Tag Archives: Lying

Missionary Mishap: Steven Finds the Manuscript that Didn’t Exist

Edit: Steven has apologized for his behaviour.

So…in an earlier post, I gave the name of the manuscript that contained 1 John 2:22. Despite that, Steven Tilley and his colleague insisted in a video shortly thereafter that we had both made up a manuscript and lied about it’s name. However…using the very name I gave them, word for word, they eventually found that not only was the manuscript not made up but that it was known and documented. Surprising, isn’t it!

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You’ll notice that he apologizes for insulting our Br. Yahya, and in some odd way attributes his finding the name of the manuscript to the screenshot of its exact name that I had given. Despite that, he still insists a mistake was made. So to wrap up:

  • Insulted me calling me a liar, idiot, and various other insults.
  • Claimed I made up a manuscript.
  • Claimed I made up the name of a manuscript.
  • I give them the name in a screenshot…
  • They eventually find said manuscript.
  • Manuscript exists.
  • Apologizes to Br. Yahya, but not me.

Brilliant to be honest. Now that they realise it exists, hopefully they will learn to behave like adults and act in a mature way. Insulting people, making fun of them, creating videos mocking them because of their inability to find something is not okay, but this is what they are taught at Jonathan McLatchie’s Apologetics Academy.

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Literacy is a Problem

Edit: Steven has apologized for his behaviour.

Our favourite duo, Steven Tilley and Vladmir Susic made an extremely awkward 8 minute video with a few insults and name calling (something we do not engage in), they should probably read the Gospel where it says to “love your enemy”. At the end of this 8 minute video they had a young missionary “exposing” me (Br. Ijaz), by claiming I had made an error:

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In the video, they premised their claim that we had given them the wrong manuscript name. However, they’ve made quite a simple mistake. They themselves don’t know what the manuscript is called. They first refer to it as “GA zero-two-three” then as, “GA (letter) O 23”. To begin with, the manuscript is not named either. It’s actually entitled, GA Ο23. It’s neither a number (zero) or the letter (o). So, we encourage them to keep trying. Hopefully they’ll figure out the name in the near future. Well, we hope they do before they get the name wrong again.

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Steven and Vladmir

Edit: Steven has apologized for his behaviour.

Recently, following a meeting with a colleague of mines I gave him some manuscript information regarding a passage from 1 John, specifically 1 John 2:22. Following his article, it seems to have caught quite a few internet missionaries off guard, to the point they began to throw insults and mockery, as can be seen here:

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There’s a couple things to note here.

Firstly, Steven Tilley spent all day searching for the manuscript I mentioned (GA Ο23 – note, Br. Mustafa has corrected a typo in his article), since he was unable to find it, it meant to him that it did not exist. Not very smart reasoning here. His inability to locate something, does not prove its non-existence. His lack of ability is not an argument against the validity of the source being examined. One of the reasons I gave just one alias of the manuscript was to see how well they were educated and skilled. It would therefore seem that without knowing the other aliases for the manuscript that they can’t find any other information about it. Quite embarrassing to say the least.

Secondly, his colleague, then proceeds to call me an idiot and refers to a Wikipedia page that does not mention the other aliases of the manuscript. In his wisdom, he then claims I pulled the source out of…well, he was trying to throw an insult.

Here’s the fun part though. Anyone with access to ECM, will know the proper name of the manuscript and its contents. In fact, using the alternative name of the manuscript, going to the museum’s page, it lists what the manuscript contains:

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So not only were they not smart enough to find the alternate names for the collection, they were unable to locate the museum data about the collection and its contents as it relates to 1 John 2:22. Furthermore, they would have actually gotten a great deal of information if they consulted the NET’s Textual Critical notes on 1 John 2:22-23 which actually comments on the missing words from one of these passages and the textual tradition which omits them.

To make it even more interesting, it seems as if they think the passage only lacks the word “antichrist” as Steven has argued. This is actually incorrect, thus demonstrating their further inability to comprehend basic textual critical issues. 1 John 2:22 is lacunose between the two initial occurrences of, “εστιν”, while completely omitting the rest of the passage (as found elsewhere) following the words, “εστιν  Ις”. Thus completely omitting, “is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist–denying the Father and the Son.”

That’s quite a lot more than just the word, “antichrist”.

