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Being Specific

Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. His books can be found at theoarch & other articles at theologyarchaeology

being-specific

We received a comment early this morning asking us to ‘unpack’ our #3 statement, made to a supposed lawyer, they said:

Please help us by unpacking statement #3 and citing the specifics of each error, misleading comment, weak spot, and misrepresentation you are referring to. Thank you.

and we were not going to do it. We do not normally have time to meet every request sent our way. But with the following statement made by the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination’s head office, we decided to go ahead and meet that request.

Statement on the Findings of Ravi Zacharias Independent Investigation

From the Board of Directors of The Christian and Missionary Alliance

2/12/2021

Colorado Springs, Colo. — It is with great sorrow that The Christian and Missionary Alliance (the C&MA) acknowledges that one of its licensed workers, Ravi Zacharias, now deceased, engaged in a pattern of sinful behavior that has caused enormous pain to many and undermined the witness of Christ’s Church.

Recent independent investigations commissioned by both the C&MA and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries confirmed the accusations made by massage therapists that he engaged in sexual misconduct. He then constructed elaborately deceptive schemes to conceal his activity. This evidence clearly establishes that Mr. Zacharias preyed on women, violating the trust of those who were particularly vulnerable, during the time he was credentialed by the C&MA. The evidence also confirms that this pattern of behavior was longstanding.

In 2018, in response to one initial accusation, the C&MA conducted an internal inquiry to seek to determine whether the evidence was strong enough to proceed with a formal investigation under the C&MA Uniform Policy on Discipline. At that time, hindered by a nondisclosure agreement signed by both parties, there was not clear and sufficient evidence to proceed. However, newly revealed information from the recent investigations has proven more than sufficient to confirm Mr. Zacharias’ pattern of predatory behavior.

We are deeply grieved over the pain suffered by Lori Anne Thompson, the massage therapists, and others who may have been victimized by Mr. Zacharias’ behavior, and support appropriate advocacy efforts on their behalf. Mr. Zacharias’ actions were in direct violation of his obligation to demonstrate his commitment to serve Christ and His people through his devotion, character, lifestyle, and values.[1] In recognition of this gross violation and its painful consequences to the victims and others who were impacted, the C&MA posthumously expels Mr. Zacharias from licensed ministry in our denomination. This comes with the automatic revocation of his ordination. (the CMA website)

We italicized the part that infuriated us the most. The man worked for them, was ordained by them, and licensed by this denomination for 40 years. Yet they wait till almost a year after his death to revoke his license and ordination?

How brave and courageous they are. This is just cowardly and surely, in those 40 years, they must have heard something if Mr. Zacharias was as bad as everyone is claiming he was. Yet, they took no action while he was alive and under their authority.

This is like the Spanish and other RCC Inquisitions that tortured killed people for no real reason except they chose to follow a non-RCC religious faith. This is just the first non-biblical aspect that we found with this report.

It leads ‘Christians’ to do very unbiblical things just to stay in favor of a few people who do not offer anything to the world. But we must move on:

#1. . Miller & Martin PLLC was hired by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (“RZIM”) to conduct an independent investigation into these allegations. RZIM management agreed that we would report to a committee of the RZIM Board of Directors.

On the surface, nothing is wrong with hiring an independent group to investigate a situation. That is one way to ensure an objective report. But when you look at this engagement closely there are other issues that arise that do not make this as honest, and as thorough as it should be.

  • are the lawyers Christian- if not then evil has an opportunity to ruin a man and a Christian organization. Hiring non-believers for these delicate matters is not biblical.
  • what are the criteria governing this independent investigation- that vital detail has been left out. Clear guidelines and objectives should have been made upfront beyond the simple ‘investigate these allegations. No legal or spiritual limitations were placed on this report or investigation–None have been reported anywhere either.
  • how do these lawyers know they are being told the truth- They have no guiding principles to get to the truth of the matter. Interviewing is only getting one side of the story that will conflict with other interviews and still no way to determine who is telling the truth

#2. We confirmed one of the three accounts described in the Christianity Today article and found significant evidence of sexual misconduct involving additional massage therapists.

Only one? Then what about the other two? They should not be included in any report or article as they were not confirmed. If by the evidence they mean images, the presence of those images does not mean Mr. Zacharia solicited them, made threats to obtain them.

There is no establishment of intent on the part of Mr. Zacharia and these images do not make him a sexual predator. It may point to his lack of judgment but not sexual offenses.

Since there are no guidelines to govern the investigator’s point of view and conclusions, then anything can be read into those images.

#3. We also reviewed Mr. Zacharias’s electronic devices and found evidence of text- and email-based relationships with women who were not his wife, as well as over 200 “selfie”-style photographs of women.

They may be on electronic devices but their presence does not mean that he sought them and that another person could not have created them. It is very possible for a third party to discredit someone through e-mail and other technology.

Just because he is married does it mean he cannot have female friends? Women do this all the time with males they meet over the years so why the double standard?

