Thinking Out Loud

May 20, 2020

Remembering Ravi Zacharias

Filed under: apologetics, Christianity — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:35 am

Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
-Richard Baxter*

[February 14, 2021 Update: See update section* below; Thinking Out Loud policy is that all articles published remain online as they appeared.]

It’s difficult to add anything to what other voices have been sharing in the past 24 hours, but it also strikes me that silence isn’t appropriate. This, the passing of Ravi Zacharias, is probably the most significant passing of a Christian statesman since the death of Billy Graham. (For a full biography, click here.) The outpouring of tributes online has been nearly overwhelming.

Having recently reviewed a book Ravi co-wrote, his voice is fresh in my mind. (One comment on Twitter yesterday noted that he is so well known, one need just say Ravi, without the necessity of a last name.) His approach to apologetics was far more pastoral than most you see writing and speaking in this genre. He searched for ‘the question behind the question’ and it was most often there, hidden in the background.

I also think of him as a type of Renaissance man, frequently quoting hymns, classical poetry and pop songs which illustrate the human soul searching for God. His recall of history, facts, philosophers, scientists, etc., was astounding.

He would often close his eyes when delivering an address or answering a question in the many Q&A events he hosted at major colleges and universities; those closed eyes allowing him to formulate a deeper revelation of an appropriate answer.

From my perspective, no memory of Ravi is complete without thinking of the other apologists his ministry, RZIM International has brought to the foreground including some which have impacted my own life: Abdu Murray, the late Nabeel Qureshi, Michael Ramsden, Vince Vitale, Logan Gates, John Lennox, and others.

Though the last several years brought some distractions, I am confident history will remember him as one of the great Christian people of the last century. In some respects he wrote his own biography several times in his various books, but his life leaves no doubt his life story will be included in the collections of great Christian biographies.

*Update, February 14, 2021: This article was written in May of 2020, and as stated above our policy is to let articles stand as they appeared. But the first sentence in the final paragraph definitely foreshadowed what was to come to light in the months which followed, and as it appears as I write this, the balance of the paragraph may prove to be untrue, which is so unfortunate.

All of us who write for Christian publications or write blogs should have put far greater weight on the voices which were trying since 2017 to alert us to the true fallenness of the man. I leave this here as an example of what we all believed in better days, as we were hoping against hope that the accusations weren’t true. We would now appear to know different.

photo image: 100 Huntley Street

*from a poem Ravi recited in January; remembered by daughter Sarah Davis in this tribute.


  1. Such a great apologist. His death is the birth of many more.

    Comment by gilian — May 20, 2020 @ 10:47 am

  2. You are so right. I remember listening to his radio program as part of a class in college. Every week we would all get quiet and listen and just absorb the deep truths he shared in such an understandable and relatable way. I have never been disappointed in either his speeches or his writings. I believe his impact will carry for years to come.

    Comment by PreacherMan80 — May 20, 2020 @ 3:09 pm

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