Ravi Zacharias’s Ministry Plans Name Change, Calls for More Victims to Come Forward

Review of RZIM leadership and culture expected to take months, but the late apologist’s teachings are coming down now.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, in the midst of an outside review of its corporate culture and past handling of abuse allegations, has announced it will change its name. It also is calling for additional victims to come forward and report sexual abuse and harassment by its late world-famous founder.

Last month’s investigative report confirmed allegations against the apologist dating back to 2004 and uncovered additional evidence of abuse continuing up until a few months before his death in May 2020. But while the investigation was conclusive, it was not comprehensive.

In a statement released over the weekend, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) acknowledged there may be many more victims. This is the first time RZIM has directly asked victims to come forward.

The consulting firm Guidepost Solutions will field reports by phone and email as part of its comprehensive review of RZIM, while victims’ advocate Rachael Denhollander will serve as a confidential liaison with survivors. Phone lines have been set up in English, Spanish, and French.

“We continue to grieve deeply for the victims who have been treated in ways that are completely antithetical to the gospel,” wrote CEO Sarah Davis, who is also Zacharias’s daughter, in the official statement. “We also painfully and increasingly recognize organizational failures that have occurred and the repentance that needs to take place in both heart and action.”

Davis said the review is comprehensive and is expected to take months. Layoffs are expected soon.

The ministry also announced it is removing Zacharias’s teaching from its website and social media. The 12 international branches of RZIM are independently evaluating their ...

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Trump Prophet Enraged His Followers by Apologizing. Now He’s Shutting Down His Ministry.

In an announcement Monday, Jeremiah Johnson said, “We are choosing to radically obey Jesus over any other voices in this season.”

Jeremiah Johnson, the self-described prophet who faced backlash from fellow evangelical Christians after publicly apologizing for prophesying former President Donald Trump would be reelected president, is ending Jeremiah Johnson Ministries.

The announcement comes “after much prayer and the clear direction of the Lord,” Johnson said Monday on his Facebook page.

It also comes after his abrupt two-week hiatus in the middle of a YouTube series he titled “I Was Wrong.”

Johnson said during the series, which he described as a money loser, that apologizing wasn’t enough.

“I believe that it is a tremendous mistake to take the next four years to argue and debate and cause division and grow more prideful talking about how we think the election was taken from Donald Trump. I actually believe we need to take the next four years and humble ourselves,” he said.

“We need to recognize that God is up to something far greater in the prophetic, charismatic movement that I believe is beyond what many even recognize. We need to stop, we need to take a breather and we need to come back to a place where we can begin to dialogue about these issues rather than be so triggered.”

A recent report by The New York Times noted that Johnson had built an audience on social media as one of the first evangelicals to take Trump’s candidacy seriously in 2015.

In one YouTube video, he said he had heard from thousands of people after the first episode of “I Was Wrong” and that 90 percent of that feedback was negative.

He admitted Monday on Facebook that he expects ending Jeremiah Johnson Ministries will mean “tremendous financial loss and the removal of influence that ...

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Court Will Weigh Christian Student’s $1 Case Against Georgia College

School now allows evangelism outside "speech zones," but Nigerian convert wants lawsuit to continue.

The Supreme Court is reviving a lawsuit brought by a Georgia college student who sued school officials after being prevented from distributing Christian literature on campus.

The high court sided 8–1 with the student, Chike Uzuegbunam, and against Georgia Gwinnett College. Uzuegbunam, a Nigerian who converted to Christianity in college, has since graduated. The public school in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has since changed its policies. Lower courts said the case was moot, but the Supreme Court disagreed.

Groups across the political spectrum—from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Foundation for Moral Law to the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Humanist Association—have said that the case is important to ensuring that people whose constitutional rights were violated can continue their cases even when governments reverse the policies they were challenging.

At issue was whether Uzuegbunam’s case could continue because he was only seeking so-called nominal damages of $1.

“This case asks whether an award of nominal damages by itself can redress a past injury. We hold that it can,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court.

Writing only for himself, Chief Justice John Roberts disagreed. Roberts argued that the case brought by Uzuegbunam and another student, Joseph Bradford, is moot since the two are no longer students at the college, the restrictions no longer exist and they “have not alleged actual damages.”

Writing about the symbolic dollar they are seeking, Roberts said that: “If nominal damages can preserve a live controversy, then federal courts will be required to give advisory opinions whenever a plaintiff tacks on a request for a dollar.” ...

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D.A. Horton: A Missiological Assessment of CRT

Looking at Critical Race Theory through a missiologist's eyes.

An intense and complex tension pervades American Evangelicalism regarding Critical Race Theory.[1] As a missiologist, I filtered CRT’s primary voices through a missiological method [2] and provide analysis in this four-part series. In part-one I share a brief history and basic heart (or themes) of CRT. In parts two and three I bring CRT’s themes to Scripture for an objective measurement of it’s claims. In part-four I answer questions I receive about CRT and categorize as blessings and burdens. I pray my work gives clarity, challenge, and a greater conviction for the Body of Christ to move forward in living on Jesus’ mission together in gospel community and through gospel proclamation.

