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Influential Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias Dies at 74 From Cancer

After Zacharias Passes Away, Grievng Believers Make His Name Trend on Social Media

Ravi Zacharias
Ravi Zacharias. (Photo: Facebook/ravizacharias)

Just three months after revealing his grim cancer diagnosis, popular Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias has died, it was reported Tuesday morning.

“This morning, our beloved founder and apologist [Ravi Zacharias] went home to be with Jesus,” the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry tweeted.

As we previously reported, Zacharias shared with supporters on March 12 that doctors discovered he had “a malignant tumor on [his] sacrum—a very rare cancer called Sarcoma” after the apologist and evangelist had underwent back surgery three weeks prior.

Earlier in May, Zacharias’ family revealed that doctors had reached an impasse on his treatment.

“We have just learned that while the tumor in my dad’s sacrum has been responding to the chemotherapy, the area where the cancer metastasized has actually worsened. His oncologist informed us that this cancer is very rare in its aggression and that no options for further treatment remain. Medically speaking, they have done all they are able,” according to the update published on the (RZIM) website.

ravi and margie zacharias
Ravi and Margie Zacharias are seen in this May 7, 2020, photo. (Photo: Facebook/ravizacharias)

“We know that God has purposed and numbered each of our days, and only He knows how many more Ravi will experience on this earth,” the statement added. “One day, likely sooner than later, we will be serving without our beloved founder, though I know his love and legacy will convict and inspire us to service of his Lord even greater than we have seen before. While we are full of so many emotions, we are also at peace, resting in the truth that God knows all and sees all and is sovereign and good. I think of the great joy my dad will have and I am comforted.”

Zacharias passed away at his family’s home in Atlanta on May 19, 2020.

Christine Caine, Jackie Hill Perry, and A.R. Bernard Remember Zacharias

Upon learning of his death, many who knew the influential Christian apologist took the internet to express their sadness as well as admiration of his work. The outpouring of grief over the loss caused “Ravi Zacharias,” “Ravi,” “#RIPRavi,” and “#ThankYouRavi” to trend on Twitter.

“When I was the NSW Director of Youth Alive in Australia, I was desperate for help on how to communicate [and] connect with a ‘post everything generation’. It was the 1990’s and we had already reached the ‘post’ stage in Australia (there’s nothing new under the sun). A friend gave me a book by [Ravi Zacharias] and I literally could not put it down. He continued to help frame, form and shape my thinking on apologetics and evangelism for over two decades. He was so kind, compassionate, loving, brilliant, humble, passionate and gracious. He ran his race with courage, dignity and strength —and finished his course. He is now home,” Christine Caine wrote on Instagram.

 

“A moment in time with my spiritual brother Ravi Zacharias,” pastor A.R. Bernard wrote in the caption of a photo of him and the evangelist. “He left an indelible mark on my life. Please keep his family in your prayers.”

“About a year ago, I got invited to [the Ravi Zacharias Intentional Ministry headquarters] to chat about some things with their team and to have lunch with [Ravi Zacharias]. After taking a tour of the offices, we were escorted into Ravi’s office. Me and Preston were sitting there, looking like a couple of kids, wanting to say something but not knowing what to say. I mean, it’s Ravi Zacharias for goodness sakes [sic]. He’s brilliant!” author Jackie Hill Perry shared on Instagram.

“Then Ravi broke the awkwardness by asking about our stories. We told him. Then he asked follow up questions, about our marriage, our children, our ministries, Chicago, everything and he simply listened. In his office that day, I understood why he knew as much as he did, it was because he was naturally inquisitive. But I also saw why he was able to communicate as he did, because he was incredibly humble. For anybody who has been impacted by Ravi, today we grieve but not without hope. A part of me is so happy for him. He’s spent decades of His life defending the validity, necessity, and beauty of a Person and now, face to face, He finally stands before the One He defended. Rest well Ravi.”

View this post on Instagram

About a year ago, I got invited to @rzimhq to chat about some things with their team and to have lunch with @ravizacharias. After taking a tour of the offices, we were escorted into Ravi’s office. Me and Preston were sitting there, looking like a couple of kids, wanting to say something but not knowing what to say. I mean, it’s Ravi Zacharias for goodness sakes. He’s brilliant! Then Ravi broke the awkwardness by asking about our stories. We told him. Then he asked follow up questions, about our marriage, our children, our ministries, Chicago, everything and he simply listened. In his office that day, I understood why he knew as much as he did, it was because he was naturally inquisitive. But I also saw why he was able to communicate as he did, because he was incredibly humble. For anybody who has been impacted by Ravi, today we grieve but not without hope. A part of me is so happy for him. He’s spent decades of His life defending the validity, necessity, and beauty of a Person and now, face to face, He finally stands before the One He defended. Rest well Ravi ❤️

A post shared by Jackie Hill Perry (@jackiehillperry) on

Read an excerpt of our previous report on his ministry work and the #ThankYouRavi campaign launched to support the ailing apologist below.

Zacharias Steps Down From Ministry He Founded

In November 2019, Zacharias announced that he was stepping down from leadership within his organization and handing the reins to daughter Sarah Davis as CEO and longtime apologist Michael Ramsden as president.

“RZIM was birthed in my soul, and these are soulmates who are accepting the responsibility of providing the leadership of carrying on this vision,” Zacharias said of his organization’s new leaders.

The Indian-Canadian apologist founded the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry in 1984, years after an encounter with Jesus’ words in the Bible pulled him back from the precipice of suicide.

Zacharias’ stated mission has been “to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ through historical, philosophical, and moral foundations and to defend it against objectors with grace, clarity, and coherency.” His organization has a team of speakers located in several countries, including the U.S., Canada, Spain, Romania, Turkey, India, Singapore, and Switzerland, according to RZIM.org.

The RZIM founder has written at least 25 books, including the recently published Seeing Jesus from the East: A Fresh Look at History’s Most Influential Figure and the popular Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims Of The Christian Message. In recent years, Zacharias has refuted the charge of having an inappropriate relationship with another woman and alleged it was tied to an extortion attempt. He has also faced questions over the credibility of some of his credentials.

However, scandal has not overshadowed the impact Zacharias has had on my Christians, as evidenced by the countless believers and supporters both grieving and celebrating him upon his death.

Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three adult children whose names are Naomi, and Nathan, and Sarah. The couple recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary and Zacharias his 74th birthday.


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    Written by Nicola A. Menzie

    Nicola A. Menzie is Editorial Director of Faithfully Magazine. Nicola is a religion reporter in NYC whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at) faithfullymagazine.com