During my lunch break I took a quick trip to the post office and tuned into The Word, WZXV, 99.7 FM, Christian radio station. Every day at 11:00 a.m., the station plays the daily message from popular evangelical apologist, Ravi Zacharias.
Dr. Zacharias is widely considered to be one of evangelicalism’s leading apologists. He’s an excellent speaker – the words flow out of his mouth like honey. But beware, Zacharias’ messages are sometimes very disturbing and dangerous.
Today, the station broadcast one of Zacharias’ messages from his “Memories of Muggeridge” series (see far below for the link). Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) was a highly respected British author, journalist, and longtime agnostic.
Zacharias speaks about Muggeridge’s growing disillusionment with politics, journalism, commerce, education, entertainment, and religion. He was allegedly searching for the ultimate truth. Muggeridge was subsequently baptized into the Roman Catholic church at the age of 79 in 1982. It was Muggeridge who first introduced the world to Mother Teresa and thrust her into the spotlight as THE standard of Christian charity.
As a Roman Catholic, Muggeridge believed in salvation by sacramental grace and merit. He believed, as do all Catholics faithful to their church, that one must be in a sinless “state of grace” at the moment of death in order to merit Heaven. For Catholics, justification comes from obeying the Law perfectly. If they break the Law, Catholics must confess all “big” sins and be absolved by a priest before death or they are taught they will go to hell.
So why would Zacharias, one of evangelicalism’s leading apologists, hold up Muggeridge and Mother Teresa, who both believed in salvation by works, as shining Christian examples? I also heard Zacharias praising St. Francis of Assisi in a different broadcast. Is it that he’s just totally ignorant of Catholic doctrine? Is it that he believes the differences in salvation theology between evangelicalism and Catholicism are not important? What goes through the mind of Ravi Zacharias? Either the Gospel is salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone or it is by sacramental grace and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). It is either one or it is the other. It cannot be both!
A number of evangelical leaders are dismissing right doctrine and embracing those who teach works-salvation as “brothers and sisters in Christ” in the cause of “Christian” unity. I would ask them, is the Gospel the Gospel or isn’t it? Make no mistake; there are absolutely no Catholic apologists singing the praises of Wycliffe, Calvin, Tyndale, Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, Moody, etc. like Zacharias fawns over Muggeridge, Mother Teresa, and St. Francis. So why are evangelicals so deferential? Why are evangelicals so blind?
By embracing error as truth, Dr. Zacharias betrays the Gospel and misleads those who admire him.
“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” – Galatians 3:10-13
Memories of Muggeridge, Part 4 of 5
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
See my earlier post on Ravi Zacharias and Catholicism here.