For the 2016 RZIM Summer Institute at Georgia Tech, we bring together our most highly acclaimed speakers, as well as an outstanding group of adjuncts, to provide the very best experience for our participants.
Ravi Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). Zacharias has spoken all over the world for 45 years in scores of universities, notably Harvard, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Cambridge. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. At the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders held in Mozambique.
Zacharias has direct contact with key leaders, senators, congressmen, and governors who consult him on an ongoing basis. He has addressed the Florida Legislature and the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Texas and Louisiana, and has twice spoken at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York, which marks the beginning of the UN General Assembly each year. As the 2008 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, he gave addresses at the White House, the Pentagon, and The Cannon House. He has had the privilege of addressing the National Prayer Breakfasts in the seats of government in Ottawa, Canada, and London, England, and speaking at the CIA in Washington, DC.
Born in India in 1946, Zacharias immigrated to Canada with his family twenty years later. While pursuing a career in business management, his interest in theology grew; subsequently, he pursued this study during his undergraduate education. He received his Master of Divinity from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Well-versed in the disciplines of comparative religions, cults, and philosophy, he held the chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary for three and a half years. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge (then affiliated with Cambridge University, now more recently allied with Cambridge and affiliated with Durham University) where he studied moralist philosophers and literature of the Romantic era. He has been honored with the conferring of nine doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Laws and a Doctor of Sacred Theology.
Zacharias has authored or edited over 25 books including the Gold Medallion winner Can Man Live Without God (Word, 1994), Walking from East to West (Zondervan, 2006), The Grand Weaver (Zondervan, 2007), Has Christianity Failed You? (Zondervan, 2010), Why Jesus, (FaithWords, 2012), and Beyond Opinion (Thomas Nelson, 2007), which includes contributions from RZIM’s global team. His latest books are Jesus Among Secular Gods (2017) and Why Suffering? (2014), both coauthored with Vince Vitale and released by FaithWords. Several of his books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Spanish, and other languages.
Zacharias has appeared on CNN, Fox, and other international broadcasts. His weekly radio program, “Let My People Think,” airs on 2337 outlets worldwide, his weekday program, “Just Thinking,” on 721, and his one-minute, “Just a Thought,” on 488. Various broadcasts are also translated into Romanian and Turkish, and “Let My People Think” airs as the Spanish-language program “Pensemos” on over 250 outlets in sixteen countries. Additionally, his television program, “Let My People Think,” is broadcast internationally in several countries including Indonesia. RZIM is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Romania, Turkey, Austria, Spain, and South Africa. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.
Dr. Andy Bannister is the Director and Lead Apologist for RZIM Canada. He speaks and teaches regularly throughout Canada, the US, Europe, and the wider world. From churches to universities, business forums to TV and radio, Andy regularly addresses both Christian audiences and those of all faiths and none on issues relating to faith, culture, politics, and society.
With a background in youth ministry before studying theology and philosophy (focusing especially on Islam), Andy was previously based in Oxford, where he worked with churches and organizations across the denominational spectrum.
Andy holds a PhD in Islamic studies, a topic on which he has taught extensively. He has spoken and taught at universities across Canada, the US, the UK, and farther afield on both Islam and philosophy and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology.
Andy is the author of An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an, a groundbreaking and innovative study that reveals many of the ways the Qur’an was first composed. His latest book, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (or: The Terrible Consequences of Really Bad Arguments), is a humorous engagement with the New Atheism.
When not traveling, speaking, or writing, Andy is a keen hiker, mountain climber, and photographer. He lives in Toronto and is married to Astrid; they have two children, Caitriona and Christopher.
Nathan Betts is an apologist with RZIM. He frequently speaks on university campuses across the US and Canada, and regularly addresses church congregations. Nathan has written curricula on basic Christianity and apologetics for several major churches in North America and the UK, and his writing has been featured in Converge magazine. Nathan also co-wrote and co-presented RZIM’s Short Answers to Big Questions video series.
