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Know the truth 2

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

know-the-truth-2

21 Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. (Ex. 18:21)

It has been a struggle knowing what to say further on the Rav Zacharias issue. We did come across new information which we only posted at Christian Post the other day and will get to shortly.

This verse sets the tone for the following content. The words may have come from Jethro but Moses’ father-in-law seems to have been a follower of God and gave wise counsel. What makes these words more important is the humble attitude of Jethro:

If you do this thing and God so commands you, (verse 23)

He was not giving his own advice but made sure that Moses got approval from God first before following it. These words are words we suggest that all Christians take to heart especially in this issue and in reading our words.

In this issue, we see that RZIM, most Christian organizations, and individuals did not set ‘men of truth’ to investigate and adjudicate the problem. May cooler heads prevail and look to God to appoint men to handle this issue the way it should be handled that will actually make Him look good and He gets the glory.

#1. More evidence

It turns out that we are not the only ones who disagree with the 99% as we found the following words by Mr. Zacharias’ son on an atheist’s website no less:

First, RZIM does not speak for me. They have formed their own opinion. But it does not dictate mine. I do not agree with them for legitimate reasons. I will not, however, debate those differences publicly.

…Regarding some specific individuals who were once my colleagues, how “brave” you are to aggressively take on a man who can’t even defend himself, as well as attack his grieving family who is far more blindsided and hurt by this situation than you can ever be. And how “righteous” you are to think that we must continually pile on our punishment AFTER he has already faced the ultimate judge.

…God chose to spare Dad from all this by calling him home when he did. But how “virtuous” of you to insist that you hand out the relentless punishment and humiliation that God saw no place for in dad’s lifetime.

Even *if* these allegations are true, there is no doubt that God actively blessed my dad and did so right up until he passed. His impact was only getting greater. So what these individuals are saying – along with any person or organization that wants to cancel my dad – is that God was wrong to do so, so we must now correct God’s blessing/mistake by erasing my dad and his voice. To that I say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for him.”

Finally and most importantly, nothing could change how much I love my dad and miss him. I am still proud to be his son.

One of the biggest problems we find both in and out of the church is that so many people think they are greater than God and think they know better than he. This attitude is shown in their words, their actions, and how they treat others who may or may not have sinned.

Another great problem is how the church lets secular culture influence their thinking and judgment. The #metoo, #church too and believe the woman ideologies are not biblical, and far too many churches, denominations, and Christian individuals have adopted this ideology or let it influence their thinking and ignore God’s instructions.

Such behavior is not Christian, let alone biblical as we see in this verse:

Then the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear that you will tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” (1 Kings 22:16)

It is the unbelieving world that is blind and deceived and they can make almost no contribution to spiritual matters. That world cannot be the source for any thought or action for the Christian, etc.

If the testimony of the supposed victims is taken as truth then so must Mr. Zacharias’ son’s testimony. If anyone claims that testimony is biased, then so must that same charge be laid on the testimony of the supposed victims. They are certainly not objective participants in this case.

The so must these words that were included in the Final Report:

Indeed, several of the therapists we interviewed reported a normal therapist-client relationship with him and said that he was always professional….Mr. Zacharias spent much of the year on the road and typically had at least one male RZIM staff member travel with him. These travel assistants provided the appearance of accountability, so Mr. Zacharias could say he did not travel alone and was never alone with a woman. Indeed, all of the travel assistants we interviewed said that they never observed anything improper.

Why would only one group of therapists’ words be taken for being true and the other groups’ words are not? Why are the words of the assistants dismissed when they attest to Mr. Zacharias’s behavior?

The words of the assistants support the words of one group of therapists and no one backs up the words of the other group, yet the latter is taken as gospel truth, then something is wrong in how the evidence is being handled and presented.

#2. The actions of others

Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24)

We do not see the majority of the Christian world obeying this charge made by the people of Samuel to the people of Israel. Since God does not change, this charge applies to the church today.

The most general and biggest thing God has done for believers is granting them salvation from their sins, many of which are the same as the ones Mr. Zacharias has been accused of committing, and some even worse.

We worked with one pastor who came to Christ and became a pastor even though he had been jailed for murder or attempted murder. We forget the actual charge but it is not important.

The important part is that believers need to remember what God has done for them before addressing this issue involving Mr. Zacharias. We have already talked about the cowardice of the C&MA as well as the announced actions of Mr. Strobel. Here are some more sinful actions taken by ‘Christians.’

Ravi Zacharias’ books and resources will no longer be offered by HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP), the religious publishing arm of HarperCollins that includes both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, after it was revealed in an RZIM investigation that the late apologist spent decades as a serial sexual predator.

