While many of you may already have heard, Ravi Zacharias passed away on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, after battling with cancer. I first encountered Zacharias’ work while at Wheaton College as an undergrad, both through his writing and his speaking. One of my mentors, Lyle Dorsett, assigned Zacharias’ books in classes on the ministry of evangelism. His books, particularly Jesus Among Other Gods, was pivotal in helping me frame my understanding of how the Christian faith made sense in relation to other faiths. A notable apologist for Christianity, Ravi spoke with intellectual clarity and pastoral concern within his ministry.
His daughter, Sarah Davis, who now serves as CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), offers a moving tribute to her father, which includes this summary of Ravi’s life and heart:
It was his Savior, Jesus Christ, that my dad always wanted most to talk about. Even in his final days, until he lacked the energy and breath to speak, he turned every conversation to Jesus and what the Lord had done. He perpetually marveled that God took a seventeen-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture—a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years.
You can also read the official obituary, as well as a brief biography at Christianity Today, which I extracted some key points from below. If Ravi Zacharias’ influenced your life in some way, it would be wonderful if you shared that story or anecdote in the comments for this blog post.
The popular author and Christian teacher was known for his work through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), which focused on apologetic arguments for the existence of God and the reasonableness of Christianity.
He preached in more than 70 countries and authored more than 30 books in his 48-year career, teaching Christians to engage with skeptics and arguing that the Christian worldview has robust answers to humanity’s existential questions.
Zacharias was born in India and raised in an Anglican family. He recounted that his conversion to Christianity came while reading the Bible in the hospital after a failed suicide attempt as a teen. He immigrated to Canada at the age of 20.
Zacharias started his ministry with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA). A graduate of Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University) and Trinity International University, he was commissioned as a national evangelist for the United States in 1977 and ordained in the CMA in 1980. He founded RZIM in 1984, and the organization has grown to about 200 employees in 16 offices around the world, with more than 70 traveling speakers.
2 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Ravi Zacharias”
I remember reading Ravi’s book, Atheism: The Shattered Visage, during classes my senior year in high school. I had been mesmerized by his message at Urbana ‘93 and intrigued by his intellectual apologetics. His passion for Jesus was contagious.
My memories of Ravi are best expressed in his presentation of the poem, “When God wants to drill a man.” Quintessential Ravi Zacharias, God’s man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4-0mI9DVEQ&feature=youtu.be