Thompson believes RZIM has it in their power to set the record straight. Specifically, she and her husband, Brad, are asking RZIM to look back at Zacharias’ electronic communications. In Zacharias’ 2017 lawsuit, he claimed that the Thompsons tried repeatedly to get him to meet with Lori Anne alone. He cited one incidence in particular when Lori Anne attended a conference on grief at RZIM’s headquarters in Atlanta. The Thompsons say Lori Anne went to this conference at Zacharias’ “urging.”
At least one other electronic communication could prove that Zacharias was the one to request he and Lori Anne meet in person (thus contradicting what he wrote in the lawsuit). The Thompsons explain, “Through electronic communications, Mr. Zacharias did invite Lori Anne and one of our older children on a mission trip to India, with the expressed intent of hands-on engagement with Lori Anne.”
Do We Want to Know the Truth?
As we await the conclusions of the investigations RZIM and C&MA have commissioned, one thing has become increasingly clear: How a ministry handles allegations of sexual misconduct involving their leaders is just as much a reflection of that ministry’s commitment to truth as what they declare about the Gospel.
If it is accurate that C&MA’s inquiry in 2018 was “cursory” as Thompson describes it, that would certainly only add to the trauma she has experienced. Anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or abuse faces an incredible hurdle when they disclose. Many subject matter experts argue that sexual abuse involving a clergy member is even trickier to overcome. How the church responds right now is a matter of the utmost importance.
Specifically, we want to challenge you with this: Christianity is a religion built on the testimony of eyewitnesses. They are people who were allowed to voice their experience. Throughout the millennia since people started calling themselves followers of Jesus, we have weathered the storms of scandal, slander, and doubt. Ours is not a religion of suppression but of transparency. Let’s have the integrity and the courage to listen to the voices of these eyewitnesses who say they have been misused.
Finally, we leave you with these questions: Do we want to know the truth—even if it “tarnishes” the legacy of one of our heroes? Are we committed to doing what is necessary to uncover that truth? Do we take seriously what our Lord said in John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”?