There’s two other aliases by which the manuscript goes by, if after searching all day they can’t find it, then it goes to show their limited grasp on New Testament textual criticism and their inability to do simple research. All they really had to do was consult Jones’s work on Amulets.

and God knows best.

Dr. James White Rebukes Sam Shamoun

On the 1st of February 2017, Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries responded to Sam Shamoun’s incessant attacking of him, dating back to March of 2016. Following months of insults, mockery, and taunting by Sam, Dr. White finally responded to him given the fallout after his dialogues with Dr. Yasir Qadhi. As a consequence of the dialogues, Sam Shamoun led a campaign, asking his social media followers to stop Dr. White’s ministry, which included calling event halls, Churches and conferences to request that they cancel his appearances.

In March of 2016, Sam Shamoun began to openly insult and mock Dr. White for associating and debating Br. Yusuf Ismail of South Africa. In November and December of 2016, following Dr. White’s dismissal of Robert Morey’s call to “destroy Islam” by “destroying the Kabah” in Makkah, Sam Shamoun became increasingly infuriated with Dr. White. Finally, in January of 2017, following Dr. White’s dialogue with Dr. Qadhi in a Church, Sam Shamoun openly endorsed statements referring to Dr. White as an apostate:

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Comment on Sam’s Facebook Page referring to Dr. White as an apostate.

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Sam Shamoun “liked” the comment.

The below video is the summarized version of the 2 hour long Dividing Line episode which aired on the 1st of February, 2017. In this episode, Dr. White responded to Sam’s claims as posted on social media, while also commenting on Sam’s behaviour, trustworthiness (or lack thereof) and anger issues. As acknowledged, Sam cannot control his temper, has anger issues, is openly vitriolic and abusive, and is also referred to as a bully. The summarized version as presented below, includes 40 minutes of Dr. White directly addressing Sam Shamoun:

An earlier Missionary Mishap post covered a timeline of events leading up to the Dividing Line program. We have also produced two short videos based on statements made from the Dividing Line program, one where Dr. White states that Sam views himself as a “Prophet“, as well as another video where Sam’s uncontrolled temper, anger and foulmouthed behaviours are addressed.

and God knows best.

 

Moaning McLatchie

In the days following the announcement by Nabeel Qureishi about his illness (stomach cancer), this is how the Muslim apologetics world reacted:

That’s a video with hundreds of positive comments and about 18,000 views (and growing). Prayers, well wishing and general reflection on the state of apologetics. Yet, many of us were shocked to see Jonathan McLatchie’s reaction to the news. On the Dividing Line program, several of our names were mentioned, including Br. Yahya, myself and a few others. We took no note of it, there was nothing there that needed to be celebrated. It was a somber time, not a time for “scoring points” against each other or trying to use Nabeel’s illness as a means of “getting mentioned” on social media.

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Yet, in the days following Nabeel’s news, there was one person. A notorious individual, universally disliked in Hyde Park, and who has been rebuked several times in person in Newcastle itself whenever he tries to bully the Muslims doing da’wah there; who found a reason to use Nabeel’s illness as a means of promoting himself.

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It’s uncouth enough to like such a narcissistic post in the first place, starstruck, really? How obsessive can one be about one’s self? Yet, during this obscene display of self conceitedness, while the rest of us were busy sending well wishes to Nabeel, our friend Jonathan McLatchie found himself counting how many times he was mentioned on the Dividing Line. What kind of person counts how many times their name is mentioned in a video? Well it’s the same kind of person who thinks it’s a good idea to promote themselves by posting 10 photos of themselves just talking to someone else.

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I get that he might like Jay, I understand that he may like taking a picture or two of himself, but what kind of individual who abuses debate opponents post-debate and lies about attendance numbers, behaves like this?

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Jonathan McLatchie is that kind of person, and that is why we in apologetics cannot take him seriously any longer.

and God knows best.

Sam Shamoun and Lying by Dr. Shabir Ally – Part 2

Shabir Ally

October 1, 2015

Now that I am back in Toronto, and have access to my books, I am able to write a more telling response to Sam and his accusation about lying. I also had a chance to review the recording of what I said during the debate, and Sam’s interaction with me during the Q&A.[1]

Two things (at least) will become evident below:

  • I correctly cited that book of Robert Gundry to which I was referring;[2]
  • In order to generate his proof that I misquoted Robert Gundry, Sam actually misquoted me!