Nathan completed his undergraduate degree at Tyndale University and his MA in Bible and Ministry at King’s College London. He is also a graduate of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is an avid percussionist and a keen baseball fan. Nathan and his wife, Brittany, live near Seattle, WA, with their two young children.
Chris Blattner is from Central Minnesota and holds a BS in business finance. He spent 27 years in a family construction company where revenue grew from $30 million to over $1 billion. Chris has held many positions through those years including site manager, project manager, logistics director, executive risk management director, VP.
As the organization grew, professional leadership became a key focus in developing people within the organization. The company established a leadership development committee (of which Chris was part of) that created intentional leadership development of its employees. Although the company itself is not Christian-focused, many of the leadership principles it embraced were. Chris became a committed follower of Christ in 1998 and experienced the challenges of living out his faith in the construction business world.
Jill Carattini is managing editor and principal writer of A Slice of Infinity, a daily reading considering themes from theology and culture to philosophy and the arts. She holds a degree in religion from Hope College, a masters of divinity from Western Theological Seminary, and a Th.M from Duke University, where she studied sacramental theology and the arts. Jill is ordained as a specialized minister in the Reformed Church of America, where she serves on the theology commission.
She is a frequent speaker and panelist on the subject of theology and the arts, teaches workshops in creative writing, and is leading the charge in RZIM’s growing emphasis on the arts and imagination as a critical means to engage contemporary culture with the person of Christ. Jill has lived and worked in diverse ministry settings, including urban ministry and university campus ministry.
She has spent time in a Native American community working within a local mission church in Oklahoma, and has studied in the Middle East, participating in a program aimed at understanding the culture, history, and politics of the Middle Eastern conflict. She enjoys reading widely in areas of theology, aesthetics, culture, and reconciliation. Among her favorite writers are John Calvin, Jeremy Begbie, Flannery O’Connor, Marilynn Robinson, Wendell Berry, and many of the early church pilgrims, though an early love of the writings of C.S. Lewis was most formative in her own faith and writing. Jill is a native of Pentwater, Michigan, and currently resides with her husband, Tony, and their son in Atlanta, Georgia.
Shawn Hart is based in Washington, DC, where he works as an OCCA Fellow with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Shawn has a background in international missions and served among two unreached people groups in East Africa with Africa Inland Mission. It was during his time working overseas that Shawn saw the need and benefit of apologetics in evangelism and discipleship. Cross-cultural mission work stirred in Shawn a love for culture and an interest in thinking about how to respectfully engage with people from many cultural perspectives.
Shawn is a graduate of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) and is currently working towards his master’s degree at Western Seminary. Upon graduating from the OCCA, Shawn returned to his hometown of Portland, Oregon, to start a chapter of Ratio Christi on the campus of Portland State University. During this time Shawn organized and led one of the first weeklong university missions in the US in partnership with RZIM and several other campus ministries.
Shawn is married to Carly and they have three young children: Elias, Aliyah, and Silas.
Jeff Jackson is the Christian Services Director of Recovery Ranch outside Nashville, Tennessee, one of the largest treatment facilities in the nation and a part of Elements Behavioral Health. Jeff grew up on a ranch in Texas before heading to Tennessee to work in the music industry, and then later to work in residential treatment for the last eight years. His passion lies in the interface of psychology, philosophy, and theology, and how these arenas help us to understand what it fully means to be human from a Christian worldview. He incorporates apologetics, the art of music, and creative songwriting in his work with clients. Jeff holds a BA in religious studies, an MAR, and an MA in apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary.
Madeline Jackson earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. At Pepperdine, Madeline served as Chair of the Veritas Forum, an annual event that allows students to explore life’s most profound questions. Upon graduation from Pepperdine, she went on to study apologetics and theology at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
Madeline’s passion for apologetics was born out of a desire to articulate the reality of Christ to people who were suffering. She came face to face with extreme poverty in Ethiopia as a young girl and this experience was the catalyst for her ongoing commitment to global outreach. Her extensive travels around the world motivate her to devote her life to sharing how the gospel is universally relevant and ultimately transformative to all people.
