The late Ravi Zacharias has had his ministry credentials posthumously revoked by his own denomination following revelations of sexual abuse and misconduct.
The Christian Missionary Alliance (C&MA) said it was issuing an "automatic revocation of his ordination" following the release of a report which revealed that Zacharias had engaged in "sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape" over a number of years.
Zacharias began as an itinerant minister with the C&MA in the 1970s and was ordained by them in 1980. Between 1980 and 1984, he taught at the C&MA-affiliated Alliance Theological Seminary, where he was a professor of evangelism. Zacharias spent 47 years ministering in association with the C&MA, who are headquartered in Colorado Springs, USA.
"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," the CMA said in a statement.
The C&MA acknowledged that Zacharias had "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," they added. "The evidence also confirms that this pattern of behavior was longstanding."
The CMA opened an investigation into Zacharias following allegations made by victim Lori Anne Thompson. At the time, the denomination said that there was a lack of evidence, and decided not to proceed with further inquiries.
"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," they said.
"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."
The denomination added that it was "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. 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."
Last week, RZIM Canada said it was disbanding entirely following the scandal. In addition, the UK arm of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) - The Zacharias Trust - has said it will be cutting all ties with its US-based parent organisation and embarking on the process of changing its name.