Connecting with Culture
Our blog reflecting on weekly news, trends, innovation, and the arts...
‘There are few obstacles to faith as serious as expounding the unlived life … The sceptic is not slow to notice when there is a disparity, and because of that, may question the whole gospel in its supernatural claim.’ – Ravi Zacharias, ‘The Apologetic of the Apologist’ (2008)
Famous for proclaiming ‘man cannot live without God’, everyone’s wondering how Ravi could live with himself – proclaiming a gospel which transforms, yet hiding decades of abhorrent abuse, grooming, gaslighting, and even rape.
Of course, hypocrisy is sadly nothing new. But this downfall headlined media globally. ‘God’s name is blasphemed’ among our neighbours because of Ravi (Romans 2:24). So when people on our frontlines ask in disbelief, ‘how can you present Christianity as good news?’, what to say?
No apologetic can suffice. We must face tough questions on the charisma cult, wilful blindness to narcissistic leadership, lack of accountability, and defensive posturing making people deaf to those who spoke truth. Reparations must be made, where care and some sort of ‘justice’ for survivors is first priority. And yet, words must be said. So how about three: sorry; sick; saviour.
Sorry. Courageous women calling out horrors should have been heard. Sin must be exposed. Concern for reputational damage, while effectively sheltering a predator and silencing victims, is evil. It’s diametrically opposed to what we preach, and rightly condemned. God detests these crimes, and acts swiftly when the oppressed cry. So must we.
Sick. Ravi was a ferocious wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15–23). Crying ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t I write dozens of books and witness to millions in your name’ counts for nothing. Maybe it’s worse than anyone realises. Rape is the bitter fruit of unchecked lust in one’s base motives. True, few enact these devilish schemes. We’re different. But there’s something sick and beyond cure in all our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9–10). Evil desire must be cut out, lest it cancerously spread.
Saviour. Ravi has no defence. Nor does his church. Nor does humanity. We are hypocrites, one and all. Self-rescue is a myth. We need a Saviour to perform heart surgery. Merely talking about God is cheap and didn’t reorient Mr. Zacharias’s desires. There’s no evidence of deep repentance, rethinking his way. Expounding this unlived life was toxic. And yet, Jesus still saves. He alone loved rightly and lived beyond reproach. He covers the victims. Judges the wicked. Forgives the humble. And the only hope for wretches like Ravi – indeed, ashamed humanity as a whole – is Christ.
Ravi’s Board failed to check his abuse and protect the vulnerable. All that remains is their closing confession: ‘Jesus is fully committed to truth and to justice, and he unqualifiedly stands with victims.’ Sorry. Sick. Saviour. Say no more.
Dr Dave Benson
Director of Culture & Discipleship, LICC