Naomi Zacharias, another daughter who leads RZIM’s humanitarian arm, wrote on Instagram that she loves and misses her father. When the report was released, she says, she had to watch “proof of real memories being deleted.” Her father’s ministry “blessed innumerable people around the world for decades,” she writes, adding that she “personally cannot erase him any more than I can cut off a part of me and remain whole.”
Patricia Holbrook, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist, had celebrated Zacharias’ legacy when he died. Now, she writes, “God knew the truth, and Zacharias should have known better.” Calling the apologist’s legacy “blemished beyond repair,” Holbrook concludes, “May we ponder this sad story as an example to encourage us to repent of our sins, lest pleasure and disregard of our actions’ consequences destroy the legacy we work so hard to build.”
The Debate Over Zacharias’ Books
Regarding Zacharias’ legacy, Christians seem torn about whether the apologist’s books and teachings retain merit. U.K. author Tanya Marlow argues that instead of defending Zacharias or his books, Christian leaders should be defending his victims.
In a blog titled “But his books are still good, right?” Marlow lists common responses to sex scandals that “make it easier for abusers to keep abusing.” These include blaming the church for putting the abuser on a pedestal, pointing to a “false silver lining” of how God can work through anyone, and “idolizing” the abuser’s words.
“What does it say to survivors of abuse everywhere when the church quotes from sexual predators as authorities on human life or the things of God?” Marlow writes. “That the words of a secret abuser have helped people in the past does not mean we should continue to use those words once the abuse has been discovered.” Seeking out new source material may be time-consuming and inconvenient, she adds, but that’s “absolutely nothing in comparison to the stab of pain that survivors have to carry each and every time they hear a sexual predator revered in the church or academe.”