Interview with Dr. Ravi Zacharias on his latest book, "Why Jesus?"

Why Jesus? is Dr. Ravi Zacharias latest book, released today, January 25, 2012. This is a well-researched, intriguing and informative book that will set free the minds of all who are confused about who Jesus really is.

People like Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Rhonda Byrne have infected the minds and hearts of many, leading them astray to worship false gods and believe in a false Jesus. These religious misunderstandings can cause much strife in marriages and sometimes lead to divorce. That’s why it’s critical for us to have books like Why Jesus? to help educate our society that’s saturated with false hope and mass confusion.

With the heart of a compassionate father and the intellect of an astute scholar, Dr. Zacharias gives us the rarely understood background of how Eastern mysticism has defiled our Western theology and how the massive power of media has muddled the truth about eternal life and how to obtain it.

Why did you write the book and who is your target audience?

Dr. Zacharias: I wrote the book because there’s a great deal of confusion regarding spiritual matters due to the power of media, especially in the West. Who is God? Who are we? What is our purpose? All these questions remain unanswered. I want to reach the genuine seeker of spiritual well-being. My goal is to satisfy the hunger and longing for those who are seeking the truth.

In one sentence, how would you express why you think the New Spirituality is so captivating?

Dr. Zacharias: Because it makes you your ultimate authority; it allows you to play God without having to bow down to His authority.

In your book, you briefly mentioned why you believe Christianity in America has made the New Spirituality so appealing. Do you also believe it’s due to the false, man-centered Gospel that is preached (i.e., if you have any problems, try Jesus and He’ll fix your life)?

Dr. Zacharias: Absolutely. The way was paved in the ‘70s from self-help books that promised to make you understand your temperament so you could help yourself. In contrast, the journey with Christ begins with repentance and seeing yourself as God sees you—we’re all ultimately depraved. We all want Canaan without going through the wilderness.

The New Spirituality requires no one to see evil or depravity for what it is, instead they just tell you to involve yourself in some religious activity like chants, or prayers or meditations that are all a complete abuse of the human intellect. It appeals to people through the use of icons of pop-media and they harness the wills and attentions of millions.

If in your book, you wrote how Eastern mysticism is completely erroneous, why did you state in one of your speaking engagements that Henri Nouwen was one of the greatest saints who lived in our time, when Nouwen is known to have been influenced by Thomas Merton and others who practice Eastern mysticism?

Dr. Zacharias: I regret having said that. At the time, I based my comment on Nouwen’s story of the prodigal son which I felt was on target. But later as I learned more about Nouwen and Merton, I found their writings to be very troubling. I believe that doctrinally, Nouwen lost his way. I used to read Malcolm Muggeridge too until I read his book, “Jesus Rediscovered”. Muggeridge was morally and culturally a good thinker, but he was not theologically sound.

On page 228, you mention Oscar Wilde asking for the Eucharist so he could get right with God. Are you saying that you believe a person can be saved by taking the Eucharist or by any other Catholic beliefs?

Dr. Zacharias: Absolutely not. Only through repentance and faith in Christ can anyone be saved. No religious activity will be sufficient, only true faith in Jesus Christ alone. When I wrote that, I was trying to express that for Wilde, this was the ultimate expression of him trying to make things right with Christ because at the end of his life, in his heart, he knew that he lived as a reprobate. Whether Wilde is now in Heaven, I don’t know. God doesn’t tell me these things.

You questioned how the Church will maintain its teaching while still displaying God’s love to the fallen world (page 215). Does this include loving one another enough to rebuke those who are in sin (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)?

Dr. Zacharias: Yes, this is very important and very good. Painful correction and wounds of a friend are legitimate and are necessary. We all need accountability. King David had many prophets who held him accountable when he sinned. I’ve never seen a prophet in Solomon's life. I think that was one of the biggest problems.

On pages 264-265, you mention Gerald L. Sittser’s book, Water from a Deep Well, stating that he lists the best known Christian mystics in his book. How are you using the term “mystics” here?

Dr. Zacharias: When I say “Christian mystics” I mean that Christians today have lost the legitimate side of the mystical that is in accordance with sound doctrine. Like in marriage, the romantic side is very real, but has to be addressed by the will, not just feelings. As Christians we’ve forgotten how to be still and know that the LORD is God (Psalm 46:10). Many Christians have so busied themselves with programs and activities that they no longer know how to be silent and meditate on God’s word or recognize the mysteries that are in the Person of Christ. I’m not speaking of the esoteric or gnostic, I’m speaking of the meditative and reflective that conforms with sound doctrine.

Dr. Zacharias is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). He was born in India in the late ‘40s, immigrated to Canada with his family in the late ‘60s, has three grown children and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Margie whom he’s been married to for nearly 39 years.

He’s authored or edited more than 20 books, with several translated into Russian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Spanish and other languages.

You can listen to Dr. Zacharias on his weekly radio programs, “Let My People Think”, aired on more than 1,700 outlets worldwide or “Just Thinking”, aired on more than 400 stations.

Dr. Zacharias is a highly sought after, world renown Christian author and speaker of apologetics whose demeanor is rare and refreshing. The first thoughts I had after my interview were: this man is unashamedly abandoned to Christ, humble and full of grace.

If you’d like to hear him speak in person, Dr. Zacharias will be at the First Baptist Church of Dallas on Sunday, April 15, 2012. For more information, please click HERE.

Listed below are local and online bookstores where you can purchase this dynamically truth-filled book: (hardcover and audio CD)

**Special note: For those who have concerns about Dr. Zacharias, his commitment to Christ and the true Gospel due to his 2004 speaking engagement at the Mormon Tabernacle, please don’t be foolish and make judgments based on what you’ve read or heard from someone else. Rather, educate yourself properly with the truth. You can watch his message in it’s entirety on YouTube by clicking this link: Ravi Zacharias Speaking to LDS 1 of 7 and/or read his note here: A Note from Ravi about the Mormon Tabernacle Event.

I’ve personally read the note and watched all seven videos and clearly heard Dr. Zacharias preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as make a clear distinction that the Christ of the Mormons is not the Christ of the Bible. The title of his message says it all: “The Exclusivity and Sufficiency of Jesus Christ”.