This is a sad day for Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Having listened to the recording, I still have the question that I had put to Sam during that conversation. Sam had said that he had two books right in front of him: one book is Robert Gundry’s commentary on the New Testament; the other book is Gundry’s commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular. Sam read a portion from the commentary on the New Testament which obviously includes a brief commentary on Matthew’s gospel.[3] That is not the book I had cited. I had studied and cited the other book: the commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular.

So, I asked Sam for the page number of the relevant section of the commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular. Instead of supplying this simple piece of information, Sam kept telling me pages 135-36 of the book which he had read from. I asked him why he could not simply tell me the page number of the relevant section of Robert Gundry’s commentary on Matthew’s gospel which he said he also had in his possession at the time. Sam admitted that the page numbers he was giving me were from Gundry’s commentary on the entire New Testament, But when I asked him again for the page number of the commentary dedicated to Matthew’s gospel, there was a definite silence. I thought he had hung up. But he was still on the call. Why the silence?

Moreover, in listening to the recording I realized all the more how bizarre was the conversation between me and Sam. I kept asking him for the page number of a book which he claimed to have with him. In response, he kept challenging me to read a book which I did not claim to have in my possession at the moment. Naturally, I could not read a book I did not have in my hands; I could only accurately quote the most relevant line from my head. But, for some reason, Sam was unable to give me the page number of the book he had in his hands even though the relevant page number is easy to find. The commentary progresses from the start to the end of Matthew’s gospel, and the page headers show the progression verse by verse. It would have been a snap for Sam to thumb through the commentary following the page headers to chapter 28 and then to its verse 19 and give me the page number.

Obviously, he later located the relevant page number of a commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, this being the first book Sam referred to in his article composed on that same date.[4] It would be interesting to trace the relationship between this commentary and the one I was citing. It seems that the one Sam is referring to is the second edition of the same book, now with a different subtitle.[5] The page numbers of the relevant sections are the same, and the wording is strikingly similar, though the subtitles are different.

Now, the book I was citing really said on p. 596 what I cited it to say. So too does the second edition, as is evident from Sam’s citation in his article. But both of these are dissimilar to the book which Sam was reading on air.

To understand what is going on here between me and Sam, one has to see the big picture, as follows. In debates between Muslims and Christians, Muslims argue that in the Old Testament Yahweh is the only God. Jews agree. Many Christians also agree. Consequently, for Jesus to be God, he would have to be Yahweh. But if he is Yahweh, then he is the only God, and therefore the Father and the Holy Spirit would not be God.

In response to this clear logic, some Christians cite Matthew 28:19 as proof that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each Yahweh, and yet altogether Yahweh. In that verse, Jesus directs his followers to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christians point out that the name here is singular, though the named persons are three. Hence they insist that Jesus is Yahweh, the Holy Spirit is Yahweh, the Father is Yahweh; yet altogether the three are Yahweh.

This is the big picture, the context within which I am using the citation from Robert Gundry. I am saying that according to Robert Gundry the verse does not imply that the three persons bear the same name. According to him, the verse is not actually referring to their name; rather, the verse is saying that the baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here is an approximate transcript of what I said, as evidenced by the video recording:

In Matthew’s gospel towards the end where Jesus says, “Go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” some will take that as an expression of Trinitarian doctrine. But in fact, as Robert Gundry says in his commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, it does not actually mean that—it does not mean that the three of them have just one name—it means, ‘Go and baptize with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ It does not mean that the three are one. In fact, there is no passage in the New Testament gospels or in any of the writings of the New Testament that says that the three—the Father Son, and Holy Spirit—are together as one God.[6]

This is what Sam needs to address. Instead, he changes the subject to me. But attacking me will not remove the problem. The problem, as the clear logic above indicates, is that there is only one God Yahweh, as Jews, Christians and Muslims agree.[7] According to Matthew 12:18, Jesus is the servant of Yahweh. This too Muslims and even Christians accept. But Christians insist that, in addition to being the servant of Yahweh, Jesus is also Yahweh himself. I have been refuting this latter claim with my clear logic. And now Sam wants to attack me. But my logic is not exclusively mine. Logic is universal. To get rid of this problem, Sam does not need to attack me, he needs to battle with the fundamental laws of nature, or the designing work of God who fashioned us to think logically. He needs to battle with his own thoughts which cannot escape the same logic.

When Sam called, he accused me of claiming that Robert Gundry in his commentary on Matthew’s gospel denies that Mt. 28:19 is a Trinitarian text.[8] But that is not what I claimed.