Madeline serves as an OCCA Fellow with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Boston where she has the joy and privilege of engaging in evangelism and apologetics throughout New England. She is deeply committed to sharing the profound satisfaction of knowing Christ in the face of our search for identity, meaning, satisfaction, purpose, and relationship.
Sanj Kalra is a speaker for RZIM. He was born in New Delhi, India, and comes from a Hindu background. His family immigrated to Ottawa, Canada, where he grew up through high school. He was then awarded a tennis scholarship at the University of Akron, Ohio, where he was graduated with a degree in Business Management. He has worked in the medical device sales industry for over twenty years.
Despite enjoying unprecedented personal success, Sanj eventually went spinning out of control until, in a state of deep crisis, he had a dramatic encounter with Jesus Christ in June of 2010. Until that point, pleasure and indulgence were all he lived for. The transformation that Jesus brought to him is one of the most remarkable testimonies of our time. He joined the RZIM team in 2015 and now shares his story and messages throughout the globe. The impact he has is particularly felt among the young and the business world. He has spoken at churches and conferences where the response has always been heartwarming.
As part of the RZIM team, Sanj’s role also includes being the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at RZIM. He is married to Kay and they are blessed with two daughters.
Sanj’s focus is on meaning and purpose and how Jesus Christ can give us new desires.
Tom Key is dedicated to the Theatrical Art Form as a catalyst to creating community. He has served as Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit since 1995 where his drive to tell “Stories That Stir The Soul” in the heart of downtown with the best artists of the city has developed the company into one of Atlanta’s major performing arts institutions. As an actor, he has appeared in over a 100 productions from off Broadway to Los Angeles and is one of Atlanta’s most celebrated performing artists: Alliance Theater (Art, Grapes of Wrath, Candide, Our Town, A Christmas Carol), The Atlanta Ballet (Peter and the Wolf), The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (The Defiant Requiem and Beethoven’s Egmont), Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater and Arena Stage in Washington DC (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and Theatrical Outfit (Big River Suzi Winner, Young Man From Atlanta Suzi Nominee, Red Suzi Nominee).
He has performed his solo dramatization, C.S. Lewis On Stage, across North America including residencies at Harvard and Yale Universities as well as Oxford University of England. At Theatrical Outfit, he has directed Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate (ArtsATL “Best Production of the 2013-2014 Season), Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys, Hank Williams Lost Highway, Godspell (Suzi Nominee), his adaptation of Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer and Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Seminar, and Cecil Dawkins’ adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s The Displaced Person. His off-Broadway musical hit, Cotton Patch Gospel, which he created, co-authored with the late Harry Chapin, and starred in nationally continues to be one of the most celebrated and produced musicals in the Dramatic Publishing catalogue. He has received The Governor’s Award in the Humanities; the Georgia Arts and Entertainment Legacy Award, Two Dramalogue Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Theater and two Mayoral proclamations for his service to the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta Creative Loafing describes Tom Key as: “An actor with such energy that even standing still, he seems to quiver like a divining rod.”
John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science. He is also an adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, as well as being a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. In addition, he is an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School, Oxford University, and teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme.
Prof Lennox studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he took his MA, MMath and PhD. He worked for many years in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Wales in Cardiff, which awarded him a DSc for his research. He also holds a DPhil from Oxford University and an MA in Bioethics from the University of Surrey. Prof Lennox was a Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Universities of Wuerzburg and Freiburg in Germany.
In addition to over seventy published mathematical papers, he is the co-author of two research level texts in algebra in the Oxford Mathematical Monographs series. He is interested in the interface between science, philosophy and theology and his books on those topics include God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, God and Stephen Hawking, and Gunning for God. His most recent title is Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism. Prof Lennox has lectured extensively in North America, Eastern and Western Europe on mathematics, the philosophy of science and the intellectual defence of Christianity. He has also debated a number of prominent atheists, including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Singer. (Website: www.johnlennox.org)
His hobbies include languages, amateur astronomy, bird-watching and some walking. John is married to Sally and they live near Oxford. They have three grown up children and seven grandchildren.
