Ravi Zacharias Obituary: In A World of Fire and Brimstone Preachers, A Calm But Firm Voice of Reason

Just as CS Lewis of the 20th Century, Ravi Zacharias was the greatest Christian apologist of the 21st Century

Ravi Z

In a world of fire and brimstone preachers, Brother Zac as he was lovingly called by his admirers was the voice of calm and reason.

A Christian apologist who spent "past 48 years commending the Christian faith and addressing life's greatest existential questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny with eloquence and grace," read an obituary released by.RZIM, the organization that Ravi founded in 1984.

His Christian exposition had the scientistic acumen that pulled many atheists and thinkers towards the teachings of Jesus. But it was his best-selling book, Can Man Live Without God? which sold about 500,000 copies in 1995, made him a known name among Christian households across the globe.

To say the least, the book became a trendsetter among the "thinkers" in the Christian circles, who would oft recommend it to anybody who was found questioning his faith or had doubts about Christianity.

In the book, 'Can Man Live Without God?' Ravi emphasized that all humans, regardless of what religion they practiced or whether they had no religious beliefs, had to answer four basic questions: Where do I come from? Why am I here? How should I treat people? Where am I going? Origin, Meaning, Morality, Destiny.

"The issue, then, is not whether the belief system you espouse-monotheistic, atheistic, pantheistic or otherwise--is exclusive. The issue is whether the answers to the four basic questions of life pertaining to origin, meaning, morality, and destiny within the context of each of these world-views meet the tests of truth. Are they logically consistent, are they empirically adequate, and are they experientially relevant?" Ravi wrote in the book.

Ravi Z

You Are Allowed to Ask Questions

Before Ravi Zacharias, there was either the fiery-brand of Christians dominated by the likes of Billy Graham or the Charismatic miracle-workers such as Benny Hinn. But Ravi Zacharias opened up a place for dialogues and arguments, which earlier were seen as taboo.

His expositions made way into the "mind" of Jesus, which also meant going beyond the teachings and miracles.

"Ravi 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," said Michael Ramsden, president of RZIM.

"People weren't logical problems waiting to be solved; they were people who needed the person of Christ. Those who knew him well will remember him first for his kindness, gentleness, and generosity of spirit. The love and kindness he had come to know in and through Jesus Christ was the same love he wanted to share with all he met."

Israel-Palestine Peace Efforts

Ravi Zacharias earned quite some respect among the apologists in the Middle East where he has actively been involved in advocating for peace between Israel and Palestine. His most recent book "Seeing Jesus from the East" that Ravi co-authored with Abdu Murray provides a refreshing insight into Eastern and Middle Eastern culture.

There is a popular story that often Ravi has shared involving a Hamas leader who he met during a peace process.

"Sheik, I just want you to hear this. Until you and I receive the Son God has provided, we'll be offering our own sons and daughters on the battlefields of this world for many of the wrong reasons" Ravi claimed he told a top Hamas leader.

The Hamas leader after the meeting got over before leaving Ravi said: "patted me on my face. He kissed me on both sides. He was a strong man; he pulled me to him. He said, 'You're a good man. I hope I will see you again someday.'"

Last Picture of Ravi Zacharias with wife
Last Picture of Ravi Zacharias with Wife Facebook

Ravi Zacharias Died of Cancer

Just as C.S. Lewis of the 20th Century, Ravi Zacharias was the greatest Christian apologist of the 21st Century.

Once Ravi wrote that "CS Lewis" [was] the greatest apologist in recent times. It is very hard to find someone whose evangelism undergirded by apologetics has been as profound."

"I don't think C.S. Lewis envisioned the kind of legacy that he would have. In the time in which we are living, his work is desperately needed," Ravi had said.

But Brother Zac did not realize is that just as C.S. Lewis, he too has left behind a legacy of being the greatest Christian apologist of the 21st Century.

"My dad, at 74, has "join[ed] with the triumphant saints that sing [his] Savior's praise," his daughter Sarah Davis, who is also the CEO of RZIM wrote announcing his death.

Since March he has been receiving treatment for sarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in tissues like bone or muscle, at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The RZIM ministry posted an update on May 8 announcing that Zacharias's cancer was untreatable, and he has been sent home to Atlanta to be with his family. He died on the morning of May 19.

Zacharias is survived by his wife of 48 years, Margie; daughters, Sarah and Naomi; son, Nathan; and five grandchildren.

This article was first published on May 20, 2020