(Ravi starts speaking just after minute 42.)
I posted the video above with my comments (below) in June of 2016. It is now May of 2020 and Ravi passed away yesterday. I was encouraged by a relative to attempt to contact Ravi regarding my original post here. I know that Ravi was a very busy man but I agreed and emailed his ministry a couple of times to try and get Ravi’s thoughts on the post I had written. I knew that the size of Ravi’s ministry meant that someone else would probably write me back with a response that had been given to others about this particular incident. I didn’t get a reply. So, I leave this post up with the understanding that many consider Ravi the reason for their strong Christian faith. At the same time I must admit that I am still confused about this event. I’m sure that Ravi probably knew at least as much about Mormon theology and history as I do. Many books have been written on the subject and many have left the Mormon church because of these books. If you are curious about why I am critical of Ravi’s appearance at the Mormon Tabernacle, this short article will give you a good start: Mormons Are Not Christians Because the Mormon Jesus Is Not the Christian Christ. From there you can find the truth if you seek it. There are thousands of books and articles about the issue.
This is a telling video. I have heard about Mr. Zacharias but I’ve not followed his life and ministry very closely.
I decided to watch this video pretending to be a good Mormon and found that Mr. Zacharias did a very good job.
He speaks of morality. At about 1:17:50 minutes he says:
“One can lead millions into untold evil. The reason they are able to do it is most people cannot think for themselves anymore.”
“The lost art of rational thinking….”
About 1:29:45, Mr. Zacharias gets a nice round of applause.
After watching this video, I came to these conclusions:
This sounded like any Mormon speaker on any Sunday although it was more polished than most.
It seemed that morality was a theme. This holds well with Mormon teachings. Mr. Zacharias asks them to read the Gospel of John. It is one of the Gospels out of four books Mormons believe to be God’s word. Besides the Bible, there is the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. When ones says: “The Word of God” in Mormon terms it can be from any of these four documents.
This speech is an emotional one. What is our purpose in life? It is to have communion with God and then our relationship with God is like a marriage.
These are Biblical themes but a very good Mormon would be comfortable with these themes as well.
There is no full Gospel message. John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress, is a great book and Mr. Zacharias mentions it at the end of his message. Mr. Bunyan was a Christian. He had never heard of Joseph Smith as he lived in a different time and in a different country. If he had heard Mr. Smith’s philosophy, I’m sure Mr. Bunyan would have considered Joseph Smith to be a false prophet. After studying Mormonism on and off over many years, I have come to the same conclusion that I think John Bunyan would have.
It is near the end where Mr. Zacharias gets close to the cross but it is not a clear message.
I agree to some degree with a statement of Ravi Zacharias. He says: “We’ve lost it today” when speaking about our worship life and about man’s communion with God.
The same statement could be made in many times in history and in front of many types of audiences.
Ravi speaks of the “absoluteness of God’s Word” towards the end and seems to be getting close to the Gospel. Sadly, he never gets there, as expected, in front of an audience that believes in a different Jesus.
How do I know this? Well, I have studied Mormonism at length in the past. I have viewed documents taken from early sources that are in serious error. Current Mormon doctrine is not Christian in spite of what anyone states. If I need to go more in detail than the following quote, only let me know and there is an abundance of evidence. Here are some concerning words of Joseph Smith, the first Mormon:
“A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (SOURCE)
It is hubris to think that one has done anything better than Jesus.
I remember this usual statement of the Mormon church that started with its founder. My source for this is a Mormon one:
“A revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1831, soon after the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of those who had been given “power to lay the foundation of this church.” The Lord then referred to the Church as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (D&C 1:30)”
If Mr. Zacharias wants to join Mormons to those who believe the Bible is the only inspired world, he has to struggle uphill against this statement.
Ravi sounded like a good Mormon, I will say that. But if he claims to be a Christian, how can he not take the road that Pilgrim took? In Pilgrim’s Progress there are many false ways. Here, Mr. Zacharias is surrounded by falseness and he has an opportunity, just like Christian does in The “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Christian succeeds where Mr. Zacharias fails. Christian makes it to the “Celestial City” in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Mr. Zacharias speaks of the “Celestial kingdom” and never gets to the Gospel message. The term “Celestial kingdom” is found in many places in Mormon literature. In the Pilgrim’s progress, the term “Celestial City” is used in every version I have. HERE IS WHAT THE MORMONS BELIEVE ABOUT THE THREE “KINGDOMS OF GLORY.”
I have taken Mr. Ravi Zacharias’ words to heart: “most people cannot think for themselves anymore.” Mr. Zacharias is a literate man as this video shows. My question is: “How can a Christian associate with those who think they will be gods someday?” YOU SHOULD READ THIS VIEW OF MORMON HISTORY AND WHEN YOU GET TO “Human nature was at its core divine.” YOU WILL BE ABOUT HALF WAY THROUGH.
To speak to those who believe in serious doctrinal error and not use the opportunity to preach the Gospel makes one appear guilty by association. I certainly hope this is the last time Mr. Zacharias speaks at the “Temple.” He must know of the major differences. He is an intelligent man.
In fact, I actually have a copy of THIS BOOK CALLED: “THE KINGDOM OF THE CULTS” with Ravi Zacharias’ name on the front. One of the chapters in this book is dedicated to the Mormon church and it isn’t friendly. I’m sure the Mormons know of this also, so why are they so friendly to Ravi when they were never very friendly to Walter Martin, a man who exposed Mormonism and other groups as cults? It is very strange.
Here is the end of the Pilgrim’s Progress without the final poem, if you would like to read it.
“Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured; and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also those that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the City rang again for joy; and that it was said unto them, “Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, “Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever”.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13, 14
Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them: and behold, the City shone like the sun: the streets also were paved with gold; and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal.
There were also of them that had wings; and they answered one another without intermission, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord!” And after that they shut up the gates, which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
IGNORANCE COMES TO HIS END
Now, while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw IGNORANCE come up to the river side; but he soon got over, and that without half the difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was then in that place one VAIN-HOPE, a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over: so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the hill to come up to the gate; only he came alone, neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement. When he was come up to the gate, he looked upon the writing that was above, and then began to knock, supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, “Whence came you? and what would you have?” He answered, “I have ate and drank in the presence of the King, and he has taught in our streets.” Then they asked him for his certificate, that they might go in and show it to the King. So he fumbled in his bosom for one, and found none. Then said they, “Have you none?” But the man answered never a word. So they told the King; but he would not come down to see him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that conducted CHRISTIAN and HOPEFUL to the City, to go out, and take IGNORANCE, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away. Then they took him up, and carried him through the air to the door that I saw in the side of the hill, and put him in there. Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven, as well as from the city of Destruction . So I awoke, and behold it was a dream! (SOURCE)