Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
Ravi Zacharias was known as one of the best Christian apologist for the past 40 years. Ravi was born in India but was very popular throughout North America in his ability to defend the Christian faith. He founded the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and has spoken all over the world. He has written over 30 books and had tremendous influence in Christendom. In March 2020, Zacharias was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in his spine. He died on May 19, 2020. A number of high-profile Christians (like Tim Tebow), pastors, and leaders (like Vice-President Mike Pence) shared words of condolences expressing the influence that Zacharias had on their lives. It is no exaggeration to say that Ravi Zacharias impacted hundreds of thousands of people with his intellectualism and defense of the Christian faith.
The past few years there were some allegations of sexual misconduct but most were discounted based upon the size and influence of his ministry. Zacharias adamantly denied these allegations and proclaimed his marital faithfulness. Last Friday (2/12/21), a law firm hired by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZMI) released a twelve-page document describing the evidence they found for rape, sexual misconduct, numerous extramarital relationships, and other acts of sexual abuse. I spent some time on Tuesday night reading the document and was both saddened and sickened by the findings. I’m not going to go into any of those dark details but want to reflect on a few some things we should learn from Ravi’s hidden sin.
First, we should feel sorry for, and pray for, all of the women who were victims of Zacharias’ acts of sexual abuse. He manipulated, guilted and abused many ladies who will live with those scars the rest of their lives. We know that Romans 12 tells us that “vengeance” belongs to the Lord and these acts were not hidden from God (and He will repay). We should also mourn and pray for Zacharias’ family and close friends. I am sure they are devastated by these findings. RZIM has a staff, supporters and friends all over the world who have been shell-shocked over these allegations and findings of such sinful and reprehensible behavior.
Second, we should be reminded of Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12 about taking heed lest we fall. None of us should think we could not fall into such dark sin. Brad Rathburn and I had talked about Ravi Zacharias a few times the past several months (in regards to his skill in defending the faith). We have also been talking about men’s discipleship and how important it is to have some accountability in our lives. On Monday, Brad and I grieved over Ravi’s deception and unconfessed sinfulness. I told Brad I wanted him to keep an eye on my life and to love me enough to question me if he ever sees any questionable behavior in my life. He asked me to do the same for him. By the grace of God, I don’t think I’ll ever be involved in sexual misconduct but there is the realization that if Ravi Zacharias could fall into such sinful activities, we should all take heed (take precautions), lest we fall. We need people keeping watch over our lives and we need somebody who is able to ask us tough questions. In addition to accountability, we need to establish boundaries in order to make no provisions for our flesh. The enemy is real and he is actively seeking to devour us.
We know that any man can disappoint us but Christ is ever faithful. In regards to Zacharias’ teachings, Ray Comfort wrote an excellent article on the Living Waters website where he says, “we have a problem when we elevate apologetics above the gospel, and never preach the actual good news of salvation. Paul reminds us that it is the gospel, not apologetics, that is the power of God unto salvation (see Romans 1:16).” May we be gospel people who walk close to Jesus and strive to live lives of purity until we meet our perfect Savior. Come quickly Lord Jesus!