This Christianity Today interview with Crandall University professor John Stackhouse is well worth the time. Mark Galli and Morgan Lee get to the heart of the matter of Ravi Zacharias’ inflation of credentials. Stackhouse revealed that he raised the issue many years ago with two of Zacharias’ staffers only to have the concerns ignored. Near the end of the interview, Lee asked Stackhouse a key question:
John, what do you think with regards to character? So when someone does this and it is revealed that the information in their bio may be exaggerated or may be outright fabrication, is it okay to question their integrity overall?
Well, when your whole job is to tell the truth as accurately, carefully, rigorously as possible, when what you’re really asking people to do by setting forth your credentials – which literally comes from the same word as creed or credo – why I should be believed, then you really take on a tremendous burden to speak very circumspectly. And if right out of the gate your credentials are suspect, then what are people supposed to do in the audience when he makes certain claims? Are they all supposed to hit their phones, or tablets and start checking everything you say because the stuff they can check isn’t quite true. Isn’t quite true. And I think as soon as we get into the it’s not quite true phase, I think you’re done. I just don’t think you can continue as an apologist if you’re not going to be scrupulous about telling the truth in a way that you can predict your audience will understand. Otherwise, you’re in the wrong game.
This phrase is a keeper: “I think as soon as we get into the it’s not quite true phase, I think you’re done.”
The issue of credibility and trust is central to the entire problem. As a part of his talks, Ravi Zacharias makes fact claims. Some sound a little suspicious to me. Now that I know that some of his credentials claims are off, I am reluctant to fully trust much else.
Stackhouse’s critique is devastating because he is a Christian apologist in his own right. Although the fans of Zacharias are loyal, I hope Christians continue to bring this to RZIM’s attention and ask for accountability and correction.