C&MA Denomination Decides Not to Discipline Ravi Zacharias Over Credentials, Alleged Illicit Relationship

Apologist Ravi Zacharias speaks during Wilberforce Weekend 2017 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 19, 2017.
Apologist Ravi Zacharias speaks during Wilberforce Weekend 2017 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 19, 2017. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Samuel Smith)

The Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination has decided not to discipline apologist and author Ravi Zacharias following a review of the accusations against him regarding credential misrepresentation and an alleged affair.

In a statement posted on the Christian & Missionary Alliance website Monday, the denomination said that evidence does not warrant discipline under its policy.

"Ravi Zacharias has maintained his licensing credentials through The Christian and Missionary Alliance for 45 years. Along with all C&MA licensed workers, he is subject to the Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal," the statement read, noting that he has in recent months been accused of inflating his academic credentials.

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"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."

The Christian Post has contacted RZIM to request interviews but has yet to receive a response. 

Zacharias was also accused of having an illicit relationship with a woman through electronic communications. The C&MA said they performed a thorough inquiry about this, "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."

Allegations that the popular apologist had misrepresented his academic credentials emerged in November when attorney Steve Baughman wrote of his lengthy investigation into Zacharias on the website Ordinary Times.

Although often referred to as "Dr." Ravi Zacharias — the professional designation has appeared on some of his materials and on the ministry's website — the apologist has never earned an actual doctoral degree of any kind and has only been conferred honorary doctorates from certain Christian institutions.

Baughman also unpacked claims that Zacharias had been a "visiting scholar at Cambridge University" when in fact he only spent a few months attending lectures at Ridley Hall, which is affiliated with the university but is not officially part of the school. Zacharias' Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins, have at times furthered that stretch, referring to him as "Cambridge educated."

In a December statement, RZIM maintained that neither Zacharias nor the ministry ever knowingly misrepresented his credentials, and no longer use the "Dr." prefix.

In a separate statement the apologist spoke about a settlement he had reached with a Canadian woman who claimed he had engaged in a sexually inappropriate relationship with her. Screenshots of emails that appear to be between Zacharias and the woman surfaced online which show the woman telling Zacharias that she has to reveal their relationship to her husband, saying she cannot continue to live with the "guilt."

Zacharias appears to have responded in the exchange with an apparent threat to commit suicide, writing: "If you betray me here, I will have no option but to bid this world goodbye, I promise."

The Christian Post reached out to Peter Burgo in the communications department of the C&MA for further comment, specifically asking if the denomination was able to authenticate the email that threatened suicide.

"Because of privacy issues pertaining to credentialed workers, the C&MA is not able to publicly discuss the nuances of these allegations," Burgo reiterated in an email to CP Wednesday.

"Regardless of the context of the alleged email ... any response would be a violation of the confidentiality of the proceedings and those involved," he said, referencing a section from the C&MA's manual that cites its confidentiality policy as it relates to disciplinary proceedings which forbid the denomination's general counsel from making public statements about specific allegations.

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