Ravi Zacharias: Email Threat and Ongoing Lack of Response About Reportedly Inflated Credentials

 

Ravi Zacharias, RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries), Credentials


Ravi Zacharias, sex scandal, falsified credentials, lawsuit

Twitter photo

“Nothing is as important as the truth.”

~Ravi Zacharias in The Real Face of Atheism, at p. 105.

The case of Ravi Zacharias and his inflated credentials continues and this post updates (and documents) the latest events.

Threatening Email

Yesterday (Nov. 29, 2017), Steve Baughman (a lawyer, atheist, and the writer at RaviWatch) forwarded to me an email threat he received. I posted about it on Twitter. I have had threats before, and each time they have been on cases where there has been misconduct of some kind. I believe this case is no different.

 Here is a screenshot of the email:

ravi zacharias, sex scandal, lawsuit, RZIM

The email threat reads:

“Phoning for a friend. They are coming for you and u need to tell whoever is your source that also.”

Steve Baughman has no idea who the sender is. Neither of us know what “coming for you” means.

Mr. Baughman gave the following statement to me after receiving the e-mail threat:

“I spent an hour with Mr. Zacharias the other night and I do not think he is a thug. But he runs a $25 million ministry and there are powerful people who have a vested interest in keeping his reputation from crumbling. Maybe there are thugs among them. Why wouldn’t there be? On the other hand, this could just be some quack. I’ve had a couple death threats in my day and they are just part of the turf. I shall keep plowing onward until Mr. Zacharias shows me that my allegations are mistaken or he admits his failings regarding the woman he sued and regarding his academic credentials.” ~Steve Baughman, November 29, 2017

Obviously, someone is not pleased at what Mr. Baughman has been doing. And as things heat up, I suspect there will be more obstacles.


***

Mr. Zacharias’ credentials have been addressed for many years. Why has there been no adequate response from RZIM or Ravi Zacharias?

For 2-1/2 years, attorney Steve Baughman has been drawing attention to the fact that Ravi Zacharias has reportedly made false claims about his academic credentials. Mr. Baughman has been encouraging Ravi Zacharias to either admit that he has been careless in how he has described his academic credentials, or prove that his assertions about those credentials are incorrect.

I was surprised at what lengths Mr. Baughman went to get the word out. Why would an atheist care? He answers this question very well here. If you are one who values truth, as I certainly do, you will see that Mr. Baughman shares those same principles. Additionally, he is concerned about the “Code of Silence” that surrounds big-name leaders when they overlook issues such as fabrication or deception. The “Code of Silence” is a continual theme here at Spiritual Sounding Board when I cover cases of sexual abuse, misconduct, etc., by church or Christian leaders. Atheists and Christians alike should be concerned when a person in a position of trust uses that power to silence people.

***

Public Statement from RZIM Ministry on Facebook Page

Apparently, Mr. Zacharias’ ministry believes Mr. Baughman has been slandering/libeling Mr. Zacharias, because three days ago, RZIM released this statement November 27th on their Facebook page.

ravi zacharias, sex scandal, academic credentials, RZIM

***

It’s now been three days since the statement was released, but there has been no response from RZIM or Mr. Zacharias as to the specific allegations.

One of the primary issues that I have seen in comments on various articles and the RZIM statement is that we should not trust Steve Baughman because he is an atheist who is attempting to discredit Mr. Zacharias. I disagree. Mr. Baughman is addressing the issue that we Christians ourselves should be addressing: Is Mr. Zacharias acting with integrity and transparency on the subject of his inflated or misleading credentials?

I do not believe that he is. I conducted a “Ravi Zacharias” name search on Facebook and found a post by Dr. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., in which he addressed the credential issue. You may find the comments in the Facebook thread interesting, I did.

Ravi Zacharias sex scandal RZIM

***

Who is Dr. John G. Stackhouse, Jr.? “

Born in Canada, and raised in southwestern England and northern Ontario, John Stackhouse was educated in history and religious studies at Mount Carmel Bible School in Alberta, Queen’s University in Ontario (B.A., First Class Honours), Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois (M.A., with Highest Honors), and The University of Chicago (Ph.D.).

According to his online profile, Dr. Stackhouse is also the author of 9 books and over 600 articles. He speaks around the globe, and his views about religion and contemporary culture can be found in both print and broadcast media.

