On Tuesday 19 2020, one of the most well known influencers for Christ and Christianity was called home to be with the Lord. This article is a tribute written in honour of his life and service. Throughout this article I will be dispersing various quotes all attributed to Ravi.
Born 26 March 1946, Ravi was born in Madras, which at the time as known as British Raj. Today we are more familiar with that location as Chennai, India. The family moved to Delhi and were affiliated with the Anglican branch of the faith. For Ravi, however, he did not share his family faith and whilst an atheist, at the age of 17, he attempted suicide. As he himself explained in this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6aDoOzYN-U – the life changing experience whilst in hospital was a key moment for Ravi. A christian worker brought a bible to the ward and encouraged Ravi’s mother to read to him from John chapter 14. In particular, it was John chapter 14, verse 9 which resonated with Ravi:
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Ravi thought that this may be his only hope: “A new way of living. Life as defined by the Author of Life”. He committed his life to Christ praying, “Jesus if You are the one who gives life as it is meant to be, I want it. Please get me out of this hospital bed well, and I promise I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”
At the age of 20, Ravi followed his family in migrating to Canada, where he went on to study at Ontario Bible College (known today as the Tyndale University). He graduated in 1972 at the age of 26 before pursuing a Masters of Divinity from the Trinity International University.
In 1984 Ravi founded the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM) which has a global presence across 16 countries with over 250 employees including over 100 itinerant speakers.
RZIM utilises the full spectrum of media – radio, books, television plus the online channels today to broadcast the message of evangelism and apologetics.
The Zacharias Institute branch delivers training to instruct and equip anyone who desires to effectively share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Answering common objections to Christianity with gentleness and respect is a key objective of the short courses.
Apologetics is no longer a luxury; it is indispensable in our time. The Scriptures remind us to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us.
Ravi’s pursuit of apologetics has been a gift which will enrich the faith of this generation and many generations to come. His ministry continued tirelessly year after year, with his last public post in early 2020 when he recited from a hymn written by Richard Baxter (1615-1691):
Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will thy glory be!
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.
This quote in itself is so timely given that for a full 48 year long ministry, Ravi was constantly and continuously pointing people to Jesus.
We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.
I personally have watched and followed numerous videos of Ravi. My interest in apologetics led me to discover Ravi and RZIM at some point in the mid 2000s. The eloquence and sincerity of Ravi made his videos compelling to watch. Hearing him respond respectfully to the challenging questions posed by eager hearts and also the non-so-eager audiences has helped me hone my own craft. There have been numerous times when I would use and point to Ravi’s videos for other believers as we all work out our faith.
What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind.
Whilst I have never undergone official training or any of the RZIM programs, the heart of the content and accessibility of it has helped to equip me with a solid understanding of the core tenets of faith. I love the logic and reasoning behind our faith; that the Bible and God have a clear design behind the way everything fits together. Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t claim to know everything and every little detail – but the big picture and the human ability to appreciate and to see God at work is in itself a thing of beauty. As Ravi said:
There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny.
Ravi’s gift is clear and best appreciated as a public speaker. Whilst numerous literature has been attributed to his works, his strength and effectiveness in communication is best experienced when watching his speeches, or listening to him rebut a challenging question.
Ravi, you don’t know me, but it is indeed enough that Christ knows us all. You are indeed, with Him now.
Nic Lee works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.