Three years ago, I had a sinking feeling about Ravi Zacharias. I blogged about it then.
At that time, I believed he had a serious problem. As I looked at the public details, this didn’t smell right.
Then, in 2019, Julie Anne Smith broke a story of 16-year-old Shirley Steward, who was pregnant with Ravi’s brother (Ramesh). Ravi counseled her to have an abortion, even made the arrangements.
I was convinced that the evangelical world would explode, as no one would tolerate that, not even from Ravi.
I was wrong. No major Christian media outlet covered the story. Not one Big Evangelical leader called out Ravi Zacharias.
In March 2020, he was diagnosed with cancer. Many of us reached out to him, calling him to repent and apologize and drop the NDA and make things right. We were ridiculed.
When he died in May, he was lauded by none other than Vice President Mike Pence.
In September, however, several massage therapists–who worked at spas that RZ had founded and co-owned–came forward and credibly accused him of sexually assaulting them. Their allegations had corroboration.
This time, Christianity Today covered the spa story.
At this point, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) commissioned a law firm (Miller & Martin) to investigate sexual misconduct.
On December 23, as several apologists with RZIM had apologized to Lori Anne and called RZIM to come clean, RZIM released an interim report from Miller & Martin that stated (emphasis added):
While some of the massage therapists we have tried to interview are not willing to share their experiences with us, many have spoken candidly and with great detail. Combining those interviews with our review of documents and electronic data, we have found significant, credible evidence that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual misconduct over the course of many years. Some of that misconduct is consistent with and corroborative of that which is reported in the news recently, and some of the conduct we have uncovered is more serious.
There is no pretty way to spin this.
Three years ago, I said Ravi had some ‘splainin’ to do. I had a feeling that the whole settlement with Lori Anne had been engineered to cover the truth.
When Julie Anne broke the forced abortion story, I thought he was done. The story was credible; the receipts were there; combined with the academic/vitae fraud, surely major evangelical leaders were going to call him to account.
When I revisited his public statement in his settlement–and did Image Repair Analysis on it–I found a LOT of Image Repair, which is a high indicator that he was lying.
No one was listening.
Now that the spa workers have been corroborated by a law firm–and now that the law firm has found even worse offenses, we are learning the truth about Ravi Zacharias.
I am thankful that the truth is being laid bare now. I am thankful for the sake of Shirley Steward and her child, for Lori Anne and Brad Thompson, for the spa workers, and for any other victims who suffered at the hands of Ravi Zacharias.
All of their lives matter.