by Rob Lundberg
When it comes to apologists who have impacted my life and ministry greatly, I would say that it would be two men: Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler. Out of these two, I would have to honestly say that Ravi has made the greatest impact. Ravi was a student of Dr. Geisler in his early days and had the privilege of eulogizing Dr. Geisler. This week, we had to bid a “We’ll see you soon” to Ravi Zacharias who left this life this past Tuesday.
I first learned of Ravi Zacharias while in seminary in Upstate New York in 1992. My wife and I were preparing for church, when one Sunday morning had the radio on and heard the opening of “Let My People Think” (Johan Sebastian Bach’s “God Alone Must Have My Heart”) Radio program. My first listen to Ravi Zacharias back then was such an encouragement to live the apologetic life. Each program was like a lesson full that stimulated the mind and became a regular reminder of how the believer is to live the complete Christian walk of loving God with heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 12:1,2).
At this point in my life, I had already been immersed into the discipline of Christian apologetics (since 1983). So I would have to say that Ravi gets the credit for expanding my apologetics spectrum, where the Lord moved me from the counter-cult evangelism facet to reaching those who have no intention of believing what we believe as Christians.
It was at that point that I made my way to purchase and read two of Ravi’s books, “Can Man Live Without God” and “A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism.” And honestly I could not put them down; jotting notes as if Ravi was the lecturer and I was the student through the pages of his books, his radio programs and attending a few of his talks when he came to New York.
I first had the privilege of meeting Ravi in 1994, being a member of a committee named “RZIM – Capital District” that would be the catalyst for bringing Ravi to the Capital District of New York for a series of meetings at the StarLight Theater, and two of the local Universities (SUNY Albany, and RPI). During those meetings, I remember Ravi being very gracious, not demanding, and zoned in on a mission. His passion became indelibly infectious has stayed with me to this present day.
Through his books, podcasts, radio programs, videos, I will always remember that through reading him and hearing him speak became lessons in learning how to share the truth in love with those who may not be amenable to the Christian faith. He was a gifted communicator. His graciousness and personableness were an example for how I should be with everyone. And his speaking style captivated the hearts and minds of all us, saint and skeptic alike.
But this tribute cannot stop here. Ravi had a great influence on not just myself. He also impacted my wife and my daughter as well. For them, listening to the “Let My People Think” program was like inviting an uncle into our home on a weekly basis to share, encourage, and equip the family in discipleship and defending our faith. Add to that the equipping that they received from his books in the family library and the podcasts. Ravi has made a huge impact in our whole family, encouraging us to live the life we defend.
My last meeting with Ravi-Ji was at the 2018 National Conference on Christian Apologetics. In that short meeting I recalled his coming to Upstate New York and interestingly enough, he had remembered that from his earlier days of ministry! What? He had an incredible memory. I also had an opportunity to thank him for being used by our Lord to help me shape my apologetics methodology with his 5 Part Grid.
Ravi has not only taught us how to lovingly dialogue with people who are hostile to the Christian faith. He has taught us that behind every person there is a question or an objection. He has taught us to lovingly listen for that question behind the question so as to find way into the heart and mind to share the gospel of Christ.
Ravi, aside of showing us how to assess the three kinds of argument and giving us four questions that evaluate a worldview, you have demonstrated the kind of evangelism we need in our postmodern world. Thank you for showing us how to reach the seeker, the skeptic, and the saint with love of Jesus Christ. You will be and already are missed. But we know that you are in the presence of our Lord, enjoying fellowship with Christ and the community of the heavenlies of those who have preceded you.
We are committing to carry the legacy and pray for Margie, Sarah, Naomi, Nathan, their families, and for Michael Ramsden, Abdu Murray, and the rest of the team at RZIM.
This is not good bye Ravi-Ji. This is we will see you soon. Thank you for the legacy that you have left behind for those of us to carry. Thank you for impacting my life and the ministry that the Lord has given me in so many ways. See you soon!
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Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and engage the thinker to believe.
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