Tag Archives: Ravi Zacharias

Vindication for Sexual Abuse Victims of Ravi Zacharias

background

Here is an update to two articles I published in 2017 concerning allegations and evidence of sexual misconduct of Ravi Zacharias. I believed the victim then, now, and all the time in-between, as did other abuse advocates and bloggers. Where was the rest of the Christian community?

Most people found the allegations shocking, unbelievable, and shameful, which led to public victim-shaming while Zacharias remained believed, protected, and praised. When Ravi Zacharias died in May of 2020, he was adored and memorialized by well-known celebrities, politicians, best-selling authors, celebrity pastors, and most of the evangelical community. Because I can’t police the internet, I found it safest to stay away from the world-wide-web in the days following Zacharias’ death. A person could have spent their time 24/7 setting the record straight about Ravi’s sexual sins and falsified professional credentials.

I recognized the disbelief since I’ve lived through similar jolting when I found out about my first husband’s hidden sexual addictions and abuses. Other than close friends and family, I wasn’t believed and lost all my ministry friends. Having been married to a duplicitous, conscience-seared pastor, the allegations against Zacharias were sadly, not alarming to me. Duplicitous personalities are wolves; they are not sheep. Wolves are often false converts, not Christ-followers, and evil. And yes, they can know scripture well, just as Satan knows scripture. (I don’t know what may or may not have happen on a death bed where repentance/conversion can take place).

I believed Ravi’s abuse and falsified credentials allegations as soon as I saw the evidence because I understand from personal experience dynamic speakers with dark, evil hearts. He was an entertaining speaker, and people, except for victims/survivors and advocates, remained fascinated by his great logic.

Below is a relevant Tweet by Susan Codon who is a professor and advocate standing against sexual abuse in the evangelical church and writing about her public theology of trauma.

which sin matters?

 As a national advocate for abuse victims, I can testify that predatory pastors and evangelists are commonplace in the Christian environment. Upon hearing allegations of abuse, most leaders don’t want to act or trouble themselves with making the environment safer for vulnerable sheep. We would be more likely to gain traction from Christian leadership by asking them to remove a female speaker, teacher, or pastor from a pulpit or classroom rather than acquiring assistance in reporting sexual abuse allegations, seeking justice for victims, and providing restitution for wounded souls. I’m not overstating the case. Some pastors have publicly stated that, in their view, females teaching men is a greater sin than a sexual predator or a pedophile behind the pulpit.

In my 2017 articles, the woman who was preyed upon by Zacharias and who I wrote about was Lori Anne Thompson. She and her husband were slandered by RZIM in horrific and damaging ways when the allegations and evidence were made known. Instead of being held accountable for his inappropriate and sinful phone calls, text messages, and emails, Zacharias justified, excused, deflected, minimized, and spiritualized the abuse to the RZIM board. The board believed him without using logic in light of the gospel with the heart of Christ. Then Zacharias sought legal counsel. He utilized a non-disclosure agreement to keep Lori Anne Thompson from moving forward against him with her case of predatory sexual abuse and abuse of power. Ravi’s family has not yet lifted the N.D.A. against Lori Anne despite the independent investigation report released this week.

the n.d.a.

Victims and church members in a Christian environment should not be asked to sign a release form or non-disclosure agreement. N.D.A.s should not exist in a Christ-centered environment for relational matters. It’s asking someone to lie or to remain quiet about a secret, sin, or crime. As followers of Jesus, we are to walk in the light, not hide in the dark.

Allow me to state that with conscience seared, double-minded individuals like Zacharias, it is common for them to commit abuse in plain sight. Consider the name “Touch of Hope,” which Ravi created as a “humanitarian effort on the part of RZIM to meet short term needs for long term gains.” People like this get a thrill out of telling people what they are doing behind closed doors. They feel brilliant and unstoppable. They consider Christians gullible because their minds aren’t thinking in sexual, murderous, thieving, or fraudulent ways. If you still don’t understand, I’ll clarify. “Touch of Hope” described that he held hope that a touch would lead to desired sexual contact. “Short-term needs” explained his sexual cravings being abusively coerced and forced from massage therapists. “Long term gains,” referred to the victim’s education or housing being paid/provided. To such a mind, there was transparent honesty about the nature of the humanitarian effort.

soul crushing

I weep over the harm purposefully done to precious souls, in the name of Jesus, as was the case with one of the massage therapists who considered Ravi a father figure. He acted in kindness, gained personal information, provided her with financial support, then required sex from her, and as is common with abusers, “he made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received.”

I’m pleased to tell you that RZIM, after years of responding incorrectly to the truth and leaving a path of destruction from their wrong responses, finally followed scripture in an open letter to their supporters to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God,” Micah 6:8. I don’t know the motive of their hearts for doing this. Sometimes doing the right thing requires action, sometimes the action reflects the heart. I have learned from past advocacy investigations and responses from Christian churches and organizations that we don’t know if words of a letter are genuine or for damage control. There is fruit that corresponds with repentance. Only time will tell if their acknowledgement and apology were sincere or if their words were to once again pull the proverbial wool over their financial supporters’ eyes.

