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Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias Loses His Battle With Cancer
“Come, let us reason together…” is a verse in the Christian Scriptures. One that many have adopted and used to enter into the intellectual field of theology and apologetics. None have embodied that ideal more than noted philosopher and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. Ravi has been battling cancer since 2019. Due to the nature of his cancer, it became malignant and untreatable. He has spent his final days surrounded by loving friends and family. Ravi passed away in the early hours of May 19th, 2020. He has been truly lauded as one of the giants of the Christian faith. He is sorely missed, but intensely celebrated all over social media.
Lost then Found
Born Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias in Madras, now Chennai India, he spent his childhood loving the game of cricket. Like many Indian kids born in the middle class, future plans did not look realistic. The major religions were Hinduism and Shamanism. A local palm reader once said to him, “… you will not travel far or very much in your life. That’s what the lines on your hand tell me. There is no future for you abroad.”
It was these words that stewed in young Ravi’s heart. At 17 years old, he decided that life was too hard and that there was nothing to look forward to. He then decided to commit suicide. Call it divine intervention, or the love of a praying mother who sat at his bedside. At that moment someone came into his hospital room and handed him a Bible. As he opened that book, he fell upon the words, “Because I live, you will also live.” That triggered a hunger to know this person, Jesus.
It was at that moment, Zacharias knew life was meant to be lived with a passion. The very Jesus Who loved him and gave up His own life for Him. Zacharias vowed to pursue this Jesus with every fiber of his being. Thus started a passion to study and study he did. This passion for the teachings of Christ and the Christian Gospel was ignited when he was in Vietnam during the summer of 1971.
His home base was later in Canada, when he moved there. He won a preaching award at the organization Youth For Christ in Hyderabad, India, at 25. Then Zacharias was invited to speak and preach all over. This was during the heights of the Vietnam War. He recounted that he even slept to the sound of gunfire.
Billy Graham and Ravi Zacharias International Ministry
At the age of 37, Zacharias was then invited to be part of the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983. This by a personal invitation by famous religious speaker, Billy Graham. Through the use of his intellect, he was on his way to becoming a fierce contender for the Christian faith. In front of 3800 evangelists, Ravi spoke about the disconnect between the message of Christ and the mind of man. The mind which came about from various religions, 20th century cultures and a plethora of philosophic sophistries.
Zacharias exhibited a fear that certain factions of the Evangelical world think it’s necessary to humiliate someone with a different worldview. He believed this was incorrect. What wins people is dialogue without degrading their humanity and what they hold dear. This approach has been the benchmark of every single Ravi Zacharias lecture.
In 1984, he started Ravi Zacharias International Ministry. The methods that Ravi spoke on back in 1983 continue to be the hallmark of what Ravi has done. He succeeded through the use of his intellect, wit, kindness, gentleness, and compassion. He exhibited an unswerving allegiance to the truth of the Gospel he holds most dear. His lectures appeared in tents as well as the lecture halls of Ivy League schools. He tried to answer some of life’s deepest questions. Despite push-back from the very intellectual heavyweights of those schools in many various poignant Q&A sessions.
“We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.”Ravi Zacharias
Speaker, Author, Evangelist, Husband, Father, Uncle, Friend
Throughout the years, Ravi has experienced looking at leaders from Soviet Russia to Presidents, and has spoken to literally hundreds if not thousands. Most notably he spoke at the Passion Conference back in January of 2020. The audiences have changed, but the message has always been the same. The search for meaning in the human experience is paramount, and you will never find it until you find out about the One Who made you.
Through various questions regarding philosophy, psychology, culture, politics, and even different religions, Ravi tackled many hard questions with fervor but also with grace. He is noted not just for his speaking engagements but also for his books. He has authored numerous favorites from “A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism” to “The Logic of God” and even “Seeing Jesus From the East”. Yet during this acclaim, he was also a husband to his best friend and wife Margie, who birthed the three children.
His children have become integral parts of RZIM, and he was also a grandfather to five grandchildren. Ravi was also noted to be an “uncle” to Nabeel Qureshi, who is an avid speaker regarding Islam. He was a former Muslim who converted, and both of them teamed up regularly and spoke together. Nabeel affectionately called him “uncle.
As he’s been an inspiration to many, the legacy of Ravi Zacharias continues forward. Many are grieved by the passing of this man, who has stoked the fires for the faith that he professed, both in word and in life. A man marked by a genuine care for those who opposed him. Marked by an ardent vibrant allegiance to the Christian message. Also a man marked by love for those who knew him and were around him.
Many have expressed their own journeys and their own transformational experiences because of how Zacharias spoke, in lectures and in his sermons. With him gone, the grief is real for many. Many have tears not of sadness but joy, as one of the giants of the Christian faith is now at peace. People are saying his faith is made sight.
Many are rejoicing that the man who carried the torch of melding reason with emotion and open dialogue for those who would reject the message of Christianity, is at rest with his God. He chose care and compassion rather than vitriol and anger. Ravi was a man who loved his family, his community, his city, and the world. He wanted every person whether atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or whatever to find meaning and purpose in God. Zacharias believed he could fulfill that need for many. That was his message and his hope, that anyone can come and reason for themselves about this Jesus, whom Zacharias loved.