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‘I Join the Thunderous Applause of Heaven’: Touching Tributes Pour in for Beloved Ravi Zacharias

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Ravi Zacharias passed away Tuesday at the age of 74 after a battle with sarcoma. Friends and admirers express their deep love and appreciation for Ravi.


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Tré Goins-Phillips

As believers around the world mourn the death of beloved Bible teacher Ravi Zacharias, popular Christian leaders are posting their own tributes.

“I join the thunderous applause of Heaven,” wrote Louie Giglio, founding pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, in a tribute to the late apologist.

Zacharias passed away Tuesday at the age of 74 after a battle with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer in the itinerant speaker’s spine. Zacharias had traveled to Houston for chemotherapy treatment after the cancer was found by surgeons performing back surgery on him. He was subsequently sent home to Atlanta after oncologists determined the cancer was too advanced for continued treatment.

Christian author Jackie Hill Perry wrote Tuesday about the time she and her husband, Preston, met Zacharias, praising him for his humility and “naturally inquisitive” spirit.

“In his office that day, I understood why he knew as much as he did, it was because he was naturally inquisitive,” she wrote. “But I also saw why he was able to communicate as he did, because he was incredibly humble. For anybody who has been impacted by Ravi, today we grieve, but not without hope. A part of me is so happy for him. He’s spent decades of his life defending the validity, necessity and beauty of a person and now, face to face, He finally stands before the One He defended.”

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham and president of the humanitarian nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse, described Zacharias as “one of the great Christian apologists of our time.”

“Don’t feel sorry for Ravi—his fight with cancer is over, and he has placed his crowns at the feet of the One who deserves all glory and honor,” Graham wrote. “For those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, we will see him again on the other side of the river.”

Conservative radio host Erick Erickson, who is outspoken about his Christian faith, published a blog post Tuesday, calling Zacharias a “great evangelist.”

Erickson said he had plans to meet the apologist, writing Zacharias had asked to take him and his wife out to dinner.

“Though we never did meet, I considered him a friend in a way,” the talk radio host said. “He was such an inspiration. He helped me make better arguments in discussions of faith and culture on television and radio.”

“Ravi Zacharias served the Lord faithfully,” Erickson continued. “When faced with smear and slander, he turned the other cheek and carried on to the end. Even while undergoing treatment, he served as a witness for Christ.”

In an Instagram post of her own, Christian journalist Paula Faris lauded Zacharias for the “profound impact” Zacharias had on so many people.

NFL star Benjamin Watson, a Christian, penned a tribute to Zacharias as well.

“Thank you, Ravi, for being steadfast and faithful in your calling and for demonstrating Christ’s love in explaining our hope!” wrote Watson. “I count myself among the millions who have been impacted by your voice, your life and your legacy.”

Johnnie Moore, commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, praised Zacharias as “a once-in-a-millennium Christian leader, a hero of mine [and] a friend.”

“If it has ever been true of anyone, this giant of a Christian was welcomed by God himself as a ‘good [and] faithful servant’—with a standing ovation by those who came before,” he wrote.