- Although she is parting ways with her disgraced father's organization, Christianity Today says her new ministry is expected to share office space with the old one in Alpharetta, Georgia and also receive funding from it.
Sarah Davis, daughter of the late Indian American evangelist Ravi Zacharias, has formed a new ministry. Called Encounter and based in metro Atlanta, it aims to “carry the Gospel invitation to individuals and engage in their questions so that they may encounter the love of Christ and enter a relationship with Him.” It will also engage “thoughtful individuals in Gospel conversations,” and work on “training and discipling messengers of Christ’s love for their spheres of influence.” Christianity Today reported, citing papers filed with the state of Georgia.
“The mission is not that different from the one stated on Alpharetta, Georgia-based Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) incorporation papers filed in the state of Georgia in 1986, when Davis was 10,” Christianity Today notes. RZIM was founded by Davis’ father, Zacharias, for “proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world” and “assistance in the development of evangelical Christian leadership.”
Zacharias died last May at his home in Atlanta, after a battle with cancer. He was 74. The New York Times called Zacharias “one of the most revered evangelists in the United States.” Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at his memorial service. In a tweet, he called Zacharias a “man of faith who could ‘rightly handle the word of truth’ like few others in our time & he was my friend.”
Meanwhile, Davis, now 46, “is parting ways with RZIM, but not going too far,” according to Christianity Today. Her new ministry, Encounter, “is expected to share office space with the old one in RZIM’s five-story building in Alpharetta, Georgia,” the report noted, adding that it may also “receive funding from RZIM as the ministry remakes itself into a grant-giving organization, distributing millions in donations to groups that care for sexual abuse victims and apologetics ministries that carry on the work Zacharias was committed to.” Quoting sources familiar with plans for Encounter, Christianity Today reported that “Davis will be joined by a few junior speakers from RZIM, which once employed nearly 100 apologists in more than a dozen offices around the world.”
This February, almost nine months after his death, an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct against him revealed that he was involved in “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape.” A 12-page report released on Feb. 11 by RZIM confirms that their founder and leader sexually harassed women at day spas he owned in Atlanta. The report uncovered five additional victims in the U.S., as well as evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia.
As allegations of sexual abuse began to surface in August 2020, the international board of RZIM first denied the allegations and later hired the law firm of Miller & Martin PLLC to investigate. On Sept. 29, 2020, Christianity Today first published an article citing allegations by three anonymous sources that Zacharias sexually harassed them at two spas he co-owned, the report said, adding that it found significant evidence of sexual misconduct involving additional massage therapists. “We also reviewed Mr. Zacharias’s electronic devices and found evidence of text- and email-based relationships with women who were not his wife, as well as over 200 “selfie”-style photographs of women,” the report said.
The Miller & Martin PLLC report however noted that “the scope of our engagement did not extend to RZIM finances, possible retaliation against employees, or other aspects of the organization’s culture. This report comments on some of these issues as necessary to discuss sexual misconduct, but this was not an investigation into such topics.”
As per the report, “five therapists reported that Zacharias touched or rubbed them inappropriately, “ while “others said he asked them to touch him or he touched himself. One reported that she would re-drape him if he removed the sheets, and told him when she was uncomfortable, and told him he would have to leave if he did not stop,” according to the report.
“Another therapist responded to his attempts to rub her legs by moving his arms back onto the table and at times even binding his arms with sheets into a ‘sling’ to keep them from wandering,” the report said. “Some therapists reported even more serious and sustained sexual assaults that evolved over time,” the report said and added: “Two therapists obliged his request to masturbate him, telling one of them it was necessary because his pain was ‘ligamental.’”
The report noted some therapists saying the Zacharias “paid very well” or would leave “large tips or lavish gifts, such as a Persian rug or a Louis Vuitton wallet with $500 inside.”
On its website, the RZIM board of directors stated at the time, expressing remorse over the findings of the investigation. “It is with shattered hearts that we issue this statement about the allegations against RZIM’s Founder, Ravi Zacharias,” the statement began.
“To be victimized by unwanted sexual contact, advances, and behavior is horrendous,” the statement continued. “It is diametrically opposed to everything we believe about the value and dignity of every single person. We believe not only the women who made their allegations public but also additional women who had not previously made public allegations against Ravi but whose identities and stories were uncovered during the investigation. Tragically, witnesses described encounters including sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape. We are devastated by what the investigation has shown and are filled with sorrow for the women who were hurt by this terrible abuse.”