Christian leaders call for repentance, overhaul following Ravi Zacharias sexual abuse report

By Brandon Showalter, Christian Post Reporter

Christian leaders and a former associate of Ravi Zacharias’ ministry are calling for repentance and an overhaul of organizational practices after a report released Thursday detailed the late apologist’s pattern of sexual abuse.

In an email to The Christian Post on Friday, Carson Weitnauer, who previously led RZIM’s U.S. speaking team, said he now believes that Zacharias was not only a fraud, as he articulated in an earlier op-ed published by CP, but that the organization bearing his name is as well. He further asserted that the ministry’s apology is unacceptable in light of the revelations released in the report. 

“The organization’s apologetic-sounding statement was released by an anonymous board, is incomplete in its scope, avoids calling on the Zacharias Estate to release the Thompson’s from the NDA, and announces no resignations or removals of those most responsible for this tragedy. 1 John 3:18 instructs us, ‘Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth,'” said Weitnauer to CP. 

“I pray that many churches and nonprofits will decide to learn from this catastrophe and take immediate action to mitigate the risk of personally repeating it,” he added. 

RZIM issued an apology Thursday with the announcement of the results of an extensive independent investigation in which victims claimed that Zacharias had engaged in “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape” over the course of many years. 

The ministry hired the Atlanta law firm Miller & Martin to conduct the independent investigation. In the apology statement published as the report was released, RZIM said it was “shocked and grieved” by the actions of the late apologist and that “corporate repentance” was needed. 

Weitnauer said it’s crucial that churches and ministry organizations appoint senior leaders who bear responsibility and that they establish or strengthen policies against abuse of every kind — provide training on toxic cultural dynamics, and ensure board members and community leaders are informed and watchful advocates for survivors and other vulnerable members of their communities. 

“The continued prevalence of sexual abuse within the church, and the weak response to it by church leaders, is a great discredit to our witness,” Weitnauer said. “For the sake of the Gospel and the honor of God, and our commitment to the wellbeing of victims, may we instead courageously resolve to build communities that are full of truth and goodness.” 

Other Christian voices and thought leaders have expressed a variety of emotions. Many said they are disgusted and shaken, but noted that news of respected evangelical leaders falling has become common. 

“I’ve thought about this a lot since it all came out and I guess it sucks to say that I’m not surprised when this happens anymore. Because it just keeps happening. God, have mercy,” said author Jackie Hill Perry, tweeted Thursday.  

She added in a subsequent tweet-thread Friday that she had attended the funeral for the late apologist last year and that the news of his misconduct left her feeling “thrown.” 

“Not because I’m surprised per se’ but because it’s disorienting. I’m reminded that giftedness will never translate to godliness. Neither is orthodox teaching the proof of righteous living…Ravi’s ministry was a gift to most of us but his fall is a warning to all of us. Take heed lest we fall too.”

Teacher and popular speaker Beth Moore said in response to the report that, at base, “in every situation where a Christian leader has lived in gross hypocrisy, carrying on a double life, for years on end: They are out of fellowship with Jesus. Period. YOU CANNOT SUSTAIN THAT IN FELLOWSHIP.”

“The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Every believer has and will fall into strongholds of various kinds of sin but, in fellowship with Christ, we cannot bear to remain in it. We will repent. We can implement all the accountability systems & MUST. But what we’ve got on our hands are people using piety and outward appearances of righteousness to hide the fact that they have little to no intimacy with the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit,” she added. 

The board of the Zacharias Trust, the U.K. branch of the ministry, also put out a statement announcing that they had made the unanimous decision to separate from RZIM. Although the organization has always been a separate entity in terms of governance with its own trustees, the Trust said that current circumstances have led them to conclude they must operate without any link to the organization. 

“The UK entity will also choose a new name. This process will take time to complete but the UK Board is convinced that this is the best and only way to ensure that the ministry can continue to serve the UK church with integrity. This will also give us the opportunity to review the lessons to be learned from these awful events,” the Trust added. 

