Apologist Ravi Zacharias dies aged 74, two months after he announced he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Ravi Zacharias
Ravi Zacharias

The cause of Ravi Zacharia’s death was complications from aggressive form of bone cancer, according to statement from Zacharia International Ministrues, which is the evangelical organization that he founded in 1984 based in the Atalanta Suburbs.

The Reverend Ravi Zacharia is welll known for editing and publishing more than 25 books, and he was a frequent visitor in university lecture halls.  His international travels as well as his radio and television show “Let My People Think” extended his reach globally.

He did not get involved in political campaigns but befriended leaders in politics, particularly conservative Republicans. He mentored the son of Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations. Before his death, President Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, lauded him for reinforcing her faith. He also was close to baseball player Tim Tebow.

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Ravi Zacharia was also known for his work through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), which focused on apologetic arguments for the existence of God and the reasonableness of Christianity.

He preached in more than 70 countries, teaching Christians to engage with skeptics and arguing that the Christian worldview has robust answers to humanity’s existential questions.

Ravi Zacharias background

Zacharias was born in India and raised in an Anglican family. He recounted that his conversion to Christianity came while reading the Bible in the hospital after a failed suicide attempt as a teen. He immigrated to Canada at the age of 20.

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Zacharias started his ministry with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA). A graduate of Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University) and Trinity International University, he was commissioned as a national evangelist for the United States in 1977 and ordained in the CMA in 1980. He founded RZIM in 1984, and the organization has grown to about 200 employees in 16 offices around the world, with more than 70 traveling speakers.

His best-selling book, Can Man Live Without God?, sold about 500,000 copies in 1995. His most recent book, The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind, won the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s 2020 Christian book award in the Bible study category.

Late in his ministry career, Zacharias faced claims that he overstated his academic background and implied he had earned a doctorate degree. Over the years, RZIM and Zacharias’s publishers revised his biographies to clarify that he has received honorary doctorates and removed references to “Dr. Zacharias.”

Zacharias was also involved in a legal dispute over “sexually explicit” communication with a woman he met through his speaking ministry. Her lawyer said Zacharias had groomed and exploited her. Zacharias sued, and the lawsuit was settled out of court with a non-disclosure agreement.

Rev. Ravi Zacharia sometimes went beyond focusing a defense of the Christian faith by promoting conservative views on culture war questions around abortion, transgenderism and homosexuality, which occassionally drew controversy before he would speak on campuses.

 

 

He often engaged in a tense question-and-answer format with students who did not share his views of a society in need of a Bible-based morality. One of his exchanges at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, received 2 million views on Youtube.

Earlier this year, doctors discovered a malignant tumor on Zacharias’s sacrum as he underwent back surgery. He began receiving treatment for sarcoma at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The ministry posted an update on May 8 saying Zacharias’s cancer was deemed untreatable, and he was sent home to Atlanta to be with his family. On social media, a wide range of Christians including Lee Strobel, Tim Tebow, and Christine Caine posted tributes with the hashtag #ThankYouRavi.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and their three children.