World-renowned apologist and author Ravi Zacharias has died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 74.
Mr Zacharias had been suffering from an aggressive form of sarcoma and was recently told that there were no more medical treatment options available to him. He passed away at his home in Atlanta on the morning of May 19 and is survived by his wife of 48 years, Margie; daughters, Sarah and Naomi; son, Nathan; and five grandchildren.
Announcing the sad news and paying tribute to their founder, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), said: "Ravi Zacharias spent the past 48 years commending the Christian faith and addressing life’s greatest existential questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny with eloquence and grace.
"Through his founding and leadership of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), Zacharias launched a global team of nearly 100 Christian scholars and authors who continue to speak, resource, train and address the questions of millions around the world."
The president of RZIM, Michael Ramsden, added: “[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.
“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.”
Ravi was the author of other 30 publications, including The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheist', The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and the Mind and Why Jesus: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality. He was a prolific itinerant speaker, addressing audiences in over 70 countries and becoming a regular invitee to high-profile prayer events. In 2009, Zacharias delivered the address at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in Westminster Hall. On four separate occasions, he spoke at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York City.
As part of his final trip abroad in January of this year, Ravi was invited by Filipino boxing superstar and Philippines Senator Manny Pacquiao to speak at the National Bible Day Prayer Breakfast in Manila.
He would often speak about his remarkable conversion to Christ following a suicide attempt aged just 17. Despite coming from an Anglican family, the Indian-born thinker was a self-avowed atheist until the dramatic event. Zacharias would recall how he came to Christ after a local Christian worker brought a Bible to his hospital bed and instructed his mother to read to him from John 14. Once Ravi heard the powerful words of Jesus, "Because I live, you also will live," he knew that his life would never be the same again.
Writing in his book The Logic of God, Ravi expanded: "I came to Christ after a life of protracted failure and, unable to face the consequences, I sought to end it all. It was on a bed of suicide that a Bible was brought to me, and in a cry of desperation, I invited Jesus Christ into my life."
He added: "It was a prayer, a plea, a commitment, and a hope.”
Ravi's articulate answers to life's biggest questions have been viewed by millions on YouTube. Many of the most popular clips are from open Q&A sessions during which Zacharias would riff masterfully on matters of philosophy, religion, ethics and morality.
Sarah Davis, the CEO of RZIM and Ravi's daughter, said: "It was his Savior, Jesus Christ, that my dad always wanted most to talk about. Even in his final days, until he lacked the energy and breath to speak, he turned every conversation to Jesus and what the Lord had done.
"He perpetually marveled that God took a 17-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture—a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years.”
Ravi's ministry was not without trouble, however. In 2017, he issued an official apology after allegations were made about him engaging in inappropriate communication with a married woman.
"As a husband, father, grandfather, and leader of a Christian ministry I should not have engaged in ongoing communication with a woman other than my wife," he said at the time. "I failed to exercise wise caution and to protect myself from even the appearance of impropriety, and for that I am profoundly sorry. I have acknowledged this to my Lord, my wife, my children, our ministry board, and my colleagues."
A legal case filed by Zacharias in relation to the controversy was settled in November 2017.
Do remain in prayer for the Zacharias family at this difficult time.