Sarah Davis, CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and oldest daughter of the late apologist, has apologized for her initial reaction to the allegations of her father’s sexual misconduct, admitting she made “serious errors that only furthered deep wounds.”
Her statement elicited a response from her brother, who claimed that she is not speaking for the family.
“To the women who are victims of my father's abuse, I think of you every single day. I am utterly devastated," she said in a video message this week. "I am sorry that I did not see you. I am sorry that you were made powerless and rendered voiceless. When you did speak up, I didn't believe you, and I'm deeply sorry for this."
An independent investigation released earlier this year found credible evidence of a long pattern of abusive behavior by Zacharias, one of the most recognizable figures in American Christianity for decades.
The report found that the apologist, who died last May, coerced massage therapists at a spa he co-owned to perform sexual acts. It also uncovered a collection of explicit photos — many of them of much younger women — found in Zacharias’ possession.
The independent report corroborated accounts made by several women, including Lori Anne Thompson, who Zacharias sued in 2017 for alleging they had an online sexual relationship.
Davis, who became CEO of RZIM in November 2019, admitted that she erred by ignoring allegations against her father and defending his innocence.
“I earnestly wanted the truth, but I recognize that the steps I took didn't always show this,” she shared. “I should have immediately called for an independent investigation in 2017, but I trusted my father fully, and I carried his narrative, both in 2017 and then initially in 2020, when we were first made aware of those allegations. In both of these, I know that I caused pain. I did not serve well, and I did not love well. And for this, I'm deeply sorry.”
“My goal and my heart were not to attempt to cover up the sins of my father — or any sin — to further a call or a mission," she added. "I believed this man, my father, whom I loved and trusted more than anyone else, could not have done these things … But I was wrong.”
When she was presented with evidence that the allegations against her father were true, Davis said she was “quaked” to her “very being.”
“I still replay memories, over and over in my head. How could this make sense with the man that I knew and what we now know to be true? Was it all a lie? Could he have done these things?" she said. "And if he did do them, why wouldn't he have confessed them, even to his family? For the rest of my life, I will have to hold the tension with this man that I knew and love, with the man that we know now committed these actions.”
Davis said she hopes to be a “conduit of healing” and move forward with truth and transparency. She apologized to the public for RZIM “not representing Christ to you.”
“While we were proclaiming a God who loves and values every person, our leader was not living in the truth of who God is,” she said.
While RZIM hopes to return to preaching the Gospel eventually, it must first “engage in this very important ministry — to acknowledge, to respond to and to address how these things could have happened at RZIM,” Davis concluded.
In response to his sister's statement, Nathan Zacharias wrote a brief response in which he said that that he stands by his father:
“My sister, Sarah, recently gave a video statement on the situation with my Dad. There was no new information given, and she did not say anything she has not already said in her previous statements over the past few months. It was the same talking points."
“She is not speaking for the family," he added. "As has been clear, we do not share her take on this situation.”
In a May 7 blog post, Nathan Zacharias argued that the Miller & Martin investigation was "driven by a predetermined agenda, not actual evidence and truth." He also voiced disagreement with how RZIM handled the allegations.
Since the release of the Miller & Martin report earlier this year, RZIM has announced that it's changing the ministry's name, restructuring to become a grant-making organization supporting evangelism and abuse victims and laid off the majority of its staff. Additionally, numerous publishers pulled Zacharias’ books.
In a May interview, Abdu Murray, who co-authored a book with Zacharias and has been in the leadership of RZIM since 2017, apologized for how he and the ministry handled their public statements when the allegations arose.
“We really cannot afford to elevate ministry above people or certainly above Jesus,” Murray said, speaking about what he learned amid Zacharias' gradual exposure over the past few years.
“I think that we have this mentality in ministry that somehow ministry is itself sacred, that ministry is itself untouchable. And so when an allegation of abuse happens, we find it unbelievable because these people could not possibly have done it.”