HCPP has published over 20 books that were either authored or co-authored by Zacharias over the last 25 years, including his most well-known work, Can Man Live Without God? which has been published in 21 languages. His latest book, Seeing Jesus From the East: A Fresh Look at History’s Most Influential Figure, co-authored with Abdu Murray (Zondervan), was released in April 2020. Zacharias has sold over 2 million books.

Hiding the words of God given to Mr. Zacharias is sin and makes those ‘Christian bookstores and publishers’ look like they think they are greater than God.

Keep in mind that most ‘Christian’ publishing houses are owned BY non-Christian companies. Then there are these actions, again from an atheist website:

As they are wont to do, Evangelicals are busy removing Zacharias’ visage from the Mt. Apologetics Rushmore. Some self-righteous Evangelicals are even saying that Zacharias was never a True Christian

Yet, these same people often claimed that they were blessed by Mr. Zacharias’s ministry and words. They also held him in high esteem. Dr. Micheal Brown once wrote about how Mr. Trump was removed from being president by God because the church made him their leader, (paraphrased).

Yet, no word along the same lines for Mr. Zacharias. While Dr. Brown has not jumped on the hate Mr. Zacharias bandwagon that we know of, we also do not see him challenging the final report or these other Christians, etc., for their sinful actions.

The Christian Post had an article with the headline ‘Criminal, sociopathic, satanic’: Christian leaders react to Ravi Zacharias sex abuse report’ Yet up to a year ago, not one word by them about his alleged sinful activities or disrespect. They held him in high regard as well.

On top of that, we watched only a few minutes of the Ravi Zacharias Memorial Service, and not one word of disrespect, hatred, condemnation as praise that should be given to God was heaped upon him.

Yet, less than a year later, we find very few people who will praise this man and many that want to act like Hitler and burn his books, destroy his lectures, sermons, and so on.

YouTube is filled with videos discussing this issue and very few people defend him. Most have accepted the final report as gospel truth even though it is unbiblical and very flawed.

The ones we saw focused more on his alleged sins than bringing the truth of God to this issue. While presented honestly, most seemed to be missing anything from God and condemned a man who cannot defend himself and whose words he made in his defense are also ignored.

so that the Lord may fulfill His promise which He spoke regarding me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful about their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and all their soul, you shall not be deprived of a man to occupy the throne of Israel.’ (1 Kings 2:4)

People commenting on and responding to this issue need to take these words to heart. Jesus said, “I am the way THE TRUTH…” We look to him to find the truth, not the secular world or those believers who rely on earthly, non-biblical standards.

#3. Why does it take an atheist

This is one reason why we are troubled with this issue and spend so much time on it. An atheist made the following point that no one that we read on this issue brought to the public’s attention. His words:

As they are wont to do, Evangelicals are busy removing Zacharias’ visage from the Mt. Apologetics Rushmore. Some self-righteous Evangelicals are even saying that Zacharias was never a True Christian® Which makes one wonder about the lack of discernment among Evangelical pastors. Thousands of pastors attended Zacharias’ apologetics conferences and read his books, yet not one of them “discerned” that he was a sexual predator. Even J.D. Hall, the editor of Protestia (Pulpit & Pen) — a site known for its muckraking reporting on Evangelical sexual peccadilloes and alleged heresy — failed to sniff out Zacharias’ perverse behavior.

What does this say about those Christian leaders, etc., who praised and were blessed by Mr. Zacharias? If he were not a true Christian, how could they not know 40 years ago? The C&MA ordained him and if he fooled them for 40 years what does that say about the spiritual nature of that denomination?

What about all the other Christian organizations, the special lecturer series he was a part of, and other speaking engagements? Are all those who organized and invited him so not spiritual that they could not detect a false teacher and protect the very people they were charged with protecting?

If they are not as spiritual as they should be, why are they Christian leaders and Christian event organizers? This situation points to the falseness of the negative reports made about this man.

Then what about the Mormons who had Mr. Zacharias speak in their primary temple, an honor given to only one other non-Mormon. Do they now get to dismiss the message that Mr. Zacharias brought to them and ignore God’s words while continuing in their cultic belief?

Do all non-believers now get to do the same? It seems that the supposed spiritual leaders for God are not so credible and their actions concerning Mr. Zacharias both prior to the issue and during it have made their words and work worthless.

Who can believe them anymore? This is what troubles us as Christians are known for shooting themselves in the foot in their haste to kill their spiritual wounded. How can we minister when we cannot even detect a false teacher in our own midst?

