Renowned Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias Dies of Cancer at 74
Popular Evangelical and Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias died Tuesday morning after succumbing to sarcoma. He was 74.
“This morning, our beloved founder and apologist @RaviZacharias went home to be with Jesus,’ read a tweet from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, also referred to as RZIM.
This morning, our beloved founder and apologist @RaviZacharias went home to be with Jesus. RZIM’s CEO, Sarah Davis, shares this reflection on her father: https://t.co/EzMVVamxyx pic.twitter.com/kZ03xNyMCV
— RZIM (@RZIMhq) May 19, 2020
Zacharias did not have a long battle with cancer. He was diagnosed with the malignant and rare cancer within his spin in March of this year. Weeks prior to his diagnosis, he underwent back surgery. He began experiencing pain following the procedure, and test later revealed that he had sarcoma.
“My dad, at 74, has “join[ed] with the triumphant saints that sing [his] Savior’s praise.” We who knew and loved him celebrate his life, and more importantly, his Savior,” his daughter wrote in a heartfelt reflection. “My dad’s humility, grace, tenderness for people, and above all love for the Lord are forever imprinted on my mind, my heart, and my life. His love for our family will be impossible to replace until we join him in heaven one day.”
Born Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias in India in 1946, as a young boy a palm reader told him he would not travel much and had no future abroad. By the age of 17, he found himself suicidal and attempted to end his life.
While recovering from his suicide attempt in a Delhi hospital, the words of Jesus from the book of John were read to him. That moment was transformative. He surrendered his life to Christ and started a journey that took him around the world.
In the next twenty years, he would move to Canada, marry his wife of 48 years, Margie, become a licensed minister, preach, at the invitation of Billy Graham, to the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983 and found RZIM. He also received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and taught at Alliance Theological Seminary.
As an apologist, he was loved because he saw questions not as a reason to engage in verbal combat, but as an invitation of the heart.
“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,” one colleague expressed.
During his time on earth, he experienced a broad sphere of influence. The author of numerous publications and a well-known preacher and speaker, he impacted the lives of countless people.
Last week, rapper Lecrae, star athlete Tim Tebow and Pastor Greg Giglio visited Zacharias at his home in Atlanta. Recognizing that Zacharias did not have much longer, the three men asked all those who had been touched by Zacharias’ ministry to post messages of gratitude now, in a gesture meant to give Zacharias his flowers while he was still earthside.
“Spent time today by Ravi’s bedside today. In tears thanking him for the gift he shared with us. If @ravizacharias has impacted you like he has us take the time to let him know while he’s here with us,” Lecrae shared in an Instagram post
Many believers responded to this request with their posts of gratitude under the hashtag #ThankYouRavi.
Now, in the wake of his passing, the words of honor and thankfulness continue to pour in.
“My deep condolences go out in the passing of @RaviZacharias. I want to express my gratitude for his work and ministry. Ravi vigorously defended the faith as a leading apologist for Christianity around the world. We as the church of Jesus Christ are stronger because of him,” Dr. Tony Evans wrote.
“This morning, Ravi Zacharias heard the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ The whole world has been impacted because he faithfully walked out the call of God on his life. I have the utmost love and respect for him, and his legacy will endure for generations to come,” Pastor Robert Morris expressed in the caption of a picture he posted with Zacharias.
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This morning, Ravi Zacharias heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The whole world has been impacted because he faithfully walked out the call of God on his life. I have the utmost love and respect for him, and his legacy will endure for generations to come. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ March 26, 1946 – May 19, 2020 #ThankYouRavi @rzimhq
Brooklyn Pastor A.R. Bernard posted a picture of the two of them as well, with the caption, “A moment in time with my spiritual brother Ravi Zacharias. He left an indelible mark on my life. Please keep his family in your prayers. RIP 1946-2020”
“I can’t lie. I’m sad right now,” wrote spoken word artist Preston Perry. “At the same time I’m deeply encouraged by the life of @ravizacharias. For years I was able to witness him defend the truth of the gospel with so much grace and wisdom. His storytelling was unmatched. His brilliant mind and humble heart has been great weapons for the kingdom of God. Today the lord called him home and I’m happy he now gets to enjoy to God he bragged about for so many years in person.
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I can’t lie. I’m sad right now. At the same time I’m deeply encouraged by the life of @ravizacharias. For years I was able to witness him defend the truth of the gospel with so much grace and wisdom. His story telling was unmatched. His brilliant mind and humble heart has been great weapons for the kingdom of God. Today the lord called him home and I’m happy he now gets to enjoyed to God he bragged about for so many years in person. A couple months ago, I was presented with the opportunity to travel with his ministry and I was so looking forward to spending time with one of my hero’s this summer. Now I’m looking forward to seeing him again in heaven. I’ll never forget how much respect and dignity you gave my wife and i. Rest well brother. God thank you for the life of @ravizacharias.
(Photo via screengrab)