In the above transcript of the relevant portion of my speech, I started out with my own statement, cited Gundry, and then ended with my own statement. I can see where at first glance it may not be clear to others where I intended to end my citation of Gundry. But if that was not clear at first, during the call I explained to Sam:

In that commentary, Robert Gundry says very plainly that the idea that the mention of Father, Son and Holy Spirit should mean that they share the same name—that is not the idea. He is saying that the idea there is that the baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am not saying anything more than this.[9]

Notice that last sentence: ‘I am not saying anything more than this.’ Now it should be clear that I am only claiming as follows: in a particular book, Gundry denies that Mt 28:19 implies that the three persons bear the same one name.

Despite my taking pains to clarify the point on air, however, Sam charges in his writing composed after the debate:

Ally basically claimed that Gundry denies that this text supports the Triune nature of God.[10]

That is not what I claimed.

I am not saying that Gundry is not a Trinitarian, or that he denies that Mt. 28:19 can be put to Trinitarian use, etc. It should be clear to all students of logic that a statement of the form,

‘A does not imply B’

does not mean the same as,

‘A implies that B is not the case,’

and it does not mean the same as,

‘I deny B.’

In what follows, I will replace B with ‘the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name.’

Logically, therefore, when I cite Gundry to say,

‘Mt. 28:19 does not imply that the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name,’

that is not the same as citing him to say,

‘Mt. 28:19 implies that the Father, Son and Spirit do not share the same name.’

And it does not mean the same as citing him to say,

‘I deny that the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name.’

It is really sad to see Sam misquoting me to prove his charge that I misquoted someone else. Sam does not like my message. But does that justify shooting the messenger? Dialogue between Muslims and Christians need to move beyond such tactics. We need to listen to each other, learn, and pray to God asking him to guide us all.

Finally, the book I was citing was published in 1982 for an academic level of readership. It caused a stir in evangelical circles leading to Gundry’s resignation from the Evangelical Theological Society. The book Sam read on air was published 28 years later in the year 2010 for a more common readership.

This latter work, from which Sam’s read to me on air, and which he cited second in his article, clearly supports Sam’s contention that Gundry believes that the three divine persons are included in ‘the name.’ I am grateful for this information. I did not know it until Sam pointed it out. And I am glad that I did not overstate my case in citing Gundry. However, if I do cite him again, on this matter, it will be appropriate for me to add that Gundry apparently changed his mind about this as is evident from his later writing. Why he apparently changed his mind would be interesting to learn. Is it that the two books were meant for two different audiences, in which case he was willing to tease the academic community but not the masses? Did the negative response to his earlier book cause him to be more cautious? Or, did he find new evidence to convince him that his earlier statement was incorrect?

In short,

  • I correctly cited Gundry’s earlier statement,
  • I am willing to incorporate his later statement in future citations, and
  • I am grateful to Sam for alerting me to this, but
  • I find it at least ironic that Sam would misrepresent me to prove that I misrepresented Gundry.

[1] The recording can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idHxegbSunQ&feature=youtu.be. Sam’s call comes in at 2 hours and 14 minutes into the recording. My thanks to Brother Nazam for pinpointing this location.

[2] Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) p. 596.

[3] Sam was referring to Gundry, “Matthew,” Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2010) pp. 135-136.

[4] http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

[5] Robert Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church Under Persecution, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995).

[6] This begins at approximately 19:55 and lasts for about 40 minutes.

[7] Though Muslims call him by another name Allah, which is also in the Bible in Arabic translations. See Genesis 1:1.

[8] At 2:14 in the recording.

[9] At 2:16:40.

[10] http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

Has Evangelist Ravi Zacharias Lied About His Credentials?

The following is a guest post by three individuals who have taken it upon themselves to investigate the academic credentials of Ravi Zacharias. They have included their names, and their own academic qualifications and can be contacted by commenting on the post. Any comments or questions posted, will be sent to them.

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HAS EVANGELIST RAVI ZACHARIAS LIED ABOUT HIS CREDENTIALS?

WHO WE ARE

We are two atheists and a Christian who are concerned that a prominent evangelist, Mr. Ravi Zacharias, has engaged in misconduct that undermines academic integrity and that tends seriously to mislead the public at large.   We issue this Press Release with two primary goals in mind. First, we wish to draw attention to what we believe are the dishonest practices of Ravi Zacharias.  Second, we hope the facts presented here will prompt professional journalists and investigators to continue the work we have started.

