Most people don't pick up one of Ravi Zacharias's books for leisure reading. He uses words like "heteronomous" and "poststructuralism." He bolsters his arguments by quoting Indian religious scholars, German theologians, a variety of philosophers past and present, even Ted Koppel. He studied at Cambridge, he has spoken in more than 50 countries, and he has lectured at many of the world's greatest universities.
Ravi operates in the realms of logic, philosophy, religion, history and literature. He draws from these disciplines to prove the reality, and the truth, of the Christian faith. "For some people," he says, "the door to the heart is through the window of the mind."
Considering his work and his academic pedigree, you might picture him as an overbearing intellectual in whose presence an ordinary human is reduced to the level of blubbering idiot. But that's not the case. When you meet Ravi and his wife, Margie, there's a warm welcome and the offer of a cup of tea. Their openness and gentleness put you at ease, and they answer questions in a comfortable give-and-take.
The Zachariases believe marriage has the power to change the world for the better. They are convinced that God created marriage, in large part, as a base for ministering to others. And they don't let those of us who feel called to teaching, computer programming, construction or parenthood off the hook. Talk to the Zachariases, and they'll tell you we're all called, primarily, to show God's love to those around us.
Margie was 16 when she met Ravi at church soon after he immigrated from India to Canada. He was being trained to become the banquet manager at a large Toronto hotel, and he assumed he would make his mark in the professional world. But when Margie got to know Ravi, she felt God had bigger plans for him. "At the time," she says, "he did not recognize God's call on him. But everybody who met him did."
Although public speaking doesn't come naturally to Ravi, in 1971 he accepted an invitation to spend three months preaching in war-torn Viet Nam. His messages were heard by U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers, North Vietnamese prisoners of war and Vietnamese civilians. As a result of those meetings, thousands became Christians.
That experience convinced Ravi that God wanted to use him in an evangelistic ministry. Thirteen years later, after he had served as a full-time, salaried evangelist in both Canada and the United States, he formed Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, which focuses on evangelism undergirded by apologetics.