Bill and Ravi

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Tags: Personal Life

Comments: 0

Dear Pastors

It’s nothing short of sad. These two Christian leaders are ‘heroes’ of the faith but they have also sinned greatly. Both Bill Hybels and Ravi Zacharias hurt women by their actions of sexual misconduct. In doing so they have also hurt the testimony of Jesus in the world. And without a doubt they have hurt their respective families. They have certainly disappointed and in some cases even devastated many believers who respected them and looked up to them. It’s very hard to write about. I knew Bill personally, I respected both of these men and I have learned a lot from both of them. Bill is no longer in Christian ministry and Ravi died eight months ago of cancer. Saddest of all is that neither have admitted to their wrong doing and/or repented from their sin. In fact as at writing they have denied it and in Ravi’s case the ministry named after him, Ravi Zacharias Ministries continue to deny it.

What then should we make of all this?

  1. ‘All have sinned’. Let’s begin with a good dose of humility by telling each other the truth. We have ALL sinned. We are all broken people to some degree or another. It is beholden on every pastor and every Christian leader to ‘know themselves’ and acknowledge their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. And while we are talking about weaknesses let’s be very honest right here, right now. We are all at risk of sexual deviancy and sexual misconduct. We are!
  2. Because this is true we as Christian leaders need Accountability. Easy to say, hard to do. But pastor please choose to be accountable for every aspect of your life but especially if you feel your emotions (affections) being ‘warmed’ by another women (or man in the case of a women leader) or your eyes are straying whether physically or on the internet.
  3. If you are on a Board of a local church and you ‘sense’ something isn’t quite right with the Senior Pastor, stuff isn’t adding up and behaviour patterns are changing ever so subtly, then please don’t dismiss this out of hand. That said, be ever so careful and wise how you do deal with it. A rule of thumb might be helpful at this point. Never accuse a leader of sin unless you have the facts.
  4. Listen to an accusation. 1 Timothy 5:19-20 says, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear”.
    Listening is different to ‘receiving - moot point I know but they are different. One of the problems with both Bill and Ravi is that the Boards weren’t listening and actually truth be told didn’t want to listen. With sexual misconduct it is very rare that there aren’t a number of witnesses…….multiple people who can attest to the misconduct. As Board members we do well to listen and listen very carefully.
  5. If there is growing evidence of sexual sin then undertake a thorough and professional investigation that is underpinned by biblical teaching and cognisant of the law(s) of the land1. Normally, the person being investigated would be ‘stepped down’ from all their work/ministry responsibilities during the investigation. Certainly no preaching.
  6. Finally an encouragement to all Pastors. Work hard on your own sexual proclivities. Build strong fences around yourself because a well-constructed fence protects you from danger. And the best fence of all is an intimate, emotionally connected and healthy sex life with your wife(husband) as Proverbs 5:15-20 clearly recommends.



1Here is a helpful resource to assist with an investigation process.

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