  • Steve Baughman is an attorney and part time philosophy student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.  He holds a Masters Degree in Asian Studies from University of California at Berkeley. He is the creator of the YouTube channel Friendly Banjo Atheist, which first presented the matter of Mr. Zacharias’ credentials to the public.

  • Tom Lunal has a B.S. in Mathematics from U.C. Santa Barbara and an M.S. in Computer Science from USC. He worked for Microsoft before moving to a position at New York Life.

  • Andy Norman is a professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He has a PhD from Northwestern University and has published widely on the norms of responsible discourse.

ABOUT RAVI ZACHARIAS

Ravi Zacharias is a world renowned Christian evangelist who has written over a dozen books. Former White House counsel, Chuck Colson, called him “the great apologist of our time.”  Mr. Zacharias maintains a busy travel schedule lecturing all over the world. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where his ministry, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), is headquartered. RZIM has numerous overseas offices and maintains a staff of over 100 people.  According to Mr. Zacharias’ website, his weekly radio program, “Let My People Think”, airs on over 2,000 outlets worldwide.

A. SUMMARY OF CONCERNS

THE CAMBRIDGE CLAIM

Ravi Zacharias has claimed for many years that he was a “visiting scholar at Cambridge University.”  He presents this claim prominently in his press bios and in his memoirs.  He makes frequent mention of it in his public appearances (in about 90% of his youtube videos). It is by far the most impressive item in his academic portfolio.

The claim is absolutely false.  The University of Cambridge press office has confirmed the same to us.

We recently contacted Mr. Zacharias and informed him of our belief that he has misrepresented having been a “visiting scholar at Cambridge University.” We informed him of our intent to go public with this information and we asked him for a response. None came.

Shortly thereafter Mr. Zacharias deleted the claim from his official website bio.

B. THE DETAILS OF MR. ZACHARIAS’ MISREPRESENTATIONS

THE CAMBRIDGE CLAIM

In his memoirs Mr. Zacharias states the following:  “By 1990, the load of ministry had gotten so heavy that I decided to take a sabbatical for the first time since I had started in the ministry. I spent part of that year at Cambridge University in England with my family, and it was a very special time for us.”

He also writes “I was invited to be a visiting scholar, and I decided to focus my studies on the Romantic writers and moralist philosophers.” (Walking from East to West, at p. 205.)

Until several weeks ago, Mr. Zacharias’ website bio at RZIM.org stated, “Dr. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University.” Mr. Zacharias is frequently introduced at his university appearances as having been “a visiting scholar at Cambridge University.” The President of Liberty University said “Ravi was a visiting scholar at Cambridge university” when awarding him an honorary doctorate recently. The claim also appears on the jacket of his book, The Real Face of Atheism and a few of his books claim in the back cover that he was educated at Cambridge University.

A Google search of [“Ravi Zacharias” “visiting scholar at Cambridge University”] reveals thousands of pages in which the claim is repeated.

The claim is false as mentioned earlier, and Mr. Zacharias withdrew it shortly after we asked him for a response to our concern that he has misrepresented his Cambridge visiting scholar status.

How do we know it is false? We contacted the University of Cambridge Office of External Affairs and Communications and asked whether Mr. Ravi Zacharias was ever a visiting scholar at their university.  We were told in writing the following:

 1. “We can confirm that Mr. Zacharias spent a sabbatical term at Ridley Hall in the city of Cambridge.” He was there for a mere 12 weeks (1 term).

2. “Ridley Hall is independent from Cambridge University and trains people for effective work in the Church of England”.

3. “Attending lectures and classes at the University of Cambridge whilst on sabbatical at Ridley Hall would not confer University of Cambridge Visiting Scholar status on a student. Ridley Hall is not and has never been a constituent part of the University of Cambridge and has different criteria for granting Visiting Scholar status.”

4. “All student and visitors to Ridley Hall know the difference between Ridley hall and Cambridge University and to equate this is plainly false.”
Insofar as it is exclusively the province of the University of Cambridge to decide who constitutes a “visiting scholar” at their institution, we believe it to be established beyond dispute that Mr. Zacharias’ visiting scholar claim is false.  
We sincerely ask that you contact Cambridge University and Ridley Hall independently and verify this information.
 

