Following Megan Cornwell's feature which looks at how Ravi Zacharias abuse went undetected for years and the lessons the Church should learn, Ruth Jackson comments on whether or not Christians should still read Ravi's books
I know numerous people who came to faith through Ravi Zacharias or his ministry. Do revelations of his sexual misconduct somehow taint these conversions? While the individuals involved likely feel confused, betrayed and hurt, God still met with them and changed their lives for ever.
The question of whether we should still be reading books or watching videos created by Zacharias is entirely different. On this, the answer is an overwhelming “no”.
Firstly, out of respect for the victims, it is not appropriate to continue providing a platform to someone who ruined countless lives. Rachael Denhollander, an attorney and advocate for abuse survivors, shared her thoughts on Premier Unbelievable? saying: “When you are handing out their materials or utilising their materials, you are helping that abusive person who is doing harm to God’s children return to a position of leadership and authority. That’s antithetical to what we are supposed to do to leaders who are disqualified.”
Secondly, it’s worth considering who is profiting from our continued support. This is a more complicated question when the person involved is deceased, but it would be grossly inappropriate to bank roll unrepentant fallen leaders who are still alive, or fund organisations that facilitated abuse.
Thirdly, even if some of the content in Zacharias’ books or videos may prove helpful, it was proffered by someone who wasn’t living a life worthy of the gospel he was expounding. We may agree with some of his theology, but his warped framework and worldview negatively colours his words. We must ask ourselves why we would want to read something written by a person guilty of abuse.
There is a plethora of great apologetic content available, so there is no need to consume anything produced by a leader guilty of sexual misconduct. Even if Zacharias was the best apologist in the world – which he wasn’t – there would still be no justification for continuing to read his books or watch his videos.
Apparently, when Zacharias began his ministry, one of his key donors insisted the organisation he founded bore his name, so that if his reputation fell, so too would his ministry. It seems appropriate, therefore, to blacklist any material written by RZIM and his associated organisations.
For more on this story, read our feature 'Ravi Zacharias’ sins of sexual abuse went undetected for years. Here are the lessons the Church needs to learn'