Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. His books can be found at theoarch & other articles at theologyarchaeology
2 new articles have appeared this morning one is found here and the other here and they both described what is happening within the RZIM ministry since the final report came out.
In reading both articles and all articles on this situation, we have found no joy in any of them. We do not rejoice that Mr. Zacharias may have participated in these activities NOR do we rejoice in all the negative articles, judgemental attitudes, hatred, and condemnation that have been produced over the past year.
In one article, the British members of that independent organization said
We are appalled by Ravi Zacharias’ abusive actions and their impact on the victims of his abuse,” the six members of the board said in a statement Friday, the day after the results of a monthslong independent investigation detailed serious allegations of sexual misconduct by Zacharias.
Yet they are not appalled enough to simply leave their organization and all the money that goes with it. Their actions and the actions of the people in the other article reminds us of what happened to Jim Bakker’s PTL assets during that scandal.
While there is a world of difference between the two scandals, the people are moving already and we do not see their actions as Christian. We also do not see any of God’s justice taking place here.
The Bible verse from 1 Tim. 5:19
Do not accept an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.
Does not give permission for elders, church leaders, pastors, missionaries to sin or participate in activities that would be seen as a sin. Nor does it give permission to pervert justice by inventing evidence and witnesses just to tear a man down for whatever reason the enemies of that man may have.
There is also no permission to use the secular version of justice in any Christian issue. God does not abdicate his authority or judgment in favor of those who need salvation and are deceived.
We do see many in these articles and comments under them saying very unChristian things while claiming to be a Christian. Those words sadden us as well and only bring a black mark against Christ and the gospel.
Christians are not to act holy or spiritual or even try to look holy or spiritual. They are to BE holy and spiritual and so far we find that nature missing from far too many people involved in this situation whether directly or indirectly.
The words from 1 Peter 1:15 & 16 say:
but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
So far there has been little holiness applied to this situation. When it comes to certain sins and crimes, common sense, justice, righteous attitudes, and other similar perspectives are thrown out the window in favor of personal opinion on how these matters should be adjudicated.Find that action as sinful as the alleged actions Mr. Zacharias is accused of doing.
and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)
God does not change and these words spoken in the OT are as true today as they were when they were spoken to Moses. The Christian is supposed to be a holy nation no matter which country they come from. God requires the same attitude from all of us as he did from the nation of Israel.
We wonder how many people involved in this situation at all levels had or have taken the time to ask God for the forgiveness of their sins before commenting on this situation? How many asked God to help them with their words before writing them in an article, post, or comment box?We have taken the position that is different from most in this situation and will apply that same position to all others that we encounter and that position is found in Jesus’ words:
When they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
We take this position not to appear holier than thou or holier than others but because it is the right thing to do. We were not there when these alleged events occurred and like everyone else know only what was written in the many articles and posts talking about this subject.
We do not mind being the lone voice in Mr. Zacharias’ defense because as the Bible says ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’. Also, Mr. Zacharias is not excluded from the charge ‘love one another as I have loved you’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.
None of those verses grant permission to stand up and point a finger at another man or woman and condemn them for alleged sins that cannot be proven.
What bothers us most in this situation is that almost everybody has taken the unverifiable negative accusations over these words found in the final report:
We accept as true that Mr. Zacharias had significant and at times debilitating lower back pain and that he found relief from massage therapy treatments at the hands of trained professionals.
Indeed, several of the therapists we interviewed reported a normal therapist-client relationship with him and said that he was always professional. One of these therapists said that Mr. Zacharias was always fully nude for his treatments, but she was told it was a cultural thing and necessary for treatment of his pain. Another reported that he frequently got erections during the treatment, which she said is not uncommon for male clients.
There are likely other therapists who would similarly report that they did not experience inappropriate behavior. 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.
We are also saddened by the ignoring and exclusion of Mr. Zacharias’ own words when he denied these accusations. It seems that the secular ideology of ‘believe the woman’ has found its way into the church and is destroying God’s justice and hindering it from being done.
Then there is this passage of scripture
And if your foot is causing you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life without a foot, than, having your two feet, to be thrown into hell. (Mark 9:45)
Some people may use this verse to justify their condemnation and cutting off of Mr. Zacharias and his organization. Yet, they should be applying it to their points of view, attitudes, and opinions first before making those known to the world.
Especially when commenting, writing, etc., on other people’s alleged sins and crimes. Here are some verses and our comments that may help everyone in this and similar situations:
#1. James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well.
** Mr. Zacharias was not a perfect person and may have stumbled Just like everyone else.
#2. 1 John 1:8 If we say that we do not have any sin, we are deceiving ourselves and we’re not being truthful to ourselves.
**Mr. Zacharias did not claim to not have any sin, he said he did not commit those alleged sins
#3. Romans 3:10 As it is written, “Not even one person is righteous.”
** Even the commentators and various reporters fall into this category excluding them from judging anyone else
#4. Romans 7:19-20 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
** A passage of scripture being ignored in this and similar situations
#5. Romans 7:22-23 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.
** Mr. Zacharias may have struggled but that does not give any believer the right to stand in judgment of him and then toss him away. We are all in the same boat.
The question remains ‘Do we think that Mr. Zacharias committed those sins?” We take the quoted words from the final report as superior to the unverified accusations made by a few women.
But we stand with God and let him judge Mr. Zacharias in this issue and let him handle it. The key is for all believers to NOT sin when considering this issue.
They should be taking the steps needed to make sure they run the race well and build their own lives to the point where they can overcome sin with God’s help. No one gains by pointing a finger at another believer and kill the wounded. Especially when they are dead and cannot defend themselves.
Remember your words in this and similar issues can cause the following to happen:
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.(Matthew 18:6)
Be careful what you say and do as your words and actions may cause an immature believer to turn away from the faith. They may also cause unbelievers to continue to reject Christ and that is never good.
© 2021 David Thiessen