Ravi Zacharias, the India-born Christian evangelist and apologist whose intellect, winsomeness and grasp of diverse cultures helped him gain a global hearing for the Gospel, was remembered during a May 29 memorial service as a “gentle giant of our faith” and the “C.S. Lewis of our day.” Zacharias, 74, died May 19 after a brief battle with cancer.
“Ravi shared the truth of God’s Word with millions worldwide, ‘so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:10-11).”
Zacharias grew up in a nominal Anglican household in Delhi, India. His father was influential in the Indian government, and much to his father’s displeasure, Ravi neglected his studies in favor of playing cricket. But at age 17, Zacharias was converted to Christ in a hospital bed after attempting suicide by poisoning. That week, he was visited in the hospital by a Youth for Christ worker, who asked Zacharias’ mother to read to him John 14. As she read John 14:19—Zacharias said that the words of Jesus to Thomas, “Because I live, you also will live”—penetrated his heart, and he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. “I walked out of that hospital a different man,” Zacharias recalled.
For 49 years, Zacharias traveled the world as an evangelist and apologist. In 1984, Zacharias launched Ravi Zacharias International Ministries as a way to “meet the thinker where they were” and “to train cultural evangelist-apologists.” Today, RZIM has more than 100 affiliated speakers in dozens of countries. Its flagship podcast, “Let My People Think,” is popular on audio streaming apps.