I have already blogged about the controversy over Ravi Zacharias and the exaggeration of his credentials.
To be honest, I think that RZIM was simply sloppy and careless about this and they should have known better. But there is something that we should consider, something I haven’t heard people talking about.
What kind of an apologist is Ravi Zacharias?
What I mean by that, is what other apologists would we compare him to? Would we compare Ravi Zacharias to apologists such as William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga or to apologists such as Tim Keller and Josh McDowell? I would suggest the latter.
I don’t think that anyone who has heard Ravi Zacharias speak or read his books would ever mistake him for one of the top Christian philosophers or scholars in the world.
This is not a criticism of Ravi at all. Ravi has had a huge impact on the world, both in intelligently proclaiming the gospel and organizing other apologists into an effective ministry. Thousands and thousands of people have been touched by his ministry and no controversy can take that away. I consider him to be the Billy Graham of apologetics and that is a high complement.
But the ministry that Ravi has had has not depended on advanced graduate degrees. He doesn’t need to have a PhD to do what he does. Ravi Zacharias is an apologetic-preacher and evangelist and he is sufficiently trained for that ministry.
I bring this up to argue that while RZIM may have gotten careless, Ravi has never presented himself as more than he is. It is unlikely that the use of “doctor” was meant as deliberate deception because he has never taken the role of someone who needed to be a doctor.
This is not meant to excuse any mistakes but we should really look at this controversy within its proper context.