Remembering Ravi, Friend of Christ

By Adam Kurihara

Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias passed away today from cancer at the age of 74. He leaves behind his wife Margie of 48-years, three children: Sarah, Naomi, and Nathan, along with a global legacy of evangelism and apologetics through his organization Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. His ministry has touched people all around the world, and many right here in our community. Our “Faith and Public Conversation: Finding Purpose in an Age of Anxiety” event last March featured a keynote speaker from RZIM. It is their passion for cultivating evangelistic speakers that has drawn TCC’ers to the teaching and training of both RZIM and it’s sister organization OCCA. If you have not yet encountered the teachings of Zacharias and the RZIM speaking team, I encourage you to explore it today.

The hallmark of Ravi’s legacy for me, which was especially clear in our Q&A with Kasey Leander after our March event, and confirmed through the beautifully written obituary, was that Ravi has trained a generation not simply to defend the faith against questions from skeptics, but to love the person asking the question. It is good and noble to stand up for the Gospel in a secular world, but in doing so we often forget that our call is not to disprove their false beliefs, but love them in and through their tough questions.

From his obituary: “Zacharias was born in Madras, now Chennai, in 1946, in the shadow of the resting place of the apostle Thomas, known to the world as the “Doubter” but to Zacharias as the “Great Questioner.” Zacharias’s affinity with Thomas meant he was always more interested in the questioner than the question itself.”

From a lecture hosted by Billy Graham in 1983, Zacharias said this: “…in certain strands of evangelicalism, we sometimes think it is necessary to so humiliate someone of a different worldview that we think unless we destroy everything he holds valuable, we cannot preach to him the gospel of Christ…what I am saying is this, when you are trying to reach someone, please be sensitive to what he holds valuable.”

It seems to me that it would bring no greater joy to Zacharias than for Christians around the world to continue the work of the Gospel by loving those who doubt and question it. To not argue with skeptics but to love them. So today as we mourn with the family: his wife Margie, and their children Sarah, Naomi, and Nathan, and pray for them in their grief, let us also continue to honor Ravi Zacharias’ legacy by thinking hard about our faith, asking good and difficult questions, and loving those who don’t yet know Christ.