Ravi Zacharias, Jivan Spa and Sexual Abuse: It’s Time to Speak Out

First Ballot Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz.
Blue Collar Comedy Star Jeff Foxworthy.
Former governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue.
Former Southern Baptist Convention President and Current NAMB Vice President of Evangelism Johnny Hunt.

These were the local, influential celebrity Christians who spoke, circa 2009, at the grand opening of Jivan Wellness in Johns Creek, Georgia. The new spa was co-founded by an even bigger Christian celebrity, Ravi Zacharias, the most famous Christian apologist in the world.

Before it closed, Jivan Wellness offered a variety of services, including Ayurveda, Holistic Health, Wellness, and Massage Therapy. These are strange services for an international Christian apologist to be involved in, especially Ayurvdea. According to Wikipedia:

Ayurveda is ‘an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. The theory and practice of Ayurveda is pseudoscientific.The Indian Medical Association (IMA) characterises the practice of modern medicine by Ayurvedic practitioners as quackery. The main classical Ayurveda texts begin with accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the gods to sages, and then to human physicians.[6] In Sushruta Samhita (Sushruta’s Compendium), Sushruta wrote that DhanvantariHindu god of Ayurveda, incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi and taught medicine to a group of physicians, including Sushruta.’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

Walter Martin literally wrote the book on cults, and Ravi Zacharias edited it. It’s unimaginable that Ravi Zacharias, who hailed from India, would found a business that sells pseudo-scientific Ayurveda services, which are rooted in Hindu paganism, to westerners as health treatments. Yet it happened. It’s hard to imagine that a Christian minister would open a side business selling beauty treatments. Yet, through its Twitter account, Jivan Wellness advertised an “Ancient Ayurvedic Therapeutic Beauty Secret For Winter Care” for $120. Ravi Zacharias’ spa even encouraged its customers to take part in the pagan religious practice of Yoga.

What was Ravi Zacharias thinking? He surely didn’t need the money. In addition to his earnings from book royalties, Ravi Zacharias’ salary from Ravi Zachrias International Ministries (RZIM) approached nearly $200,000 per year. According to his friend Johnny Hunt, who was recently interviewed by Steve Baughman, Ravi hoped to use the profits from the spa to spread the gospel. But does that make sense? Ravi already headed one of the biggest evangelistic ministries in the world, one which garnered millions of dollars of donations every year. Why did he need a spa?

Ravi’s problems with back pain were well-documented. He was certainly a candidate for massage therapy. But what about the optics? The massage business can be a questionable one, especially for a professional minister who makes a practice not to be left alone with women. Why own a spa, where customers are often left alone half-naked with women?

According to Hunt, Ravi Zacharias would “fly women in from India” to give him treatment at Jivan. This should have raised a red flag to Hunt and any other onlookers but apparently, it did not. Now, after Ravi’s untimely death and the controversy of his previous sex scandal, Baughman has uncovered new claims of sexual impropriety against Zacharias.

According to Ravi’s erstwhile business partner, Anurag Sharma (co-founder of Jivan), the business had to be closed because of the way Ravi treated the women who worked there. Baughman has communicated with masseuses who were formerly in the employ of Zacharias. These women are not willing to come forward publicly and be named, perhaps out of fear or embarrassment, but, according to Baughman, these women claim that Ravi Zacharias sexually molested the help at his spa.

It’s time for the people who know about this exploitation to come out and tell the truth about the way Ravi Zacharias treated women. If you have any information about Ravi’s behavior at the Touch of Eden and Jivan spas, please reach out (confidentially) to talkback@pulpitandpen.org. Fear no one but God. Pulpit & Pen is here to help you. I am local to Georgia and can come interview anyone who is willing to tell his or her story.

Frankly, the story needs to start with Anurag Sharma and other employees of Jivan such as Erika, April, and Jeff. Hiding Ravi’s sins (crimes?) doesn’t do service to the Kingdom.  The story needs to be perpetuated by the Christian celebrities who promoted Ravi.  RZIM, which receives millions of dollars in donations and sends speakers to churches and schools throughout the world must be called to account.  As long as sin and abuse is enabled and covered up, Christ is put to shame and the witness of his church is tarnished.  Christians must be the ones who are willing to shine a light in the darkest places, even if those places are spas owned by world-famous Christian apologists and promoted by their famous friends.

Please consider the spiritual ramifications of these claims. To non-believers, this could be just another instance of powerful, wealthy people exploiting the weak for sex. For the believer, however, there could be deeper spiritual concerns. Hindu practices (like Yoga) are demonic. Ravi Zacharais, according to Johnny Hunt, was flying practitioners of eastern treatments to his spa. Women in his employ are, at the same time, claiming sexual abuse. Frankly, these are not the first claims of sexual abuse at the highest levels of Christian industry in the Alpharetta area that Pulpit & Pen has come across. Something wicked is amiss.

Take no part in the unfruitful deeds of darkness; rather expose them.

~Seth Dunn

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.



