Home Christian News RZIM Leaders Spent Donor Money to Sue a Survivor, Says Guidepost Report

RZIM Leaders Spent Donor Money to Sue a Survivor, Says Guidepost Report

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TMDrew, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

(RNS) — A newly released report on the internal culture at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries found that leaders at the ministry were blinded by loyalty to the founder, overlooked Zacharias’ misconduct for years, used ministry funds to sue an abuse survivor and misled the public.

The report from Guidepost Solutions was released Wednesday (Feb. 23), seven months after the board of RZIM, which remains anonymous, received it. According to the report, board members had full control over the public release of the document — which was posted to the ministry’s website less than an hour before the evangelical magazine Christianity Today published a story detailing the report’s contents.

In an unsigned letter, the board of RZIM placed the blame for the organization’s failings squarely on the shoulders of Zacharias, who died in 2020. Once a beloved preacher, author and Christian apologist, the now-disgraced Zacharias also had a long pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse, according to a report released in 2021 by RZIM.

“We at RZIM sincerely apologize for the enormous pain caused by Ravi Zacharias’ sin and our failure to uncover it sooner,” the board said in the statement announcing the release of the Guidepost report. “Regretfully, we trusted and defended a man of whose integrity we were firmly convinced.”

RELATED: Class-action lawsuit claims RZIM misled donors, covered up Ravi Zacharias’ abuse

The board also admitted that it had used ministry funds to pay for Zacharias’ legal bills, despite a 2017 public statement to the contrary, and that it had failed to correct that statement.

Still, the board raised doubts about the accuracy of the report. The anonymous board also claimed it was being transparent by releasing the report.

“Although we are releasing this report, we do not agree with everything in it,” the board letter stated. “We believe there are inaccurate accounts or pieces of information that were either overlooked or omitted by Guidepost and we disagree with some characterizations therein.”

In the report, Guidepost Solutions said the RZIM board had withheld information from the team working on the report and refused to allow Guidepost to name board members it spoke to during its five-month investigation. Overall, leaders were cooperative, the report states, but there were issues in getting information.

“However, we are not confident that RZIM has provided us with all information relevant to our investigation,” according to the Guidepost report. “In other words, we fear that if we did not specifically request an exact piece of information — for example, if we were not aware of its existence, but its relevance to our work would be apparent — RZIM would not have provided it proactively, even if RZIM knew that it would provide clarity.”

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Bob Smietana is an award-winning religion reporter and editor who has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles and features for magazines, newspapers, trade publications and websites. Most notably, he has served as a senior writer for Facts & Trends, senior editor of Christianity Today, religion writer at The Tennessean, correspondent for RNS and contributor to OnFaith, USA Today and The Washington Post.