As an apologist, I have benefited from Ravi Zacharias and RZIM’s work. I have read his books and used teaching materials from Ravi’s ministry. I have listened to his television broadcasts, radio segments, and YouTube videos. Now credible allegations of sexual misconduct and investigations from RZIM have come out. The revelations are shocking and dismaying. What is the next step? Do we cancel Ravi? I’m sure that many in the evangelical world would do that. I don’t think that is the right course.
First, we found out that one of our heroes was a sinner. Are we surprised by this? We are certainly shocked, dismayed, and hurt by these accusations and revelations. But, the secret is that pastors, deacons, teachers, and, yes, apologists have feet of clay.
Second, it is difficult to assess a penalty for this. Ravi died before the newest set of allegations came to light. If we were to “cancel” Ravi, brand him a sinner, and not use his materials, insight, or books again, we would lose something in our own teaching. I don’t know if I want to pay that price.
Third, the penalty of cancellation is a standard that we don’t want to apply consistently. We have seen in the Scriptures the examples of people who sinned but were used of God. But, more personally, I am a sinner. I am not perfect. Should I be “cancelled”? It might be a little self-serving to say no. But, my response to my sin is to go to God in repentance and reconciliation, which God so graciously gives me. If we continue to look for the perfect pastor, deacon, teacher, or apologist we will fail every time. We must not impose a standard on others that we cannot fulfill ourselves.
Shakespeare has Mark Antony saying at Caesar’s funeral, “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.” We have found that to be true of many people, including Ravi Zacharias. Antony’s next line is “So let it be with Caesar.” I’m not in favor of accepting that as an axiom. Let us, instead, hope that the truth is pursued in the investigation. Let us look for honesty and transparency from RZIM. Let us also evaluate and use the truths that Ravi taught us for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.