few consequences for saying what is false.”

Davis’ statement

Davis said she is grieved that in 2017, when the sexting allegations first surfaced concerning her father, she didn’t believe the victim, but instead sided with her father. Likewise, she said she regretted that in 2020, when information about her father’s abuse surfaced again, she again refused to believe the allegations.

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“I made serious errors that only furthered deep wounds . . .” Davis said. “I believed this man, my father, whom I loved and trusted more than anyone else, could not have done these things. . . . But I was wrong. And it’s been sad that it’s easier to be fooled than to convince someone that they’ve been fooled. And now I know that more than ever to be true.”

Davis also apologized specifically to Zacharias’ victims, stating that she wants to “right the wrongs where possible.

“(T)o the women who were victims of my father’s abuse, I think of you every single day,” Davis said. “I am utterly devastated. I am sorry I did not see you. I am sorry that you were made powerless and rendered voiceless.”

Davis also signaled that RZIM intends to reboot the apologetics ministry after a time of reflection and correction. (Previously, Davis had said that RZIM would change its focus to evangelism and victims of abuse.)

“(T)o those of you who want us to get back to doing ministry again, thank you for how you have stood with this team in their calling,” Davis said. “We, too, want to get back to what we feel passionately God has called us to do—to preach the gospel to a hurting world. But first, we must engage in this very important ministry—to acknowledge, to respond to, and to address how these things could have happened at RZIM.”

Davis briefly mentioned the independent investigation by Guidepost Solutions RZIM commissioned in February “to conduct a thorough evaluation of RZIM.”

As a result of the work Guidepost is doing, Davis said that RZIM hopes to better understand abuse and how to prevent it. She added that the ministry also hopes to learn from its errors and incorporate “better forms of accountability.”

However, Davis did not give any updates on the investigation. She also did not mention when, or if, the report from the investigation will be available.

Davis ended her statement by appealing to those who have sexually abused others, as her father did, to confess their sins.

“As someone who has received God’s forgiveness, and received the forgiveness of others, and as someone who has been deeply wronged, I am asking you to have the courage to give your victims the justice and dignity of acknowledging the truth,” she said.

Weitnauer’s Blog

Carson Weitnauer’s blog, published at Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed, presented a stark contrast to Davis’ statement.

Although top RZIM leaders may renounce their past ways of behaving, Weitnauer said RZIM continues to have “Ravi’s DNA,” including a pattern of secrecy and cover-up.

Carson Weitnauer
Carson Weitnauer, founder of Reasons for God

Weitnauer noted that on March 10, Davis explicitly stated “both internally and publicly,” that RZIM would not require non-disclosure agreements for the upcoming staff layoffs. But according to Weitnauer, when the layoffs began on March 11, employees were required to sign NDAs to receive severance.

Weitnauer also noted that all of RZIM’s board members remain anonymous and that RZIM has not committed to publishing a comprehensive report following the Guidepost Solutions investigation.

Given that being like Ravi was “one of the primary filters for selecting the leaders and speakers of RZIM,” these actions are not surprising, Weitnauer said.

Weitnauer also noted that the senior leaders of RZIM—Sarah Davis, Michael Ramsden, and Abdu Murray—were all part of the internal Task Force, which determined RZIM’s response to Lori Anne Thompson.

All of them knew that Zacharias paid $250,000 to secure the Thompson’s NDA, he said. Weitnauer added that “knowledgeable insiders” say the money was routed through RZIM, which makes these leaders “terribly complicit” in Zacharias’ abuse of Thompson. This is especially the case, he said, since privately, leaders alleged that no money had changed hands at all.

“RZIM can put a fresh coat of paint on the organization,” Weitnauer wrote. “A new name, new branding, a new website. But those cosmetic changes will not address the toxic culture formed by the board and senior leaders who continue to sit in positions of power at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.”

Weitnauer ends his blog by calling on RZIM to truly repent and at minimum, to bring in a new independent board and to publish the results of the Guidepost Solutions investigation.



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23 thoughts on “RZIM CEO Apologizes for Failures, While Former Director Blasts Remaining RZIM Leaders”

  1. What shame continues. Leaders who are really and ultimately not accountable! It seems their attitude is, The Show Must Go On!?

