Elizabeth Prata of The End Time examines the ministry of beloved apologist Ravi Zacharias. The things she reveals about Ravi will not sit well with many Christians, some may even choose to go on the attack. Now, I’m the fist to admit that I don’t like it when someone is critical of a Christian leader I hold in high esteem. My tendency is to hit the denial button and place my head in the sand. “Noooooo, this can’t be true!” But in these troubling times in which we live, more often than not we discover that the charges are true for the reason that information, both negative and positive, is easily gleaned from the Internet.
In Ravi’s case, Prata offers plenty of hard facts and includes links. As the old saying goes, facts are stubborn things.
Before I move on, I must remind my brothers and sisters in Christ that we are not called to be popular; we are called to contend and defend (Jude 1:3), which means that those who do so will often be criticized, sneered at, even hated. No doubt Elizabeth Prata will receive a lot of flak for daring to “judge” one of our idols — Christians love our idols. So please keep this noble Berean in prayer.
The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)
Now to Elizabeth’s piece:
Ravi Zacharias is an Indian born, Canadian-American Christian whose ministry is apologetics. Zacharias speaks at large gatherings, conferences, and events on the topics of Christianity and defending the faith. He also has a radio program, “Let My People Think.” He is well known for being intelligent, philosophical, and an excellent speaker in his command of the English language.
Even though there are some towering men of the faith, we must continue to do our duty and test all things against scripture. No one is immune from potential apostasy, error, or sin. Let us examine Mr Zacharias.
The link below brings you to an essay written in 2008. Since that time Ravi has descended further into questionable associations. At one point he praised Catholic Mystic Henry Nouwen, in addition to compromising on Mormon theology as you will read in the link below of that and other compromises
Though Ravi later retracted his endorsement of Nouwen and Merton here
But let’s take a look at his activity and statements over time, and compare to scripture.
2009: Ravi signed the ecumenical document called the Manhattan Declaration which calls for Catholics and Protestants to partner on moral issues (source). This is a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14 and Ephesians 5:11.
2012: Ravi appears on Joyce Meyer Today, and says to Meyer, “God has used you” and calls her a ‘great bible teacher’ (youtube clip). This is a violation of one of the qualifications of elders, that they protect the sheep and remain in sound doctrine according to the biblical qualifications of teaching elders as per 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. His endorsement of Meyer was also a violation of the advice on Proverbs which says leaders use their wisdom to guide and lead. (Prov. 11:14; 24:6).
2015: Credible allegations were made that Ravi has allegedly inflated/exaggerated/misrepresented his scholarly credentials. (NOTE: Patheos is not a site we would ever recommend.)
Proverbs 19:9 says he who breathes out lies will perish. When the allegations surfaced, certain information was immediately removed from the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) website. The allegations claimed,
-He was not a visiting scholar at Cambridge. -He refers to himself as Dr Zacharias yet has no earned doctoral degree, they are all conferred. -He claims to have lectured at the world’s most prestigious universities. -He claims to be a scholar yet has published nothing in scholarly journals and does not have peer reviewed research.
Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, said of Zacharias’ approach, “He sees it as a philosophical issue. The approach to faith seems to be that the groundwork needs to be laid first with rational arguments and then scripture can come in. But first a platform needs to be built for scripture to come in so that people can be persuaded by it.” (This quote is from the update below)
Does the Bible really say we’re not to judge? By Marsha West
To warn is to love By Bill Muehlenberg