Dr. Stackhouse raised the issue of Mr. Zacharias’ inflated credentials to at least two friends connected with RZIM many years ago. I reached out to Dr. Stackhouse, asking if he would be willing to say something publicly about this situation, and he graciously responded:

I have not made a serious study of Ravi Zacharias’s credentials in the past. I just noticed—more than twenty years ago—that he seemed to be “over-claiming,” and when I mentioned it on separate occasions to at least two friends who were, at the time, affiliated with RZIM, they fell silent and didn’t want to discuss the matter. I have never met him, and felt that it was appropriate to raise the issue instead with mutual acquaintances before doing anything else. When neither initiative went anywhere, I interpreted the silence as implying there was no point in pressing the issue. So I dropped the matter, even as I kept noticing the pattern. Dr. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., November 30, 2017


Aside from Dr. Stackhouse’s concerns two decades ago, another Christian, Tom Lunal, also addressed the issue of Mr. Zacharias and inflated credentials two years ago in 2015, with Steve Baughman and Andy Norman: Has Evangelist Ravi Zacharias Lied About His Credentials?

Ravi Zacharias and people from his ministry, RZIM, have failed to resolve these issues in a prompt and transparent manner. This is wrong, and it is troubling.

***

NOTE: As of December 8, 2017, the following section will not be updated. It is replaced by the following post where news updates and new links will be included: Resource Archive and FAQs on the Ravi Zacharias and RZIM Situation.

Related Links (From 2017 Unless Otherwise Noted)

Initial links posted 11-30-2017. Additional links and notations may be added to expand this reference section.

Warren Throckmorton’s blog:

Steve Baughman’s media:

The Wartburg Watch blog:

Spiritual Sounding Board blog:

Ravi Zacharias sources:

  • Ravi Zacharias Amazon Author Page. [Link added 12-01-2017. Note that as of this date, Mr. Zacharias’ author bio still refers to him as Dr. Zacharias.] [Update: The Author Page was still the same on the evening of December 3rd, but a significantly edited and expanded version replaced it by the morning of December 4th. Note added 12-04-2017.]
  • Ravi Zacharias biography from RZIM “About” page. [Link added 12-01-2017. Note that as of this date, the bio states it was “Updated 17 May 2017.”] [Update: The bio was revised as of December 3, 2017. Note added 12-04-2017.]
  • Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) link: Ravi Zacharias bio for ECFA Board of Reference. [Link added 12-01-2017.] [It appears this bio has not been updated for as much as 7 years, as it mentions Mr. Zacharias being in ministry for 36 years, and his most recent book being one first published in 2010. Note added 12-04-2017.]

RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) sources:

  • RZIM – Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. [Link added 12-01-2017.]
  • Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) organizational links: RZIM. Wellspring International (“A Benevolence Wing of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries“). Links added 12-01-2017.]

RZIM Non-profit Data. All of the following information is public access information for non-profits. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. The Employee Identification Number (EIN) for RZIM is EIN 13-3200719. This is the unique identifier number assigned to RZIM by the IRS. The IRS ruling year for RZIM was 1984, meaning this is the year it was granted non-profit status and donations would be tax-deductible. The NTEE Code for RZIM is (Christian X20) — for a description of what this code includes, see the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities’ Religion-Related Codes page. [Added 12-01-2017.]

  • Charity Navigator page for RZIM. [Link added 12-01-2017.]
  • Guidestar page for RZIM. [Link added 12-01-2017.]
  • ProPublica page for RZIM. The ProPublica “Nonprofit Explorer” page for RZIM includes summary financial information and links to Forms 990, which detail financial and organizational aspects of the corporation. The compensation of officers/staff chart in Form 990, Part VII, lists directors and key employees. [Link added 12-01-2017.]

Other sources, news reports, and analysis:

50 comments on “Ravi Zacharias: Email Threat and Ongoing Lack of Response About Reportedly Inflated Credentials

  1. It’s amazing how easy it for Christians to trust news commentators (Fox News) and politicians (Pres. Trump) who are not Christians, or at least don’t seem to be practicing, as long as they express beliefs with which they agree. But, if it’s an atheist—he must be wrong or have an agenda!

    Yet, we have no idea of the beliefs of our doctors, sales clerks, mechanics, insurance agents, servers and all the other people that could be plotting against us! It just all seems a bit two-faced to me.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Ravi Zacharias is LEGIT! his “inflated” credentials are The Lord God Jesus Christ. Jesus is Rav’s ego as is every Christian, We can boast in Christ we have that right as believers. Our credentials are Christ, HE chose us to intelligently teach the truth in Spirit and Truth. Christ will Always be attacked from atheists. Atheists do NOT have any credit in Christ until such time as they repent and see the Light and the Truth. . and President Donald Trump IS a Christian.

