Ravi Zacharias, Beloved Preacher and Apologist, Dies at 74
Kayla Koslosky | ChristianHeadlines.com Editor | Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Beloved Christian author and apologist Ravi Zacharias has died at the age of 74.
According to a press release from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Zacharias died in his Georgia home on Tuesday morning after a short battle with cancer.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, in March, Zacharias revealed that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of malignant cancer called Sarcoma. The cancer was discovered in the form of a tumor on his sacrum bone during back surgery.
Following his diagnosis, Zacharias began receiving chemotherapy treatments at the renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, in April.
Unfortunately, while the tumor on his sacrum was responding well to chemo, the cancer had metastasized and worsened in the areas where it had spread, Zacharias’ daughter Sarah Davis shared in a statement last week.
“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,” Davis wrote in a statement. “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.”
Zacharias then returned to his home in Alpharetta, GA from the cancer treatment center where he spent his last days on Earth.
Zacharias, whose full name is Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias, was born in Madras, now Chennai, India in 1946, to his mother, Isabella, and his father, Oscar.
While he grew up in a Christian home, it wasn’t until age 17 that Zacharias began to believe in Jesus. After making an attempt on his own life, Zacharias was lying in a hospital bed when he was read Jesus’ words, “Because I live, you will also live.”
According to his official obituary, Zacharias would soon surrender his life to Christ and become determined to share the Good News.
In 1966, at just 20 years old, Zacharias immigrated to Canada where he would later meet veteran missionary to Vietnam, Ruth Jeffrey. In 1971, after hearing Zacharias – who had just earned an award for preaching at an international Youth for Christ congress – Jeffrey invited him to Vietnam.
It was on this trip to Vietnam, where Zacharias witnessed great violence including the deaths of several fellow missionaries, that the apologist established a profound trust in God and a “desire to stand beside those who minister in areas of great risk.”
As such, Zacharias and his new wife, Margie, moved to Deerfield, Illinois to study at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Zacharias received a Master of Divinity at Trinity and went on to teach at the Alliance Theological Seminary in New York while also traveling to preach on the weekends.
Then in 1983, Billy Graham invited Zacharias to speak at his inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam.
At that conference, Zacharias would offer a fresh perspective – one many credit with changing the future of apologetics.
Zacharias shared his fear that “in certain strands of evangelicalism, we sometimes think it is necessary to so humiliate someone of a different worldview that we think unless we destroy everything he holds valuable, we cannot preach to him the gospel of Christ…what I am saying is this, when you are trying to reach someone, please be sensitive to what he holds valuable.”
This desire to meet people where they are led Zacharias to established Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, a ministry group that works to this day to share the gospel around the world, in 1984.
Through the ministry, Zacharias was able to share the Gospel in more than 70 countries. Today the ministry has offices in the US, Canada, Latin America, Africa, the UK, Spain, Romania, Turkey, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Austria, Germany, Macedonia and Switzerland.
Zacharias, the author of more than 30 books, including Why Jesus?, Why Suffering? and Who Made God?, leaves behind a legacy of love through Jesus. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Margie; three children, Sarah, Naomi and Nathan; and five grandchildren.