Guest post by Steve Baughman
On January 11, 2021 former Southern Evangelical Seminary president Alex McFarland copied me (and a Christian journalist) on a highly revealing email he sent that day to a Baptist colleague. Many of you may know McFarland as a prominent conservative evangelical and as the founder of the eponymous Alex McFarland Evangelical Ministries. He describes himself as a frequent Fox News commentator and a contributor to major Christian and secular media operations. He was president of SES from 2001 to 2005.
McFarland, who appears to have known Zacharias quite well, had several conversations with the evangelist about a “colleague who needed to repent of sin.” Zacharias’s response to the situation was that “sometimes people in leadership have to do things that are unethical.” Zacharias stuck to this position in subsequent conversations with McFarland.
The seminary president was “deeply shocked that a man known for defending absolute truth could (when necessary) take a rather matter-of-fact stance as a relativist.” In the email McFarland said, “I never invited him to speak at another of my conferences after this.”
The McFarland email is below.
For those who have followed the Ravi Zacharias sex abuse and credential fraud scandals, his comments to McFarland simply confirm what we already know about “Ravi’s Relativism.” Zacharias lived his life as though there were special rules for evangelical elites like himself. What is more revealing (and troubling) here is the fact that he chose freely to share those not-very-Christian views on multiple occasions with a prominent fellow evangelical leader. It’s almost as if a Code of Silence was in effect and Zacharias felt that the network of evangelical elites could be trusted to keep each other’s dirty secrets. Sadly for his many victims, that turned out to be a safe bet for Ravi Zacharias.
Ravi and I were having some discussion/ private debates about a colleague who needed to repent of sin. Ravi said to me, “sometimes people in leadership have to do things that are unethical.”
Shocked, I pressed him on what he meant by this. And I was surprised that In a number of conversations he stood by that statement.
I never invited him to speak at another one of my conferences after this. We did speak several more times in person, if I saw him at a convention or something. But I was deeply shocked that a man known for defending absolute truth could (when necessary) take a rather matter-of-fact stance as a relativist.
Steve Baughman is a San Francisco area lawyer and musician and the author of Cover-Up in the Kingdon: Phone Sex, lies, and God’s Great Apologist, Ravi Zacharias.