Ravi Zacharias, Credentials and Perspective

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.

Liked it? Take a second to support Stephen Bedard on Patreon!

9 thoughts on “Ravi Zacharias, Credentials and Perspective”

  1. When you say “Ravi has never presented himself as more than he is” I wonder if you have been paying attention. It is care that for nearly four decades Ravi Zacharias has systematically lied about his qualifications. http://www.RaviWatch.com and see also the Christian watchdog group, Ministry Watch, investigative report at https://www.ministrywatch.com/articles/rzim.php

    Please google Ravi Zacharias suicide threat to see about his written threat to kill himself if Lori Anne Thompson told her husband about their affair. Ravi’s email is posted at http://www.RaviWatch.com and HE HAS NOT DENIED sending this suicide threat.

    Sadly, this man has been pulling to wool over our eyes for decades.

    Please do your homework and urge him to come clean. rakzach@gmail.com and pr@rzim.org

    1. Having read his books and heard him speak, I have never heard Ravi present himself as the type of scholarly philosopher that requires a PhD. He presents himself as an apologetically-mind preacher and evangelist, something he is qualified for. That was my point.

      1. Hi Stephen. Have you read his autobiography? He claims to be “an official lecturer at Oxford” at p 229 and “a visiting scholar at Cambridge” at p 205. His author bios on his books say “Zacharias holds three doctoral degrees.” He refused to use the word “honorary” at his website bio for years to describe his “doctorates.” He claims to have chair a “department” at a seminary that had no departments. There is much more I can say.

        Did you see the Christianity Today article in which a Christian professor and apologist admits that he has worried for 20 years about Ravi deceiving about his credentials? https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/ravi-zacharias-case-christian-credential-inflation.html

        Then there is the Ministry Watch report from about 6 weeks ago. https://www.ministrywatch.com/articles/rzim.php

        And Ravi still has not denied writing that suicide threat that so many people have now seen.

        Stephen, these are just plain facts, nothing disputable or disputed about them. I hope you will contact him and ask that he deliver firm and detailed replies to these allegations, or else confess and repent if he cannot.

  2. Stephen, rather than falling silent when you are caught making a blatantly false statement about Ravi Zacharias, perhaps you can stay engaged?

    You misinformed your readers. Seems to me that the best thing to do is step up to the plate and un-misinform them.

    Can you do that?

    1. I do have concerns about those claims. My point is that when Zacharias is read within the context of the larger apologetics community, he has written on the popular rather than academic level. He is fully qualified for that.

  3. Hi Stephen, thanks for that. It is really about whether Ravi is “qualified” to write popular books. Everyone is. It is whether he systematically presented himself as a scholar with big university credentials that he did not have.

    Here is what we know. He called himself a “visiting professor” at Oxford.
    He called himself “an official lecturer at Oxford.”
    He called himself a “visiting scholar at Cambridge University.”
    He said he chaired a “department” at a seminary that had no departments.

    All these claims are false and have been removed from his website.

    Yesterday I found a 2013 video of him telling an audience about his “doctoral examination.” Ravi never was in a doctoral program.

    Stephen, with respect, I am concerned that so many Christians do not grasp the seriousness of Ravi’s deceit and so quickly change the subject to what a good teacher he is.

    Is this really what your God wants from you?

    Curious. If you want to continue by email, steve@lawbw.com I would he happy to hear more of your thoughts on this important matter. Thanks,.

  4. Hi Steven: two days ago I circulated a video of Ravi Zacharias addressing the CS Lewis Institute. In his discussion of the need for “leaders with integrity” he told his fellow Christians “I am now a professor at Oxford.”

    Yesterday Ravi issued a statement to Warren Throckmorton admitting that he never was a professor at Oxford.

    Ravi made the professor claim in his publicity materials for years. He waited a full two years after being criticized in 2016 to admit his deception.


  5. Hi. I hope you will alert your followers to the New revelations that Ravi admits she was never a professor of Oxford, as well as those showing him for several years claiming to be exactly that.

    Sorry to keep the pressure on you, and I do appreciate your trying to find the best defense for this man. But at some point I think you will just have to admit that he has systematically lied. A “professor at Oxford” client is a slamdunk case. Don’t you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.