Home Christian News Ravi Is Not Like King David, Says Former RZIM Leader

Ravi Is Not Like King David, Says Former RZIM Leader

Amy Orr-Ewing, a senior vice president with RZIM, recently told Christianity Today, “I believe the women who have come forward. I am so grieved at what these brave individuals have described and the courage it has taken for them to even start to reveal their stories.”

But how are believers to process such shocking news? Ravi Zacharias has had a profound impact on the lives of many of us and was especially known for the grace and kindness with which he defended Christianity.

It is tempting to deny or downplay what has happened, and it is understandable that some are responding this way. Finding out that a respected spiritual leader has so deeply harmed and deceived people almost feels like finding out that Christianity is not true.

But, Paterson pointed out in his interview, the Bible provides instructions for us on how to handle sin among church leaders. 1 Timothy 5:19-22 says,

Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. 

Paterson was himself deeply impacted by Zacharias and knew him personally. But multiple witnesses have brought credible accusations, so he believes it is right that we entertain these claims. And Paul tells us in this letter to publicly reprove leaders who are actually sinning. Paterson also believes we should seriously consider the fact that Hebrews 13:7 tells us to imitate the behavior of our leaders: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

Former CCM artist and YouTuber Alisa Childers is someone whose life was changed for the better because of Zacharias, and she recently shared her thoughts on the Ravi Zacharias scandal. “I think what makes Ravi’s sin so grievous,” said Childers, [is that] it was ongoing and heavily premeditated. It was predatory in its nature toward other people.” Something else Childers finds “so disturbing” is the fact that Zacharias knew he was dying from cancer, but never acknowledged or publicly apologized for this sin.

For Childers, the news about the Ravi Zacharias scandal has been “incredibly heartbreaking.” At one point in her life, she was “drowning in doubt” and cried out to God for help. After that prayer, she heard Zacharias speaking on the radio, answering some of the very questions she had been struggling with. She then began listening to his daily broadcast every day for a year and later found other apologetic resources that God used to rebuild her faith. 

When she discovered that Zacharias had lied to and preyed upon people who were vulnerable, Childers said it was as though one of her lifeboats had gotten a leak. She has come to terms with the Ravi Zacharias scandal by remembering that her faith is in Jesus, not in any human being.  “When I put my faith in Christ,” she said, “I didn’t put my faith in Ravi Zacharias. I didn’t put my faith in a pastor…I put my faith in God. I put my faith in the God-man Jesus who lived a perfectly sinless life, who was never guilty of any abuse or sin or misconduct of any kind. And he gave his life for me, and he’s who I put my trust in.”

The reality is, said Childers, “Ravi wasn’t my lifeboat. My lifeboat was truth, and some of the true things he spoke helped me, and God used that. And I don’t know how to make sense of it beyond that.”

Childers exhorted Christians to be thankful for the truth instead of denying the truth because it is appalling. She referenced 1 Corinthians 13, which tells us, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” She also mentioned Luke 8:17, which says, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” 

“I rejoice that the truth is coming out,” said Childers. “That’s God’s mercy, that is God’s sovereign hand.”