Jan. 20, 2021
I was twenty-four, single and living outside Philadelphia when I first heard him speak. Before that Sunday, I didn’t even know his name. Ravi Zacharias was a forty-year old guest preacher. As he stepped to the pulpit at Church of the Savior in Wayne, Pennsylvania, he opened his Bible to the Old Testament book of 2 Kings. “Why sit we here until we die?” was his sermon title, an exposition of the four lepers in chapter seven who refused to give up or give in to their pending death, resisting the urge to wait idly for their day to come. Instead, they rose up as one and redeemed the time.
In these intervening thirty-four years I’ve listened to countless preachers and lecturers, but only a few sermons truly stuck. Ravi’s was one of the unforgettables. Decades later, the text and the theme from his 1986 sermon I still remember. “Why sit we here until we die?” The world is calling us to rise up, move forward and follow the Lord’s bidding, redeeming the time for the days are evil, as Paul wrote the church in Ephesus.
Today, May 19, 2020, Ravi died. And his life was spent redeeming the time, refusing to idly spend his days, asking of himself as he did others, “Why sit we here until we die?”
A dear friend of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology, our brother, God's child and a defender of the faith, Ravi Zacharias, is being remembered around the world. Ravi, diagnosed with a rare cancer deemed untreatable, was a good and faithful servant. To most, the world’s foremost Christian apologist and evangelist. The founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), he was a gifted speaker and teacher who presented the gospel of Jesus Christ through historical, philosophical and moral foundations, defending it against objectors and doing so with grace, clarity and coherence. He shared the truth of the gospel to millions of people around the world, in more than 70 countries, including college campuses. Beyond his teaching and preaching, he has also authored or edited over 25 books in the fields of theology, apologetics, comparative religion and philosophy.
In 2014, Biola hosted a dialogue between Ravi and radio host Dennis Prager. With over 2,400 people attending in person and more than 4,000 viewers streamed online, he captured the hearts and minds of listeners and did so at one of his favorite college campuses. Ravi was scheduled to serve as the honorary speaker for our Spring 2020 Commencement just ten days ago, a day this community was anxiously awaiting. RZIM’s online education arm, RZIM Academy, partners with Biola’s Talbot School of Theology by offering students advanced standing credits at Talbot. Clint Arnold, Dean of Talbot School of Theology, joins me in offering our condolences in the passing of our dear friend, saying, “I am so grateful for the life and ministry of Ravi Zacharias. His work has encouraged the faith of countless individuals. His legacy will cast a long shadow and have an enduring impact. Talbot School of Theology looks forward to continuing its partnership with RZIM.”
Please join us in praying for Ravi’s family, including his wife, Margie, and their three grown children: Sarah, Naomi and Nathan.
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