“I just adore this man.”
It’s not surprising that our views color our perceptions. Still, I was a bit taken aback when a recent commenter portrayed one of my favorite Christian apologists as being driven by fear and a need to satisfy his political appetite. Anything’s possible, but all the evidence I’ve seen and heard indicates this conclusion is false.
Is Christianity a vacuous faith for the gullible and simple-minded and its promoters driven by fear and hunger? This man and his colleagues provide another line of evidence that the barrier this presupposition creates can be easily demolished if one is simply willing to examine it.
My darling daughter found herself under attack for her belief in God and not knowing how to answer the objections raised by a very good but angry friend. The above quote was the complete text of an email response she sent me after viewing a video that I had suggested might help her, and her friend.
The man in question is a man with answers. Ravi Zacharias is an Indian-born Christian apologist who has spoken to government officials, military leaders, and university students all over the world, defending the Christian faith. He is a man of high intelligence, abiding faith, great humility, and genuine compassion for all people. He is also a communicator par excellence with a winsome style that is warm and approachable, and a crisp, definitive, British-Indian accent that just grabs your attention and holds it. The late Chuck Colson referred to him as “the great apologist of our time.” And I agree.
Ravi Zacharias was born into a nominal Christian household but did not believe in God. His hopeless worldview and mindset led him to attempt suicide as a teen, but he was unsuccessful. While in the hospital recovering from the effects of the poison he had taken, a Christian gave him a Bible and his mother read to him from the Gospel of John. Dr. Zacharias records that it was John 14:19 that drew him to commit his life to Jesus Christ. There he read,
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Since then he has given his life back to Christ, as in a very real way, Christ gave Ravi his life back to him. He travels most of the year speaking in sometimes hostile environments, answering tough questions in a gentle, thoughtful, respectful way. He has been invited to speak by and to leaders of many different countries and at leading universities in the US and UK and around the world. He is much sought after for his depth of knowledge and wisdom, unshakeable faith, and his pleasant but powerful manner of communicating truth.
I’m sure my daughter felt immediate affection for this man because he follows well the Apostle Paul’s example of “speaking the truth in love” found in Ephesians 4:15. My favorite quotation that I display on my sidebar is one that I keep as a reminder of this crucial distinction between an arrogant and unfruitful apologist, and one that God can use in turning hearts to him. I hurriedly wrote it down while listening to one of Dr. Zacharias’ recorded talks.
Conviction that is not undergirded by love makes the possessor of that conviction obnoxious, and the dogma possessed becomes repulsive.
If you’re not acquainted with this man who reminds me so much of Jesus (I have to really guard myself against idolizing him, he’s so wonderful), I recommend you take 9 ½ minutes to listen to him now.