A Memorial for Ravi Zacharias (1946-2020)
Join a global livestream memorial service to honour the life of RZIM's beloved founder, Christian evangelist and apologist Ravi Zacharias, who died on May 19 after a brief battle with cancer. The celebration of Ravi's life and legacy will be streamed live on YouTube and on Facebook on May 29 at 11 a.m. ET.
Ravi Zacharias spent the past 48 years traveling the world to commend the Christian faith and address life’s greatest existential questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny with eloquence and grace for a variety of audiences. Through his founding and leadership of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), Ravi launched a global team of nearly 100 Christian scholars and authors who continue to speak, resource, train, and address the questions of millions around the world.
Tributes to Ravi will include homages from family and friends, including RZIM President Michael Ramsden, athlete and author Tim Tebow, Brooklyn Tabernacle Senior Pastor Jim Cymbala, and Passion Movement Founder Louie Giglio. Musical artists Matt Redman and Lecrae will perform.
Date: Friday, May 29
Time: The program begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, USA and 11:00 p.m. Singapore (Following the initial livestream, the video will be available for replay in perpetuity.)
(The above Information is taken from www.rzim.org/read/rzim-updates/ravi-zacharias-memorial)
When he invited me to join his team, Ravi Zacharias told me that the advancing of the Gospel in the 21 st century depended on the work of RZIM in Asia. His heart for the people of Asia was reflected in his schedule, his words and his smile whenever he came here. From his hometowns of Chennai to Delhi, or from Singapore to KL, Hong Kong to Seoul, Taipei to Tokyo, Ravi brought the Gospel to millions across Asia with wit and wisdom underpinned by love and graciousness.
Ravi was a man of the world, a truly global citizen. I saw him shake hands with hotel staff across countries and remember their names. On average, he travelled for more than 220 days every year, but Asia was dear to his heart. I saw it in his eyes whenever I shared a stage with him here. Whether it was an auditorium in Singapore, a church in Hong Kong, a restaurant in Manila or a university in Bangalore, Ravi always kept a piece of his heart in Asia.
Thanks to Ravi’s vision and the army of supporters he drew, his ministry’s future in Asia is exciting. The Lord has opened doors for us to expand the RZIM Australia team and work towards establishing a permanent presence in the Philippines. We also look forward to embracing new opportunities in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam and to continue our ongoing work in India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia and Indonesia.
There are around 4.5 billion people in Asia, around 4 billion of whom are not Christian. However, when God is your strength, Jesus is your message and Ravi Zacharias is your Founder, nothing is impossible.
The name “Ravi Zacharias” will take its place alongside Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, and William Carey as one of the great communicators of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Asia’s history. At the dawn of the Asian century, we have lost the greatest Christian apologist of the modern era. His life was a remarkable example of devotion, humility and obedience to God’s call upon him. His talents were immense. His brilliance was unmatched. His shoes are unfillable; but the work that Ravi Zacharias started in Asia – by the grace and power of God – will go on.
Max Jeganathan, RZIM Asia-Pacific Regional Director
In The World, But Not Of the World
Leaders of different countries are often evaluated on the basis of whether they are in touch with the people. In Hong Kong, there is a saying that leaders have to ‘stay close to the ground.’ In churches, we expect the pastor to be in close touch with the congregation.
In 2008, I first met Ravi Zacharias at a private dinner in Hong Kong. That evening, around the dinner table, we had a wide-ranging discussion about international relations, the global economy and challenges faced by the church.
We also introduced Ravi to Christian members of the Hong Kong cabinet who met for a weekly prayer breakfast. Ravi encouraged us that we should, as leaders of our community, come before the Lord to seek wisdom in humility.
I left the dinner with the distinct impression that Ravi was a Christian leader who was fully in touch with global affairs and one who was able to apply Biblical teachings to all spheres.
I said to myself, “Here is a preacher who is ‘In the world, but not of the world,’ and an evangelist totally dedicated to spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth!”
Voice in Politics and International Diplomacy
Ravi had stature, eloquence and international perspective. These were unique qualities. His presence among an audience is comparable to a senior cabinet minister of any government.
Ravi opened many doors. He met political leaders in the White House, Westminster Parliament and other capitals. He addressed the Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, among Congressmen and Senators.
Also, Ravi would engage the Chairmen and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies on issues of business integrity.
At the same time, Ravi had a keen social conscience. This led him to establish Wellspring International, a non-profit outreach organisation of RZIM that comes alongside local organisations supporting the critical needs of women and children around the world.
These are all the different constituencies that political leaders need to address. Ravi engaged them all.
Ravi had two distinct qualities which enabled him to be a voice of influence in political circles: One, Ravi was both East and West. And two, Ravi espoused humility.
Ravi grew up in India. As a young man, he moved to North America and eventually established himself as an evangelist.
That is why Ravi understood the differences in thinking and values of both East and West. That is also why Ravi was able to engage and speak into the hardest political issues of the day. However, in addressing any such issues, Ravi would only do so with sincerity, in humility and according to Biblical principles.
Once, I asked Ravi whether there was still hope for peace in the Middle East. Should Christians support any proposals for settlement given that Biblical prophecies about the end times pointed toward international conflict and the persecution of God’s chosen people?
Ravi’s response was that we all live under the Lord’s providence. As Christians, as a matter of principle, we should espouse peace. We should take steps to promote this where possible. At the same time, we should bear in mind that God is sovereign, and that He and He alone would decide how the history of any land and of the world would unfold.
This is the mindset that enabled Ravi to engage in inter-faith dialogue. On one occasion, he and his colleagues were invited to a gathering in the Middle East with the former Archbishop of Canterbury and Sheikh Talal to discuss the hope of peace. Ravi gently yet boldly pointed to the cross of Christ as the only hope, saying: “Until you and I receive the Son that God has provided, we will be offering our own sons and daughters in the battlefields of this world for land and power and pride.” The sheikh was deeply moved and expressed he hoped to see Ravi again.
Ravi’s international perspective and broadness of mind have brought the gospel to these domains through peaceful dialogue.
Over the decades, Ravi has been a voice of principle and humility in the public square. We shall miss his presence, but we pray that the Lord will speak through other Christian leaders.
Devotion to Evangelism
Ravi’s devotion to evangelism was astounding. We have a rule of thumb in our ministry that speakers should try not to travel for more than 90 days per year, yet Ravi had so many invitations that he could not stay within that limit.
Once, half-jokingly, Ravi shared with us that one of his grandchildren said, “Grandpa, you only pretend to be living in America. You actually live in Asia!”
For all our friends in the Asia-Pacific region, we must be truly thankful that Ravi loved Asia so much that he kept journeying back tirelessly to this part of the world to let us know about Jesus.
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Ravi’s life is a shining example of the Lord’s meekness and humility. As His faithful servant and disciple, Ravi can now rest in the Lord’s providence for eternity.
Stephen Lam, Former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong and
Adjunct Speaker with RZIM