Yesterday, the Christian & Missionary Alliance made public a brief statement of the results of their investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and dishonesty against apologist Ravi Zacharias. The statement in full is below and at the church website:
Evidence does not provide basis for formal discipline under the C&MA policy.
Ravi Zacharias has maintained his licensing credentials through The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) for 45 years. Along with all C&MA licensed workers, he is subject to the Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal.
Recently Mr. Zacharias has been accused of exaggerating his academic credentials. Mr. Zacharias and his employer, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, have revised and clarified their communications to address these concerns. The C&MA has determined that there is no basis for formal discipline regarding this matter.
Mr. Zacharias has also been accused of engaging in an immoral relationship with a woman through the use of electronic communications. The C&MA recently completed a thorough inquiry of these accusations, including interviews with those involved and a review of all available documentation and records. While it is not appropriate to publicly discuss the nuances of these allegations, the available evidence does not provide a basis for formal discipline under the C&MA policy.
Questions may be directed to Peter Burgo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The C&MA Statement Comes Across as Evasive
Immediately, I asked Mr. Burgo where Ravi Zacharias or his ministry addressed the false claims about Cambridge and/Oxford. There has been no reply as of time of publication.
Although I don’t believe RZIM’s statement regarding Zacharias’ use of the title “Dr” was satisfactory, there was some kind of response. However, there has been no response from Ravi Zacharias about his claim that he was a “visiting scholar at Cambridge University.” Zacharias also incorrectly said he was an “official lecturer at Oxford University.” These claims were never admitted or addressed despite being made for many years.
The RZIM response on credentials is primarily about the use of the title “Dr.” You can read it here. The only paragraph which might relate to credentials in general is below:
Neither Ravi Zacharias nor Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has ever knowingly misstated or misrepresented Ravi’s credentials. When it has been brought to our attention that something was stated incorrectly with regard to Ravi’s background, we have made every effort to correct it. Sometimes other entities—such as publishers or institutions where Ravi was speaking—have incorrectly presented aspects of his credentials. We were not aware of these errors when they were made; however, in some instances RZIM should have caught them and sought to have them corrected. We regret any and all errors, as well as any doubt or distraction they may have caused.
This vague paragraph does not take responsibility for the deceptive use of positions at Cambridge and Oxford not actually held by Ravi Zacharias. He did this for many years and these claims continue to be a part of his books without explicit correction.
Likewise, the C&MA statement comes across as a cover up of the credentials misrepresentations of Ravi Zacharias. In fact, Ravi Zacharias and his ministry have not revised and clarified their communications to address the concerns. They spun some of the concerns but ignored others. Alas, that is what the C&MA has done as well. Because Ravi Zacharias doesn’t refer to himself today as a visiting scholar at Cambridge, the church apparently isn’t going to comment on the many years that he did it before it was revealed to be a false claim.
According to the C&MA’s Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal, those who are investigated can face several disciplinary outcomes ranging from reprimand to expulsion. It is hard to understand how Ravi Zacharias escaped at least a reprimand for repeated misrepresentations of his credentials over the decades of his public work.
Regarding the Online Relationship
Initially, it may appear that the C&MA exonerated Zacharias for his online relationship with a Canadian woman. However, I don’t know that it should be interpreted that way. Because the statement only refers to “available evidence,” the conclusion reached by the church is limited by what they could discover. In fact, both Zacharias and the woman are bound by a non-disclosure agreement. There is little now that anyone can discern based on the legal arrangement between the two parties. The fact that there is a NDA and the denomination didn’t insist on investigation beneath that indicates they didn’t do a thorough investigation.