A new investigation looking into the culture at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has revealed its senior leadership team failed to look after its staff, as many felt "spiritually abused" when raising concerns about its leader Ravi Zacharias.
Conducted by a group of renowned apologists, the investigation found that the numerous RZIM staff employees who asked "legitimate questions" regarding Zacharias allegations, were "intimidated, mistreated, or retaliated against" by the leadership team.
In 2021, an interim investigation revealed Zacharias engaged in "sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape" of several women following numerous allegations of this behaviour for years.
The revelations led to a further restructuring of the organisation which eventually led to the total dismantle of it. Further investigations into the culture and process of RZIM were launched but were never published fully.
Consequently, William Lane Craig, among other renowned apologists, created a committee to look into the "serious injustices and abuses perpetrated against former RZIM employees" by members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) formed by Sarah (Davis) Philips, Michael Ramsden and Abdu Murray.
After over 1,000 hours of interviews with former RZIM staff, the apologists presented a "summary of the types of abuse and deception that representative of the RZIM's organizational culture".
The report accuses the SLT of influencing other RZIM members to believe "the worse" of those who went public with their concerns and saw them as wanting to "bring the ministry down".
"We heard testimony and received documentation stating that SLT members chastised employees for asking questions. Subsequent to being chastised, some employees were asked if RZIM was a good fit for them. Many were eventually terminated.
"Though we cannot prove that anyone was terminated for pushing back and asking questions, the environment at RZIM was such that this would have been a reasonable inference."
The investigation also mentions the case of Ruth Malhotra, the official spokesperson for RZIM during the Thompson's case in 2017.
She went on an extended sabbatical after she became physically and emotionally unwell due to handling the public crisis of the organisation. However, the document claims the real reason for her being unwell was that she was exhausted "due to the pressure she was being put under by the SLT and Ravi Zacharias himself".
"We observe that Malhotra was subjected to gaslighting, flattery, and manipulation during the same time that she was harshly retaliated against for raising important questions about Ravi's behavior."
"These accusations against Malhotra represent another instance of the established and sinful pattern at RZIM of blaming the victim rather than listening carefully and understanding the depth and complexity of the hurt."
The signing of non-disclosure agreements have also been mentioned in the report.
"Sarah (Davis) Phillips assured RZIM staff they would not be required to sign non-disclosure agreements upon leaving RZIM, and that those who had signed them would be released. However, Ruth Malhotra was told she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to receive her severance payment. She did not sign and received no severance. Another former staff member, Carson Weitnauer, was only able to avoid signing a non-disclosure agreement after nearly three months of difficult legal negotiations. This occurred long after (Davis) Phillips' assurance that non-disclosure agreements would no longer be required."
According to the report, several former RZIM employees remain in therapy because of the actions of the group.
"RZIM initially paid the costs of counseling for employees but that has stopped. There has been no effort to cover continued costs of therapy, adding to the ongoing burden of these former employees."
The report also found that it was not only the SLT group who failed in its duties, but also the RZIM Executive Committee of the Board. They say the Board failed to "hold Zacharias accountable" and "it failed in its fiduciary duty to Zacharias, RZIM, their donors and to the public".
Although Sarah (Davis) Philips, Michael Ramsden and Abdu Murray, apologised for the "mistakes made" while leaders of RZIM, the report concluded they have not observed "the signs of repentance from former or present RZIM Executive Committee members that would be appropriate in light of the extensive damage caused by their negligence".
They also believe that "Michael Ramsden, Sarah (Davis) Phillips, and Abdu Murray have not displayed a godly sorrow nor demonstrated the fruit consistent with repentance for their actions."
"They have acknowledged that "mistakes were made" but have not specifically owned their actions or expressed remorse to those they hurt. Nor have they repaired the damage they have caused."
It concluded: "Therefore, we believe that, as things currently stand, Ramsden, (Davis) Phillips, and Murray are not fit to be in ministry and leadership positions. We will not partner with them or endorse their work until the fruit consistent with genuine repentance is evident in their lives."
You can read the full investigation here.
Premier has reached out to for a response.