FIRST ANTICIPATED DEFENSE FROM RAVI ZACHARIAS

1. The close connection between the University of Cambridge and Ridley Hall justifies the claim. 

No it does not.  We note that his website was recently changed to state that “Dr. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge (then affiliated with Cambridge University, now more recently allied with Cambridge and affiliated with Durham University) where he studied moralist philosophers and literature of the Romantic era.) This is totally false. It makes it seem as if Ridley Hall was a constituent Hall of Cambridge University back when he was there. The officials at Cambridge University and Ridley Hall confirmed that it has never has that affiliation. Ridley Hall has always been an independent clergy training school and never part of Cambridge University.

However, we acknowledge the close affiliation between the University of Cambridge and Ridley Hall.  Both are in the town of Cambridge, and both are part of the Cambridge Theological Federation (CTF). There are various institutions that are a part of the Cambridge Theological Federation and the students and others are allowed to utilized the facilities, libraries at these various schools. They are also able to take a few Cambridge, Durham etc. accredited courses. That’s it, no more, no less. No one can ever claim that being at one equals to being at the other as Ravi Zacharias might claim.

We believe it to be a misleading practice to claim to have been a “visiting scholar” at one institution by virtue of one’s doing a sabbatical at a different “affiliated” institution.  We note that Mr. Zacharias’ supervisor at Ridley, Dr. Jeremy Begbie, who taught at both Ridley and Cambridge University, draws a very clear distinction in his own Curriculum Vitae between Ridley Hall and Cambridge University. (See https://divinity.duke.edu/academics/faculty/jeremy-begbie ).
SECOND ANTICIPATED RESPONSE FROM RAVI ZACHARIAS
2.  The “visiting scholar at Cambridge University” claim is accurate because Mr. Zacharias attended classes and lectures at Cambridge University while on Sabbatical at Ridley
Again, the University of Cambridge has told us in writing that ““Attending lectures and classes at the University of Cambridge whilst on sabbatical at Ridley Hall would not confer University of Cambridge Visiting Scholar status on a student.” The Director of Programs at Ridley Hall actually said “that such a claim might be made for personal benefit but would be absolutely false. If you want to study at Ridley, you would apply to Ridley and if you want to study at Cambridge University, you would apply to Cambridge University.” There is absolutely no justification for making any of the claims that Ravi Zacharias has made even if he took a few classes at Cambridge. Seeing that he was there foronly 12 weeks, just how many classes would he have taken anyway?
Additionally, just think about it. Even if we, for the sake of argument grant that he was indeed a visiting scholar at Cambridge University (which he clearly was not!), does it justify the marketing and publicizing he has done for years trying to pass as a Cambridge scholar. His book, DVDs, CDs, public talks, sermons, speech bios etc. are full of references to being a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, making it look like he spent years doing research at that fine institution. The actual fact of the matter is that he was never a visiting scholar at Cambridge University but was on a sabbatical at Ridley Hall.
THIRD ANTICIPATED RESPONSE FROM RAVI ZACHARIAS
3. The vagueness of the term “visiting scholar” justifies Mr. Zacharias’ use of it:

Now we move to the designation of visiting scholar status. The official record at Ridley Hall says that he was on Sabbatical for one term (12 weeks). You can check it out independently. Just call them! We acknowledge that the term “visiting scholar” is used both formally and informally.  In its formal sense it carries great prestige, especially at respected institutions like Cambridge University. In its informal sense, it can mean nothing more than attending lectures and classes for a short period  while on sabbatical at a given institution.However, the informal designation cannot be utilized for official purposes. For instance, if I go to Cambridge and do some research for a few months and interact with faculty/students, I could unofficially call myself a visiting scholar but unless the university has officially invited me I cannot claim so in official documents. This, however, is precisely what Ravi Zacharias has done. His official records show that he was on sabbatical at Ridley Hall but he claims that he was visiting scholar at Cambridge University. He writes in his autobiography that he was “invited by Cambridge University.” This is not a case of stretching the truth, its a case of telling an absolute lie.

Mr. Zacharias clearly intends us to understand his “visiting scholar at Cambridge University” claim in the formal, prestigious sense.  It is, quite simply, the crown jewel of his otherwise very unremarkable academic history.  It is a claim he has trumpeted loudly and widely.

