Just over a month ago, the CEO of RZIM, Sarah Davis, posted a video addressing Ravi Zacharias’ pattern of habitual lying, sexual predation, and shady misappropriation of funds. The video has 2.1K likes and only 63 dislikes, including mine. Why don’t I like the video? After all, she mentions “abuse” in passing and calls for healing and talks about “the sins of my father.” What’s not to like?
Well, let’s start off with the fact that Davis is indeed Ravi’s daughter. Nepotism is never a good look.
Next, this video is a carefully constructed exercise in public relations disaster management. It begins with the fact that Davis informs the reader that she will be glancing down at her notes, a disclaimer that is meant to convey vulnerability and honesty. But the entire video in fact functions as a carefully constructed exercise in a brand relaunch for the “ministry”.
Yes, Davis vaguely mentions “abuse” and “the sins of my father”. But she never recognizes him as a habitually lying sexual predator which is precisely what he was. He engaged in classic patterned behaviors of grooming, gift-giving, threats, and so on while developing elaborate financial schemes to cover his ongoing predatory behavior. When Davis uses the term “sins of my father” she is invoking a generalized concept of moral failing. And it is meant to develop an affinity with the viewer: let he who is without sin throw the first stone, right?
But we’re not all habitual liars and sexual predators. Sadly, this kind of corruption appropriation of hamartiological language in favor of self-serving ends is rampant among evangelicals.
Early on in the video, Davis talks about how she believes that God called her into RZIM and that she has been enormously “blessed” through this “ministry”. This is language meant to assure the viewer that “God’s in this”, all the better reason to forgive and reengage as a financial supporter of the ministry. And Davis actually has a special word of thanks for those who have continued to stand with and support RZIM.
Let’s be clear: Davis and the board sought to silence Lori Anne Thompson when she first came out with her allegations. They attacked her and her husband and they circled the wagons around Zacharias. They were dragged kicking and screaming to confront the mounting allegations against this huckster.
Remember how Davis said she’s been blessed in the ministry? Yeah, no kiddin’. In 2015, the last time Davis’ salary was publicly available, she was making $215,000 and that was before her promotion to CEO. Speaking of which, that’s a damn nice watch she’s wearing.
Davis concludes by warning everyone to be wary of “sin” and how it “grows” if we don’t confess it. She also assures us to remember that God “offers sinners grace, mercy, and forgiveness.”
Davis is right about one thing: sin does grow, and it has long since engulfed that entire, corrupt organization.