Statement from the Board of the Zacharias Trust

Response to RZIM US and the final report

 

The UK Board of the Zacharias Trust, which operates OCCA The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, notes with deep regret and great sadness the Miller&Martin report and RZIM US statement released yesterday.

We are appalled by Ravi Zacharias’s abusive actions and their impact on the victims of his abuse. We also lament the effect this will have on many around the world who looked up to him as a role model for their own Christian faith. Ravi Zacharias’s conduct is against everything we stand for and believe as a Christian organisation, as we made clear in our statement in December last year. Our trust in Ravi Zacharias was wholly misplaced, and for this we apologise wholeheartedly to all those who have been impacted.

We applaud Lori Anne Thompson and the other brave women, victims of his abuse, for coming forward to allow the abuse to be uncovered. We believe what they have said and recognise that the treatment they received was not worthy of any organisation, let alone a Christian one. We deplore any and all efforts to silence, intimidate or deceive victims, and indeed members of the global RZIM team.

We also express our strong support for those courageous members of staff across the global RZIM ministry who have spoken out in recent months. Together with many others outside the ministry they demanded truth, repentance, accountability and reform.

The UK Board welcomes the RZIM US statement, and in particular its focus on the victims, its repentance and its intention to make amends. However, we have sadly concluded that the response of the RZIM US Board does not go nearly far enough in terms of actions relating to leadership and governance. Very serious issues and systemic failings have been raised in recent months and confirmed by the Miller&Martin report. These demand accountability and urgent action beyond the measures outlined in the RZIM US statement.

The UK Board has therefore taken the unanimous decision to make a clear separation from the global RZIM organisation. In governance terms the UK entity has always been a separate charity with independent trustees, but in the current circumstances we believe that we must now operate without any link to RZIM US. The UK entity will also choose a new name. This process will take time to complete but the UK Board is convinced that this is the best and only way to ensure that the ministry can continue to serve the UK church with integrity. This will also give us the opportunity to review the lessons to be learned from these awful events.

Some of the leading speakers and supporters historically associated with OCCA including Sam Allberry, John Dickson, Os Guinness, John Lennox, Amy-Orr Ewing, Becky Manley Pippert, John and Alison Riches, Akeel Sachak and others have indicated their strong support for the decisions being taken by the UK Board as well as their willingness to consider supporting a new ministry organisation.

The UK Board asks that you join in prayer for the abuse victims, the global staff team and all others whose lives have been traumatised by these revelations as they come to terms with what has happened.

James Gardner
Martin Kitcatt
Jeremy Marshall
Michael O’Neill
Caroline Santer
Francis Wright

 

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Related statements and reports regarding the investigation: