I wrote this post a while back but never came back to it. However, after some recent comments by one former executive, I thought it appropriate to come back to it now since she resorted to some of the same defenses as to why she, and others, supposedly didn’t question allegations more. As usual it tends to take the “I’m guilty but I’m really not” tactic.
The basic claim is that Dad presented his defense as one of spiritual warfare, and that the defense of Dad from those closest to him was based all on his word and not on any examination of the facts. All of that is false, as I’ll explain below.
I’ll say one thing for the vocal former RZIM people – they’ve done a remarkable job of supposedly accepting “responsibility” while simultaneously blaming anyone else in the organization for their own inability to see the “truth.” In essence, if their take is true, they are saying, “I’m so sorry I was so easily manipulated, misled and subjective in my analysis of the facts. I’m so sorry my belief in and love of the person caused me to miss the ‘truth.’”
That is unfortunate for many reasons. For one thing, it’s the scandal defense equivalent of when the hiring manager asks you for your biggest weakness and you say it’s that you care too much.
But beyond that, they talk about all the ways they were misled, gullible, and undiscerning, and then they claim to be experts at analyzing evidence and logic.
Also, this same individual that recently commented, helped lead a dramatic break with the US organization after the report came out. They said they didn’t want to be associated with an organization and brand that had so badly mishandled this. Then they ran off with the historic building paid for by the US organization and still use it today.
And, fun fact, though they took a public stance in breaking with the organization in February of 2020, they continued to accept their regular funding from them through the end of the fiscal year, which would have ended Sept 30, 2020. Not surprisingly, they didn’t make a public statement about that. And the UK office was almost entirely funded by the US, so that was no small amount. That means the break was on paper and in interviews about taking a stand because of their belief in alleged victims, but it wasn’t in their bank accounts. And if what we’ve been told is true, some within that group, have possibly accepted funds from RZIM since, and will continue to do so. They were “ethical” enough to publicly denounce my Dad and the US Board, but not so ethical that they couldn’t privately accept their assets, which were all raised on Dad’s name.
With that preamble said, what follows next is what I originally wrote for this post.
Below is an email written to my Dad from Abdu Murray in 2017. Abdu was closely involved in conversations with Dad and other members of leadership regarding the accusations in 2017, as well as Steve Baughman’s regular attacks against my Dad. He knew the information very well, as well as all the people involved. Abdu was with Dad when he met with Baughman, and Abdu’s analysis, both before and after that meeting, was that Baughman was “crazy.”
This email contradicts the narrative that some ex and current RZIM people are running with now, which is that their belief in Dad back in 2017 was based purely on their trust in him and not any evidence. But here you’ll see that Abdu mentions he knows the facts and considers Dad to be clearly innocent.
As a side note, when the C&MA did their first investigation, Dad was not alone in that room with their investigators. There was another leadership member in there to observe (it was not Abdu). The investigators did not hold back in their questions. That staff member heard the questions, heard Dad’s answers, and heard all the information that the investigators had on the situation. That person came out of that process still completely convinced of Dad’s innocence. There was no question in his mind. So the notion that Dad didn’t face tough questions and that leadership didn’t get extensive answers is not true.
The M&M report also painted a picture of Dad as a man who was secretive, evasive, vindictive and calculating. If true, that would show up in all kinds of ways. But in this note Abdu gives Dad high praise for the integrity with which he lived, and the way that he inspired others to act in the same manner.
Also, some have stated Dad’s belief that the attacks were spiritual warfare designed to stop him. But they’ve acted like he was the one who pushed it. You’ll see in this email that Dad was not alone in that conviction.
In short, Abdu knew the details better than most and got to observe Dad more closely than many. He considered Dad to be a man of high integrity. He is also an attorney and he clearly considered Dad innocent, and considered the accuser to be undeniably dishonest.
(And as it relates to those 2017 accusations, nothing in the report changed the understood facts of that case. RZIM just decided to accept it, despite all of their due diligence years ago that told them otherwise. As I’ve stated before, they chose the PR path. The only way to appease the mob and to protect their names was to act like everything ever mentioned or alleged was true, regardless of what the facts did or did not say).
Here is the text of the email, as well as screenshots.
The past few days may have been trying for you with Christians seemingly eager to jump onto the side of Mr. Baugham’s misrepresentations. You’ve been in ministry much longer than I have and so saying something to you about all of this may seem obvious. But I’ve been thinking of you all day and felt compelled to write this to you.
I’ve never been one to over-spiritualized things by blaming Satan for every adversity we might face in life or even ministry in specific. But what I’ve seen in the past few months has me thoroughly convinced that spiritual forces are aligning to try to slow your effectiveness or even stifle it altogether. The reason? Because more people than ever, those with global influence and those whose influence goes no further than their immediate families, are coming to know the Lord through your ministry.
And so, strangely, maybe you can take some solace in the fact that you’re under unfair scrutiny and subject to slander because God is using you perhaps more effectively than ever in your decades-long ministry. The enemy would like nothing more than for fewer people to hear what God has to say through you and so is using critics (sadly including Christians) to limit your audiences and distract you from God’s calling. I’m privileged to be part of what God is doing through RZIM and will work with you and the team to stem these efforts to silence you. Though we shouldn’t be surprised by the attacks in light of the ministry’s success, the attacks still hurt, I’m sure.
You’ve impacted so many, including and especially people on your team who know the facts and don’t doubt your integrity. In fact, we’ve been inspired by it to act with integrity in our own ministries. Even now, I’m fully confident that your chief concerns have not been for yourself. They’ve been for Jesus’ reputation, the gospel’s advancement, your family, and your teammates. That’s the kind of character for which I left my own ministry to work with RZIM.
Countless Scriptures come to mind about facing persecution and even slander and despiteful use. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of them. Suffice it to say that your endurance through all of this has been an example for those of us who might face similar scrutiny one day. You’ve taught us through words, but especially by example. I’m forever grateful for that.
Grateful to call you friend, Abdu