Later in the report, the investigators did say that his lawyers examined his phones, etc., and stated he did nothing wrong. We guess that it is only okay to believe one set of people who are saying what investigators and others want to hear while dismissing the statements from their professional counterparts who say things they do not want to hear.

#4. With over 200 massage therapist contacts in Mr. Zacharias’s phones, including many overseas, we did not think it worthwhile to attempt an exhaustive survey and instead sought to speak with those we thought most likely to have relevant information or who otherwise reached out to us.

When investigating a man of God, you better not take short cuts like this but get all the facts and all the stories. The truth is what counts, not what you think is worthwhile or not.

#5. Some may claim that it excludes communication that does not result in physical contact. But we spoke with many witnesses, both within and outside RZIM, who saw the question of Mr. Zacharias’s alleged sexual misconduct as intertwined with allegations by a woman named Lori Anne Thompson… (bold ours)

This is neither biblical nor following any objective legal guideline. Instead, it is taking subjective viewpoints and using the information in a pre-determined manner.

It does not matter how they view the alleged misconduct as they are not privy to those private matters and not the truth. It is their personal opinion only and the law firm should be embarrassed for allowing hearsay and personal opinion to taint their investigation.

Ms. Thompson’s reputation is not that great and she and her husband certainly do not exude spiritual holiness where they can be declared innocent in their part of the scheme of things. Their money grab undermines their credibility.

#6. We engaged Muller Group International, a private investigations firm comprised of former federal law enforcement officers, to assist with this investigation.

Hiring another non-Christian group that does not have the Spirit of Truth guiding them and in need of the light of Jesus as their minds are not spiritually safe from evil.

Also, no mention of how these interviews were conducted, and knowing what police officers do to obtain a confession, these interviews are tainted and cannot be trusted.

#7. There are large, significant gaps in time for which we do not have the benefit of any mobile devices, including the almost three-year period from October 2014 until July 2017

Supposed evidence is missing which also makes it unbiblical to accuse and condemn a man. Without a complete set of evidence, proper conclusions cannot be made.

We need to point out, that if Mr. Zacharias was doing anything wrong, why didn’t he wipe the records clean so no one would find those pictures, etc.? If he was as they say he was, he had plenty of time to get his electronic devices and other stored information and destroy them before he died. Why didn’t he do it?

#8. We also acknowledge possible selection bias in this investigation.

Yet, no attempts to establish clear rules and guidelines to eliminate any of this possible bias. None created for the people interviewed and none established for the investigators.

This fact alone shows that the investigation and this report are unbiblical and not seeking the truth. The bias was allowed to remain in all parties and makes any conclusion made suspect.

#9. Mr. Zacharias is not listed on incorporation documents filed with the Georgia Secretary of State for either company, and he did not appear to have any role in managing the day-to-day operations of the spas. He told one massage therapist he was a silent investor in both spas,5 and one of the owners of Jivan Wellness told us that Mr. Zacharias invested as well, but we were not able to confirm how much if any money he invested.

These statements are being accepted as gospel truth yet we know of some Ravi Watchers who have shown his lack of judgment in exaggerating his role with schools, and so on.

Why are these statements given a pass? You cannot have it both ways and this acceptance is not biblical given the rejection of his other statements.

As an aside, “And five therapists reported that he touched or rubbed them inappropriately.” What some men call appropriate is often called inappropriate by women under different circumstances. This is totally subjective and not necessarily compelling or any other type of evidence. Also, women lie.

#10. This witness told us that their relationship began as a normal massage therapist-client relationship, and she came to think of him as a father figure. He elicited information about her faith and her financial situation. She reported that after he arranged for the ministry to provide her with financial support, he required sex from her.

Complete hearsay and missing two or three witnesses to establish this event. For all anyone knows, she may have instituted the request for sex. Women have been known to be ‘grateful’ when a man does certain things for them.

**** We are only about halfway through the report and feel that we have fully met the request and established that enough unbiblical errors have been committed in gathering the evidence and the writing of this report.

This is why we get so upset at Christians and Christian denominations who accept this report at face value. They do not apply scripture to filter the conclusions to see if they are biblically based, God supported, and so on.

We doubt anyone can provide any in-context scripture that can justify this travesty and the actions taken by so many Christians including Lee Strobel, the CMA, and others. Or even the lawyers who conducted this report.

Christians are supposed to obey God honestly. Not just in their behavior but also in their examination of misdeeds done by other believers. Especially when those misdeeds were done by respected church leaders.

We do not leap on the growing bandwagon to protect one’s own ‘ministry’ nor to ‘look good’ in the eyes of the unbeliever. We are to please God even when we look bad to the rest of the world in doing so.

We posted this passage at Christian Post and we bolded the last verse to send a messenger to all who are so quick to condemn the man Ravi Zacharias.

19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. 21 I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too quickly and [e]thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself [f]free from sin. (1 Tim 5 NASB)

© 2021 David Thiessen

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