ATLANTA, GA – He was arguably the most eminent Christian apologist of the 20th and the 21st centuries, and perhaps of all time. Ravi Zacharias left his mortal frame this morning and entered into Heaven. His work on earth is done, and he has heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” spoken by the Lord he has loved and represented so well.
Dr. Zacharias will be remembered for his knowledge of the Bible, his application of biblical doctrines and principles, his awareness of the vain philosophies of men, and his willingness and ability to engage even the most problematic questions posed by the most difficult people. The latter of those is what made his ministry most remarkable and attractive to so many.
The gentleness with which he approached a wide range of sincere to hostile questions presented to him was as Christ-like as anyone could imagine. His kindness toward every inquisitor attracted people to his presentations and the Q&A sessions that followed.
His approach to ministry was foreshadowed by his appeal at Billy Graham’s first International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists.
“In certain strands of evangelicalism, we sometimes think it is necessary to so humiliate someone of a different worldview that we think unless we destroy everything he holds valuable, we cannot preach to him the Gospel of Christ…what I am saying is this, when you are trying to reach someone, please be sensitive to what he holds valuable.”
A colleague described Ravi’s compassionate (and exemplary) approach:
“He saw the objections and questions of others not as something to be rebuffed, but as a cry of the heart that had to be answered. People weren’t logical problems waiting to be solved; they were people who needed the person of Christ.’
It was this approach that led to the creation of RZIM, an international ministry “to meet the thinker where they were and to train cultural evangelist-apologists to reach those opinion-makers of society.”
RZIM and its subset of ministries have trained hundreds of evangelists and influencers in every walk of life, particularly in the arts, academia, business, media, and politics. Regardless of whether the training is at the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics, the Zacharias Institute, and Wellspring International, participants learn that love is the most powerful apologetic. The result is a global outreach of willing believers trained to share the Gospel effectively and “answer the common objections to Christianity with gentleness and respect.”
Whether speaking before the United Nations, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, a Passion conference, or the prisoners at the largest maximum-security prison in the U.S., Ravi always explained the Word of God logically and lucidly with humility and grace.
Being a possessor of truth was important to Ravi, not as a badge of honor, but as a calling to share that truth with others who were struggling to find it.
Perhaps the most telling example of the compassion that Ravi had for others is found in discovering that the inmates at that penitentiary have made the coffin in which his body will be laid to rest. The family will hold a private graveside service to be followed at an as-yet-unannounced later day by a public memorial celebration.
We will miss Ravi, but we shall see him again at Jesus’ feet.
Read recent articles about Ravi Zacharias in Missions Box News.
- CBN News, World-Renowned Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias Dies
- RZIM, Obituary: Ravi Zacharias
- RZIM, Ravi Zacharias, Now with Jesus