Further discerning of Ravi Zacharias

In January 2016 I’d written an essay questioning whether well-known apologist Ravi Zacharias was solid and should be listened to or not. It’s called: On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It’s time to say what needs to be said.

In discerning whether a teacher is qualified, we first look to the Bible for its benchmarks and standards to see if the teacher meets them according to their ability, gender, and age. We also look to their lifestyle and behavior, as the Bible exhorts.

What we don’t do is jump on one little error or mishap and make a global, dogmatic declaration about or against a teacher. We are patient, kind, and watchful with grace. Over time however, if the teacher’s errors or mishaps continue to accumulate, one becomes cautious in absorbing his or her material. At some point the Christian makes a final decision using their God-given level of discernment whether to follow that teacher any more or to abandon him.

That’s usually why I include in my essays several examples from a teacher I’m considering following or abandoning, and I also usually include the time frame. Because of grace, I need to see a total picture over time before deciding against someone who professes Christ.

In my January essay, I’d raised concerns about Mr Zacharias in the following spheres:

–Personal ethics. Allegedly inflated and exaggerated credentials, violating Titus 2:7 and 2 Timothy 2:15;

–Doctrine. Refusals to take positions on critical doctrines of the Bible (creationism, Calvinism, Catholicism, and eschatology) which violates Acts 20:20, Acts 20:27, 1 Peter 3:15 and Titus 2:1;

–Being unequally yoked. Partnering with Joyce Meyer in spiritual endeavors, and calling her “a great Bible teacher”), violating 2 Corinthians 6:14.

All these added up to highly doubtful solidity. I made the personal decision not to listen to Mr Zacharias any more and to refrain from recommending him to friends.

I read The Berean Examiner‘s screen shot today that Mr Zacharias had published on his Facebook page. Here is Mr Zacharias’s comment-

There are two obvious problems with Ravi’s compliment of Saddleback and Pastor Rick Warren. The first is that Rick Warren is an apostate pastor whose emphasis on entrepreneurial business practices, extra-biblical methodsmishandling of the Bible, pragmatism, waffling on major issues, and failure to preach the Gospel is of high concern and have done tremendous damage to the twentieth century church and have led many astray. Mr Warren’s errors have been seen over decades and discussed long enough so that any Christian with a modicum of discernment would be troubled. That Mr Zacharias partnered with Mr Warren and worse, praised him, is another strong strike against Mr Zacharias.

Second, Mr Zacharias’ comment that Saddleback is “one of the great churches…across time” is also troublesome. We can compare great churches across time. We have the Bible. The Lord Himself commended churches He declared worthy and these commendations of greatness are recorded in the book of Revelation. Let us take a look at these ‘great churches across time’ to see what made them great.

The Church at Philadelphia was a church commended by Christ and having no negative remarks associated with it. None. (Revelation 3:7-13). They were so commended by the Lord, He said He will make that church’s enemies “come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.” (Revelation 3:9).

The church at Smyrna, recorded in Revelation 2:8-11, was also a great church across time becuiass it was commended by Jesus with having no negative strikes against them. He said that that particular church was temporally poor but spiritually rich. Wow.

What Mr Zacharias is saying is that from across that time to ours, Saddleback compares favorably to those beloved Philadelphian and Smyrnian churches. I disagree, strongly.

The one part of Zacharias’s statement with which I agree is his comment that Warren and Saddleback has “touched the world for life-changing impact”. In my opinion, Rick Warren has been one of top negatively influential people of the entire twentieth century that has most negatively impacted the global church with a doctrinal pollution of untold proportions. Warrens’ band of pragmatic, market-driven, seeker sensitive, felt-needs doctrines are no better than those merchants Jesus condemned of making His Father’s house a den of thieves.

I am sorry to see these statements from Mr Zacharias but in the end I’m glad. It confirms for me the biblical and personal necessity of putting him aside and strengthens my resolve to warn against him.

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Further Reading

On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It’s time to say what needs to be said.

3 thoughts on “Further discerning of Ravi Zacharias

  1. I pulled away from Ravi and his ministry several years ago. There were several instances where I cocked my head and had some serious doubts about what he was saying, who he was associating with and recommending. At one point I emailed the ministry sharing my doubt about a book, authored by who I knew to be a false teacher, asking why they would recommend it.
    The answer was “we like to look at all sides of a controversial issues”. There were several emails back and forth (oh, how I wish I had saved them) and the end result was that I was too narrow minded and needed to stop being so dogmatic and look to see where I could have open communication about all sides of the issues. After all, Ravi’s ministry was to get people to think.
    I was so disappointed…but a good lesson for me. Discernment needs to be for all and for everything. I was then and am constantly reminded of Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
    Thank you for another yet blog. Especially your words about Rick Warren.

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    • Thanks Crystal! Well said. I’m sad that they didn’t reply with more specificity about why they won’t take a stand against false doctrine. I’m so glad the Lord ld you through that learning process and you came out stronger on the other side. He has done that for me as well. His promises are always fulfilled, and He does keep us in His hand, doesn’t He!

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