Recent revelations indicate that international apologist and evangelist, Ravi Zacharias, pressured his brother’s teenage girlfriend to receive an abortion, even while a minister of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
“There is no other way but to abort this child if our careers are to survive.” –Ravi Zacharias, recalling a different account in an article on the RZIM website, in which he says of abortion that it “kills the very life-giving force of the nation that nurtures that idea.”
Pulpit & Pen previously reported that the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) cleared Ravi Zacharias of clergy sexual misconduct in 2018 related to cyber adultery, in spite of overwhelming evidence. Now, a woman has come forward with substantial claims that Zacharias pressured her to have an illegal abortion when she was 16 years old.
Shirley Steward, a former Detective Constable in the Ontario Provincial Police with a 34-year tenure, has come forward to testify to Spiritual Sounding Board that Zacharias encouraged her to commit abortion while he was a newly ordained minister in the CMA.
According to Steward, Zacharias had used his position as a minister to inappropriately influence her after she was impregnated by his brother, Ramesh.
I do this purely to inform folks that Ravi is not the person he claims to be. That he should be forbidden from bilking people of their hard-earned cash, which feathers his own nest. And that his counsel is only in his own best interests. And to the other victims that I’m sure this man has left in his wake – you are not alone. I believe you. You are not the diminished or evil person he painted you to be.
At age 14, I was living in the east end of Toronto with my parents. My brother, who is 5 years older than I am, was attending a church in downtown Toronto called the First Alliance Church, on Yonge Street, Toronto. The church was headed by Reverend JR Deitz and had a large and engaged youth group. Finally, my parents let me travel to this church. There, I met Ramesh Zacharias. Brother of Ravi Zacharias. Ramesh was 4 years older than I, and Ravi, 10 years older than I. Ramesh and I soon started spending time together and a few months later at age 15, we were considered a couple.
She goes on:
As happens with relationships, ours became sexual after I turned 16. Then, as nature would take its course, I became pregnant. This was I believe, in the late spring/early summer of 1973. Ramesh was living with his parents in the west end of Toronto. I was at their apartment and Ramesh wanted to talk to his brother Ravi to ask his advice as an older brother and, particularly, as a minister.
Amazingly, Zacharias’ advice wasn’t Biblical in the slightest:
Ravi was held in high regard in our church and had ministered to our congregation on several occasions…Ramesh explained briefly the situation to Ravi. I remember Ravi was very angry. More at Ramesh than me it seemed. He was not speaking in kind terms. Only pointing out that this news would ‘kill our parents’ and ‘end your future as a doctor.’ There was no talk of alternatives. I was in shock at this point. This ‘man of God,’ this ‘minister’ was actually suggesting that the baby be aborted! I couldn’t speak.
More details can be found at the link above.
In 1973, abortions were illegal in Canada, except by a panel of three judges and in the case of life-threatening health complications. According to Steward, one of Zacharias’ church members facilitated the illegal abortion, who was a nurse at the hospital where the abortion was performed and a friend of Ravi’s wife.
Steward is coming forward after seeing a magazine with Ravi Zacharias on the cover, lauding him as a man of God, in her parents’ home in 2014. Coupled with a fundraiser he did in her nearby area in 2016 and his 2018 fall from grace (and its cover-up in the CMA), Steward decided to ‘come out’ to the survivor blog community after deciding the world needed to know.
COMMENTARY: There is an absolutely unhealthy lust for career “success” in evangelical Christianity, and it makes men like Ravi Zacharias immune to all scrutiny. And in fact, that ambition for power, prestige, and success is so great – as this story demonstrates – it even leads to the shedding of blood.
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