Inside RZIM, Staff Push Leaders to Take Responsibility for Scandal
Ravi Zacharias built a reputation for fearless pursuit of the truth. Now the ministry he founded grapples with accountability amid “toxic loyalty culture.”
Inside Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), staff wondered for months whether the world’s largest apologetics ministry would be willing to tell the truth about its famous namesake.
In the final months of 2020, some pushed senior leadership to acknowledge the credibility of the detailed allegations raised against Ravi Zacharias after his death, demonstrate concern for victims of sexual abuse, and take responsibility for the corporate culture that prioritized his legacy over everything else.
Then, days before Christmas, RZIM officially recognized substantial evidence that Zacharias sexually abused multiple women. Zacharias’s daughter, RZIM CEO Sarah Davis, promised to release the full results of an ongoing independent investigation.
But the internal dissension is still roiling inside RZIM. Some staff members argue the $36 million global ministry—built on the late apologist’s reputation for faith and truth—could become a model for dealing with scandal or could be another example of an institution preserving its power at the cost of its Christian witness.
RZIM staff originally heard that the allegations against Zacharias were baseless attacks designed to hurt their gospel work. But some began to openly reject that narrative—first within the ministry, then publicly. Senior RZIM leaders and board members (whose names are not made public) now face pressure from within the ministry to demonstrate a new commitment to accountability.
“I think we need a total apology and total transparency,” Max Baker-Hytch, an RZIM speaker who also teaches philosophy at Oxford University, told CT. “I’m afraid we won’t really admit to the corporate complicity and the toxic loyalty …
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July 27, 2021