A Brief History of CRT

Some current voices tether CRT to Marxism [3] since Max Horkheimer’s formation of Critical Theory (CT) emphasized Marxist thought. However, second generation CT scholar Jürgen Habermas expanded research beyond Marxism to assess how “claims to truth, but also moral and political goodness, are justified”.[4] Habermas’ pivot of CT away from Marxism exposed how secularism kept religious thought out of spaces of law and politics, thus preventing a better model of society.

In “Religion in the Public Sphere”, Habermas says religious voices can impact society for good if they communicate their ideas in understandable language for the irreligious.[5] Habermas appeals to the Biblical social vision that every human is made in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27), and provides a possible translation that identifies the inviolable dignity every human has.[6] I will revisit Habermas’ work in part four.

For now, it must be understood CRT directly grew out from Critical Legal ...

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Growing Hair for Jesus, German Village Plans for 2022

World-famous Oberammergau Passion Play prepares for post-pandemic return.

Bavarians rushed to get their hair cut last week as Germany eased some of its toughest coronavirus restrictions and opened barbershops and salons for the first time since December. But Frederik Mayet didn’t join the newly shorn and shaven throngs.

In fact, Mayet plans to keep growing his hair and beard for another year, so he can be more like Jesus.

“With the hair growing,” he explained, “you start to grow into your role as well.”

Mayet will play the starring role of the Savior in the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play season in 2022, after a two-year pandemic postponement.

The village, about an hour south of Munich, has put on the theatrical reenactment of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection every 10 years since 1633, when the town was famously spared from the bubonic plague. In the intervening years, it’s only been canceled a few times: once for the Franco-Prussian War, once for each of the World Wars, and last year, because of COVID-19.

Mayet and more than 2,000 other locals spent months preparing for the 2020 performance, before it—like much of the rest of the world—was unceremoniously canceled by the pandemic.

“We worked really great together as a village being on stage for half a year before the lockdown, and then suddenly, from one day to the next, you don’t see anyone for weeks and months,” Mayet told Christianity Today. “I’m really looking forward to see people coming together again.”

The passion play is now set to run May 14 to October 2 next year. The actors of the village formally began to prepare last month on Ash Wednesday, when director Christian Stückl put out an official “hair and beard decree.”

The decree ...

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Pope Francis Secures Favorable Fatwa for Iraq’s Christians

A short history of Shiite Islam explains why the pope made peace with Grand Ayatollah Sistani, yet Iranian rival and Sunni extremists don’t accept Muslim leader’s authority.

Pope Francis, a “pilgrim of peace” to Iraq, has made history by becoming the first pontiff to meet a grand ayatollah: Ali al-Sistani, whose hawza (seminary) in Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, is considered the foremost center of learning in Shiite Islam.

Two years ago, the pope met the grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar, considered the foremost center of learning in Sunni Islam. With Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Francis signed the “Declaration of Human Fraternity,” calling on both Christians and Muslims to embrace religious diversity with freedom and respect.

This weekend, Francis came to Iraq to support and encourage the nation’s beleaguered Christians, whose numbers have decreased from 1.4 million in 2003 to about 250,000 today.

But he also wished to sign a similar document with the reclusive leading figure in Shiite Islam, which represents 1 in 10 of the world’s Muslims—and 6 in 10 Iraqis.

The result with Sistani was more modest than with Tayyeb, but Francis did secure a very important fatwa (religious ruling).

“[Christians should] live like all Iraqis, in security and peace and with full constitutional rights,” said Sistani in an official statement. “The religious authority plays [a role] in protecting them, and others who have also suffered injustice and harm in the events of past years.”

Francis removed his shoes upon entering Sistani’s modest home. And while the ayatollah usually sits to receive visitors, he stood to welcome the pope.

Will the ruling make a difference? Will it have any impact in Iran, the neighboring theocratic Shiite state? And what really drives the regional conflict: religion or politics?

In Muslim history, the answer is both.

While differences ...

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Iraq’s Evangelicals Use Pope Francis’s Visit to Press for Equality

Historic papal trip seeks peace between Christians and Muslims. Unregistered evangelicals say peace between Iraq’s Christians is needed first.

Pope Francis traveled to war-torn Iraq today “as a pilgrim of peace, seeking fraternity [and] reconciliation.”

The trip’s official logo, written in three languages, comes from Matthew 23: “You are all brothers.” Iraq’s evangelicals, therefore, have asked for the pope’s help.

“The other churches don’t want us, and accuse us of everything,” said Maher Dawoud, head of the General Society for Iraqi National Evangelical Churches (GSINEC).

“But we are churches present throughout the world. Why shouldn’t the government give us our rights?”

Dawoud sent a letter to the Vatican, asking Francis to intercede—on behalf of evangelical Christians—with the Catholic church in Iraq, and ultimately with the government in Baghdad.

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) had gone straight to the United Nations, long before.

One year ago, the WEA filed a report with the UN Human Rights Committee, protesting the denial of legal recognition for Iraqi evangelicals. Fourteen other denominations are currently counted within the Christian, Yazidi, and Sabaean-Mandaean Religions Diwan (Bureau).