    I’ve never followed RZIM, and certainly would not in the future given that those who were part of the problem continue to masquerade by simply suggesting they’ll re-boot (re-brand) and then call it good?

    As has been wisely stated, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me! Never!

  2. Mr. Ralph Jesperson

    This news is very consistent with what I have had to learn about the culture of India since 2015 when I helped break the Gospel for Asia news of a billion dollar plus scam. India is a very, very poor country and it has a culture where lying to get ahead of others is considered a wise and prudent thing. Therefore anyone rich enough to be able to get a tourist visa or more into our country is very, very, very good at climbing on top of the masses as they reach for riches. Christians with a conscience do exist but they are a minority of those using the label and they are never going to be able to afford the plane ticket, let alone the income requirements of any kind of visa into the U.S. This is just the way that it is. Therefore it is not racist to see that those who are here are exceptionally good at serving Mammon. And this is largely true also throughout the third world. The poor still have the gospel preached to them but those who love their fellow man more than money cannot ever afford to come here. So beware those rich enough to be here. They are pretty much all going to be ethically challenged.

    1. Hi Mr. Jesperson

      I appreciate where you’re coming from, I get that you’re jaded by your experiences with false brothers and sisters from India. That being said, it’s an outrageous generalization to say that anyone who gets to the US is ethically challenged. As an Indian living in Canada, I know how I got here: my parents worked their tails off to afford me education. That’s kind of how you do things in India…… and the rest of the world, really. Is it racist to say that all Indians in the States are great at serving Mammon? I think it is, because it doesn’t credit God for showering His grace upon me. I’m hoping you’re merely misguided, sir.

      I’ve met MANY Indians who are lovely and not ‘ethically challenged’. Many of whom are some of the greatest saints it’s been my privilege to meet. I’m married to one. Mr. Zacharias was a charlatan and a disgrace to the Gospel. So are a lot of prominent Christian leaders, many of whom are native Americans.

      Your brother

    2. One other thing, sir. It’s awfully condescending to claim to know all about India from a cursory dip into our culture. If you had done your research, you would have found that there’s a healthy middle-class here, able to afford many things, including, wonder of wonders, a tourist visa to the States (because, ya know, we meet your income requirements). Just because we’re middle class in India, doesn’t mean we’re necessarily poor. There are poor people in India, but there are plenty of middle-class folk who do things like American middle-class people do. Save for a house, a car, and even vacations.

      And we save like crazy to send our kids to university in the West, to give them a better life, crazy high tuition expenses and all. There’s only one way to do that honestly: sacrifice on luxuries. So please, be a little respectful of the expat Indian in your community. Chances are that they may be the toughest, most sincere people you know

  3. Mark Zimmerman

    Outrageous! Sarah still lying and buying people off to cover up the truth with NDAs as she lives down to the Zacharias name in the murky, donor-deceiving family business.

    Carson Weitnauer’s insightful, behind-the-scenes analysis is a must-read in its entirety. About NDAs, he says, “On March 10, CEO Sarah Davis explicitly stated, both internally and publicly, that they would not require NDAs for the upcoming reduction in force. Yet when the layoffs began on March 11th, employees were required to sign NDAs to receive severance. Donors gave sacrificially to RZIM so that the truth could be told. But instead, the ministry misused these gifts to buy silence.”

    Was the 250K payment to the Thompsons under the 2017 RZIM manipulative NDA, which of course was only because RZ was innocent as he told the world and the RZIM leaders never had any reason to doubt that, routed through RZIM, as knowledgeable insiders say?

    A multitude of questions are still unanswered about what was and still is going on at RZIM. The culture of secrecy and lies, however, makes it impossible to get honest answers from its leaders who apparently still have the audacity to take donors’ funds in this amoral debacle.

    RZIM claims it is a church, with its key financial details about salaries thus conveniently hidden. Using this model, the current leaders, including Sarah Davis, Abdu Murray, and Michael Ramsden, like RZ, are the pastors, and all are disqualified from ministry many times over for their roles in abusive cover-ups, lies, and misuse of donations past and present.

