This past Tuesday May 19, 2020 celebrated Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias died. He was 74. Just two months before he had announced a tumor had been discovered on his sacrum and it proved to be a very aggressive malignancy. He had been born in India.
At seventeen failing academically in a family that expected more he attempted to take his own life. He was given a Gideon’s New Testament and his mother would read it to him as he recuperated. When she read the words of Christ, “Because I live, you will live also,” John 14:19, faith came alive and he gave his life to Christ.
Ravi promised God he would leave “no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth.” He was true to his promise. At the age of 20 he migrated to Canada. He graduated from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University) and Trinity International University and started his ministry with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
In 1977 he was commissioned as a national evangelist for the United States and was ordained in the CMA in 1980. In 1984 he founded RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. His ministry spanned 48 years and he preached in more than 70 countries and authored more than 30 books.
Though he was friends with many political leaders he did not get entangled in politics. Obama’s faith outreach campaign worker, Michael Wear said Ravi was “actually known for being an evangelical who evangelized, rather than an evangelical who did politics.” Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s press secretary, credited Ravi with reinforcing her faith.
Ravi was well known for traveling to various university campus’ and engaging in very rigorous question-and-answer sessions after speaking to those assembled. One such exchange occurred at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. The videoed exchange received over two million views on YouTube.
A student asked, “Why are you so afraid of subjective moral reasoning? Do you think we all are just going to start raping and pillaging just because we don’t have a book telling us what to do? Are you afraid of that? I’m not, because that’s not what we are going to do. Yes, Nazis were bad, but there were Christian Nazis and atheist Nazis. So, I don’t see … what are you so afraid of?
Ravi graciously replied, “Do you lock your doors at night?” The young man smiled, and the audience began to laugh.
Through his writings and sermons, he mentored me. Some would say Ravi was a great man of God, but no man is ever called great in the Bible. That is because being a man of God, always going where He leads and doing as He says, is great in itself. Calling someone a great man of God is redundant.
Nevertheless, in my estimation Ravi Zacharias was a man of God. He will be missed. I will miss him.