    Like

  3. That’s really interesting. So, if your atheist doctor tells you you need heart surgery immediately, and another atheist heart surgeon confirms this, you are going to refuse surgery? Or do they have to repent first before you allow them to cut?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Apparently you did NOT take it in the content it was written. Why don’t people stop putting THEIR ignorance IN anothers comment

    Like

  5. Did you mean “context” maybe? If you are going to label me as ignorant, I see no point in further discussions. Over and out…

    Like

  6. I say ignorant because you choose to put YOUR version IN my comment without thought or information. Ignorance means you choose to NOT understand what I said and you choose to NOT KNOW my meaning. If you would care TO understand and know, then you would be aware and not be ignorant of the comment. I said content and I meant content of my comment. I am a defender of Ravi Zariah he is VERY intelligent and needs to defense, Christ IS his defense, atheists have NO defense and choose to NOT know or understand and choose ignorance, NOT you , atheists, the opposite of KNOWING and intelligence is ignorance and one can stay comfortable accepting they do not know therefore as Forrest Gump said once, “stupid is and stupid does” atheists choose to stay stupid, so they do stupid. They Could choose intelligence by accepting Christ and therefore gaining intelligence as Jesus reveals truth to HIS own

    Like

  7. I went to Baughman’s website; it reads like any other conspiracy theory site without properly citing books, articles, claims, etc. That said, perhaps the bigger issue is that of so-called “honorary degrees”. RZ is hardly the only pastor or politician or celebrity to have received such “degrees” which are given and received for seeming political reasons (the college will scratch your back…).

    Like

  8. I went to RaviWatch.com and chose a numbered issue at random, for example #9. I clicked on “more info,” and read how Baughman “became suspicious when I googled “Asian Youth Preach Award…”” but came up with nothing.

    Baughman gave page numbers in that section that allegedly came from RZ’s autobiography, but Baughman does not give the title, the copyright info (which version), or even the exact quote in which this specific award title was named. Instead, he subtly shifts to totally uncited sources, “In his publicity materials and other writings [notice these are not named, photographed, etc.] he claims that the award he received was called the “Asian Youth Preacher Award.””

    In reading the article from the Christian Post, I noticed that Baughman commented several times, and that while both your article and the CP’s state Baughman “is an attorney” (though where and for what is never told), his own CP commentor profile describes him as “self-employed,” a term I’ve never seen in conjunction with “attorney.”

    I have no particular love for RZ or his ministry, but using Baughman’s claims does nothing but make RZ look like a victim.

    Like

  9. I found several listings for “Steve Baughman: Attorney,” including one in San Fran., but is there any evidence connecting that person with the author of this RaviWatch site?

    Like

  10. Actually, yes, I contacted him at his law office and a woman answered the phone using the name of the firm. Steve got on the line and we talked about Ravi Zacharias. The lady who answered the phone was Asian, with an accent. I believe his law partner is Chinese, and I read on one of Steve’s bios that he’s fluent in Chinese 🙂 I’m convinced.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I haven’t contacted anyone from the schools, but I have seen some of the revisions that RZIM has made. It still has made me curious why they haven’t been publicly addressed.

    Like

  12. I don’t listen to gossip and I don’t care about Stackhouse’s credentials, they mean nothing. I listened to my Lord God Jesus Christ and I let HIM guide me in Truth, I will not be used by Satan to pull down whom God chooses. My correction will come from my Lord and HE will reveal the truth to me.

    Like

  13. Mkmfrommnandwi, you are exhibiting troll-like behavior. I will not be allowing those kinds of posts. If you would like to have civil conversation without telling people who don’t agree with you that they are atheists, then I will approve your posts. Your choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I did not call anyone an atheist I am referring to the atheists that identify themselves as such. Seems to me I am being attacked for my support of Ravi Zachariah and because I do not agree with them I am now attacked because I do not agree with them. Seems bias and discrimination is going on here. I am answering comments made to me and about me and I have the right to speak to those who comment and to correct wrong information. I originally commented about a post about Ravi which I have right to do, when I did so I became the target for defending Ravi which I do not mind. I simply commented on that article and those attacking a fine Christian man and I did not call anyone atheists but I know this article was about an atheist taking pot shots at Ravi, I address that issue. I did not call anyone else an atheists I simply commented on how atheists are against Christians.

