'Criminal, sociopathic, satanic': Christian leaders react to Ravi Zacharias sex abuse report

Michael Youssef

In an interview with The Christian Post, bestselling author and pastor Michael Youssef said Zacharias’ downfall is a sobering reminder that “accountability” must be a significant pillar of ministry.

“Accountability is a word that's almost a dirty word among some of the celebrity preachers, and that's got to come back,” he said. “Whether a church has 10 members, 100 members or 10,000 members, he must have accountability. This is a word that is lost in today’s churches and must be returned to our vocabulary.”

“We have put these people on a pedestal,” Youssef stressed. “Weekly, I tell my congregation, ‘If you're here because of me, go somewhere else. If you want to worship Jesus, then, welcome.’ We are about Jesus. We're not about the preacher. We're not about celebrities, because that is deadly as far as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned.”

In addition to demonstrating transparency with his accountability partners, Youssef said that three people are aware of his whereabouts at all times. He releases his finances and tax returns to five members of his leadership and his technological devices are fully accessible to his spouse and staff.  

Such measures are “necessary,” Youssef said, adding that everyone — regardless of their title — is “very capable of self-deception.” 

“We can never get to the point where we say, ‘I trust my own judgment,’ because you cannot,” he said. “Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all. So what do you do? You build a wall around those areas that are going to cause your downfall.”

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