A Call to Repent Internally at RZIM

Truth-telling is essential to the cause of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus. For if an unbelieving world can not regard Christians as trustworthy people, why would they even bother to listen to us, when we speak about Jesus?

Events of late in the Christian world have brought me much despair. But some recent news have given me a ray of hope.

This past weekend, an apologist with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) wrote an internal letter to RZIM’s leadership, calling upon RZIM for more transparency regarding the controversies regarding some of Ravi’s actions, while he was living and leading the RZIM ministry. The letter was leaked out from RZIM, and published at Julie Roys’ website, where Julie describes the letter’s content as “stunning.” The fact that such a letter was even “leaked” out from RZIM is stunning in and of itself. Interestingly, the letter calls for RZIM to rebrand itself, something that I made a case for several months ago, after a new series of allegations were disclosed. The author of the letter, Dr. Max Baker-Hytch, a senior tutor with RZIM’s  OCCA The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and a lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, a private hall of the University of Oxford, urges that the corporate culture at RZIM is due for an overhaul.

In response to the letter, several apologist associates, working with RZIM, have decided to sever their ties with the organization. One of those associates, John Dickson, believes the ministry of RZIM to be in “grave peril.

Serious accusations against Christian leaders should not be taken lightly. We should uphold the reputations of leaders, as best as we can, and not jump to conclusions. Furthermore, it must be acknowledged that all of us have skeletons-in-the-closet, that we need not always publicize. Everyone falls short of the glory of God, and we should extend grace towards others, as much as possible, so that relationships can be healed and integrity maintained.

But that being said, when a Christian leader or organization presents a story, that does not jive with the available evidence, then that warrants a measure of skepticism. An initial act, that might lead to disgrace is one thing. But when a concerted effort is made to cover-up such an act, the lack of trust associated with the cover-up effort is infinitely more damaging than the original transgression itself. When this type of behavior is exhibited by Christian leaders, and the organizations that support them, then this is a clear case where the celebrity cult of personality has eclipsed whatever good the ministry might be doing.

It took courage for Dr. Baker-Hytch to write such a letter, and that courage gives me some hope that integrity is still something to yearn for. Let us pray that RZIM will make good on their promise to pursue truth, take Dr. Baker-Hytch’s letter to heart, and do the right thing immediately. 

A broken trust can be hard to rebuild and repair.

About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

6 responses to “A Call to Repent Internally at RZIM

  • Clarke Morledge

    Collin Hansen at The Gospel Coalition published his “top ten theology” stories of 2020. He lists the controversy about Ravi Zacharias on his list, but included the observation that Ravi Zacharias was “not evidently involved in a local church.”

    That is a scandal enough right there. Sad. Sad.

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/my-top-10-theology-stories-of-2020/

    Like

  • For Those Living in a “Post-Truth” Society: A New Book Co-Authored by Ravi Zacharias | Veracity

    […] UPDATE: December 23rd, 2020. Review of the sexual impropriety charges at a spa, partly owned by Ravi Zacharias, conducted by a la…. […]

    Like

    • Clarke Morledge

      The accusations against Ravi are difficult to hear, as all of us are fallen creatures, but they pale in comparison to how the top brass at RZIM responded to those allegations. They had the opportunity even 5 years ago to set things right, but failed to do so.

      When you put your trust in the leadership of a ministry to tell the truth, while at the same time, that leadership puts out statements that they know are falsehoods:

      ……..[RZIM] “may salvage the ministry if they can get cooperation from the people at the head,” said L. T. Jeyachandran, former executive director of the Asia-Pacific branch of RZIM from 2001 to 2012. “I don’t know if that can happen because of the cult of personality. The culture of RZIM is adulation and unquestioning loyalty. You praise Ravi all the time and never hold him accountable.”…..

      ….Staff members were also told that the lawsuit [with Lori Thompson and her husband] was “dismissed,” only to later learn it had been settled with a payment of about $250,000, according to four people inside RZIM. When they complained the term “dismissed” was misleading, they were told the details couldn’t be discussed because of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), even though RZIM is not party to the agreement……

      ….Other teammates have called out inconsistency in Zacharias’s own response to the lawsuit. He said he safeguarded his marriage by following the “Billy Graham Rule” and never spending time alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife or daughter. But that wasn’t true.

      “He was alone with many women on staff,” said Carson Weitnauer, a longtime staff member who worked in the Atlanta office until he resigned from RZIM on Monday after publishing an essay in the Christian Post about how he lost faith in Zacharias. “They’d meet in his office to work on projects.”

      No one has alleged that anything inappropriate happened between Zacharias and women on RZIM staff, but staff members are now asking why he lied about being alone with women—and why leadership let him misstate the truth. During one staff meeting, an assistant pointed out that people in leadership knew this was a false statement when Zacharias said it.

      “The leadership’s message to us is ‘We’re above reproach. We’re going to find out what happened. Trust us,’” Weitnauer told CT. “It’s really clear what kind of person Ravi was. It’s clear there was a lot of complicity at this organization.”…..

      https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/january/rzim-ravi-zacharias-turmoil-spa-allegations-investigation.html

      Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: