The UK ministry of disgraced apologist Ravi Zacharias has said it is severing all ties with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) following revelations of grievous sexual abuse perpetrated by its namesake. The Zacharias Trust, which operates the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) theological training centre, said it will be changing its name entirely after a damning investigation revealed that Zacharias had engaged in "sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape" over a number of years.
The UK board of the Zacharias Trust said it was "appalled" by Ravi's "abusive actions and their impact on the victims of his abuse".
"Ravi Zacharias’s conduct is against everything we stand for and believe as a Christian organisation, as we made clear in our statement in December last year," they added. "Our trust in Ravi Zacharias was wholly misplaced, and for this we apologise wholeheartedly to all those who have been impacted."
The Trust praised victims "for coming forward to allow the abuse to be uncovered" and said it "deplored any and all efforts to silence, intimidate or deceive victims, and indeed members of the global RZIM team".
The UK board also criticised the RZIM US board for "not going nearly far enough in terms of actions relating to leadership and governance" in the wake of the scandal.
"Very serious issues and systemic failings have been raised in recent months and confirmed by the Miller&Martin report," they added. "These demand accountability and urgent action beyond the measures outlined in the RZIM US statement."
As a result of this alleged inaction, the UK board said it had taken "the unanimous decision to make a clear separation from the global RZIM organisation".
"In governance terms the UK entity has always been a separate charity with independent trustees, but in the current circumstances we believe that we must now operate without any link to RZIM US," they explained. "The UK entity will also choose a new name. This process will take time to complete but the UK Board is convinced that this is the best and only way to ensure that the ministry can continue to serve the UK church with integrity. This will also give us the opportunity to review the lessons to be learned from these awful events."
The board added that several key speakers and leaders within OCCA such as Sam Allberry, John Dickson, Os Guinness, John Lennox, and Amy-Orr Ewing had "indicated their strong support for the decisions being taken by the UK Board as well as their willingness to consider supporting a new ministry organisation".
"The UK Board asks that you join in prayer for the abuse victims, the global staff team and all others whose lives have been traumatised by these revelations as they come to terms with what has happened," the statement concluded.