Earlier this year, I encountered a sister who was having challenges with her faith. What was the matter? She had attended a philosophy class where a professor challenged all her long-held assumptions concerning the Christian faith, and in fact of faith in God in general. Though she met several people who tried to tell her to forget about it, and focus on the word of God, she could not get over the fact that the lecturer raised questions; questions that she could not answer. When she told me that she was having a challenge with her faith, I thought it may have to do with a sinful habit or something like that; I never knew that people in this Nigeria struggle with ‘issues of faith’ like these. She attended a Christian programme where I was present, and afterwards, we sat for 2 (two) hours and talked; beginning from the origin of the universe, we discussed all the questions that the lecturer had raised, and we were able to resolve them. It is a field of Christian theology that may not be popular in our side of the country, but continues to affect the Christian faith of our brethren one way or the other: CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS.
I also struggled with issues of faith. Being one with a critical mind, I struggled to accept some of the things that were being ‘forced’ down our throats by our early fathers and evangelists. They left questions unanswered, and only asked me to just believe it, otherwise I will perish. The grace that God gave me, to help me remain in the faith was to send me teachers who spoke to my critical mind as well as my spirit. The greatest of them all was C. S. Lewis, then there were others like David Pawson, Os Guinness, Prof. John Lennox, and above all, the one I am writing about here: Ravi Zacharias.
I first heard him about him from Pastor Bankie of Kingdom Word Ministries, but since there are so many minsters on the face of the earth, I didn’t give him any attention. I only lodged him in my spirit and left him there. It was years later, as my appetite for Christian Apologetics grew (after I started listening to David Pawson) that I started searching the other apologists out. I became interested in watching Christian/Atheists debates on YouTube, and I remember how I would spend my little MB watching Ravi Zacharias messages and Question and Answer sessions, as well as other Christian Apologists.
I really don’t intend to do a biographical account of Ravi Zacharias, but to tell of how his life had impacted me. I still remember listening to a Convocation speech he delivered in a university titled: “MARCHING TO A DIFFERENT DRUMMER”. I still remember how he would stand and answer all manners of questions from all manners of people; questions I thought were too difficult to answer. His ministry helped me see that there were answers to important questions of life, and that Christianity was not a faith without reason. Whenever I see some upcoming atheist friends think and act as if they are the intellectuals, I simply smile to myself, because I know that the Christianity I met and I am a part of is one that can withstand the greatest intellectual scrutiny, and that has been tried by several learned men, and not found wanting.
The best part of the brand of Christian Apologetics I met was that it was not simply reasoning and arguments without emotions (brains without hearts). Several of my heroes were men who learnt to discuss Christianity without losing sight of the Spirit of God, the relational aspects, and the love that God wants to be among His people. I saw this love clearly from the life of Ravi Zacharias.
I had wished that I will meet him in this life; and I almost applied for the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics (OCCA), but I was stopped by several things. However, I am grateful that he let God use him to influence the upcoming generation like us. As long as life is, I will continue to be a fan of LET MY PEOPLE THINK, and JUST THINKING podcasts. And much more, we hope that God helping us, we will continue to carry the flag of the Defenders of the Faith.
I celebrate Bro. Ravi Zacharias as he enters into glory, knowing that his legacy lives on (His books: JESUS AMONG OTHER GODS, THE GRAND WEAVER, etc.), and His messages, writings and debates. I also pray for His family that the Lord will comfort them in these times; and for Michael Ramsden, Vince Vitale and the rest of RZIM team, that the Lord will help them to keep the torch burning.
For us, this is the end of the Story; but for Bro. Ravi Zacharias, the story has just begun: a story that will be told for all eternity, not just on earth, but when we get to heaven.