To be sure, Mr. Zacharias may now urge as his defense that he intended the claim to be understood informally (perhaps as nothing more than him attending lectures and classes at Cambridge while he was at Ridley.)  But the more Mr. Zacharias drifts from the formal/prestigious conception of the term “visiting scholar,” the more the public will be justified in feeling deceived. Why make such a big issue of it in the press materials (books, videos, CDs, speech bios etc.) if it was an informal arrangement involving nothing more than “attending lectures and classes”?

REMAINING CONCERNS:

We believe that Mr. Zacharias’ deception is clearly established. Nevertheless, we believe that we might gain greater clarity as to the depth of that deception if several outstanding questions be answered.

CONCERN 1:
Who invited Mr. Zacharias to be a “visiting scholar at Cambridge”? Which office at Cambridge University invited him? They have absolutely no record of him being there.  Did Mr. Zacharias formally take classes at Cambridge? Or did he merely audit? Were these graduate classes? (See p. 205-206 of Walking From East to West where Mr. Zacharias specifically claims to have been invited to be a visiting scholar at Cambridge University.)  

We hope others will be more successful than we have been in obtaining information from Mr. Zacharias about these significant matters of concern.   
CONCERN 2:
The website at RZIM claims that “He has been honored with the conferring of six doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Laws and a Doctor of Sacred Theology.” Please notice the wording. This makes it look like he earned these doctorates, especially to the person in the pew. What it should say clearly is that “He has been conferred six honorary doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Laws and a Doctor of Sacred Theology.” Again, there is always this need for Mr. Zacharias to boost his credentials by either telling a lie or by making things unclear.

CONCERN 3:

Mr. Zacharias claims to have “lectured at the world’s most prestigious universities.” (See for example the jacket of his book The Real Face of Atheism.  In his autobiography he states, “I have spoken on almost every major campus – Berkeley, Princeton, Cornell, you name it.  If we haven’t been to a major school it is more often than not because we haven’t had the time to accommodate the request.” Walking from East to West, p. 209.

We are concerned about the extent to which Mr. Zacharias’ claim implies that his appearances at such universities have been pursuant to invitations from the faculty or the institutions.  It is our understanding that Mr. Zacharias’ appearance at prestigious universities has been primarily, if not exclusively, pursuant to invitations from student clubs and Christian evangelical organizations or local churches. For instance, many of Mr. Zacharias’ appearances at prestigious universities have been sponsored by the Veritas Forum, a Christian campus ministry that promotes discussion “about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life.”  Mr. Zacharias is closely connected to the organization, appearing in their promo video and writing the preface to the Veritas founder’s book. http://veritas.org/about/#link1. He has never been invited by Harvard, Yale or Princeton universities i.e., officially by the universities for any lectures. However, he often refers to his lectureships at various leading universities in the world. Misleading at best and false at worst. None of the schools he mentions, like Harvard, Yale or Princeton have officially invited him to give a lecture. He was just on their campus at the sponsorship of the Christian organization, the Veritas Forum.

CONCERN 4:
It is an open question whether Ravi Zacharias qualifies as any kind of scholar at all.  Not only has he no doctoral degree, to our knowledge he has published nothing in scholarly journals, done no peer-reviewed research, and his academic qualifications are limited to his having a Masters of Divinity and having held the chair of evangelism and contemporary thought at a missionary training school, Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY.  He is a great speaker and communicator but no scholar. If he really is a foremost thinker and philosopher, has he ever delivered a paper at the American Philosophical Association, The Society of Christian Philosophers, The American Academy of Religion, The Evangelical Philosophical Society, The Evangelical Theological Society or any other academic forums? the answer is NO.
CONCLUSION:
1. His claim about being a visiting scholar at Cambridge University is absolutely false.
2. Cambridge University as well as Ridley Hall have given us written statements that this claim is false.
3. He was officially on a sabbatical at Ridley Hall in the city of Cambridge for a term (12 weeks)
4. He continues to project the false impression that his doctorates are earned.
5. He continues to project the false impression that he is a scholar lecturing at leading universities like Harvard and Yale. A claim that is absolutely false. None of these universities recognize him as an academic or intellectual.
6. He is a great speaker and communicator but not a scholar in any way. His false projection is not fair to those who are actual scholars.
7. All that Ravi and RZIM need to do is to present an official letter from Cambridge University that he was a “visiting scholar” at their institution and the inquiries and investigations will end. Neither he nor RZIM are undertaking any efforts to get this done because you cannot substantiate a lie.
Thanks,
Tom, Steve and Andy
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