UPDATED May 26, 2021: Lori Anne Thompson, one of the survivors of Ravi Zacharias’s abuse, has published a response to the apologies she has received from Abdu Murray, a senior leader with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), and has also commented on the private apology she received from RZIM president Michael Ramsden.
“It is clear to me that Mr. Murray has been an agent of oppression, whether or not he becomes an agent of liberation remains to be seen,” said Thompson on Twitter. “His apology has been issued to me privately and publicly. I have accepted it on both occasions.”
Abdu Murray recently appeared on apologist Sean McDowell‘s podcast, where he spoke with Sean and his father, Josh McDowell, and apologized for the significant errors that he and RZIM have made over the past several years.
In her Twitter thread, Thompson linked to an article she published on her blog on May 11, prior to Murray’s public conversation with the McDowells. The post includes private apologies she received from both Murray and Ramsden and her response to each.
In the letter he sent to Thompson, Murray said that while he would like to apologize to her face to face over Zoom, he recognizes that she might not feel safe in that situation. He also said, “While there is much to say about how God has humbled me, of greater importance is for me to hear from and learn from you to allow me to make a more complete apology…I am profoundly sorry that my awakening in this area has come at your expense. In that humility, I ask your forgiveness.”
In her blog, Thompson observed, “Trust once broken is not easily restored” and that she and her family have suffered greatly from Murray’s and Ramsden’s “incompetence” and “explicit cruelty.” Nevertheless, in her response to Murray, she told him that his letter “was written with care and personal insight — I appreciated both.” She also condemned the personal attacks Abdu Murray has received on social media.
The apology Ramsden sent to Thompson was notably brief. In her reply to him, Thompson said that it “lacked the detail of Mr. Murray’s extensive self-reflection…You gave me little insight as to your current frame of mind, or what you have read, listened to, or grappled with for the purposes of engendering trust — thereby failing to do so.”
Thompson concluded her thoughts on Murray’s interview with the McDowell’s, saying, “I cancel his debt to my person and entrust him to his fellows for further accountability.”
ChurchLeaders original article written on May 21, 2021, below:
After remaining “largely silent on social media since Ravi’ [Zacharias]’s abuses were made known,” Ravi Zacharias International Ministries’ (RZIM) Abdu Murray has finally spoken publicly about the abuse. Murray joined Josh and Sean McDowell in a conversation Friday afternoon, where Murray apologized for significant errors that he and RZIM have made over the past several years.
“I let my misplaced loyalty for Ravi speak louder than my conscience and my sense of compassion,” said Abdu Murray of his initial reaction to the allegations made by Lori Anne Thompson that Ravi Zacharias had spiritually and sexually preyed on her. “I’m so very sorry for repeating Ravi’s explanations for his email exchanges.”
Doing so “perpetuated a false narrative” that Lori Anne and her husband, Brad, were predators, instead of Ravi himself being the predator, said Murray. “I should have done better.”
Abdu Murray on RZIM’s ‘Extremely Regrettable’ Response
Abdu Murray told the McDowells that he joined RZIM in 2015 and became the North American Director for RZIM in 2017. In 2019, he became RZIM’s senior vice president and general counsel. The reason Murray has waited until now to speak out about Ravi Zacharias’s sexual abuse is because he “didn’t want to come out and say something without really marinating in what had happened.”
Some of the regrets that Murray has from how he has responded to the allegations against Zacharias is that he was quick to defend the apologist and to repeat Zacharias’s version of events. It was “extremely regrettable,” he said, that RZIM “rushed to speak” in response to the spa workers’ sexual abuse accusations last year and defended Zacharias before investigating him. Murray said that he did not want to make that mistake again.
The RZIM leader said that he wholeheartedly endorses the apology the RZIM board issued after the release of an independent investigation found the allegations against Zacharias to be credible.
In addition to endorsing that apology, Murray said he personally wrote a handwritten apology to Lori Anne Thompson for not believing her and for perpetuating lies about her. Even after investigative journalist Julie Roys published Thompson’s version of events in September 2020, Murray said he “looked for any reason to discount it.” He was so concerned about Zacharias’s public honor that he failed to see the damage to Lori Anne Thompson from the resulting public shame. Murray said that when emails exchanged between Thompson and Zacharias were leaked in 2017 and 2018, he should have pushed harder to find out what had actually happened and should have sought the help of sexual abuse experts immediately.