Ravi Zacharias, True Apologist? The Actions Aren’t Matching the Words

Ravi Zacharias, Academic Credentials, RZIM


 

Ravi Zacharias, sex scandal, falsified credentials, lawsuit

Twitter photo

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I am not done dealing with the issue of Ravi Zacharias and the way his honorary doctorate degrees were used freely, and in my opinion, recklessly, in order to present an image of academic excellence. In the public statement released at the RZIM website, there are a few statements that are concerning. The words say one thing, but the evidence shows the contrary.

Neither Ravi Zacharias nor Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has ever knowingly misstated or misrepresented Ravi’s credentials. When it has been brought to our attention that something was stated incorrectly with regard to Ravi’s background, we have made every effort to correct it. RZIM Statement

Here are a few tweets I found yesterday of people who currently found videos online where “Dr.” is used. It seems as if they “have made every effort to correct it,” they would notice their own YouTube page and make the necessary corrections by now. They have not:

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I really have difficulty with this statement. Look at how they present it as if they tried to fix things to the best of their ability.

When it has been brought to our attention that something was stated incorrectly with regard to Ravi’s background, we have made every effort to correct it.

Really?  They made every effort? I’m calling B.O.L.O.G.N.A. on this. We know from looking at attorney Steve Baughman’s YouTube videos (user name FriendlyBanjoAtheist), that Mr. Baughman has been addressing this issue for nearly 2-1/2 years. They’ve had 2-1/2 yrs, and we are still seeing evidence of “Dr.” all over the place? I’m not buying it.

It then occurred to me to think about Ravi Zacharias and his apologetics ministry. What is apologetics?

Jack Wellman wrote this about apologetics:

Apologetics is basically a branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith and the elemental doctrines of the Bible which include the creation, God as the Creator, Jesus’ historicity, and evidence for the resurrection among other things.  It is basically a rational defense of what you believe and giving good reason for why you believe in God as Creator and Redeemer.  The word apologetics is from the Greek word “apologia” which means “to give a reason or defense.” All believers should have a basic understanding of not only what they believe but why they believe it.

If Mr. Zacharias takes his ministry seriously, wouldn’t he welcome a connection with an atheist, especially a critical atheist? Wouldn’t it behoove him to make a special note of Mr. Baughman’s concerns, and make a good-faith effort to address them? Mr. Baughman said he originally was looking up Mr. Zacharias because of his interest in the book of Daniel, and when he read his credentials, he assumed that they were real academic credentials. He was greatly disappointed that Mr. Zacharias used his honorary doctorates to make it appear that he had done the work to earn an academic doctorate.

Think about it. Mr. Zacharias was protecting his own interests over Mr. Baughman’s legitimate and important questions. Mr. Zacharias had an atheist right in his lap — coming to him with questions — and he missed that opportunity. What kind of apologist does that? Do they care about the souls of people or not? Is Mr. Ravi Zacharias a true apologist or not?

Look at this in the most recent statement about his biography/doctorates:

Ravi’s desire and our desire as an evangelistic ministry is to engage the honest skeptic, to take questions seriously, and to be as clear as possible in our communication. RZIM Statement

HE FAILED 2-1/2 YEARS AGO!  AND HIS (AND HIS MINISTRY’S) ACTIONS DO NOT MATCH UP WITH HIS WORDS!

Ravi Zacharias and RZIM need to come clean on this. And they certainly owe Mr. Baughman an apology. And we wonder why atheists shake their heads at Christians … ugh!

14 comments on “Ravi Zacharias, True Apologist? The Actions Aren’t Matching the Words

  1. I remember a man who ran for mayor in a city where I lived who lied about the university he attended. He lost the election. If he had been honest and said that he got his BA at a state university he might have won.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When criticism comes from a non-Christian source it is an “attack” (from Satan, secular humanists, worldly philosophers). When it comes from other Christians, it is a “concern”, and possibly an “oversight.” When it blows up the internet, fix it quick!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess so, Linn. It seems like Steve Baughman should have been an answer to RZ’s prayers. It just floors me the kind of response he’s been given. The reality is they are saying one thing and doing another, and all of it is based around appearances and whatever makes Ravi Zacharias look/sound good. I’m disappointed and sad, really.