{For the record, we do not believe Mr. Zacharias was a false teacher and we believe that the words he gave the world were from God. We will buy more of his books and listen to more of his sermons, etc., because they are good spiritual food.}

It is time for these spiritual leaders, etc., to take a long look at what they are doing, who they serve, and make the changes that God wants them to make.

#4. An Asian perspective

This section is to bring some understanding to the whole situation and provide a different viewpoint on why Mr. Zacharias may have had compromising photos on his phones. We have lived in 2 Asian countries and visited a third for 20 years now and the Asian women do not react like Western women.

While there are many female characteristics that all women share, Asian women are not treated in the same manner as Western women most often are. They respond differently when genuine concern is given. The final report says:

Some therapists described a process that began with probing conversation and him asking about their families and backgrounds, often delving into deeply personal issues such as financial struggles or emotionally broken backgrounds. (pg. 6 approx on our computer)

Genuine concern and caring can often be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Then the sexual part can easily be added in order for the therapists to protect themselves from ridicule for responding in the wrong, unsolicited manner many women respond with.

The therapists do not add any physical proof for those alleged sexual behaviors they claim Mr. Zacharias displayed. Other words in the final report also provide evidence that unbelievers should not be handling spiritual issues or investigations. They just do not understand the intent or application.

She reported that he made her pray with him to thank God for the “opportunity” they both received. She said he called her his “reward” for living a life of service to God, and he referenced the “godly men” in the Bible with more than one wife. (pg. 5 approx)

While our review of Mr. Zacharias’s communications reveal that he often gave compliments and used terms of endearment such as “dear” and “sweetheart” in completely innocent ways, we found communications that in our view defy characterization as innocent. (pg. 10 approx)

They used pet names such as “sweetheart,” “baby,” “babe,” “darling,” “angel,” “my precious little girl,” and “honey”; they exchanged selfies (pg. 10 approx).

Can all be misunderstood by Asian and other women and they can place the sexual or romantic intent on those words themselves. When one is not treated right or abused, it is very easy to misunderstand the kindness and compliments sent their way. Then these words:

Another therapist also refused when he asked her to “go lower” and massage closer to his genitals, (pg. 5 approx)

Can easily be mistaken for a sexual request when in reality, all he was doing was telling her where the pain was located. Remember, there is NO real evidence that the sexual intent was real or done on the part of Mr. Zacharias. All anyone has is their words which can easily be framed to make the girls look better and Mr. Zacharias looks bad.

To condemn and judge a man on unverifiable words alone is wrong and brings back memories of the old west vigilante hangings and kangaroo courts. This seems to be taking place here as all the evidence and possibilities are not considered or are ignored.

#5. Reporters

You already know about our feelings concerning Ms. Julie Roy and we have a previous article dissecting her ‘mission’ so we will not go into that area again. But there are and were others who were reporting on this issue and one laments the destruction of their reputation. They said:

Consequently, they crucified us for it. Here is a small sampling of the vitriol and anger that was sent our way…

We have been pursuing justice and rattling this cage before this was a blip on their radar, as Pulpit & Pen, and then later on as Protestia. We’ve been on Ravi Zacharias’ case for three years now, when in 2018 we published his emails showing that he threatened to kill himself if Lori Anne Thompson told her husband about their interactions, which Ravi claimed were innocent and pure as the driven snow.

We do not believe their claim that they were pursuing justice especially since the alleged behavior was taking place years prior to 2018. We know they were trying to be journalists but like Ms. Roy where do they get their authority to ‘pursue justice’?

Which spiritual body bestowed upon them this mission and where are the scriptures verses stating they were appointed to this spiritual task? While we need Christian reporters bringing all news to the Church, it must be done in a Christian and biblical manner that will allow God to be praised and get the glory.

The articles that we read, fail in this objective. Instead of building the church, their reports seem to be making the Church’s task of winning the lost and teaching as well as dividing the Church.

We have talked to other ‘reporters’, most notably ZenBanjo, and their efforts seem to be along the same lines- very unscriptural and very harmful.

Some final words

We will stand with all of our words here in this article, in our communications at Christian Post, emails, and previous articles written on this website. We leave you as we started with Bible verses to help guide you as you navigate this issue:

Lord, who may reside in Your tent?
Who may settle on Your holy hill?
2 One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
3 He does not slander [a]with his tongue,
Nor do evil to his neighbor,
Nor bring shame on his friend; (Ps 15: 1-3, bold ours)

All the paths of the Lord are faithfulness and truth To those who comply with His covenant and His testimonies. (Psalms 25:10)

“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and do away with the gods which your fathers served beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14)

Truthful lips will endure forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment. (Prov. 12:19)

These are the things which you shall do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace at your gates. (Zech. 8:16)

© 2021 David Thiessen

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