Justice always takes longer than victims and their loved ones desire, but to the guilty, make no mistake, the day of justice does come either on earth or in eternity.

This case is another example of why third party investigations are necessary. Although it took years, the response RZIM provided this week is how Christian environments must acknowledge wrongdoing in abuse cases. I’m grateful for RZIM’s apology. Anything less would have been unChristlike. (Updated 2/15/2021) To see how spiritually abusive the RZIM board acted for years toward one of Ravi’s victims, Lori Anne Thompson, read the French Press link at the end of this article.

Public disclosure, but withholding the names of victims, needs to happen as soon as possible to lessen problems and fall-out later. Most importantly, a victim’s soul care must be priority, making independent investigations essential. People can process truth and wait on conclusions. Silence allows for false narratives and toxic team building by the perpetrator and their supporters, which happened to Lori Anne Thompson and her husband when RZIM set out to destroy their family.

RZIM will have to reckon with who suspected wrongdoing and could have taken steps to stop Ravi Zacharias. Loyalty to leaders or a personality cannot be the main priority in any ministry.

miller & martin pllc report

Here is an excerpt from the twelve-page report by Miller & Martin PLLC

“Moreover, in the wake of the accusations brought against Ravi by the Thompsons in 2017, we communicated our confidence in Ravi’s denial of these accusations, and others trusted Ravi because they trusted us. Through our failure, we made it more difficult for victims to come forward. This grieves us intensely and makes us so thankful that the truth has ultimately been revealed.

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/rzimmedia.rzim.org/assets/downloads/Report-of-Investigation.pdf

These are some of the ways that we have fallen gravely short. There are undoubtedly other ways as well that we have not yet had the wisdom and humility to identify and fully appreciate. We confess that there has been pride and arrogance in our hearts, and we are committed to the ongoing process of repentance. Both for what Ravi did and for all of the ways that we have fallen short, we are so sorry. As an organization, we understand that we have no right to forgiveness and that even if forgiveness is possible, it may take time. We also recognize that earning trust is a process and is dependent on the steps that we take moving forward.”

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/rzimmedia.rzim.org/assets/downloads/Report-of-Investigation.pdf

this is how it’s done

If you are a pastor, a staff member, or a leader in the Christian environment, I beg you to read the Letter from the International Board of Directors of RZIM on the Investigation of Ravi Zacharias.

This is not hearsay, it is not gossip about a man of God, it is not the words of a woman scorned, and it is not about a mistake. Yes, all people sin and are offered forgiveness, through repentance, because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. But unlike an abuser’s narrative, most people’s stories don’t include sexual assault, abuse of power, deceiving a congregation or leadership, grooming congregants or followers, or having our superiors fail to report to the proper authorities. Scripturally speaking, pastors and teachers have a higher standard to uphold. 

The report by Miller & Martin PLLC is not the complete list of victims since the report only lists the ones deposed for the scope of the investigation. Missing are the women excluded in this investigation, those still out there and unidentified, or the ones hushed by a non-disclosure agreement.

Ravi Zacharias had nude pictures of women on his phone. He was sexually abusing massage therapists worldwide. He allegedly raped one and then prayed with her afterward.

Please, don’t tell me naming names and printing about misconduct hurts the name of Christ. Jesus was the first one to show us how to clean His Father’s house.

Until the church wakes up to the fact that wolves in sheep’s clothing are in our midst and sometimes hold places of leadership, we’ll continue to be too blind to recognize them.

I understand RZIM was confident the investigation would clear Ravi’s name, so I pray for those in leadership as they move forward in truth. I have three questions for the RZIM board: 1) Copies of emails and text messages were floating around the internet, for which there were no Christ-like explanations. Why didn’t you, since you were responsible for oversight, intervene with an investigation at that point? 2) The Holy Spirit and the scriptures are alive and active. Was the Spirit not screaming in your gut that something was wrong as Ravi threw a fit when you asked to see his phone and emails? 3) Will there now be an investigation into who helped Ravi Zacharias secure visas for Asian women to live in and work in the USA? I think the investigation shows a strong case for sex trafficking.

meanwhile

Publishers are pulling Ravi’s books, authors are editing partner content that included Zacharias, international affiliates are severing ties with RZIM, broadcasters are cancelling shows, and many internet sites are removing all content pertaining to their association with Zacharias.

I pray for Lori Anne and the other victims that their souls find validation, compassion, comfort, and healing for the sexual and spiritual abuse they endured. They are believed.

