Tyndale alumnus Ravi Zacharias (1946-2020) will be remembered for his long and storied career as a prolific author, speaker, and public intellectual.
Through his popular books and lectures, as well as the global reach of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), Zacharias has made an indelible contribution to Christian apologetics, seeking to provide thoughtful and compelling answers to “the hard questions posed to the Christian faith.” His passion and dedication to evangelism, and his life calling to “help the thinker believe and the believer think” have had a deep influence on many Tyndale students and alumni, many of whom have felt called to higher theological education because of his books. His impact has been far-reaching and his legacy will live on in the millions of lives he has touched.
“Over the years, I can scarcely think of a philosophy major who hasn’t told me that they originally became interested in philosophy because of reading one of Ravi’s many books,” shares Dr. Richard Davis, Professor of Philosophy at Tyndale University. Davis recalls a story of meeting Zacharias following his message at Tyndale Chapel. “He was overflowing with gratitude that the school who helped him (Ontario Bible College) had also helped his nephew. He shared of his professors who had impacted his life and was very kind and humble. He spoke some specific words of encouragement to me that I will never forget.”
An author, preacher, radio host, and constant presence on university campuses, Zacharias’ heart to reach the skeptic, the thinker, and the lost was the driving force in all he did. He was a compelling and engaging speaker, challenging audiences across the world with a message of hope.
Tyndale student Carlos Parra speaks for many when he shares, “He was one of the earliest apologists that not only helped me through my existential crisis but also, though his ministry, led me to Christ and led me to pursue a higher education at Tyndale – I have much to credit Ravi for his change in me and where my path has taken me.”
In all of his writings, including best-selling books such as Can Man Live Without God, The Grand Weaver, Jesus Among Other Gods, and the recent The Logic of God, Zacharias emphasized the importance of listening to those asking questions and answering with both humility and conviction. In considering the life and ministry of Ravi Zacharias, it is impossible not to think of 1 Peter 3:15, which enjoins believers to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope within with gentleness and respect. It is this commitment to both the truth of the gospel and to the sincere questioner that is a hallmark of Zacharias’ legacy, which has left its mark on Tyndale over these many years.