Home Outreach Leaders One Year Later, What Have I Learned From the Ravi Zacharias Scandal?

One Year Later, What Have I Learned From the Ravi Zacharias Scandal?

In 2016 when Ravi spoke to my class, I asked him what safeguards he had in place to keep himself out of the moral mudpit. Turns out he was already wallowing in it.

As I’ve tried to square with the Christian leader I believed Ravi to be and the broken man the report revealed him to be, I first had to take him off the pedestal and recognize his feet of clay. When we get our eyes off of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we open ourselves and others up to grave risks. I believe the steady diet of adulation over the course of Ravi’s career did not serve him or the body of Christ well. This is but another example of how the celebrity church culture is destroying the fabric of the American church, because man was never meant to be worshipped. 

Author Brené Brown says that blame is a way to discharge pain. As much as I want to find someone or something to blame so I can make sense of this travesty and to ensure it never happens again, the truth is we will never know the whole truth. How much of what happened is a result of the celebrity church culture that provides enormous latitude for leaders it deems worthy? Perhaps another way to ask it is how complicit is the church culture and how much squarely lies on Ravi’s shoulders? On such things I can only speculate, but before I do I must first put down my rock.

Last week, a friend called to say she was discarding her collection of Ravi Zacharias teachings and offered them to me. I dug into the bag that was filled to the top with CDs and came across a message by Ravi on King Saul from 1986 that took my breath away. It was entitled, “A Life that Lost its Focus.” Immediately I thought of the warning in chapter 2 of the letter to the Hebrews, calling us to pay close attention lest we drift away. The CD jacket went on to summarize the teaching, “Saul started off with such humble beginnings but was corrupted by power, resulting in God letting him go his own way. Presented here are three problems Saul struggled with in his life. How can we always be on guard against them?” 

A year later many questions still linger, but perhaps the most important one to ask ourselves is, “How can I ensure I do not lose focus?”

For me, the answer is two-fold, starting with fixing my eyes on Jesus and ending with “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12, ESV).