    Even in secular world, failed, negligent leaders during a business’s implosion are fired.

  4. Charles Martel

    Well, well, well….

    The apple does not fall far from the tree.

    Color me not surprised.

    Wake me up when Sarah Davis and the entire inner circle resign and open up completely.

  5. Fred Monninots

    Say anything. Do anything. Just keep the gig going!
    Not enough lipstick in the world to freshen up this pig.

  6. William Thomas Bray

    I am pleased with this sincere, thoughtful, spiritual response from Sarah Davis. I can’t imagine what I would say if I were in her position but her apology is honest and consistent with her life and witness. I pray God’s blessing on her as she faces so many challenges as CEO of this charity. Even shutting it down would be a great challenge but Sarah, like most of the staff and missionaries overseas, are innocent of personal wrongdoing in this crisis. They are men and women called of God to a ministry of evangelism and apologetics, and they must carry on what God has called them to do. I pray for Sarah and worldwide RZIM team as they go forward with their lives, families and ministries.
    Bill Bray, Overseas Students Mission, Charlottesville, Virginia

    1. Mr. Ralph Jesperson

      And the unrepent ghostwriter for KP Yohannan speaks! When are you going to repent Mr. Bray? You helped a billion dollar rip off of God’s people with your lies. Do not let that go unfinished before you pass on, and you are quite old so I would do that quickly if I were you…

    2. Frances Christenson

      Mr. Bray, God is interested in the means and the ends. If we shortcut the means to get to the desired ends God will not honor that. God will always make a way for honest Christian workers that love the Lord to do His work. They don’t have to work for corrupt organizations in order to do the Lord’s will. I would say if honest Christians stay in a corrupt, sinful and lawbreaking organization you will have to stand before God and answer to Him. Maybe the fear of that is the true beginning of wisdom. What do you think? Doesn’t look to me that the Zacharias family fears much but that is my opinion. Everyone is intitled to thiers even if I don’t agree with it.

    3. Brian Patrick

      This “Bill Bray” sounds an awful lot like Phil Johnson or one of the other hired MacArthur sycophants. Jesus will say–“Depart from me, I never knew you.”

  7. Frances Christenson

    Sorry but this is sounding like a Christian soap opera. The family members just keep this saga alive and attention getting. Amazing she is giving advice to others. She is not a mental health worker or counselor. Just because she has dealt with a family abuser that qualifies her to give advice to others? I hope believers don’t buy into this. The RZIM ministry was built on many, many lies. Let’s not forget this spans decades. Yes. God forgives and we welcome them in our fellowship after true repentence but believers should not empower ministry workers with decades of sinful behaviors to keep their jobs.

  8. Every organization needs someone in its leadership that is willing, able, and allowed to stand up and say, “This isn’t right. This is unwise. That is a bad idea. We are not above reproach. This can’t wait. This needs to be addressed.”

    A Christian leader wants to own a massage parlor?
    “This is unwise. This is a bad idea. We are not above reproach. This needs to be addressed.”

    If you are a Christian non-profit and don’t have the above person in leadership…GET ONE NOW.

    If you are on a board that does allow or delays dissent, correction and exhortation, RESIGN.

    If you are a leader that does not allow a board and staff to hold you accountable (James, Ravi, Bill, Mark, Jerry, et al.) save God’s kingdom and your reputation eternal damage and GET OUT of ministry.

    1. Frances Christenson

      One Olsen, the big problem in America is that the church has developed too many “paid” Gospel workers. Americans are wonderful givers but they fail to realize that they are to volunteer to do good works for the Lord. We in America have developed a class of professional ministry workers that we pay to do God’s work. I think we need to change this mindset in our country so we can get more done and avoid all these traps we keep falling in. What do you think about this class of “ministry workers”? Does it make sense or am I blowing in the wind? I think a lot of believers feel guilty about their lives so they pay big money to those that willingly carry that label. Reminds me of parents that lavish material gifts on their children to try and make up for their absence because they work long hours.