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12 thoughts on “Ravi Zacharias, Jivan Spa and Sexual Abuse: It’s Time to Speak Out

  1. Incontrovertible proof/evidence is required, because “ …the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
     How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3:5-9)

    1. Walking East vs West by Ravi…
      I knew Ravi as student and friend whom I looked up to as a role model, when we were attending Bible College. During this interval, I caught glimpses of some troubling behaviours that perplexed me at the time. After graduation, we parted company having taken vastly different pathways in life.
      Only after having read his biography recently, can one truly begin to understand the dramatic events that shaped his tragically complicated life. In May, I was saddened to hear of his inoperative cancer, his sudden death, then leaving behind his grief stricken family to mourn their loss.
      Ravi’s intimate autobiography, sheds more light into his East/West
      world views, helping westerners like myself, understand some of India’s contrasting cultural norms, which apparently influenced his founding of RZIM ministry. Amazingly, he gives the reader candid glimpses into his private psyche, and his Hindu “Dilliwallah” background. My first impressions after reading Ravi’s story, was that Middle Eastern Hindu dualism was not a hindrance, rather it enabled him to fit in comfortably within evangelical circles during the 1970’s counterculture in Toronto. On one hand, as the world’s most famous apologist, Ravi proved his acute business acumen and adaptability by founding an successful international apologetics organization with over 200 employees answering to him. Then on the other hand, as an entrepreneur he ventured out to open a couple of health/massage spas featuring Eastern mystical approaches to health, uniquely run by women from India/Asia. This Sideline is very unusual indeed for an international evangelical preacher, but then Ravi was multi-cultural in his outlook on many things including spas! Reading his autobiography really helps one understand his International legacy.
      Ravi writes…
      ” In Eastern culture, appearance and essence are implicitly accepted as two different parts of reality and can oppose one another. Indeed, it is very common in many Eastern cultures to live a bifurcated life. For instance, your religious life and your moral life are not necessarily connected. It is perfectly acceptable for a man to light holy candles, walk out of the temple, and then lie through his teeth about what he is selling you. The incredible thing is that it may not even qualify as hypocrisy, because he genuinely believes that the rules of engagement in commercial enterprises are different from his life of ceremony and superstition. The theorist from the East may challenge what I am saying, but he or she can never deny its accepted reality. Life is a bargain, and you negotiate the best deal for yourself. That’s just the way it is. In fact, there is a Middle Eastern proverb that says, “The lie is the salt of man.” You season everything you do with a lie. Everyone ends up finding how to skirt around the truth and appear honourable”*
      * Walking from East to West pgs 36- 37.

      How did Ravi manage to balance his complicated life within two contrasting paradigms is a good question for the reader? Commingling Eastern and Western cultures apparently came easily through accommodation. Nevertheless, this admixture of two colliding world cultures becomes possible for many successful immigrants coming to our country who live it out on a daily basis hoping to ” negotiate the best deal for yourself. * A deal that they never had in their countries of origin …to live the American dream.
      * pg 37 “Walking from East to West” Zondervan Publishers 2006

  2. Do you want to know what is newsworthy? A professing Christian using material garnered from a professing atheist (Steve Baughman) to destroy the legacy of a prominent Christian minister/brother! I do not know if anything Steve Baughman alleges is true or not, but he sure has one massive conflict of interest in being an avowed atheist. How is it then, that professing Christians are so eager to lap up what this guy is sloshing around, and spread it all over the online social media landscape? Doesn’t the apostle Paul condemn this kind of thing in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8? Do we really need to be taking our talking points from our enemies who would like nothing better than to destroy Christianity and all Christians? Stupid!

  3. First, both Jesus (Mathew 18:15-17) and Paul (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) give us clear instruction as to how to “clean up our own messes” – privately, within the Body of Christ, and adjudicated under the auspices of legitimate church discipline and leadership. Second, a legitimate investigation of the matter would properly cite credible sources and information that can be independently verified and corroborated. I don’t think the this article (and much of what else I’ve seen posted online) satisfies either of these criteria as is alluded to in some of the comments above. The most obvious example as I stated before, is the sourcing of accusations from a biased, hostile source (Steve Baughman, professed atheist) with an agenda, and the repeating of the same by angry Christians with an axe to grind (rightly or wrongly).
    The one thing that has been accomplished by all of this is to put the name of Jesus to open shame, ridicule and disparagement before a watching world. This is exactly what we are not supposed to do. The Church can and must do better than this!

  4. We have been ardent supporters of Ravi through this. Claiming it to be false, etc… We have listened to him for over 20 years and each of our children hold him in high esteem. We met him once.

    To be clear, we believe you are doing the right thing in exposing him. The evidence goes from “Ravi, how could you be so foolish as to not abstain from any appearance of evil ” to “This is outright predatory and so wrong in the eyes of God!” Not to mention thinking and doing that which you preach against.

    We have studied everything we possibly can on this scandal – and at the first, since 2017, dismissed all claims. It is no longer possible to do so.

    “Another one bites the dust” comes to mind and does so with a very heavy heart. I cannot believe I just said that regarding Ravi Zacharias.

    Others, beware lest you think you stand when you are falling.

    Oh, to finish well.

  5. I’m a Pastor from India who looked up to Ravi from 2000 (Amsterdam 2000) till 2007. After following his preachings for 7 yrs, I realized the following- 1. There was much rhetoric and little substance to his preachings. 2. He repeated his sermons over and over again. 3. He was not a trained Philosopher. 4. He was not a theologian. 5. He was lying about his doctorates. (Please don’t assume that we Indians don’t know the difference between earned and honorary degrees 😁.)
    Once I stopped listening/reading him, I realized I had learned very little from his preachings or writings. It was a surprise that he was getting so much attention and so many invitations! We know who real scholars are. William Lane Craig, JP Moreland, Josh McDowell, C.S.Lewis, NT Wright, Gary Habermas, Stephen Meyer and many more. Ravi was never one of them.

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