Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi ZachariasRavi Zacharias (full name Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias, born 1946) is an Indian-born, Canadian-American evangelical Christian philosopher, apologist and evangelist. Zacharias is a descendant of two rich religious traditions, first Hindu priests (of the Nambudiri Brahmin caste), and later as Christian ministers. In one of his lectures, Zacharias asserts that a Swiss-German priest spoke to one of his ancestors about Christianity, and thereafter that branch of the family was converted and the family name was changed from Nambudiri to Zacharias. The biography Zacharias offers about himself is that he grew up in a nominally Anglican household, and was an atheist until the age of 17, when he unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by swallowing poison. According to one of his books (Cries of the Heart), someone instructed his mother to read out the Gospel of John to him as he lay on a hospital bed in Delhi. Following that, he made the decision to become a Christian. He began preaching while still in his teens, and in 1974, shortly before the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, he was sent there to minister to the people in the country. He was also sent to Vietnam during the Vietnam War to minister to U.S. soldiers.


Zacharias was born near Madras, India and grew up in Delhi. In 1966, he and his family emigrated to Toronto; he is currently based outside Atlanta, Georgia. He holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship.

He briefly attended the University of Delhi as a pre-med student before transferring to the Institute of Hotel Management in Delhi. After moving to Canada, he worked in the hotel management business before enrolling in the Ontario Bible College in Toronto. Following that, he completed his Master of Divinity degree at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago. He was a visiting scholar at Cambridge University when he wrote his first book, A Shattered Visage: the Real Face of Atheism. Zacharias received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Houghton College, NY, and from Tyndale University College and Seminary (the renamed Ontario Bible College). He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Asbury College in Kentucky. He is presently a Visiting Professor at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford, England (see also: The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.


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