She said Zacharias “made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received.” — Christianity Today
I heard Ravi Zacharias speak in person just once. He was a part of a large conference and was an amazing story teller. One of the best I have ever heard. He had my attention wrapped up, but he did not give us much content. Other speakers left me thinking about theology. He left me wondering how I could be a better speaker…
The news from Zacharias’s own organization is appalling. He carried multiple phones for sexting, toured with a massage therapist, owned massage parlors… all paid for by donations. But much worse, these women were not willing participants. He abused them physically and spiritually. He raped their bodies and then the evangelist took away their hope in God:
Zacharias warned the woman—a fellow believer—if she ever spoke out against him, she would be responsible for millions of souls lost when his reputation was damaged. — Christianity Today
Zacharias is not an outlier. We have heard versions of this story again and again. And I have spent all morning pondering how we can avoid these satans. I wish I could tell you to look for horns or check their luggage for pitch forks. But there is no clear rhyme or reason. I can name conservatives and liberals, causal and liturgical, Catholic and Lutheran… and every other denomination. Too many leaders have abused their power.
The only unifier is that each leader was splendidly talented. But that talent clouded our vision. We confused human ability with the Spirit. So we followed, when we should have said “get behind me satan.”
So what are we to do? I suppose we could stop listening and reading… but we need accountability — that is one thing those leaders lacked! Maybe we follow social media’s model and just trust the people who we agree with… 😉 thankfully I don’t even have to point out the flaw in that! But what are we to do?
We can continue to read and listen, but we need to Stop following people. We need to Start following Jesus. Only Jesus. Pray. Read the Bible (remembering that the New Testament supersedes the Old, why? We follow Jesus, not the Law!). Especially study the Gospels – ponder Jesus in action. And keep praying! Let the Spirit teach you. Let the Spirit empower you more than your talent!
And you will find what to do is not that complicated. You might respond, but Jesus didn’t have all this technology… No he did not. But it is pretty obvious how Jesus would use his iPhone … okay probably a flip phone… He wouldn’t send nude pictures with his massage therapist. Nor would he take advantage of the weak. But would invite them into prayer and thank God for the ‘opportunity’ to be THEIR servant.
8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. — Matthew 23
2 thoughts on “Following”
Ravi isn’t the problem. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge scandal. I’m not minimizing it. But he’s only one man.
The bigger issue is that there are a lot of us just like him. Not exactly like him, but close enough. We point our fingers at everybody else, but fail to to point them at ourselves. We profess to believe these great truths about God. Things like forgiveness, redemption, purpose and ultimate meaning. We tell unbelievers how great it is to follow Christ and then we don’t follow Him ourselves.
What does that say to them about the the veracity of the Gospel?
Why should anybody choose to follow Christ if even his own followers won’t follow him? Of course, I’m painting with a very broad brush here. But any unbelieving skeptic reading these words will nod in agreement. Our lack of obedience doesn’t nullify the truth of the Gospel. But it does give tarnish it.
Add all this into the mix of “Evangelicals are Terrorists” and it’s easy to see what’s coming. Public opinion is turning hard against the church. It’s only a matter of time now.
Hey Jim, glad you read. You are right, the problem goes beyond awful decisions of a few leaders. Anytime we, the church, do not follow Jesus we tarnish the gospel – including what happened at the capitol (the church should not have been there!).
But our calling isn’t to worry about the future; instead, we are to be faithful. If we are faithful the world will see the love of Christ. And that love overcomes and changes hearts!