Exclusive: Ravi Zacharias Apologizes for False Claims about His Credentials at Oxford and Cambridge

In response to my request for a comment about his false claim to be a professor at Oxford (see this post for video) in a speech to the C.S. Lewis Institute, Ravi Zacharias sent the following statement to me:

“I am thankful for the opportunities I have had throughout my life to pursue an education from a broad range of outstanding institutions. I earned my bachelor’s degree in theology from Ontario Bible College (now known as Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto) and then completed a Master’s in Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. I was then privileged to serve as Chair and Associate Professor of Evangelism and Associate Professor of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York. In subsequent years, I had the opportunity to participate in guided studies at Ridley Hall, an independent theological college affiliated with the University of Cambridge, which consisted of studies in a few subjects including philosophy and world religions. I was also a Senior Research Fellow, an honorary title which Wycliffe Hall, a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford, bestowed for a number of years. This role provided a wonderful opportunity for me to lecture there.

While I have been privileged to receive several honorary doctorates from other institutions, to be clear, I have never earned a doctoral degree and was never enrolled at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. And while I have lectured at Wycliffe Hall, I am not and have never been a professor at the University of Oxford. I recognize that academic terms and designations are important, and I apologize for any occasion on which I have wrongly titled my association with either of these institutions. For these reasons, I previously updated my curriculum vitae on the RZIM website to best reflect my educational and professional experience.”

The second paragraph contains some new admissions (in bold print). He acknowledges never being enrolled in Oxford or Cambridge and apologizes for using titles in the past suggesting he was a professor at Oxford. This took place over two decades.

In December 2017, Zacharias acknowledged that he did not have an earned doctorate and said he would discontinue using the title “Dr” (he has honorary doctorates). However, at that time, he did not address his past misleading academic claims involving Oxford and Cambridge. Today, this statement partially addresses that situation.

As I did yesterday, I asked for reaction from Canadian apologist John Stackhouse. Via email, Stackhouse said:

It is good to have Ravi Zacharias apologize for misleading claims about his academic credentials—as he has now done again. But now what?

Not only Mr Zacharias himself, but Mr Zacharias’s publishers, the RZIM board, RZIM staff members, RZIM institutional partners, RZIM donors, and the Christian & Missionary Alliance all have vital decisions to make now. What can and should be salvaged of a ministry whose leader has admitted that he lied, repeatedly, about the basic facts of his competence to perform that ministry?

Christians should pray for integrity, honesty, courage, gentleness, and wisdom for everyone involved in this mess—for it is, despite the mild language of this admission by Mr Zacharias, a terrible mess indeed.


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Image: Kristamaranatha at the English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons


21 thoughts on “Exclusive: Ravi Zacharias Apologizes for False Claims about His Credentials at Oxford and Cambridge”

    1. Don’t go blaming Moody. Blame Zacharias. I have four earned degrees and no one in any of the ministries I have served ever thought to check my educational qualifications. People tend to trust people. Fortunately, I had the diplomas/degrees to show my educational background. They could be easily checked by each of the schools I attended.

  1. So he called himself a doctor when he was just an honorary doctor? That’s it?
    This is interesting because Ravi’s books are extremely good, I’m surprised he’s involved in a scandal like this.

    1. Did you read the links in the post? There is much more to it than using a false title, which is bad enough. /2018/08/21/blast-from-the-past-ravi-zacharias-made-himself-a-professor-at-oxford/ — read this for more background. Zacharias has been misleading his audiences for decades about his scholarly background, or should I say his lack of one.

      1. So basically, he called himself a “professor” at Oxford, when in reality he was an “assistant professor”. I guess for those who take credence in things like college, its a big deal. For me, I don’t think highly of institutions like Oxford, or Harvard for that matter, because they have devolved into a cesspool of garbage within the last decade. At this point, such things should be irrelevant, yet, because of how people think, apparently it is paramount. lol. I have a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, but honestly, it doesn’t mean much, just like a Doctorate from Harvard doesn’t mean much. I haven’t been impressed with those who claim to have such achievements.

        1. No, if you read the linked post he was not on the Oxford faculty at all, and certainly was not an Assistant Professor.
          But the lack of credentials is not as big a deal as his repeated bearing false witness about his credentials.
          Of course now we know that Zacharias had even bigger moral failings than lying about academic credentials.

        2. “So basically, he called himself a “professor” at Oxford, when in reality he was an “assistant professor” ”

          No that is not correct. He was never employed in a faculty position (nor any other from what I could find) at Oxford at all.

