International apologist Ravi Zacharias dies at 74

June 1, 2020
(True Image Media photo by Hazel Thompson)

Popular Christian evangelist and apologist Ravi Zacharias died May 19 at age 74, a few months af­ter being diagnosed with cancer.

Zacharias rose to prominence in 1983 when he was invited by Billy Graham to speak at the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam, according to an obituary published by the ministry Zacha­rias founded.

In his message, he pleaded with Chris­tians not to try to “humiliate” those with different worldviews.

“When you are trying to reach someone, please be sensitive to what he holds valuable,” he said.

Zacharias went on to found his apologetics ministry, Ravi Zacharias Inter­national Ministries, on that idea. It would grow to include nearly 100 Christian evangelists and apologists around the world who continue to speak, train others, and endeavor to answer the same questions Zacharias once had about Christianity and the existence of God.

Among those Zacharias impacted were a number of prominent evangelical Chris­tians, who shared their appreciation for the apologist as news spread earlier this month that he had returned home to Atlanta from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Hous­ton, where he had been receiving treatment.

On Instagram, athlete Tim Tebow described Zacharias as “one of my heroes of the faith” and—along with pastor Louie Giglio and hip-hop artist Lecrae—encouraged people to send well wishes using the hashtag #ThankYouRavi.

Zacharias was born Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias in 1946 in what is now Chennai, India, according to RZIM. His great-great-great-grandmother had converted from Hinduism to Chris­tianity, and he too became a Christian at age 17 in a Delhi hospital.

In a story Zacharias often told, he was recovering from a suicide attempt when someone shared with him a passage from the Gospel of John: “Because I live, you will also live.” —Religion News Service