    I have been getting aggressive emails and critics emailing me through SSB and I answered them. That is all I have been doing. It is called Freedom of Speech and it seems others enjoy criticizing me through SSB just because I do not agree with them attacking Ravi Zachariah. Seems I am supposed to agree with them and when I don’t I am criticized and getting aggression back.Double standard and discrimination So if this is what SSB is all about that I am to agree with others as they tear down another that I question SSB’s ethics and morals as a critic and reporter of Christians. Ravi Zachariah has done nothing wrong. and this has become every ones sounding place to blast God’s servant, and you have allowed it to continue. You say I want everyone to agree with me, nonsense, but everyone wants me to agree with them, forget it. Discrimination. I will not be dragged through the mud for disagreeing with others. Only ONE woman agreed with me, only ONE. Rachel. So far when I have gotten emails from SSB it is usually about you and others finding a Christian to destroy. If THAT IS the purpose of SSB, then God help you all.

    Like

  15. No one has been emailing you through SSB – that’s not how Word Press works. If you are referring to the comments that are posted here and you subscribed to the comments, that’s a different story. The solution is to unsubscribe.

    I am a firm believer of freedom of speech. However, this is first and foremost a safe place for survivors. You have no way of knowing that Ravi Zacharias has done nothing wrong, It is based on speculation. I have provided e-mail proof showing a pattern of his behavior with a married woman (not his wife). If you want to defend him, you may not do it on my blog. When you post on my blog, you are my guest. You will not be able to defend Ravi Zacharias here anymore. You’ve been very clear about your devotion to him. Thank you.

    Like

  16. Linn said,

    It’s amazing how easy it for Christians to trust news commentators (Fox News) and politicians (Pres. Trump) who are not Christians, or at least don’t seem to be practicing, as long as they express beliefs with which they agree. But, if it’s an atheist—he must be wrong or have an agenda!

    All sides have perverts. Democrat Senators/ Congressmen such as John Conyers, Al Franken have credible allegations against them or have already admitted to some of the charges being true.

    Just the other day, liberal NBC fired journo Matt Lauer for years and years of sexual abuse and harassment while he worked on their “Today” show.

    So please let’s not frame this as though only right wingers, Fox news, or Republicans have deviants among them.

    And some progressives I see on social media (some of who are liberal Christians) defend some of these Democrat guys, and only now are speaking out against Bill Clinton (Democrat), who was raping women back when he was AG.

    I voted for nobody in the 2016 elections because I didn’t like Trump’s sexism, but I was also appalled at Hillary’s sexism (her dragging rape victims of her spouse through the mud), among other reasons. No side is clean on any of this.

    Like

  17. From the way mkmfrommnandwi carried on up and down this thread, you would think that Ravi Zacharias is a boy band group and she is a Ravi-Stan (stan = slavishly devoted, zealous fan of someone or something, usually of a rock star or movie star).

    Like

  18. When accusations are made about inflated credentials and then changes are subtly made (in some places) this seems to me to be a tacit admission that there was truth to the charges.

    Like

  19. If I had a real Ph.D. from Oxford and someone challenged be about it, I wouldn’t just take it off.

    Hope this isn’t revealing too much. I went to a college and completed the coursework for multiple majors. Each major corresponded to a different degree, which I verified by the fact that they were listed separately in the graduation program for those who had earned them. However, when I received my diplomas, I only received two. When I contacted the college, they informed me that two of them were the same degree (B.S.) so they just combined them. However, my classmates who had double majors with the same degrees that they had combined received two diplomas.

    So, long story short, I had them listed on my resume as separate degrees, and due to a degree inflation fiasco, my company required us to produce diplomas, at which point I removed the “extra” degree and listed them as one degree with two majors.

    I will say that not printing that diploma (and then subsequently trying to defend it) was a penny wise and pound foolish decision.

    However, if someone challenged the fact that I completed multiple majors, I have the transcripts to prove it. I wouldn’t just remove it from my site.

    Like

  20. There you go, Mark. How difficult would it be to show the proof? It seems that issue could have been resolved long ago if he had chosen to deal with it by either showing proof or saying he didn’t, and remove the fancy edumacated letters after or before his name. This really should not be a complicated issue.

    Like

  21. I think in our society and historically, people need to worship something or someone. Hence worshipping the created rather the creator. When somebody is so adamant to defend an icon to me it is a signal of some sort of worship. Men fail. We are not supreme beings. If I like someone’s preaching or teaching, I always make note there is room for going off the rails in some manor. It’s human nature to think too big of ourselves and be led by our own imagination. A man or ministry with 25 million (?) compared to Christ that had no pillow, and took to sleeping outside at times, well, there is a vast difference. Somewhere in that comparison we need to critically think and not immediately worship the icon. I don’t think that particular icon is devoted a to his worshippers as much as they are to him.

