By Caleb Yarbrough
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Evangelist and apologist Ravi Zacharias died May 19 in Atlanta following a short battle with sarcoma. He was 74.
Zacharias is best known as an advocate for the defense of Christianity on intellectual grounds.
His daughter, Sarah Davis, announced Zacharias’ death in a Facebook post.
Following reports of his death, people quickly began sharing remembrances and appreciation of Zacharias via Twitter.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist whose ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ impacted millions around the world. Ravi was a man of faith who could ‘rightly handle the word of truth’ like few others in our time [and] he was my friend,” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wrote.
“Today heaven rejoices [and] welcomes home a giant of the faith. Today we miss [and] mourn the loss of a friend [and] a teacher,” wrote Christian musician David Crowder.
“A terrible loss. Ravi wasn’t just a great man — he was a good one, which is far more difficult and important,” wrote political commentator Ben Shapiro.
“I’m so sad to hear about the death of Ravi Zacharias. I’ll never forget the first Veritas Forum, at Harvard Law School, in 1992. Ravi spoke to a standing-room-only crowd and even years later people still listened to the tapes. He was masterful and kind. #ThankYouRavi,” wrote David French, senior editor of The Dispatch.
“. @RaviZacharias shared the truth of God’s Word w/millions worldwide, “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…& every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” (Philippians 2:10-11). Ravi will be greatly missed — join me in praying for his family & loved ones,” wrote Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Zacharias was saved at 17 after hearing the gospel while in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt in his native country of India.
At age 37 in 1983 Zacharias preached at the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam at the invitation of Billy Graham. In 1984 he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).
The mission of RZIM, according to the ministry’s website, is “helping the thinker believe and the believer think.” Today RZIM is represented by nearly 100 evangelists and the ministry has a physical presence in 15 countries on five continents, according to raim.org.
In 2004, Zacharias helped found the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford, England. Since its founding, the OCCA has trained more than “400 students from 50 countries who have gone on to carry the gospel in many arenas across the world,” according to rzim.org.
Zacharias also launched Wellspring International in 2004. Wellspring is a humanitarian arm of RZIM that works to meet the needs of women and children around the world.
In 2014, Zacharias helped to found RZIM Academy, an online apologetics resource.
Zacharias is the author of multiple popular books, including “The Logic of God,” Seeing Jesus from the East,” which he co-authored with Abdu Murray, “Can Man Live Without God?,” “Jesus Among Other Gods” and “The Grand Weaver.”
He received a Bachelor of Theology degree from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale College) in Toronto, Ontario, in 1972 and a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1976. He also received 10 honorary doctorate degrees from various institutions, including the University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru – the oldest university in the Americas established in 1551.
Zacharias is survived by Margie, his wife of 48 years; three children and five grandchildren.