RIP Ravi Zacharias

If you’ve followed the work of Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, you’ve probably already heard that he died this morning at the age of 74 after a battle against cancer.

Or, as the Babylon Bee put it with a reference to Hebrews 11:38, the earth was deemed not worthy of him:

Not much of a Lewis connection, other than that Ravi cited him frequently.

Rest in peace and endless Joy, Ravi.
I didn’t always agree with you, but you were always a gentleman who commanded my respect: a true cricketer.

Apropos: my own mother, now 84, was cursed by a gypsy on her wedding day, for refusing to buy clothes-pegs. She had one of the happiest marriages imaginable. :innocent:

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I don’t know if any of you have followed the huge scandal that has arisen since Ravi’s death last year, but it has been heartbreaking for his admirers, and a field-day for the enemies of Christianity.

Statement by RZIM’s board of directors (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).

Was it Screwtape who said (something like) “Nowhere do we tempt more successfully than on the steps of the altar” ?

FWIW: For my money the most useful commentary on the whole affair was that by the brutally honest David Wood (YT channel Acts17 Apologetics )

Under the Mercy

I thought Mike Winger also did a good job with it–and it looks like the Bee’s headline has aged very poorly. But with what has come to light, it raises the serious question whether he was ever saved (recognizing, of course, that the true Judge has already ruled on the question, and his opinion is the only one that really counts). Sad for him, sad for his family, sad for RZIM (and I agree with James White here that they just need to close their doors), sad for his victims, sad for the great reproach he’s brought on the name of Christ.

As you say, that question is not for us, Ravi’s siblings, but for God alone. Only He has all the data. Aslan only ever tells you your own story, and as David Wood lewisically points out, a sound argument is a sound argument, whether or not the arguer is sinner (and who is not?).
So when the whole ugly truth has been laid bare, and the victims acknowledged and compensated as far as possible, Ravi’s arguments and teachings should remain accessible IMHO. King David was guilty of worse sexual crimes than Ravi Zacharias. Should David therefore be expurgated from the Bible?

Under the Mercy

God is Ravi’s judge, but that doesn’t mean we have no call to consider the question–if nothing else, I think our answer to that question will inform our opinion of what should happen with his works. And in deeming “us” “Ravi’s sibilngs,” you’re assuming the conclusion. Was Ravi a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a deceiver through and through? Was he a true believer, who struggled greatly with sin? Was he at one time a true believer, who subsequently abandoned the Lord and thus lost/gave up his salvation? Or was something else the case? I no longer believe the third option to be possible, and nothing of what’s been made public gave any indication that he struggled–to all appearances, he embraced his sin.

Certainly true.

Not sure I agree here. The complication is that further circulation of his works results in money to his estate, so in a very real sense recommending them supports him, or at least those who today benefit financially from his work. Though I realize I’ve conflated two questions. I don’t think his works should disappear, nor that we should pretend he or they never existed. But I’m much more sympathetic to the position that they shouldn’t be printed, sold, or recommended.

Adultery is worse than rape[1]? Murder is, sure, but murder isn’t generally considered a sexual crime. Even if we assume, in the complete absence of any biblical evidence, that David raped Bathsheba, we only know of a single instance, while the law firm leading the investigation has found multiple accusations of rape against Ravi to be credible.

That really is a very poor comparison, for several reasons. In no particular order, and no doubt missing some:

  • Neither David nor any of his family benefit financially from circulation of the Bible containing his writings.
  • David repented for his sin (see Pss. 51 and 32).
  • Those of David’s writings that are contained in the Bible are the Word of God, and as such are profitable for many purposes.

The first and third of these are not true of Ravi or his writings, and there’s no indication that the second is, though we may hope and pray so.

  1. One of the victims said she would describe the encounters as rape. Sadly, that word has become somewhat untethered from objective meaning in recent years, so it’s not clear that her considering it such would mean I’d agree, the law (her, in the country where the acts were said to have taken place, or elsewhere) would agree, or the Bible would agree–but taking her statement as true, Ravi was guilty of multiple instances of rape. ↩︎

Thank you, Hyoi, for recommending David Wood, with whom I was not familiar. Just played the whole video, and thought it was excellent, in showing how the believer, if he covers up rather than confessing the sin in his life, finds that pattern easier and easier and so sinks deeper and deeper, until he is leading a double life. His recommendations at the end, for Christian leaders, were excellent: Be proactive in acknowledging that sin happens to us all, and there has to be accountability, on the deceit of hiding sin “for the good of the ministry.” And how Christian leaders should “get over themselves.”

Also, thank you for Perelandra poem! Wonderful! I have always loved Lewis’s image of floating islands and a restricted “fixed land,” as an image of how we crave certainty, and control over our lives, and security in our circumstances rather than in the Rock of our Salvation.



Ah, my dear angry Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.

I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament and love.

George Herbert (1593-1633)

You’re most welcome,
I do recommend that people read Wood’s conversion story before proceeding to his other stuff. For one thing it explains how the man is utterly fearless. He is like the man in The Great Divorce who allows an Angel to kill his pet temptation (represented by a whispering lizard), which then turns into a mighty stallion, on which the man can ride away.

Note: YT has demonetized Wood for his criticizing Mohammed and Islam, using only logic and islamic source documents (plus a great deal of sarcasm). To support Wood you need to view his work on alternative platforms like LBRY, BitChite, Rumbl etc.

Where do I find Wood’s conversion story?

Undragoned by Aslan,

Hi Elaine,
Open the Acts17apologetics channel and look for “Why I am a Christian”. But here is a direct link.

But remember, YT has demonetized him for criticizing Islam, so it’s preferable to seek him on other platforms: BitChute, Rumbl, LBRY etc. He has a family including 2 severely handicapped sons to support.

Under the Mercy

Interestingly, David links to Mike Winger’s video:

So I listened to Winger’s thing. He did a good job, but it was too long.

Not sure what “Bee’s Headline” refers to. Sorry, have been gone fo awhile. I was actually one of the founders (with Ray and others) of SpareOom after our dear moderator departed MereLewis.

Undragoned by Aslan,

Yeah, he isn’t known for short videos.

When I created this topic back in May, I posted a link to an article from the Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical website (think a Christian version of The Onion): “Earth deemed unworthy of Ravi Zacharias”. Given what’s come out since Ravi’s death, it’s aged rather poorly.

…which I remember. I don’t recall if I was a “founder” as such, but I was certainly a member within the first week.

Browsing through my copy of Lewis’s “Poems” recently, I was reminded of Lewis’s peom “The Apologist’s Evening Prayer”. If anyone would like to comment on its relevance to the Ravi Zacharias story, I’d appreciate the insight.

It has already in this forum, cross reference, but as it is short, here it is again.

From all my lame defeats and oh much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score’
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf,
At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me’.

Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
Of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head
From all my thoughts of Thee,
O thou fair silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.

Under the Mercy

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