Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Deliver Us From Evil by Ravi Zacharias

Oh Ravi.  I may have mentioned once or twice before that I am absolutely obsessed with Ravi Zacharias.  And that he's brilliant.  Any time I come up with anything even halfway insightful, Luke says "You heard that from Ravi, didn't you?".  He knows me so well.  Anyway, the first book I read and reviewed by Ravi after falling in love with his radio broadcast/podcast (Let My People Think) actually turned out to be edited rather than authored by Ravi.  I liked it, but felt it was a bit simplistic.  I was hoping for something a bit deeper and more similar to his radio program and boy did I get it.  This is one of the most difficult books I read in 2012. It is a moral, historical, philosophical, and, obviously, theological, look at the problem of evil in our culture.

The book itself was written in 1996, so many of Ravi's references to example of evil in the culture are a bit dated.  However, I think the message is so remarkably apt for today.  I was finishing this book when the Newtown shootings occurred and I was blown away by how appropriate the analysis in the book was for the situation.  Ravi's basic premise is that secularization has led to a loss of shame, pluralization has led to a loss of reason, and privatization and led to a loss of meaning.  Those three factors combine to contribute to the modern state of evil.

One of the reasons I have so very much respect for Ravi (yes, I do call him by his first name because I feel like he would want me to.  In my mind, we are MFEO) is that he is so very educated.  Not only does he have an incredibly detailed and intricate knowledge of the Bible and church tradition and analysis of Scripture, but he is also culturally knowledgeable.  He quotes the major literary figures, knows classical music well, has an amazing grasp of philosophy, and can analyze history like an expert.  He knows his stuff.  You may not agree with his interpretations, but man, you cannot claim that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Entertainment Value
This is a difficult read, no bones about it.  We're introduced to philosophical, historical, and theological ideas on an academic level.  I found the book difficult enough that I needed to take notes as I read, especially since I couldn't sit down and read it through.  I had to take it piece by piece and keep things outlined in order to follow the arguments.

That said, it was absolutely fascinating.  I feel like I grew both intellectually and spiritually from the experience.  I recommend taking it by chapters as opposed to trying to read through the entire thing at once.  I also recommend taking notes because it is complex.

If you aren't a Christian and you aren't interested in apologetics, theology, philosophy, or the place of religion in culture, this may not be for you.  It's not fiction and it's not an easy read.  But, if the topics interest you, if you're a Christian, or if you're open-minded and interested in an intellectual look at a Christian interpretation of society, this is an amazing read.  I can't say enough good things about it and about the author.


  1. I ordered this one after you spoke so highly of it and I can't wait to dig into it!

  2. I'm so excited to hear this! Please let me know what you think once you read it!