Just as Apostle Paul once charged young Timothy on the godlessness in the last days 2 Timothy 3:1-10
3 But understand this, that yin the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be zlovers of self, alovers of money, bproud, barrogant, abusive, bdisobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 cheartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, dnot loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, eswollen with conceit, flovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but gdenying its power. hAvoid such people. 6 For among them are ithose who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to jarrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as kJannes and Jambres lopposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, mmen corrupted in mind and ndisqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, oas was that of those two men.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Ti 3:1–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Believers, therefore, should not be surprised by the fallings of these prominent Christian luminaries in the recent years such as Ravi Zacharias, Carl Lentz, Mark Driscoll and many others, who had in one way or another fell. Let’s face it, scandals happen all the time, whether in the Church or outside the Church, but it is especially hurtful when it is in the former where the central message entails a higher standard of morality. A breach of such mandate with a double life is not merely something that can be easily dismissed just we would of a celebrity’s infidelity. The most recent scandal of Ravi Zacharias and RZIM are probably in the recent decades that prove to be one of the global affairs that affected not just the Church in America, but across the world from Europe, India to Asia Pacific.
How then when one of these most trusted and admired figureheads of the Church fell especially so after the elaborated funeral service where so many of the people were singing the praises of Ravi, all turned out to lies and exposes of such hypocrisy. I remember sitting at home watching the funeral over YouTube thinking the Church lost a giant today, but little did I know, months later, this beloved giant of the faith was no more than the godless pervert in real life. No surprise there that so many people are now distancing themselves from the names of RZIM and Ravi Zacharias.
Where do we go from here? This calls us back to the Scriptures that we the Church must not be surprised by such people. Apostle Paul had warned us multiple times in his letters to the church that in the end times, godless people will come in the name of Christ; and the message is that we must continue to trust in Christ who alone is the rock of our faith, and not these people should our faith rest on. Furthermore, this only emphasise our need for a Saviour! Christ came for sinners, and of them all, apostle Paul counted himself the worst of them all, and how much more do we need, (I included) need God.
The Church is often admonished for its excessive judgemental stance, and yes, we should aim to judge our own behaviour, our leadership, our doctrines on the sole authority of the Scriptures, but let’s not forget, that Christians ought to be remembered for their love and forgiveness. Forgiveness is not for the sake of Ravi, but for our own because our ability to forgive is the hallmark of a born again believer who himself or herself has experienced the forgiveness of God. As we are all called to be ministers of reconciliation, such work is only possible because of what the Holy Spirit is working among those who love Him. Restoring those who were hurt by such scandals, the victims themselves, or indirectly believers who are hurt by their feeling of betrayal or by this deception. Let us then, point these people to the only person that matters – Christ. Let us fix our eyes on the Cross, not on people.
Last, such scandals serve a warning for the Church; God’s judgment will come first for the Church before that day of Judgment. We are commanded to be holy because He is holy, and we ought to constantly rely on God to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. Our PhDs, Titles, etc are no assurance of pleasure in our service to God except through humility and a contrived spirit. The more popular a person is in the Church, the greater reliance he or she must be on God, just as John the Baptist once said, He (Jesus) must increase, I must decrease. What thing can we boast except Christ’s work on the Cross.