My Thoughts On Ravi Zacharias & RZIM From a Glass House


by Rob Lundberg

Over the past few years, there have been questions which have come up with reference to the Ravi Zacharias sexting scandal and all the other allegations of sexual misconduct.  During this past week, it appears that the “chickens have come home to roost” and the allegations are true, as RZIM has reported on their website

Let me say that when I first heard of these allegations a couple of years ago, I did not want to believe them. I have served in ministry and I know that there are women out there what I call, ”pastor hunter-killers.” What do I mean by this?

Having served short term as a pastor and hearing the horror stories of men who are out of the ministry because they have fallen into their snares, these are women who see church leaders like rock stars–respected, compassionate men of God who are usually married–and it will build their self-esteem to have sex with them. If the pastor tries to break it off, then she tells all and takes them down. If the pastor keeps having sex with her, and she’s quiet, the pastor then has the potential of losing his faith.

This is the main reason why I made it a policy (and still do) to have another woman, preferably a deacon’s wife or my wife in a counseling session with me and someone of the opposite sex. That is not to say every counseling session of this scenario will be like what I describe, but we are told in Scripture to “avoid the appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).[1]

With this being said, I would like to take some time to share my thoughts on this whole travesty.

How Are We Responding When A Role Model Falls in Battle?

I met Ravi in 1994, as a member of the committee of RZIM Albany (NY) and from there, followed his  ministry to the present day. I met him again in 2018 and shared with him how much of an influence (teaching wise and as a public example) he was to us and our ministry. 

So when the information on this role model/mentor came to be true, all kinds of emotions and feelings (i.e., betrayal, anger, accusations of being a fraud, et al) ran through my mind. And I am not going to lie, and say that this is going to take some time for me to get through. It is certainly going to take a little bit of time. But please understand, there was no hero worship when it came to my respect for Ravi. I also know that because we are all human, there is a deeper issue going on that has the ability to plague everyone of us.

One of those things that is still left unanswered is that when this story first broke a few years ago, there was a woman that Ravi was allegedly involved with, was sending him naked pics. For me, this puts her in the category of pastor-hunter killer and she is still looking for attention. Interestingly enough, both the husband and his wife were the ones who tried to sue Ravi and RZIM first. Their case was thrown out and then Ravi’s attorneys sued them for extortion and that case was settled. Let us be reminded what Solomon said long ago that,”the mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit and he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it” (Proverbs 22:14).

Please understand, I am not making any excuses for any wrongdoing on Ravi’s part but we are all human, and none of us are immune from falling into the same snares of sin. At the same time I am reminded of “there but by the grace of God” go each and everyone of us. Many of the of the issues brought forth in this video are concerns, and reflections of our thoughts over these few weeks as the story broke.

Hopefully you have watched the video. Know that I concur with those things that were discussed. I will tell you that it hurts, but know we are praying for this situation. That being said, allow me to let make note of a few things on what my initial responses are to this travesty:

First off let me say that Ravi Zacharias was a great mind and force for good. I still appreciate his contribution toward equipping me in thinking how to approach a person and answer objections from those who have no intention of believing what we believe as Christians.  

Secondly, just because a “high ranking figure” in the Christian faith has fallen, it does not negate the truthfulness of the Christian faith.[2] I know that there are those skeptics out there that may be mocking this situation and relishing over the failure of one who answered honestly their objections. That being said, this should not rock a solid foundation of any believer’s faith. 

Ravi have been used by the Lord to not just reinforce my faith early in my walk; he has been used by God to strengthen others’ faith as well. So with that said, Christianity is true because truth still exists, God exists, and miracles are possible at al. Christianity is historically true. Christ still died for the sins of Ravi Zacharias and ours, and He still rose from the dead for Ravi’s and our justification.

Lastly with all this being said, I believe it is important to separate the message from the messenger. At the same time, I understand that the message of a fallen minister may be in question, truthful or not, because of the lost credibility of the messenger. I am afraid that as time moves forward, the message will have more clarity and the findings will not be what many would like to hear. Please note that in spite of any findings good or devastating, the substance of the Christian message is true, in spite of the credibility of the messenger. We must now learn how to get past this, and continue to share the beauty of the gospel and the credibility of the Christian faith.

As a minister, and as one who has been greatly influenced by Ravi, I am sure that there are those who are close to us, geographically and beyond, are wondering how we are going to respond and whether or not we are still going to defend him 100% in spite of the allegations and accusations. For those of you out there thinking like this, please know that as much as this hurts, I am asking you to not to do any witch hunting or acting like a ravenous wolf waiting for blood.

Sadly my family and I understand that there has to be an action, when something like this happens.

1.  We are praying for Margie, Sarah, Naomi, Nathan Zacharias and their families. We cannot even imagine the shock and the feelings that they are experience right now and over the last few years when the allegations first came to fruition.

2.  We are praying for the ministry of RZIM, the team, our friends and colleagues on the speaking team. Not to mention we are praying for the foreign teams in the several countries that RZIM has a presence. When the leader of an army falls in battle, it can cause uncertainty and confusion amongst the troops.  We have heard that there is division within the organization, which maybe why the board made a concession. I don’t know.

In any case, this ministry is not going to be jumping on any bandwagon condemning Ravi.

3.  However, we have regrettably need to move forward with the decision, at this time, to remove the links to RZIM that would communicate our endorsement of or partnering with the ministry for the time being. Personally, I have done the same with social media connections for the same aforementioned reasons. 

4.  We are praying for those for those who had a closer personal relationship with Ravi Zacharias. There are those who have elevated Ravi’s teaching to point of hero worship. What I am referring to here is that there may be those who became distracted following the man more than keeping their eyes on the Lord. Ravi would not want that. Pray for those who have been shaken to the core by this situation.  Let me rest assure you that I am not one of these.  Ravi was just one of a few mentors and influences that the Lord has given us. 

Some Concluding Thoughts

While I may be wrestling with some mixed feelings, let me says that I have am thankful for what I have learned from Ravi’s teaching. I don’t know what happened to Ravi and personally I do not want to know. Ravi has gone home to be with the Lord and the Judgment is coming for all of us.

Please know that I am not absolving Ravi of all wrong doing. As I mentioned before, there must have been some seriously sinful things Ravi did that encouraged this woman. The only thing that I would encourage you as the reader, is look to yourself because temptation can arise at any time. If you are a pastor or a ministry leader, let me urge you not to spend any time with the opposite sex alone other than your spouse.

Let me also posit another warning. Some Christians who act like sharks, “smelling blood in the water,” wanting to make a name for themselves by putting down famous Christians. I’m not saying that’s what every Christian is doing—be rest assured that the Lord is the Ultimate Judge–but that happens a lot.

Keeping the discussion going in my mind are the sins of gossip and malice. Why start going after Ravi now? What’s the point? Instead of being a hunter killer in your own right, pray for the family.  Pray for the ministry.  Pray for the truth to be revealed come what may.  Pray for healing and restoration which is only done by the Lord.
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Notes

[1] To put oneself in that kind of a situation is to open up pandora’s box of faulty assumptions from people who do not know what is going on.

[2] Because of our sinful nature at war with each and everyone of us, we are quick to go and tell stories of a tragedy, like a plane crash and are slow to tell stories of planes that are still flying. The analogy follows suit where many will be quick to report the failures of a high profile minister, and fail to keep in their minds that there are those who will be ready to step up and “fly” successfully in a similar fashion of ministry.