Note: This post makes mention of Ravi Zacharias. It is with a heavy heart that I must acknowledge a tragic independent report concerning evidence of sexual abuse and predatory behavior on the part of Ravi Zacharias. This man was a huge inspiration to me, as is evident from reading my blog, and the news was more than heart shattering. Some ministries leaders have come to the conclusion that removing articles about and references to Ravi is the right move; I have come to a different conclusion, and here is why:
- Though I cannot begin go to imagine the grief or pain of those Ravi hurt and the emotional toll of his behavior, it is also the case that to discredit a piece of information due to the character of the source of such behavior is to commit the genetic fallacy. If I quote or mention Ravi, it is because I believe those items to contain truth value on their own merit.
- To go back and change previously written information without a careful disclaimer is, I believe, a form of revisionist history. If a disclaimer must be offered anyway, I believe there is value in keeping the material accessible. So while I know it is a difficult ask to say, “Just trust the ideas and disregard his personal character,” I must ask that of you as a careful thinker.
- I have seen a lot of comparisons by Christians to not removing Ravi’s work because biblical characters like King David and others had fallen into terrible sin, and they have obviously been given to us as a gift to learn from (Romans 15:4). Why “cancel” Ravi if we’re not “cancelling” the Bible? It does seem to me, though, that there are two problems with this line of thinking: (1) These books are inspired by God and thus we can trust his revelation to us. They were examples given for a purpose. (2) These characters also seemed to show true biblical repentance of their wicked actions. Ravi remained unrepentant until his dying day. Therefore, I do not think these are 1-and-1 comparisons. This behavior reflects SERIOUS error and dangerous behavior on the part of Ravi and, to an unknown degree, RZIM as a whole, and that must not be taken lightly or swept under the rug.
I do not expect you to agree completely with this decision. I do ask that you respect the thought, prayer, and seeking of counsel in which I engaged regarding it.
I became a Christian at the young age of four years old. I am blessed to have been raised by a godly family and in a solid Bible-believing church. One of the toughest realizations to come to as I got older, however, was that most people are not so fortunate. Recently, I have begun studying the subject of Christian Apologetics in a deeper way, and I am learning quite a bit.
A Brief Background
Contrary to popular belief, apologetics has nothing to do with apologizing! Just the opposite, actually. It comes from the Greek word pronounced “Apologia”, and simply means “speaking in defense.” Most Christians are familiar with 1 Peter 3:15 which says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Apologetics is what this verse is referring to. To put some “faces with the name”, C.S. Lewis, J.P. Moreland, Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, R.C. Sproul – these are just a few names of the great apologists in our day and days gone by. There is a massive stigma in our culture that says Christianity is devoid of intelligence, incompatible with science, and nothing more than a collection of fairytales put together by a people group who is afraid to die. As one recent Facebook commenter put it – “The only people who believe in Jesus are the ones who are too stupid to understand science.” Apologists are devoting their lives to refuting these claims. I want to give three brief observations in my short time of really studying this out, as it is highly likely that much of our 2017 content will center around this vast subject. Before I give my observations, though, I want to preface with the main reason why I think this is important. People come to Christ in different ways. Ultimately we know only God draws and only Jesus saves, but everyone’s experience of reaching that point will not be the same. Some have a strong faith muscle and need nothing more than for God to tug on their hearts, but some are later in life and have spent a lifetime learning how to think critically. Some people just think they are smarter. Some people just don’t want to believe. These types of people need their mind appeased before they will open up their hearts. Read Luke 24 sometime. In this passage, Jesus expounds to these two individuals all things concerning Himself – no telling how long they were there! Sure – He could have just said “Trust me – I’m Jesus!” and made them to believe; but He doesn’t! He reasons with them and explains His place in the Scriptures. I bet the conversation started something like this – “In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth.” Oh yes! What a conversation that must have been.
Three Brief Thoughts
Science and God are not at odds. It is IMPOSSIBLE (yes, I said that right) for an atheist to win a debate without stealing attributes from God. Let me recommend you to read I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist or Stealing From God by Frank Turek. If you want one place to start, it’s right there. Less than $15 on Amazon is going to give you quite an education, guaranteed. His books are not the gospel – we disagree on “minor” things like the age of the earth (I know this is not minor – the point is that both Young Earth (I am a Young Earth Creationist) and Old Earth creationists have to operate on some scientific assumptions, which is true). Either way, all of the factual, scientific, and historical evidence points to God! This gives you a way to articulate what you know in your heart to someone being blocked by their mind. The Bible encourages reason and critical thinking. Isaiah 1:18 – Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. James 3:17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Proverbs 18:15 – The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. Proverbs 2:10 – When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction. Matthew 22:37 – Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Need more proof? Read about King Solomon. There is not nearly enough of this being taught. I don’t put all my faith in statistics. But consider the one that says about 75% of the youth walk away from the church when they hit college because of atheistic professors with an agenda. Our kids are being taught that God is UNREASONABLE! If this statistic is only HALF right, that should still break our hearts. Oh yes, we should have faith – but it doesn’t have to be blind. We can better equip our kids and our youth for how to handle the tough conversations that are inevitable in a world like ours. God has really placed a burden on my heart for this. My prayer is that God would use me in some way to help others realize that to be a Christian is not to be an unintellectual caveman. Will you join me?