NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — Christian apologist and award-winning author Ravi Zacharias warned Friday night about the consequences of society's struggle with gender identity and stressed that the "problem is huge in its cultural upheaval."
Zacharias, the Indian-born Canadian-American founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and author of numerous books, issued remarks at the Wilberforce Weekend 2017 conference hosted by the Colson Center at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C.
Considering that the purpose of the annual gathering was to "equip Christians in Christian worldview and cultural renewal," Zacharias issued a warning about the current state of today's society, saying that an "earthquake is taking place" because of the "social ramifications" of man altering God-created definitions.
"One of the most memorable first lines in all of English literature comes from A Tale of Two Cities — 'It was the best of times and it was the worst of times,'" Zacharias quoted. "If [Charles] Dickens could say that writing at that time in the late 1700s about all that happened then, I wonder whether he would have not have thought it was even more appropriate in our time, with all that we have access to in technology and the capacity of destruction piling up."
"On the one hand, we have people threatening nuclear war," he said. "On the other hand, we have people who have tried to demolish every sacred value that has been held for so long."
Zacharias continued by stating that there are "no definitions left anymore" for concepts like life, marriage and sexuality.
"I think it was [G.K.] Chesterton who once said that there is only one angle at which you can stand straight and many, many angles at which you can fall and that the the tragedy of disbelieving in God is not that a person ends up believing in nothing. Alas, it is much worse. A person may end up believing in anything," he said. "I say the following statement very carefully and I don't mean it in a mocking sense of those who do struggle with this issue because I know people who do. We talk to them. We engage them. And I am talking about those who struggle today with what we call gender identity."
The 71-year-old speaker cited a book by Vaughan Roberts, vicar at St. Ebbe's in Oxford, England, to explain that when Facebook created its categories of gender a while back, they listed male, female and optional.
"They found out very quickly under the 'optional' they merged 71 different categories. So they changed it from optional to custom. You customize how you feel and how you think," Zacharias exclaimed.
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"As real as the problem may be, the problem is huge in its cultural upheaval and in the raising of young families," he continued.
After mentioning that his youngest grandson had just graduated from kindergarten, Zacharias stated that he wonders what type of world his grandson will live in.
"It's like an earthquake is taking place under us with social ramifications," the apologist said. "Just like Os [Guinness] has pointed out, when that lid blew off in the French Revolution, the Church was thrown away to space as well. And after over 200 years has still not recovered."
Zacharias then told the crowd that he had been frequently wondering what kind of person it will take to live in today's society. He referred to Genesis and pointed to a man like Joseph.
"Joseph, the grounding of his belief in his season of temptation, the guarantee of his peace in the season of pain, and thirdly ... the generosity of his spirit in his season of power. He knew how to be kind and never abuse the power that God had given to him," Zacharias explained. "Take a look at this city (Washington, D.C.) today. We are appointing more lawyers to solve more problems and more prosecutors and more investigators. ... The world looks upon us and said, 'What is happening to this nation?'"
Zacharias explained that when he met with businessmen in Singapore and Russia last year, they both questioned what is happening in the United States today. He recalled the Chinese businessman in Singapore telling him that "America is in serious trouble." He remembered the businessman in Russia saying "They don't think rightly there anymore."
"Os is right. We are on the high seas without a chart or a compass because we have lost the very moral boundaries that God had given to us," he lamented.