    Like

  22. Deception is a huge sin. Especially if it is a pervasive, long-term, subtle deception that has yielded undeserved, unearned respect and influence over people…and a bounty of cash flow from trusting folks.

    And worst of all, if the deception was done while proclaiming the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Shameful, disgraceful, I say. Unrepentant, habitual lying and a stubborn refusal to take any responsibility is a sign of a dead conscience and a complete lack of ethics.

    Like

  23. One of the ways to spot wolves in the church is mixture.

    First they speak the truth—getting people to open up to listening to them because we recognize the truth. But then—once we’re open to hearing them—then they start mixing the lies with the truth. Even a little bit of lies mixed with truth can do tremendous damage.

    There’s a reason that Apostle Paul warned us about how “Don’t you know how a little yeast can spread through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast! Then you will be like fresh bread made without yeast, and that is what you are.”
    1Cor 5:6b-7a (CEV)

    Mixture is really dangerous. Just because someone speaks the truth part of the time doesn’t make them worth listening to.

    Like

  24. PCB, “I think in our society and historically, people need to worship something or someone.”

    There’s a book, “The Myth of Religious Neutrality”, in which the author makes the claim that we are too wrapped up in the idea of religion as worship. Instead, he defines a “religious belief” as a belief that other beliefs are derived from. So, for example, Atheists don’t worship anything (despite Christians’ claims to the contrary), but their fundamental beliefs are typically wrapped up in a form of naturalism, from which all other beliefs must be in concert.

    In the same way, I think Christians can get too caught up in the idea of spiritual authority – that we can blindly trust those people the church has made its spokespeople. I don’t think people are “worshiping” Ravi, per-se, but I think there is too much trust in his apparent spiritual authority that makes people suspend their logic. So, here, the Bible says that we ought to trust in God and not in men. The Bereans were commended for testing the claims of Paul against scripture. Yet, in abusive spiritual authority land, that lack of trust and healthy skepticism are seemingly grounds for excommunication.

    Like

  25. I have been a professor at a large state school for 30 years, and heard RZ at a present at a Veritas Forum over 20 years ago. He was presented/introduced as having a Ph.D. and officially associated with Oxford/Cambridge. Silly me, I believed him, the system. Just like Warren T., I am looking into his credentials and associations, and as an academic, I know how to do it… RZ is a Fraud, and I am embarrassed I trusted the system.

    In the academic world, this type of Fraud destroys your credibility.. Finally, you all should know that most, if not all, of speaking engagements at “big name” schools are through student organiaztions, not officialy by the institutions. This is another deceptive tactic. For example, a student group in my department can invite any local practioner of my discipline to speak to them on campus. This not an offical University Invitation! 

    Liked by 1 person

  26. P.S. If I had known what Dr. John Stackhouse knew when RZ was schedule to speak at the Veritas Forum at my Institution ( RZ lists this in some of his bios) many years ago, I would have actively tried to prevent RZ from speaking ( I, embarssingly, was associated with it) . Unfortunately, in those days I trusted the “evangelical complex”, and if they said he was credible, I believed them. Again note, Vertas Forums are NOT officially sponsored by the specific Institutions, they are sponsored by student groups. While many of RZ supporters might not care, credentials and who sponsors the talks ARE very important to academics. When I list academic ipresentations on my CV, they list the Department that invited me. Finally, it is my experience to not be involved with any “evangelical” para church group at a University unless I control the agenda. I have been burned to many times by deciept and hidden agendas by the “evangelical” groups.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: The Ravi Story | Thinking Out Loud

  28. Pingback: Unravelling Ravi Zacharias’ Recent Revelations of Sexting and Impropriety – Coercion Code – "Dark Times are upon us"

  29. Pingback: Resource Archive and FAQs on the Ravi Zacharias and RZIM Situation | Spiritual Sounding Board

  30. ​New post up at Spiritual Sounding Board: “Resource Archive and FAQs on the Ravi Zacharias and RZIM Situation.” It includes numerous links to primary source documents, plus links to posts with observations, analysis, and interpretations. This was developed in response to what look to be the most frequently asked questions about all the parties involved. So far, concerns addressed include about the prior lawsuit by the couple involved, the current legal documents and follow-up statements by Mr. Zacharias and RZIM, Zacharias family members on the RZIM board of directors and staff employees, Mr. Zacharias’ use of credentials and titles, updating of his biographies and titles, and the impact of the non-disclosure agreement.

    If you’ve got concerns about some of these issues, you will likely find sources to study so you can come to your own informed conclusions.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2017/12/08/resource-archive-and-faqs-on-the-ravi-zacharias-and-rzim-situation/

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