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Should We Cancel Ravi Zacharias? Christian Leaders Weigh In

Since Miller & Martin’s report has come out, Christian author Lee Strobel has announced that he is halting production of his book, “The Case for Faith,” which featured a 15-page interview with Ravi Zacharias on the topic of the exclusivity of Christianity. Strobel said he will be working on a revised edition of the book.

Lee Strobel is not the only author or organization to pull Zacharias’s work. After Miller & Martin released an interim report in December that “found significant, credible evidence that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct over the course of many years,” Moody Radio pulled Zacharias’s programs, “Let My People Think” and “Just Thinking.” American Family Radio, WIHS Christian Radio in Connecticut, and Bible Broadcasting Network in North Carolina pulled the apologist’s programs as well. Several booksellers also pulled Ravi Zacharias’s books at that time. 

Now that the final report on Zacharias has been released, HarperCollins Christian Publishing announced the “company will immediately take all his publications out of print.” According to Christianity Today, this decision will impact “more than 20 titles authored, coauthored, or edited by Zacharias over a 26-year span.”

View of Ravi Zacharias Books Tied to View of Zacharias

As we at ChurchLeaders can attest from the comments on our Facebook page, many have responded to the news about Ravi Zacharias by comparing him to King David, who committed what was arguably rape and then murder, but was still called a “man after God’s own heart.” A related response we have seen is, “What he did was bad, but we’re all sinners and God still used Ravi Zacharias to accomplish much good.” Others have questioned why people are voicing these accusations against a man who is not alive to defend himself. Still others simply refuse to believe the reports.

One Christian leader who has presented a version of some of these arguments is author and speaker Dr. Michael Brown. In an article entitled, “How Should We Respond to the Ravi Zacharias Scandal?”, Brown’s first point is, “Anyone can lead a double life.” The implication is that Zacharias’s downfall is something that could happen to any Christian. It is easy for ministry leaders, wrote Brown, to pretend that they are self-reliant and to avoid asking for help when they need it, but leaders who tolerate this mindset will only grow increasingly hypocritical over time. Brown cited Jesus’ harsh rebuke to the Pharisees in Matthew 23, where he calls them “whitewashed tombs,” and repeated, “This can happen to any of us.”

Brown encouraged his readers that God can still work through someone who is not right with him and said that we can all be guilty of abusing God’s grace as Zacharias was. “The truth is that any of us can get beaten down and weakened in the course of our lives and ministries,” said Brown. “That’s when we need to reach out for help, as well as welcome those who sense that something is wrong and ask us difficult questions.”

In Brown’s view, Zacharias’s content can still be helpful to people. He said,

Obviously, right now, it would be very difficult for you to read one of his books or watch one of his videos, and for good reason. But that doesn’t mean that the words he spoke were false. And I imagine that as he wrote and spoke, he was quite sincere at those moments, genuinely wanting to help people find the truth. (Again, this is part of the deception of leading a double life.)

Brown also urged people to examine their own hearts instead of targeting RZIM with “self-righteous stones of accusation at this moment.” The ministry, he said, commissioned the investigation and has confessed and repented of its failures. “I suggest you put your stones down and, instead, ask some serious questions. Is there hypocrisy in your own life?”

Brown stated that “There are many false accusers out there,” but warned against silencing victims in the future. He believes that Zacharias’s abuse could have been avoided if there had been accountability within RZIM, and he urged believers to take their relationship with God and their propensity to sin all the more seriously in light of the apologist’s fall. 

On Twitter, Brown said he has heard from many people who have found his article helpful. However, others have said it is “tone deaf,” “unhelpful,” and only serves to make the wounds of the victims more painful.

“I also don’t think ‘any of us’ are capable of raping and hurting women?” asked one Twitter user. “That’s a pretty twisted and not normal thing to do.”