I am a certified sermon junkie: I probably watch and listen to a dozen hours of sermons per week.
This will be a ten or twelve part blog series of my favorite preachers. Please note that I don’t necessarily endorse all of them or everything they say.
Pictures are taken from random Google searches.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias
Christian apologist, author, radio host, and visiting professor at Wycliffe Hall of Oxford
When I first became a Christian, the friend who had brought me to church (the pastor’s son) introduced me to a preacher named Dr. Zacharias. In my friend’s car, we listened to this Indian man preach about atheism, intellect, and the innate depravity of man. At first I laughed at Dr. Ravi’s accent (remember, I had just become a Christian and was not wholly sanctified of my racism), but was soon blown away by his articulate expression of the Christian faith.
Up to that point, I had largely taken the Bible as a book representing some metaphorical ideas; I thought being a Christian was mostly being good; I knew what Jesus had done but was only just learning how the Gospel was a continual work in our lives. Dr. Zacharias, using logic, philosophy, the arts, anecdotes, and psychology, all wrapped up in the heavy pathos of a man who deeply loved, delivered to my mind the first stirrings of a faith that was grounded in daily reality. I began going through Dr. Zacharias’ sermons whenever I could, and slowly the abstract spirituality of religion peeled away.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias is perhaps best known for his ruthless dismantling of atheism and miscellaneous worldviews. He is so brutally logical, especially in Q&As, that it becomes almost ridiculous how sensible the Bible really is. For the starving rational mind of the skeptic, Dr. Ravi is candid, courteous, and satisfies.
Many call him a hack. Some decry his use of personal stories and poetry. Others say he is too intellectual. I remember a friend saying, “He’s too smart for me, like on another level.” Critics call him out on emotionalism. His books are criticized as either overly academic or highly anecdotal. Yet I believe this is exactly Dr. Ravi’s point: that we cannot hoist intellect as the only way to God, nor can story-time be a replacement for sound theology. Dr. Ravi has an uncanny way of blending both doctrine and “Once Upon A Time” to balanced perfection. He’s a story-teller with brains.
No matter what the critics say, there is no denying the influence of Dr. Ravi’s work. He is both a theological giant and a gentle pastor. Here’s to Dr. Ravi for opening me up to a rooted faith.