Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4:16 (ESV)
The church is notorious for downplaying sin in their own camp. I remember when Ted Haggard, who was the President of the National Association of Evangelicals at the time, was caught in a decades long relationship with a male prostitute that he used crystal meth with, the church circled the wagons. My own pastor warned the following Sunday about judging too quickly. This is one of the reasons why the world views the church as hypocritical. Haggard had spent the majority of his pulpit time railing against homosexuality while living a secret life of such. As leaders in the body of Christ our primary responsibility should always be to the sheep. Defending Mark Driscoll spits in the faces of the 15,000 Mars Hill congregants hurt in the wake of his abusive leadership and financial sins. Defending Tullian Tchividjian after sleeping with one of his sheep sends a message to the world contrary to the Gospel. The unsaved masses in the world are our second responsibility after the sheep. We will be held to account for our own lives, and the lives of those that hear us. That is one the points Paul is trying to make to Timothy in our key verse as young Timothy heads off to Pastor the church at Ephesus. He instructs him to guard only two things. His life and his doctrine. Watch how you live your own life and what you teach. As leaders of the Gospel we must persist in this Paul says. We must not become complacent. We must finish the race strong according to Paul. How sad to see Harold Camping spend his last days making absurd and heretical claims to know when Jesus was returning. Or to see the spectacular fall of James MacDonald. Now, to discover the misdeeds of Ravi Zacharias after he has already left this earth to face Jesus. Likewise, we must guard our doctrine to protect those that listen to our messages. Those that bring the Gospel are held to a higher standard because the blood of their listeners is upon them. How we live and what we teach.
So we come to the sad case of Ravi Zacharias. Ravi was a beloved minister of the Gospel worldwide for many decades. He served internationally for over 40 years. He wrote over 30 books on Christianity. He had a popular radio programs and was a darling of evangelical circles. Unfortunately, he was also a sexual predator. Once allegations arose that could no longer be deflected by the board at RZIM they hired an independent firm to investigate and the results of that investigation are linked above. Here are just some of the sordid findings:
From Malaysia to Thailand and South Korea to America, Ravi Zacharias sexually abused multiple women over many years.
He especially targeted the massage industry. He would import masseuses he met overseas, use ministry resources to support them, or take some from America with him on overseas ministry trips.
He used the Gospel and "Christianese" to lure his victims in. One example tells of a relatively normal relationship between a massage therapist and her client. Zacharias would become like a father figure to the woman and routinely ask about her faith and her finances. She reported that after he arranged for RZIM to provide her with financial support, he then demanded sex in return. He would make her pray with him to thank God for the opportunity they both received. The woman said that Zacharias referred to her as his "reward" for living a life of service to God as well as pointing out to her the many godly men in the bible who had more than one wife. Despicably, he warned her that if she spoke out against him she would be responsible for the "millions of souls" who would lose their salvation if his reputation was ever damaged.
When staff questioned the appearance of travelling with a personal masseuse Ravi would brand those who doubted him as nasty people engaging in satanic -type slander.
Zacharias consistently insisted that in his 45 years of marriage he had never engaged in any inappropriate behaviors.