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RZIM plans to change name, remove Ravi Zacharias' content from website

RZIM plans to change name, remove Ravi Zacharias' content from website

Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias speaks to tens of thousands of young adults in Atlanta's Philips Arena on Sunday, January 3, 2016. | Courtesy of Passion Conference/Phil Sanders

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries intends to change the name of the organization following the release of an investigative report last month indicating that the Christian apologist was accused of “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape."

In a statement Saturday, RZIM CEO and Zacharias' daughter, Sarah Davis, provided what she described as the first of periodic updates highlighting the “steps we are taking as we seek to walk a path of repentance, restitution, learning, and serving.”

“We are in the process of taking down Ravi’s content from our website and social media platforms, including publications, videos, and other forms of content, and we intend to change the name of the organization,” Davis stated. “Effective immediately, we are also discontinuing the use of ‘The Zacharias Institute’ brand.”

Davis said the organization will offer anyone who resigned from RZIM for “reasons of conscience” during the monthslong investigation by the Atlanta law firm Miller & Martin the “same severance that we are currently offering to those who take voluntary redundancy.”

Davis reiterated that the organization’s “top priority” is to provide “care, justice and restitution” for all of Zacharias’ victims. The organization had previously announced that Rachael Denhollander is serving as a confidential liaison for Zacharias’ victims.

“We continue to grieve deeply for the victims who have been treated in ways that are completely antithetical to the gospel,” Davis stressed. “We also painfully and increasingly recognize organizational failures that have occurred and the repentance that needs to take place in both heart and action.”

According to Davis, RZIM will undergo a “thorough and fully independent assessment” from consulting firm Guidepost Solutions. 

“We want to understand all areas of unhealth in our organization so that we can take that learning and do everything we can to prevent any kind of abuse in the future,” Davis wrote.

“Guidepost will be evaluating our structures, culture, policies, processes, finances, and practices, including the handling of any former abuse allegations. This process with Guidepost has now begun and we expect it to last for several months. In order to respect the process, we do not plan to comment on any recommendations being made until the process has been completed.”

RZIM expects to be in a position to provide an additional update in the “near future,” Davis assured. 

“For now, we anticipate that significant lessons will be learned in all areas of the ministry and are grateful for all who have helped us to begin this process,” she added. “We are praying for the courage to pursue repentance and to have learners’ hearts, and we are trusting in God’s guidance in the days ahead.”

The in-depth report conducted by Miller & Martin details shocking allegations against the late Christian apologist, who died last May at 74, after losing his battle with cancer. 

The report includes interviews with over a dozen massage therapists who treated Zacharias over the years. Zacharias is said to have asked therapists to touch his genitals. He was also accused of touching them inappropriately. 

One massage therapist “reported details of many encounters over a period of years that she described as rape,” the report relayed. 

"Only one of the witnesses we interviewed said that Mr. Zacharias engaged in sexual intercourse," the report states. "This witness reported details of many encounters over a period of years that she described as rape. To protect her identity, this report does not disclose many of the details she shared with us."

The investigation also uncovered a collection of explicit photos — many of them of much younger women — found in Zacharias’ possession. 

The report sent shockwaves throughout the evangelical community, drawing responses from prominent Christian leaders, including Southern Baptist ethicist Russel Moore. 

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