In Spite of Evidence, CM&A Denomination Clears Ravi Zacharias on Cyber Adultery
We released the text messages from Ravi Zacharias that indisputably proved he carried on an affair via electronic communication, received illicit images of his paramour, begged her not to tell her husband, and ultimately insinuated he would kill himself if she confessed and repented openly. You can find that post, On the Adulterous Affair of Ravi Zacharias and the Cover-Up, here. Other press outlets were content to only report the spun words from Zacharias’ ministry.
Amidst a scandal related to Zacharias’ inflation of credentials (which included not only treating honorary doctorates as the real thing but more seriously, included fabricating jobs he never worked and education programs he never attended), the adultery evidence simply compiled upon an already embattled Christian celebrity. Sadly, because many of his critics are atheists – like the attorney Steve Baughman – evangelicals have been all-too-eager to act as though their evidence doesn’t matter.
In addition to the intentional rug-sweeping of Christian media of which they’re prone, it has been hypothesized that the couple intentionally “set-up” Zacharias and that they are of suspect character, trying to extort the apologist. While the scenario may be plausible, there is little to no doubt that Zacharias acted improperly, committed at least some form of tawdry, sexualized behavior, and attempted to cover it up. Those are facts that have been well-established. It is also reported and widely known that the woman in question received a settlement from Zacharias, which rarely means innocence.
Zacharias, who received his ministry credentials from the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CM&A), has been cleared from discipline by the denomination. The CM&A was founded 1897 as a loose affiliation, and more formally in 1974. The denomination has a little more than 400k members and 2k churches, and boasts notable Christian leaders like Mike Tomlin, A.W. Tozer, and Phil Vischer (the creator of Veggie Tales).
The CMA issued a statement defending Zacharias from disciplinary measures, stating:
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.
That was the full statement. There was no further explanation for why clear evidence like text messages, a non-disclosure payout, and demonstrably false statements made by Zacharias’ ministry regarding his credentials do not meet the CM&A qualifications for censure.
The CM&A has a history of not taking seriously the abuses or sins of its licensed ministers. In 1995, more than 30 alumni from their children’s school in New Guinea, demanded restitution and resolution regarding abuse at the school that had been repeatedly reported since the 1980s. In spite of well more than a decade of complaints regarding abuse, the CM&A failed to act for similar reasons by which they have exonerated Zacharias. In 1998, the CM&A finally had to admit their error and ask for forgiveness for not taking the sins of their ministry professionals seriously.