Now estimated at less than 250,000 people, Christians are a small minority of Iraq’s 40 million population, 97 percent of which is Muslim. Evangelical numbers are even smaller.

The Chaldean Catholic Church represents 80 percent of the nation’s Christians, with 110 churches throughout the country. Syriacs, both Catholic and Orthodox, constitute another 10 percent, with 82 churches. Assyrians, primarily through the Church of the East, have a 5 percent share, and Armenians, 3 percent. (Other estimates count 67 percent for the Chaldeans, and 20 percent for the Assyrians. Their ...

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Prison Fellowship Sells Colson’s Campus to Alliance Defending Freedom

COVID-19 accelerates ministry moves and shifts work arrangements.

The sizable suburban Washington, DC, campus that headquartered Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship will soon belong to another evangelical nonprofit: the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The ministries announced plans Friday to sell the 11.3-acre property in Lansdowne, Virginia.

Back in 2005, Colson’s ministry—which then included Prison Fellowship, BreakPoint, and the Colson Center—built the campus for around $19 million, including a three-story office building, a two-story hospitality center for conference guests, recording studios, and event space.

Of Prison Fellowship’s 245-person staff, 70 percent worked remotely before the pandemic, a part of an organizational strategy to move its workforce into the field. During COVID-19, the rest adjusted to work from home, with just around a dozen coming into the 90,000-square-foot office.

Meanwhile, the Arizona-based religious liberty advocacy group ADF has been expanding and praying for years about adding another office, wanting to prioritize in-person collaboration for the sake of fellowship and the physical proximity required for its legal work.

“When ADF came along, the heart of the board, if you will, leapt,” said Prison Fellowship president and CEO James J. Ackerman. “They thought, ‘This would be so awesome if God’s work could continue on the land dedicated to the Lord’s work by Chuck Colson himself.’”

Ackerman declined to share the terms of the sale, but said that ADF made an offer within the range of the property’s appraisal value. Demand for commercial space—particularly for medical facilities—is growing in the Lansdowne area, about an hour outside DC.

In advocating for conservative ...

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Died: Larry Crabb, Christian Counselor Who Kept Exploring

Author of ‘Effective Biblical Counseling,’ ‘Inside Out,' ‘Shattered Dreams,’ and ‘SoulTalk’ taught that aching souls long for the Triune God.

Larry Crabb, a popular Christian counselor who went looking for a deeper approach to spiritual care, died on February 28 at the age of 77.

Crabb was a clinical psychologist who turned to biblical counseling and then to spiritual direction. He authored more than 25 books in the process, writing the popular textbook Effective Biblical Counseling and then more than a dozen titles, including Inside Out, Shattered Dreams, Pressure’s Off, and SoulTalk, teaching people to see their own brokenness as a longing for God and new creation.

“An aching soul is evidence not of neurosis or spiritual immaturity but of realism,” Crabb wrote. “Beneath the surface of everyone’s life, especially the more mature, is an ache that will not go away. It can be ignored, disguised, mislabeled, or submerged by a torrent of activity, but it will not disappear. And for good reason. We were designed to enjoy a better world than this.”

Crabb popularized biblical counseling and then introduced many evangelicals to spiritual direction through his organization NewWay Ministries, weeklong summer seminars, and his extensive tenure at Colorado Christian University (CCU).

“To know Larry Crabb was to know a man who wrestled honestly and often in messy ways with his interior world, and the world around him,” wrote Jim Cress, a Christian counselor mentored by Crabb. “He never knew what it meant to merely settle personally and professionally. … His calling, passion, integrity, and vision would not tolerate a shampoo bottle philosophy of ‘Wash. Rinse. Repeat.’”

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Which Is Worse: the Guilty Freed or the Innocent Punished?

New study examines how your race and view of Scripture shape your answer.

Speaking this week on behalf of an Oklahoma death row inmate who claims he did not commit the murder for which he’s served 20 years in prison, pastor T. D. Jakes said, “If Jesus acquitted the guilty, then surely he would advocate for the innocent.”

Jakes is among a group of Christian leaders, including Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, who are advocating for clemency for Julius Jones.

A December study found that both race and views of the Bible may impact how Christians approach mistakes made by the justice system.

White Americans who believe the Bible should be read literally are most likely to see acquitting guilty people as a greater injustice than convicting the innocent, according to sociologists Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead, the authors of the study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Meanwhile, black Americans, regardless of their view of the Bible, agree that convicting innocent people is the worse of the two mistakes.

A majority of both white evangelicals (59%) and black Protestants (63%) in the General Social Survey—the basis for the recent analysis—were biblical literalists, but the white Americans who held that position were twice as likely as black Americans to prefer wrongful conviction over letting a criminal go free.

Of those surveyed, 21 percent said letting the guilty go free is worse, 64 percent said condemning the innocent, 13 percent couldn’t choose and almost 2 percent did not answer. The justice question, along with the one on biblical literalism, have been asked in four different years of the General Social Survey between 1985-2016. There is no difference over time.

“It was fascinating to us to see how punitive attitudes were so strongly ...

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