by Alexis Marie Berry, web content manager
During the 36 years of his ministry, Ravi Zacharias has come to be well known in both the Christian and mainstream cultures. A Christian apologist who was born in 1946 in Madras, India, Zacharias has become an influential award-winning author, comparative religions expert, university lecturer, organization leader and friend to dignitaries and leaders across the nations. “He’s one of the best-known Christian speakers in the whole world and second to Billy Graham,” Bill Hager said of him in a 2007 article at RedandBlack.com. Today the reach of his work continues to spread through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).
Zacharias became a Christ-follower during his recovery from a failed suicide attempt when he was 17 years old. Soon after, he and his family emigrated to Canada and attended a Christian and Missionary Alliance church (CMA). He later decided to pursue an education in theology. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University) and later a Master of Divinity from Trinity International University. At Trinity he became acquainted with the disciplines of comparative religions, cults and philosophy.
In 1981, Zacharias was commissioned by the CMA as an international evangelist, and, until 1984, served as Chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at the denomination’s Alliance Theological Seminary. He also studied moralist philosophy and literature of the Romantic era during his time as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University.
He founded RZIM in 1984 with the purpose of gracefully engaging intellectuals and leaders of culture to show the credibility of the gospel. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ministry has offices in the United Kingdom, Romania, the Middle East, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada. Zacharias and the RZIM Speaking Team have instigated thoughtful discourse and defended the reason for Christian faith to a multitude of audiences.
According to RZIM.org, “People see and understand the unique ability of RZIM to view questions from various cultural perspectives, shedding insight into often unnoticed assumptions and cultural prejudices. This is why the speakers receive the types of invitations they do: they understand the complexity of different cultures, yet they also understand the ability of the gospel to reach into each culture.”
Zacharias is listed as a distinguished lecturer with the Staley Foundation and is presently Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford, England. His teaching and writing focus on the coherency of the Christian worldview and answers to the existential questions of life. His radio programs, “Let My People Think” (aired on 1700 outlets) and “Just Thinking” (over 400 outlets) educate listeners on the weaknesses of modern philosophies, the meaning that the Bible gives to life and Christ’s transcending uniqueness to all cultures. He continues to represent the Christ-following community as a guest commentator on national broadcasts, a university and fellowship lecturer and a prayer leader at political and cultural events.
Ravi Zacharias will speak during Founder’s Week on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:15 p.m.