    But actually, isn’t this kind of a no-brainer? Is there any “ministry” that really does great ministry work that has the head person’s name on it? I guess it reminds me of John MacArthur Study Bible. I cringe at the thought of someone’s name plastered all over Bibles. I guess the plan worked. John MacArthur has quite a following. But what a distraction from Christ, ya know?

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  4. Julie Anne, Our ex-church was filled with John MacArthur study bibles and it made me cringe as well. I think it is “adding to the words of the book” which we are warned not to do. It used to be that the study notes in Bibles were the meanings of Greek words, or a cultural note on a custom or place. But MacArthur throws in all his personal interpretations and doctrines as though coming from God himself. Scary stuff. I am so “done” with the whole celebrity Christian thing. It will save me $$ cause I won’t need to buy the books any more :-).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Im sorry but I have never been impressed with his apologetics, telling anecdotes and spouting off Malcolm Muggeridge and taking Frederick Niche quotes out of context of time and audience is not apologetics. It is evangelical apologetic handwaving. It does not help, again in my opinion.

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  6. A great post. This is very sad. It reflects poorly on Ravi, for sure, but it also speaks to problems at RZIM, the ministry organization as a whole. Perhaps someone merely dropped the ball at RZIM, but it just smells of “hero worship.” It sounds like RZIM needs to have a wake up call. I have reached out to someone at RZIM to find out if they have any further plans to correct the problems.

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  7. @Mary27:

    Julie Anne, Our ex-church was filled with John MacArthur study bibles and it made me cringe as well. I think it is “adding to the words of the book” which we are warned not to do. It used to be that the study notes in Bibles were the meanings of Greek words, or a cultural note on a custom or place. But MacArthur throws in all his personal interpretations and doctrines as though coming from God himself.

    i.e. the 21st Century version of a Dake’s Annotated Bible?
    (FYI, Dake’s Annotated was common among that not-a-cult I was mixed up with in the Seventies. Four columns per page, with KJV on the two inner columns and this Dake guy’s schizophrenically-dense notes in fine print filling the outer two columns. And what I remember of those study note columns was complete Weird City.)

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  8. @JulieAnne:

    Is there any “ministry” that really does great ministry work that has the head person’s name on it?

    JulieAnne, that really should be framed an posted up on the wall.

    If the Ministry(TM) is named after its head honcho, RUN!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 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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  10. Don’t misunderstand me, the inflated credentials damage Zacharias’ ministry, although some of it might be down to his minions or publishers rather than the man at the top.

    Nobody gets hurt by his posturing as a scholar or doctor, but if he has preyed on women then this is most serious and does real damage to real people, and is not subject to a quick fix. This is where the real battle is.

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  11. Just a followup to my comment above. I did contact someone in leadership at RZIM about the credentials issue. As they stated in their press release, RZIM recognizes that the use of the word “Doctor” is “contentious in some circles”, especially in academia, and that they desire to aim for complete clarity. Apparently, some folks at RZIM never considered it necessarily a problem to refer to someone as “Doctor,” solely on the basis of having an honorary degree.

    This is not true in my world. I do not know of anyone, in my cultural context, who thinks it to be okay to use the honorific title of doctor like this, in promotional materials that they control. Many universities today hand out honorary doctorates like they are candy. Most folks today, that I know, know this. But apparently, this is not the case in every cultural context. Alas, this is a hard lesson for RZIM, as an organization to learn, but it is my impression that they have been learning about it these last few weeks.

    It is kind of hard to stuff the cat back into the bag, once the cat is let out of it, regarding all of these videos and books that have been put out there in the public arena. Perhaps they could go back and re-edit some of these videos, I do not know. The Internet has a way of remembering things. Are they going to recall all of the books, so that they can scratch out the word “Phd?” How effective would that be?

    On the other hand, leaving it be, as to the stuff that has already “left the building,” might be better, as it might serve as a good example, to other ministries, as to what NOT to do in the future. In my view, owning up to the problem, and saying this would be most instructive, “Hey, this is what we were doing. We really did not think there might be problems with it, but on second thought, now we know better. We will not do this again in the future.”

    If you have further questions about these issues, you really should contact RZIM directly and express your concerns. RZIM was transparent and quite charitable to me.

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  12. Did he really say he earned a doctorate? I don’t remember how I heard it but I have known his doctorates were honorary.

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