“We honor God by caring for the wounded and by dragging sin to the light and calling it by its right name.” -Diane Langberg, PhD

other links

Miller & Martin PLLC Report of Independent Investigation into
Sexual Misconduct of Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias Hid Hundreds of Pictures of Women, Abuse During Massages, and a Rape Allegation

Lori Anne Thompson

Open Letter from the International Board of Directors of RZIM on the Investigation of Ravi Zacharias

RaviWatch: TEN INDISPUTABLE FACTS ABOUT RAVI ZACHARIAS

Ravi Zacharias Pressured Me to Get an Abortion

The French Press ‘You Are One Step Away from Complete and Total Insanity’

investigative help

*Photo Credit: Ravi Zacharias public Facebook cover photo

Ravi Zacharias Responds

People have been asking about the credentials of Ravi Zacharias for several years resulting in little to no response. The recent allegations of sexting brought about a quick public response after emails and text messages between Mr. Zacharias and a woman were made public on The Spiritual Sounding Board.

I have on occasion listened to the daily radio/podcasts program Just Thinking with Ravi Zacharias over several years. I’ve recently had my 8th and 9th grade sons listening to it too. Just Thinking reaches the “questioner” and the “thinker” through knowledgeable answers. Ravi Zacharias strives to remove cultural and intellectual obstacles in order to present an unobstructed view of Christ. I believe he has one of the most brilliant minds of our time. He has been known for years as a man of grace, wisdom, logic and boldness.

When I read the published email responses between Mr. Zacharias and the woman in question my heart sank. I do not want any impropriety to be true!

Is it possible? Yes, anything is possible…for any of us. We are all sinners—made from dust.

To my knowledge, Ravi Zacharias has not denied the emails were from him. He only denies the intent behind them. He insists the woman purposefully set out to extort money from him which  I believe is completely possible. There are people intent on destroying Christians and/or their ministries. There are also people pursuing financial gain.

On the other hand, it could be as the writer of The Spiritual Sounding Board questioned regarding the mode of operation when men go looking for their next sexual quest. Was this woman being groomed for someone else’s sexual gratification?

Here are my questions about the case if it was all one-sided: Why did Mr. Zacharias respond to her first correspondence? Why did he respond to other correspondence? Why, when she told him in an email, which I have read, that she was going to tell her husband what she had done and beg his forgiveness, did Ravi ask, “Are you going to tell him it’s me?” Why did he ask her to refrain from telling her husband until he, Ravi, was able to discuss the matter with her? Why did Mr. Zacharias tell her? “If you betray me here, I will have no option but to bid this world goodbye, I promise.”

‘Betray’ implies exposing information that no one else knows; revealing secrets; being disloyal, giving evidence. If he had said, “I will not allow myself or my ministry to be treated this way. This is a matter for the police. If you want to say anything else to me it will have to said through our attorneys,” he wouldn’t have people guessing as to what is truth and what is false. The mention of suicide also concerns me. It is straight from the toolbox of an abuser. It’s how they maintain power over another person. I’m not saying Mr. Zacharias is an abuser, but the comment does cause concern.

I believe it would be wise on the part of the RZIM board to seek help from professional, Christ-centered counselors Patrick Doyle or Leslie Vernick for their perspective on this entire situation. Either of these counselors could quickly get to the truth and impart logic, wisdom, and application to bring forth healing. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (Grace.net) provides third party investigations to find truth.

As someone who ministers to women on the receiving end of unfaithfulness and abuse I can say I’ve heard about every spin imaginable from husbands caught participating in something they shouldn’t have been doing. Denial, justification, spiritualizing, minimizing, rationalizing, blaming, believing their own rhetoric, lying. Unfaithful people can lie so much they can’t keep their lies straight. Abusers are different from someone caught in unfaithfulness for the first time. An abuser believes every word that comes out of their own mouth. That’s why they are so convincing.

UPDATE DECEMBER 8, 2017: The original post on The Spiritual Sounding Board has been removed at the request of the woman involved in the case so you can no longer read the written correspondence that went back and forth between her and Ravi Zacharias.

Christianity Today published a response. You may read the response here...Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique

Ravi Zacharias: Statement on my Federal Lawsuit: Facebook post

Article by Ministry Watch: Empowering Donors to Christian Ministries: Ravi Zacharias Faces Critics…an article to balance the Christianity Today article.

Photo Credit: Facebook, Ravi Zacharias public profile picture

Ravi Zacharias: Sexual grooming and misconduct lawsuit

This is a public service announcement for those of you who listen to Ravi on the radio or on podcasts. This is not the first problem to arise for Ravi Zacharias. There have been multiple people through the years question Ravi’s reported inflated credentials; followed by a lack of response, verification, or proof from Ravi’s ministry or leadership board.

spiritual sounding board

This news is being reported by Spiritual Sounding Board. I have followed Spiritual Sounding Board since I began blogging in 2013 and I have complete confidence in the accuracy of any issue or person they bring to light.

We are not smearing Jesus’ reputation since Christ is secure in who He is and nothing we do or say can change His perfection or His purpose. Christ does not expect us to cover for these types of people, but rather to hope and pray for conviction in their heart, soul, mind and strength. The purpose is restoration of relationship with God and with the church family.

Click the below link for the article and letters of correspondence…

via Ravi Zacharias Must Explain: Lawsuit, Narratives, and Emails