In a lengthy op-ed, Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore said that what “enrages” him the most about Zacharias’ predatorial behavior is that the late apologist used “the name of Jesus Christ to do so.”
“One woman reports that after she experienced what she described as rape that Zacharias had her pray with him, thanking God for 'the opportunity.’ Such an action would be unspeakable — an act of blasphemy to empower predatory violence,” he wrote.
“The witness of the church is at stake. More importantly, the lives of those made in the image of God, those for whom Jesus died, are at stake,” the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission continued.
“This awful report — coming on the heels of so many other situations detailed before —should rouse the conscience to ask not just how sadists can get into places of Christian leadership, but whether we have created a situation where the very presence of a conscience is an impediment to advancement in the Machiavellian and sometimes Caligula-like world of some sectors of American Christianity.”
Moore offered a word of encouragement to those who feel “angered and betrayed” in light of the revelations.
“When someone you admire does something disgusting or evil, don’t admire what is disgusting or evil,” he reminded. “At the same time, don’t let your rightful disgust turn you to despair. Many who come in Jesus’ name are frauds. Jesus is not.”