      1. Frances I think you are spot on. I am in australia and this is very much the case. Ministry professionals are elevated above the pewsitters. I think this is somewhat caused by the way our church services look- the sermon being of central importance. Music, prayer, intercession, kids church are often all done by unpaid people. But when it comes to the sermon, better make sure they’re qualified and pay them well.
        I was in paid church ministry for a couple of years. Massive ego booster. Everyone thinks you’re ‘the guy.’ It took me a while to see it. It’s a narcissists dream job. Particularly churches with little or no accountability. As long as the structure remains, there will always be people to fill the roles it creates.
        A lot of pastors make far more money than the average worker. And then people stay in ministry as it often provides a cushy lifestyle, flexible working hours, and the feeding of their ego. Not all pastors, or even most, but many. Were all complicit- the average Christian is quite happy to tithe and let the pastor do the heavy lifting. I’d love to see this change- and for churches to truly embrace the truth of the priesthood of all believers. That we would no longer elevate anyone above anyone else, and recognise that all of our contributions are important.

  9. Brian Patrick

    I will break bread and have a party with the present leadership of Hamas and ISIS before I will with any of the remaining leadership of RZI”M”.

  10. Once the Titanic crashes, the Captain cannot say sorry guys but lets move on and continue to steer the ship. The Captain has to step down, be tried and be punished for the mistakes.

    As you, Sarah, said that just 10 years ago you learnt to relate with your heart, it might take many more years to sit in quietness and repentance to assess the damage. Isa 30:15 !

    You cannot put the blame on God saying God called me to do this – steer the Titanic to a mega crash !!

    It is not what we achieve, or what we do that brings glory to God. He does not need our help. It is the fear of God, humble and contrite spirit that is required. It is the heart, just the heart.

    Next time you choose to speak, kindly disclose all the hidden things – bring to light every undisclosed number / person.

    AM and Sarah did not say enough. Micahel Ramsden is yet to speak. Great leaders are expected to have great humility.

    1. Sarah is grieving the loss of many things. It will take a hugely courageous desire to correctly process everything that has happened. For now, she has not separated the man RZ actually was (a sexual predator using his pastoral position to sexually exploit and horrifically abuse women. According to MM, criminal rape was included, among other things I know nothing about), from the father, and her memories of him that she professes to love and admire.

      It took years for me to understand how people I thought I loved and admired and professed to love me had abused me. It took years for me to understand that their responsibilities to live a certain moral way and protect me didn’t happen and their true actions didn’t demonstrate any type of real love for me at all (I just wanted to be loved by them) that it was only manipulation and controlling abuse, and other actions that had nothing to do with love. It took many years to see the truth of what I had been living through and I needed professional help doing it. Thus, 7 years of therapy, starting in my late life. But, it wasn’t too late. Thank you Jesus.

      I believe, from her speech, (forgive my uneducated opinion), that when she truly and 100% completely separates the two people she sees as her father. So that zero love for her father interferes with or could sway the decisions she must make for her business church (RZIM), then, this very sad and pained woman will be ready to lead once again. I think, with hard work and extended time Sarah can feel whole and healed and accept the reality what her father did to her.

      She talked of the truth being brought to light and God was truth and that is what she wants……so do I.

      Sarah, God bless you. His will be done. Amen.

  11. It looks like RZIM still has a booster club. Those willing to encourage the leadership to sally forth. It seems that as long as the money is coming, the organization will continue. As is often the case, money talks.

  12. Sarah, As a woman who has walked through the nightmare of sexual abuse (documented confessed by one of my abusers and a police report) I also have walked through the nightmare with someone very close who was falsely accused (documented) I would like a chance to talk to you. I am not on facebook but I am on gab as beachmama9. Please contact me. ~Kerry Lynn

  13. This is a wonderful apology and I am thankful for it. I still struggle with anger and frustration over an organization that would allow a leader such a high pedestal position that accountability simply wasn’t in place. And when someone is a liar and unwilling to submit to accountability even what simple safeguards that MIGHT be in place become impotent! I hope this organization will choose to dissolve or at least completely re-imagine itself into something other one using the name of such a horrible leader. I too was fooled by this man. Unfortunately I trusted that the organization behind him had done more that simply treat the leader like one as untouchable. Shameful and sad. Nita Bynum

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