This morning, I just learned that Christian apologist and evangelist Ravi Zacharias went to be with the Lord. He was 74. He was diagnosed with cancer in March and now is gone.
I first came across his work about 25 years ago when I was struggling with confidence in the faith. Somehow, I came across his book, “Can man live without God?” Here, for the first time, I found answers to many questions I and others had been asking. New Age spirituality was all the rage at that time. Some Christians were trying to blend their Christianity with thoughts of the New Age. Much of this new age thinking incorporated some Eastern religious thought (Hinduism and Buddhism). Since Ravi was born in India, he had a unique perspective for us North Americans and unpacked the reality that only in Christ could we find truth.
Ravi was also very positive and respectful. Though supremely intelligent, he never came across as arrogant or lording it over those who knew less about a subject than he did. I saw in him an example of how to live out 1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Ravi was not perfect and openly admitted to this reality. Some of his messages included reflections on his parenting. He lamented how he had tried to parent all his kids the same way instead of learning the unique ways each best responded to input. I appreciated his humility. His ministry is not perfect. There are moments or times when we wish we would have said something differently or with greater clarity. Yet, his overall life and ministry testify to one faithfully serving the Lord who saved Him from a bed of suicide at the age of 17.
His legacy continues through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. A new generation of Christian apologists seeks to defend the faith on university and college campuses. They desire to fully engage with the hard questions people put to Christianity.
He leaves behind his wife of 48 years, children, grandchildren and countless brothers and sisters in Christ who came to know Christ through his ministry.
His passing reminds us to use the time we have for God’s good purposes. You never know what impact you might have on someone you encounter today or how God might use your prayer for another this week. Let us learn a little from Ravi how to live out 1 Peter 3:15.
“Thank you Lord for Ravi Zacharias. Thank you for using his ministry to show that Christianity stands strong in the face of severe and intense criticism. Let his passing remind us to use the time you give us for important things. Yet, we are also encouraged that your purposes do not rest on one man but on you. Please comfort his family, friends and ministry during this time of grief.”
To read Ravi Zacharias' obituary click here.