John 11:11 “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
World-renown apologist and founder of RZIM Ministries Ravi Zacharias died this week of cancer at age 74. At the end of his obituary is how he asked to be remembered: “In 2018, Zacharias told the story of standing with his successor (Michael Ramsden) in front of Lazarus’s grave in Cyprus. The stone simply reads, ‘Lazarus, four days dead, friend of Christ.’
Zacharias turned to Ramsden and said if he was remembered as ‘a friend of Christ, that would be all I want.’”
One of the greatest attractions people had toward Ravi, whether they were believers or not, was how he presented his defense of Jesus Christ and the Christian worldview with the motto of ‘Apologetics with a Touch’: “We are to be neighbors to our world, reaching not only the mind, but caring for the heart and the physical needs of the body as well. What greater opportunity to express the glory of God?”
Zacharias was a staunch defender the exclusivity of truth. In his book ‘The Logic of God’, he explained it like this: “Truth by definition is exclusive. Everything cannot be true. If everything is true, then nothing is false. And if nothing is false, then it would also be true to say everything is false.”
In his article ‘Think Again – Asking Deep Questions’, Ravi explains why apologetics today is so important – because it zeroes in on helping the questioner discover what is true: “The field of apologetics deals with the hard questions posed to the Christian faith. Having had deep questions myself, I listen carefully to the questions raised. I always bear in mind that behind every question is a questioner. The convergence of intellectual and existential struggles drives a person to a brutal honesty in the questions they have.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is beautiful and true, yet oftentimes one will ask, “How can it be true that there is only one way?” Odd, isn’t it, that we don’t ask the same questions of the laws of nature or of any assertion that lays claim to truth. We are discomfited by the fact that truth, by definition, is exclusive.
That is what truth claims are at their core. To make an assertion is to deny its opposite. Rather than complain that there is only one way, shouldn’t we be delighted that there is one way? The question really is, how do we really know this is the truth?” He then explains how the Christian worldview gives an answer.
Everyone has a worldview, which offers answers to four necessary questions: 1) origin, 2) meaning, 3) morality, and 4) destiny. In turn, these answers must be correspondingly true on particular questions and, as a whole, all answers put together must be coherent. Going a step further, the three tests for truth must be applied to any worldview: 1) logical consistency, 2) empirical adequacy, and 3) experiential relevance. When submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.
Consider the empirical test of the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ. A look at human history shows why he was who he claimed to be and why millions follow him today. A comparison of Jesus’s teachings with any other claimant to divine or prophetic status quickly shows the profound differences in their claims and demonstrations. In fact, none except Jesus even claimed to be the divine Savior. His offer of grace and forgiveness by being the perfect sacrifice of our offense is profoundly unique.
I position the sequence of fact and deduction this way: Love is the supreme ethic. Where there is the possibility of love, there must be the reality of free will. Where there is the reality of free will, there will be the possibility of sin. Where there is sin, there is the need for a Savior. Where there is a Savior, there is the hope for redemption. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview does this sequence find its total expression and answer. The story from sin to redemption is only in the gospel with the provision of a loving God.
The verification of what Jesus taught and did make belief in Him a very rationally tenable and existentially fulfilling reality. From cosmology to history to human experience, the Christian faith presents explanatory power in a way no other worldview does. Our faith in Christ is reasonably grounded and experientially sustained. I am convinced Jesus Christ alone answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds.”
In our verse this week, Jesus demonstrates through His friend Lazarus that Resurrection is the ultimate truth of the Christian worldview. Ravi is living this right now, and would agree with what CS Lewis once concluded:
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Ravi, with RC Sproul and CS Lewis, is now living in reality with Christ.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #399