Check this out from PiperPlease give me an example of the Gospel Ravi Zacharias preached, because I'm not aware he preached another gospel...
Three Ministers Who Fell AwayLet me begin with some biblical background of gospel ministers, who, for a season, spoke the truth in useful ways, and then made shipwreck of their lives — indeed, their faith. I’m using these illustrations from the Bible, and I’m thinking here of Judas, Demas, and Hymenaeus — all of whom are explicitly named by Jesus and Paul.
Judas: Son of PerditionAccording to John 12:4–8, Judas was very critical of Mary’s anointing Jesus’s feet with an expensive perfume. And he said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). And John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).
In other words, for a long time — about three years, say — Judas was abusing the Lord’s trust by stealing what others had given to the ministry. And I assume that during all this time, he was preaching the gospel of the kingdom, that he was sent out two by two with others, that he worked miracles, that he enjoyed the most intimate conversations with the Son of God, Jesus Christ — all the while being a “son of perdition” (John 17:12 KJV).
Judas’s deception was so exceptional that none of the other twelve even suspected him of sedition and betrayal — because they were stunned at the Last Supper when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me” (Matthew 26:21). They didn’t all look at Judas and say, “Oh, of course, it’s Judas.” He was a master of deceit.
And what if, among the many people who were converted into followers of Jesus, some of them had been healed by Judas, and had responded to his preaching with faith in Jesus? His preaching was so orthodox, so apparently authentic, that no apostles were looking at him saying, “Well, Judas never gets it right.” They weren’t. He was getting it right. He was preaching the truth.
And lest anyone think that a phony apostle can’t do miracles, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:22–23,
And those works of lawlessness would, of course, include things like pervasive deception; greedy, lavish use of ministry funds; harmful manipulation of other people for your own private pleasures; adulterous dalliances; continually making provision for the flesh against the explicit command of the apostle in Romans 13:13–14.On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Demas: Infatuated with This AgeAnd then there’s Demas. Twice we hear from Paul that he is a faithful partner in gospel work alongside Paul.
- Colossians 4:14: “Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.” He greets you.
- Philemon 23–24: “Epaphras . . . sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.” Demas is ranked as a fellow worker in the gospel alongside Luke, of all people.
But there came a time when Demas’s true colors were revealed — namely, what he really loved. It was not true spiritual reality, but only what this age was offering him through religious work: things like association with notable people, access to money, experiences of power, accolades for eloquence, commendations for courage. There are plenty of worldly pleasures to be had doing so-called “otherworldly work.” But Demas decided to stop playing the game, and he abandoned Paul.“A double life, lived contrary to the Christian conscience, is a shipwreck about to happen.”
Hymenaeus: Shipwrecked BlasphemerAnd then thirdly, there’s Hymenaeus. In 1 Timothy 1:18–20, Paul says to Timothy,
They appeared to have faith. Well, what happened? They did not hold faith in a good conscience. What does that mean? It means that, over time, they began to do things for which their consciences condemned them. But instead of repenting, they found ways to dull their conscience, until their conscience was so seared that they could justify behaviors that were simply appalling, even to the point where Paul said they made “shipwreck of their faith.” A double life, lived contrary to the Christian conscience, is a shipwreck about to happen.Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this [namely, faith with a good conscience], some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
So, the lessons from Judas, Demas, and Hymenaeus are many. Here are three:
- Soul-saving, Christ-exalting truth may be spoken by hypocrites.
- Forsaking a good conscience is prelude to moral disaster.
- The amassing of money and the pursuit of lavish lifestyles in ministry are the alarm bells of the love of this age.