Prominent Christian Leaders Mourn Ravi Zacharias' Death

Ravi Zacharias (Courtesy of RZIM)

Prominent pastors and Christian leaders across the world mourn the death of Ravi Zacharias. Zacharias died in his home in Atlanta Tuesday morning, May 19, after battling a rare form of sarcoma cancer. He was 74 years old.

Many took to social media to pay tribute to the legacy Zacharias left. As an apologist for the Christian faith, Zacharias was well-known for his theological presentations and teachings on how to defend faith in Jesus.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and spiritual adviser to President Trump, mourned the loss of this "teacher of truth":

Ravi Zacharias was a teacher of truth, a preacher of hope, a builder of wisdom, an equipper of faith, a disciple of grace, a follower of Christ, a friend of God and a true world changer. He advanced the gospel of Jesus like few others. Ravi inspired me. Despite beyond extraordinarily blessed intellectually, his intellect matched his heart, and he was always humble.

I will miss you my friend.

Thank you for changing me.

Thank you for changing the world.

Free Chapel Pastor Jentenzen Franklin wrote:

"Ravi Zacharias resurrected the faith of many doubters and illuminated the truth for many skeptics. He articulated the validity of the Christian faith better than anyone I know. His loss is a loss for the entire world. I am grieving with his family and his ministry today."

Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of the James Dobson Family Institute, and his wife, Shirley, issued the following statement:

Shirley and I are deeply saddened to hear today about the passing of our good friend and brother, Ravi Zacharias. He was an anointed apologist for the gospel of Jesus Christ and was loved by millions of Christians around the world. Please join us in praying for Ravi's beloved wife, Margie, and for their family in this difficult hour. We have lost one of our greatest leaders.

I had the privilege of interviewing Ravi several months ago. These were his final words to our listeners as we closed:

"And when you and I pass on from this life, we are not just gone, we are going home to be with the Lord for those who know Him. My prayer for you this morning is this, if you know Him, make Him the passionate commitment of your life. He will never let you down. If you don't know Him, before the day is over, bow your head quietly and invite this Christ to come into your life. He will change not only what you do, but He will also change what you want to do and enable you to see this world through different eyes."

"When I was the NSW Director of Youth Alive in Australia, I was desperate for help on how to communicate & connect with a 'post everything generation'," Bible teacher Christine Caine wrote. "It was the 1990's and we had already reached the 'post' stage in Australia (there's nothing new under the sun). A friend gave me a book by @ravizacharias and I literally could not put it down. He continued to help frame, form and shape my thinking on apologetics and evangelism for over two decades. He was so kind, compassionate, loving, brilliant, humble, passionate and gracious. He ran his race with courage, dignity and strength—and finished his course. He is now home. #thankyouravi."

Franklin Graham, evangelist and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, wrote:

Tim Tebow offered his own tribute:

Ex-lesbian and Bible teacher Jackie Hill Perry recalled a time when she and her husband, Preston, visited Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) to meet with Zacharias. She says the encounter made a lasting impact on her.

Musical artist Crowder wrote: "Today heaven rejoices and welcomes home a giant of the faith. Today we miss and mourn the loss of a friend and a teacher. 'When you come to a religion, you come to a place. When you come to Jesus Christ, you come to a person.' Ravi Zacharias. Today Ravi meets Jesus in person. That's amazing."

The American Bible Society CEO Robert Briggs issued the following statement regarding Zacharias' death:

"At American Bible Society, we join the chorus of ministries in honoring the life of Ravi Zacharias and his remarkable work with Bible engagement and apologetics. He had a unique gift for explaining complex aspects of the Word of God in simple and winsome ways that made it easier for people to understand. Ravi has left this earth with an amazing legacy of Bible exegesis, scholarship and evangelism, and we will forever be grateful for his impact."

Fellow Christian apologist and author Lee Strobel wrote:

Pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie also mourned the loss of Zacharias:

Former NFL star and author Benjamin Watson said:

Bishop Joseph D'Souza, archbishop of the Good Shepherd Church of India, wrote:

I have received the news of Ravi's passing away with great sadness. The last few weeks I have been following his retweets on how his life blessed so many and how his teaching strengthened countless disciples of Jesus across the nation.

Ravi's passing is not just a loss for the global Christian community. India also has lost a great son and a great Christian apologist. We were proud of his life and work.

Once Ravi and I were on the same TV program in the U.S. when we talked about an Indian TV series about Jesus called Dayasagar and the impact the it was having on the lives of many Indians. Ravi was enthusiastic about this portrayal of Jesus, who was played by an Indian, because for him at the end of the day the issue was about the identity of the messenger. And what made the Christian story different was that the messenger was Jesus. It was all about Jesus. Ravi died as he lived by focusing on Jesus the Savior and Lord.

His family is in our prayers and we trust that the Lord will comfort them.

And Nick Hall, founder of Pulse and several prayer and evangelistic movements, said:

"Ravi Zacharias was a hero, mentor, and personal friend. He was a giant in the faith, giving Christians around the world confidence in their beliefs, while challenging the world to consider the exclusive claims of Jesus. Ravi opened doors for me, shared our stage at Pulse events, and spoke into my life in ways that I will never forget. Just a few weeks ago, Ravi and I were celebrating the impact of our ministry collaboration over Holy Week, which proved to be his last ministry event while on earth, where his message went out to possibly his largest audience ever - over 100 million people according to Nielsen ratings - with over 135,000 people responding to the Gospel. While we mourn his passing and pray for sweet Margie and their family, we know the angels rejoice, and that an entire generation is ready to pick up the torch as a result of his legacy. On Saturday, May 30th, we will be honoring his legacy and sharing a recorded message from him, for an apologetics and evangelism training. I can't think of a better way to honor Ravi than to continue equipping a generation to follow his lead."

Dr. K. P. Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia, said:

I have known Ravi for the past three decades. I know of no one else that had such an incredible impact for the Lord Jesus Christ all over the world, especially among the top thinkers and leaders in our generation, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds.

He is now the Lord and also with us as part of the 'great cloud of witnesses' (Hebrews 12:1).

May we be as bold as he was to proclaim Christ without shame and fear.

I join with millions around the world in praying for his dear wife, his family and his co-workers in the ministry that he gave leadership to.

Ken Harrison, CEO of Promise Keepers, wrote:

"Our global community has lost a great communicator of truth with the passing of Ravi Zacharias. His absence leaves us all wanting.

"Promise Keepers has long enjoyed a firm relationship with Ravi Zacharias and his ministry. We grieve with his family and those who understand and experienced the immense impact and consequential nature of his gift: The ability to clearly and concisely explain the great love of God in terms people can grasp and absorb."

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