What About Ravi’s Ministry?

Can you still read the many books on Christianity that Ravi Zacharius has written? What if you were saved by his words? Is your Christianity somehow fake?

Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 3:

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

Paul is angry with the church at Corinth because he thought they were more mature; that they would understand the basics of how our salvation works. It isn’t based on fallen humanity.

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Is salvation based on man or the Son of Man that is Jesus? Does Ravi save? Should he be worshiped above God? Human beings, all fallen, can speak God’s word to people. They plant and water, but in the end it is God who grows. To God be all glory and power. 

And to those fallen humans who labor, there is a reward in the end for them, but ultimately it is God’s word that was spoken by Ravi that saved people. It wasn’t Ravi’s work, but God working through Ravi, just as God works through all of us.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

So, Paul is speaking about the last Day of judgment, a judgment of fire on those who work in His kingdom as pastors and teachers. Two results, a man’s ministry that withstands the fire, being built on the foundation of Jesus with gold, silver, or precious stones, well,  he gets rewarded. 

A man’s ministry built with unlasting things like wood or stray will see what he built demolished. But the foundation of Jesus will remain and he will still be saved, but only as through fire. This is how vast God’s grace is over us! Even when we fail in a ministry, God saves us.

Which one does Ravi fall under? Well, there is a third result.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Paul personifies us as God’s temple because God’s Spirit dwells in us. If a man’s ministry is destructive to the souls of those under him, God will destroy him. If Ravi did not repent, this final result is for him.

Jesus says something akin to this concerning children in Matthew 18:

5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Paul continues 1 Corinthians 3 by speaking about the wisdom of the world. If you consider yourself wise in this way… and yet you hold a secret sin in your life that you continually stumble over, if you think your wisdom is more powerful than the foundation of Christ in us, as Ravi constantly showed by consistently molesting women and even forcing one to be a concubine to him… well…

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 

And so if you have fallen victim to the sins of this age, if you are “wise” or “knowing” of these worldly ways, Paul calls you to become foolish, that is to repent and humble yourself suddenly appearing foolish. Many people in high standings are considered wise and untouchable, but if they hold secret sins in their heart, like Ravi did, if the consistently return to them over and over, if they plan their lives around these sins… they must fall from that high standing. They must be humbled fools if they are to be truly saved.

20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

So, it doesn’t matter who spoke God’s work into your life in order to receive salvation. Ravi may have planted and another watered, but God brings about growth. It is His word that is hidden in your heart. 

Who is perfect among us but God? Only He can save.

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