          Further I disagree with you, acquiring a doctorate (from any accredited educational institution) means a great deal. While I would agree that a doctorate from a public state school can be just as good as from a prestigious private school it is still a significant achievement.

        3. You seem to be forgetting something: when people make intentionally false statements about their credentials or academic achievements in professional settings, they usually face severe consequences. Often enough, they get fired.

          Zacharias lied about his credentials repeatedly for years. And yet, he never got so much as a slap on the wrists from RZIM. Why do you think that is?

    1. I doubt they care very much. There must be an endless supply of publicity hounds seeking to burnish their credentials with false claims about their academic ties to Oxbridge. So unless there’s an important legal or public interest issue involved, they won’t do anything more than respond to specific queries.

    2. Both universities replied to my inquiries, and confirmed it he did not hold any positions at their universities ( except an honorary one at Wycliffe.). But I think it would be unlikely for them to actually come out and criticize him.

    3. Yes, although in a subdued manner. /2018/01/04/church-of-england-oxford-university-ravi-zacharias/

  2. That reads exactly like his buddy Mark DeMoss wrote it.
    The reality is that Ravi the Liar raised over ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS in just the last three years using these grossly exaggerated credentials. I know that for a fact, because I have sat through his fund raising exercises where his “incredible” credentials are sprayed like a magnum of champagne all over the wondrous audience/potential donors and are specifically used to raise all of those millions.

    Even with including the reimbursement of his sex scandal payoff money and buying his $27M Taj Mahal compound in Aphparetta, he still only spent $84M during these same three years giving him a cool excess of $31M in “mad money” in case another sexter finds another matchbook lawyer in Paducah. BTW, he was practically crying while desperately explaining the urgency of his need for more funds during this time frame in spite of the fact that he was simply building up over $10M each year in excess funds. Try doing that in any other profession and see what happens?

    “Hello….I’m Dr Ravi, a noted cardiologist with a special secret formula guaranteed to end all heart disease forever. I graduated at the top of my class at at Stanford, matched at Johns Hopkins and now run my own Cardiology Department at Harvard School of Medicine. I am one of the most sought after cardiologist speakers around the globe and was the first doctor to give a talk at TED – and not one of those fake, shabby TEDx’s in Provo, but the real one. I was also the surgeon who “really” invented the first Jarvik Heart. It was bit of a laugh for us cardiologists as Jarvik is actually an anagram for “Ravi JK”! LOL! Oh, us whaky cardios! What a squad I have. For only $49.99 I can send you my devotional, I mean booklet on how to stop heart disease in its tracks. And if you care about others,and I know you do, be sure to donate to my non-profit RZ<3 by clicking on this "give" button. You can trust absolutely everything I am saying here because you know that I have sacrificed decades of my life achieving what hardly anyone on this earth has before, and therefore, merit the favor and trust of the top doctors and cardiologists around the world. PS: Kiki Do You Love Me and the Floss dances? Yeah, both mine. I came up with them first. Trap, trap money benny"

    Seriously? This is F-R-A-U-D. Ravi scammed people for HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars and he and DeMoss think that saying, um, yeah, these were all wonderful opportunities, blah blah. Well that should make us “all good”. This isn’t some pull my finger joke where the donors chortle and say “ah, ya got me Ravi”. He marketed RZIM using these fake credentials and he should answer to an Attorney General just the same as any other scam artist faking having any other high ranking fake degrees and false credentials. I guess we now know why Ravi was so anxious to throw his support behind Trump and align himself with the worst of the Televangelist scam artists.

    I pray, fervently, that a #metoo type of criminal reckoning movement is coming for these con artists. Mercifully, there is no statute of limitations for financial fraud and tax fraud. I will believe that Ravi “apology” is sincere when I see him in an orange jumpsuit. This is stealing through fraudulent representations. http://www.ecfa.org/ComparativeFinancialData.aspx?ID=9175&Type=Member

    1. GW. I am finishing up a book on Zacharias fraud. Would you be willing to speak with me? I can be reached at Steve @ Lawbw dot com. Thanks.

  3. Sounded more like clarification and explanation than an apology, but I guess that’s what we will get.

    1. He does not actually admit intentional wrongdoing. Sort of like saying “sorry I stepped on the puppy.”

      1. And you know the intent of his heart how? From what I see, the man apologized. Get over it.

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