Ravi

The Ravi Zacharias Scandal. This kills me.

I admired this man so much. My wife and I went twice to see him speak. Once in New Hampshire, once in New Jersey. I loved his vernacular, his intensity, his spiritual prowess. His ministry was global, and RZIM was perhaps the most revered apologetic ministry on the planet, packed with Godly people who could defend Christianity like nobody’s business. Ravi was a Man of God extraordinaire. Clearly he was anointed.

He was a sham.

Ravi’s words were excellent, and largely true. But he didn’t believe them. He wasn’t just ‘in sin,’ he exemplified sin in ways unimaginable to his brethren. In fact, very, very few people would ever be capable of sinning as he did. It would be beneath them. Sure, men have their desires. This is nothing new, and is far from shocking. If Ravi had an affair, (or even multiple affairs) that would be very disturbing, even shocking for those who thought they knew him. But no one knew him well. It is possible Ravi didn’t even know who he was, himself.

What I am addressing is the man. What most of us thought we knew, we knew not. He defiled himself, as he defiled others. (No one is in ‘the defiling business’ without being defiled by it). Ravi – beyond reproach – attacked his victim’s witness, and accused Lori Anne Thompson and her husband of attempted extortion, then sued his victim.

In retrospect, the man was quite an egotist: as proud as proud can be. When seen, his humility was sheer bombast. It was all a show. The Word of God was his tool, and he used it masterfully. Many who heard him became apologists, as a result. Those lucky enough to be ‘chosen’ would help build his ministry. The larger his ministry became, the deeper became his sickness.

We now gain a newfound perspective on what Ravi dubbed ‘Apologetics with a Touch.’ “We are to be neighbors to our world, reaching not only the mind, but caring for the heart and the physical needs of the body as well. What greater opportunity to express the glory of God?” Hiding in plain sight: our gullibility itself needs to be examined with great fervor.

Ravi said: “Everyone has a worldview, which offers answers to four necessary questions: 1) origin, 2) meaning, 3) morality, and 4) destiny. In turn, these answers must be correspondingly true on particular questions and, as a whole, all answers put together must be coherent. Going a step further, the three tests for truth must be applied to any worldview: 1) logical consistency, 2) empirical adequacy, and 3) experiential relevance. When submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.” This man’s secret life was logically inconsistent, empirically inadequate, and experientially irrelevant to the Christian message. It is a rare individual capable of lingering in the depraved depths he carved out for himself.

Ravi was a con-man of the highest order. You don’t liaison with God, then dance with The Devil, without contempt for both.

This is so hard for so many of us. It feels personal because it is personal. This wasn’t someone who spoke about God but had an affair, or three, or dozens. This man twisted God’s word – in pursuit of Satan – and used young women to spew the latter’s desire. In lieu of God, in opposition to The Holy Spirit, in defiance of everything he was known for, Ravi conned and used these young women. He reportedly told them they were serving God by servicing him, then paid ‘generously’ for their silence. He conned the adoring public into believing his persona was real. He conned his entire ministry. He funneled funds for his conniving, controlling, coercion of untold numbers of women. All under the cloak of secrecy. All with thanks to God for giving him these ‘opportunities.’

Truly sick.

Ravi conned his wife and family. None of his friends knew what he was. He didn’t buy into the program he sold. His ministry was merely a means to an end, and to that end, he ended innocence, trust, and most importantly, respect. Every time you take advantage of another, your self respect is absent. Ravi showed he had no respect for women, but let us not forget how that plays out in the real world: If you spend your time disrespecting women, you aren’t a man worthy of respect. Your integrity is inextricably linked to how you treat others. In the midst of all this, Ravi had no personal integrity. This is demonstrably true.

When someone has an affair, it is consensual. As far as we know, none of these sexual relationships were consensual. Though any affair violates the marriage, consent is still king. Without consent – it is abuse – culminating in rape.

Whenever ‘the world at large’ is unaware of our actions, this reveals who we really are: We are ‘who we are in secret.’ Though he kept ‘the secrets of his sickness’ out of the public eye, could he have thought God was unaware? Did he not think there would be a day of judgment that he would face? Ravi didn’t just undermine God’s authority. He wantonly, blatantly scoffed at God.

Ravi didn’t galavant. He wasn’t merely prurient. Ravi ravaged. He contrived. He stalked. His desires weren’t simply larger than those of other men. He was perniciously plotting, planning, coercing and constructing an entire global network of massage parlors – to massage his nether – and never tell. He even invested in these places of business, so he could control both the income and the outcome. This was methodical. This was maniacal. Sin didn’t ‘find’ him, instead, he constructed a life in pursuit of sin. He mapped it out. This was ‘Intelligent Design’ run amok.

The blueprints had his fingerprints all over the body of his purpose.

Ravi told women they were ‘his special one,’ that their relationship was ‘a gift from God.’ These words are normally reserved for your wife, or even your lover. These words didn’t mean anything to Ravi. They were designed to entrap and ensnare these women into believing something Ravi knew was not true. If he had just had multiple affairs with many women on various continents, we would all be astounded, yet almost all would forgive him, shameful as that would be. Instead, what he did wasn’t just immoral, it is illegal in most civilized parts of the world.

We didn’t know it then, but we do now: This defined him.

To clarify: Ravi wasn’t defined by these actions because I said so, or the public (who loves to bash and loves a scandal) decreed it true. It is true because Ravi made it true. He customized his life in pursuit of this defining characteristic. I didn’t do that. I didn’t want that. Nobody wanted that except for Ravi. He accomplished what he set out to do. He defined himself with his actions. We all do. No one escapes this.

I am in the process of writing a book that deals with integrity. We are our integrity. No one can take your integrity away from you, but you. Still, many will take it away from themselves. Disrespecting another is disrespecting yourself. Disrespecting yourself is disrespecting God. Ravi spent his time, energy, and ministry funds – – in pursuit of disrespecting God. This is why it is not ‘but for the Grace of God’ it could happen to me, or to you. It can’t. This takes a sick and twisted individual. I don’t pursue the denigration of others, I abhor it. My book – My Life’s Thesis – is about demonstrating respect for others as ‘the highest good’.

Matthew 25:40 ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it to Me.’ This knife cuts both ways. This applies to the good deeds, as well as the bad. Respect is paramount.

Do I look at ‘other’ women with lust in my heart? Yep. But I don’t wish I could force them upon myself unwillingly, in the name of God! No, no, no. That is an altogether different beast. Not much ‘danger’ that I should walk down that path and decide “this is the life for me!” There is no ‘moment of weakness’ in consistent deliberation of carefully constructed clandestine scenarios, where you impel your rising protrusion onto and into a masseuse – who is supposed to massage – anything else! Treating women with disdain is the consistent decision that Ravi made. He couldn’t have made these recurrent decisions if he didn’t believe them. Like the post-modernists he derided, Ravi created his own truth, and acted ‘as if’ God was not real.

Ravi customized his ministry to finance the furtive life he designed. This ended with his death, in May, 2020, but his legacy remains. Will he be remembered for the great things he said about Christ? Certainly more than if he never had his ministry, but far less than if he hadn’t deliberately and persistently abused his power and position, for his own depraved desires, leaving the tattered shrapnel of scared, scarred and broken women in his wake.

Perhaps we can take solace in this: It is far better to have no legacy, than to have Ravi’s.

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

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