I am furious. I choose the word purposefully – “angry” does not begin to express the depth of emotion that I want to communicate.
I am furious because a man who presented himself as a defender of the faith and a model of Christian living was a sexual predator and a spiritual abuser. I am speaking of Ravi Zacharias, the world-famous Christian apologist and head of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). The details of the reprehensible scandal are here.
I had listened to Ravi’s talks now and then prior to his death, and had very much appreciated his knowledge and apologetic skills. (I had not been aware of the 2017 Thompson scandal until last week when I read the investigative report released by RZIM.) The revelation of his predatory behavior has been like a kick in the teeth. I feel like the gospel has been besmirched. That the cross of Christ has been maligned.
I take this particularly seriously because I myself am a teacher of the Word. I know that I have a responsibility to everyone who reads this blog to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and to be holy in all my behavior (1 Peter 1:15). I recognize that, as a teacher, I will incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1). I strive every day to be obedient to the Lord – in thought, word, and deed.
So, let me share my thoughts on this terrible scandal. We need the light of God’s Word to dispel the darkness.
THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, EVEN THOUGH A RENOWNED PREACHER OF IT WAS A LIAR.
“For I delivered to you as of the first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
“These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)
“Your faith does not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)
SIN IS NEVER OKAY. IT IS NEVER JUSTIFIED. IT IS NEVER TO BE EXCUSED.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:11-12)
“Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:11-14)
“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:3-5)
WHAT YOU DO TRUMPS WHAT YOU SAY
“By this we know that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)
GOD JUDGES SIN – WITH ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8
“How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:29,31)
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
ALL SIN CAN BE FORGIVEN.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” (Proverbs 28:13)
“’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.’” Isaiah 1:18
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
WE HAVE ALL WE NEED TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” (John 14:15-16)
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” (1 Peter 1:3)
WE NEED TO REACH OUT TO THOSE WHO ARE ENSLAVED TO SIN.
“Have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23)
“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)