Jackie Hill Perry is one of many ministry leaders grappling with the recent report released implicating the late Ravi Zacharias of extramarital relationships and widespread sexual abuse. Perry believes the “disorienting” ordeal is a reminder that leaders can hold to orthodox views of Christianity and still live wholly unrighteous lives.
Well known poet, Bible teacher, musician, and author of ‘Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been’, Perry reminded everyone on Twitter she attended Ravi Zacharias’ funeral in 2020.
Perry, who is a sexual abuse survivor, tweeted about how the report had “thrown” her. Calling Ravi’s ministry a gift, Perry also wrote that just because one is gifted, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are godly. She reminded her readers that “Neither is orthodox teaching the proof of righteous living.”
After giving examples in Scripture, Perry explained, “Saying good things isn’t the same as having a good character. And that’s a hard truth because we want to believe that our hero’s [sic] believe too but sadly, that’s not always the case.”
Jackie’s full tweet can be read below:
I attended Ravi’s funeral last year. It was celebratory in every way. Christ exalting too. The testimonies of his friends and family along with clips from his decades of ministry left me and my husband with a stronger desire to be like Jesus in the way we believed Ravi was too.
Now knowing more about the sexual abuse that Ravi subjected women to, I’m thrown. Not because I’m surprised per se’ but because it’s disorienting. I’m reminded that giftedness will never translate to godliness. Neither is orthodox teaching the proof of righteous living.
Satan quoted Psalms 91 when he tempted Jesus. The demons told the truth about Jesus when they called him “the holy one of God”. When Nathan gave David the parable of the poor man with the stolen lamb, David’s assessment of the story was right and yet he was too blind to see that he was the bad guy in the story. The point I’m making is this: Saying good things isn’t the same as having a good character. And that’s a hard truth because we want to believe that our hero’s believe too but sadly, that’s not always the case.
I guess for me, I feel a greater burden to stay near to God. To kill the little foxes. To cut off the hand or pluck out the eye, whichever member is leading me to sin. To not determine my righteousness by my “success” or by the accuracy in which I communicate the gospel.
Ravi’s ministry was a gift to most of us but his fall is a warning to all of us. Take heed lest we fall too… “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” – Gen 4:7