COMMENT:

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https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-leaders-call-for-overhaul-after-ravi-zacharias-report.html

The Equal Rights Amendment Is a Fraud Using Women as the Prop

Patrina Mosley| Feb 10, 2020

The Equal Rights Amendment Is a Fraud Using Women as the Prop

Editor’s note: This column was co-authored by Tabitha Walter.

The House Judiciary Committee recently marked up H.J.Res.79, and will soon get a floor vote. This joint resolution seeks to remove the congressional deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. When Congress originally passed the ERA, they put a deadline in place for states to ratify it. The ERA failed to win ratification in enough states before the deadline passed and is thus legally dead, but this stale effort is back to enshrine abortion-on-demand at the expense of hard-won protections for women.

The ERA would not only create a right to on-demand abortions in all 50 states, but it would allow for unrestricted taxpayer-funded abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. Abortion activist group NARAL Pro-Choice America states, “With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate both the constitutional right to privacy and sexual equality.”

We already see this at the state level. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has encouraged lawyers to use state ERAs to strike down restrictions on abortion such as parental consent laws. They have also filed briefs in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut arguing that since an abortion procedure is only performed on women, a state’s denial of taxpayer-funded abortion should be considered “sex discrimination” under their state ERA. Pro-abortion groups have won cases in New Mexico (N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson) and Connecticut (Doe v. Maher) in which the state ERAs upheld this notion.

Pro-life groups have offered compromise language that is abortion neutral. But ERA advocates have rejected that language in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and even Congress, adding weight to the assertion that proponents are set on using the ERA to claim a right to snuff out the lives of babies in the womb.

As Americans become increasingly disturbed by late-term abortions, even those who identify as “pro-choice,” and as the courts trend more conservative, the abortion lobby is growing increasingly desperate to enshrine abortion in the Constitution. The abortion industry is about eugenics, and has exploited “women” as the prop for its advocacy. The same is true with the Equal Rights Amendment. They claim the ERA is necessary to protect “women’s” rights, but what they really mean is that it protects abortion.

In fact, if the ERA were ratified today, it would undermine women’s rights. The 52-word amendment never mentions protection for the rights of “women,” instead prohibiting denial or abridging rights “on account of sex.” In 1972, those meant the same thing. Many of the hard-fought victories for women’s rights in that era used the term “sex,” such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, the Federal Minimum Wage Act of 1974, and the Pregnancy Nondiscrimination Act of 1964.

But today, the Left is unwilling to define “sex” in biological terms, arguing that the word incorporates “gender identity” as well. This redefinition has led to absurd results, allowing biological males to claim access to private, women’s-only areas in shelters, prisons, bathrooms, and showers. It has also allowed them to infiltrate (and dominate) women’s-only activities like sports. Those arguing for the ERA are certainly aware of these developments, and intend to apply this definition. Thus, while trying to protect abortion under the guise of equality for women, the ERA would erase women.

Of course, despite the wishes of its advocates, the ERA is dead. Thirty-six years after it died, proponents are trying to revive its corpse by ignoring the deadline and recognizing Nevada (2017), Illinois (2018), and Virginia (2020) as states that have ratified the ERA. Countless lawyers, the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice (OLC), and even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have agreed that the ERA could not be ratified unless Congress started over. Even still, the House Judiciary Committee is seeking to remove the ratification deadline in H.J.Res.79.

Thus, we have all of this congressional, political, and soon judicial havoc over enshrining abortion. Members of Congress should care about being boldly pro-life, and not so much about being perceived as anti-women for opposing H.J.Res.79. They should not be fooled. If the ERA really was about protecting women, it would define “women” by biological sex. The ERA is not about women; it is about abortion, and countless innocent lives are on the line.

Patrina Mosley is Director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy at the Family Research Council. Tabitha Walter is Political Director for Eagle Forum.

https://townhall.com/columnists/patrinamosley/2020/02/10/the-equal-rights-amendment-is-a-fraud-using-women-as-the-prop-n2561064