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The Redeemed Life of Ravi Zacharias: How a Skeptic Became a Leading Voice for Christianity

Alpharetta, Ga., 2018: Ravi Zacharias speaks to students at the Zacharias Institute during the ReFresh conference. (Photo credit: Ravi Zacharias Ministries International)
Alpharetta, Ga., 2018: Ravi Zacharias speaks to students at the Zacharias Institute during the ReFresh conference. (Photo credit: Ravi Zacharias Ministries International)

Well-known author, evangelist, and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias died Monday morning at his home in Atlanta, following a brief battle with bone cancer. He was 74.  

Zacharias was a 17-year-old skeptic – an unbeliever, recovering from a suicide attempt – when he heard the words of Jesus in John 14:19: "Because I live, you also will live."

The truth of scripture gave Zacharias hope and he gave his life to Christ, promising to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth.  

The declaration of Christ in John 14 – "I am the way, the truth and the life" – became the cornerstone of Zacharias's ultimate mission as a Christian apologist and evangelist: to present and defend the truth of Jesus Christ that others may find life in him.

Across the decades, Ravi ministered on a global scale and even shared the truth of Jesus several times on The 700 Club. "How wonderful to know that when the Holy Spirit speaks to you and to me He enables you to understand yourself, to die to that self because of the cross and brings the real you to birth when you're crucified with Christ, nevertheless you live, not you, but Christ lives in you," he explained. "I think that's so unique that one cannot escape the ramifications." 

Zacharias began preaching in India at the age of 19. Years later, he was invited to speak at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Amsterdam where he addressed 4,000 other speakers. It would be another turning point for him as he began to seriously consider the critical need of apologetics to remove the intellectual barriers that kept many from considering the truth claims of Christ. In 1984, he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. 

Even to the end, Zacharias remained committed to his calling to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching and his popular radio program called "Let My People Think." He shared God's message with millions of people in more than 70 countries and wrote over 25 books. 

In 2017, Zacharias's vision to establish an apologetics training center in the US was realized with the launch of the Zacharias Institute in Atlanta.  He spent nearly 50 years advancing the Christian faith and addressing life's great questions of meaning, morality, and destiny with eloquence and grace.

During one of his 700 Club appearances, Zacharias and CBN President Gordon Robertson shared insights into the power of the gospel. Zacharias explained, "At the core of the Christian faith is the grace of God. If there's one word I would grab from all of that it's forgiveness, that you can be forgiven, that I can be forgiven and it's the grace of God." 

Zacharias and his wife Margie were married for 48 years and have three grown children.

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