A new report looking at the internal culture and practices at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has revealed leaders were unable to confront RZIM’s leader and founder, Ravi Zacharias about his misconduct due to their “personal affection and admiration” for him.
RZIM commissioned the report to independently evaluate RZIM’s “structures, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices” after an independent investigation confirmed Ravi Zacharias had engaged in "sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape”.
“We at RZIM sincerely apologize for the enormous pain caused by Ravi Zacharias’ sin and our failure to uncover it sooner,” the organisation’s board said in the statement.
“Regretfully, we trusted and defended a man of whose integrity we were firmly convinced.”
Published by Guidepost Solutions, the report also revealed that the organisation lent ministry funds to Ravi Zacharias in 2017 to pay legal bills of a federal lawsuit related to a woman he sexually abused.
At the time, the organisation had denied this.
“RZIM took the extraordinary step of giving Zacharias money to pay back the loan it had extended to him in November 2017. Specifically, on March 26, 2018, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors authorized the payment of a $400,000 bonus by RZIM to Zacharias for the specific purpose of paying back the $260,000 loan made by RZIM to Zacharias for settling the litigation he started against the Thompsons,” the report read.
But RZIM’s board has now admitted the organisation did help Ravi Zacharias with paying legal bills.
“As the report highlights, the ministry did provide money to Zacharias, which was used to pay the settlement and expenses. While the payments were legal and properly accounted for, we were wrong to let this misstatement stand,” it read.
RZIM’s board, whose members remain anonymous, also said that although they do not agree with everything revealed in the report, they hoped people could see they were being transparent by releasing the document.
“We believe there are inaccurate accounts or pieces of information that were either overlooked or omitted by Guidepost and we disagree with some characterizations therein. Regardless, we believe this report provides an important assessment of our organization's actions to investigate Zacharias and the steps we sadly failed to take,” RZIM’s statement read.
“Our focus has been instead to repent and learn from our mistakes,” the statement continued.
“We remain committed to supporting ministries that present the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those with deep questions in challenging settings around the world.”
You can read the full report here.