Mike Licona has a PhD in New Testament Studies (University of Pretoria), which he completed with distinction. He serves as associate professor in theology at Houston Baptist University. Mike was interviewed by Lee Strobel in his book The Case for the Real Jesus and appeared in Strobel’s video The Case for Christ. He is the author of numerous books including The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2010), Paul Meets Muhammad (Baker, 2006), co-author with Gary Habermas of the award-winning book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Kregel, 2004) and co-editor with William Dembski of Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (Baker, 2010). Mike is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature. He has spoken on more than 50 university campuses, and has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs. Read more at Risen Jesus‘ webpage.
Margaret Manning Shull
Margaret Manning Shull joined the RZIM Speaking and Writing Team in 2007 after having served as a pastor for over seven years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Agnes Scott College before going on to earn her Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Her pastoral ministry focused on teaching, discipleship, spiritual formation, and pastoral care and counseling. Her research interests include topics in philosophical theology, world religions, science and faith, human sexuality, and theology in the arts.
Passionate about communicating the gospel in ways that engage both heart and mind, Margaret’s pastoral ministry grounds her speaking and writing in a relational and practical style. Margaret seeks to address the critical intersections between the Christian faith and lived experience in order to engage Christians and non-Christians in conversations that count.
In her free time, Margaret enjoys travel, gardening, hiking, cycling, running, and taking care of her menagerie of pets. She currently lives in Bellingham, WA, with her husband, David.
Cameron McAllister is a member of the speaking and writing team at RZIM. He earned a degree in Philosophy and Religion from Toccoa Falls College and is currently pursuing a masters in cultural apologetics from Houston Baptist University. A keen cultural observer, Cameron’s apologetic approach is animated by a focus on the integration of reason and the imagination with a special emphasis on the role of story in helping people to make sense of their lives. A great admirer of the work and ministry of Dallas Willard, Cameron is also deeply committed to the integration of apologetics and Christian discipleship.
Cameron was born on the mission field in Vienna, Austria. He moved to the States with his family in 1998 when his father, Stuart McAllister, began working with RZIM. Cameron and his wife, Heather, currently reside in Georgia
Dr. Stuart McAllister was born in Scotland and saw his life changed by Christ at the early age of twenty. Filled with a hunger to learn more about and preach the Gospel, he took every opportunity to witness and give his testimony. This desire to serve the Lord and deepen his understanding of the faith led him to join Operation Mobilization (OM) in 1978. His service with OM took him to Yugoslavia, where he was imprisoned for forty days for distributing Christian literature. Upon his release, he continued his mission to preach the Gospel in communist countries, resulting in more imprisonments. Stuart joined RZIM in 1998 as the international director and today serves as North American regional director and vice-president of training. With a heavy travel schedule that takes him all over the globe, Stuart speaks in churches and other forums with the same passion for the Gospel that he found when he first became a believer. Stuart has been a lecturer at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York, where he was awarded a doctor of divinity.
Abdu Murray is a Senior Itinerant Speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and is the author of two books, including his latest, Grand Central Question: Answering the Critical Concerns of the Major Worldviews. For most of his life, Abdu was a proud Muslim who studied the Qur’an and Islam. After a nine year investigation into the historical, philosophical, and scientific underpinnings of the major world religions and views, Abdu discovered that the historic Christian faith alone can answer the questions of the mind and the longings of the heart.
Abdu has spoken to diverse international audiences and has participated in debates and dialogues across the globe. He has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and televisions programs all over the world and hosts Embrace the Truth with Abdu Murray, a radio show heard on WLQV AM 1500 in Detroit and worldwide on the internet and podcast.
Abdu holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. As an attorney, Abdu was named several times in Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyer. Abdu is the Scholar in Residence of Christian Thought and Apologetics at the Josh McDowell Institute of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
Abdu lives in the Detroit area with his wife and their three children.
Nabeel Qureshi is an itinerant speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and bestselling author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Since completing his medical degree in 2009, he has dedicated his life to spreading the gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating.
Dr. Qureshi has lectured to students at over 100 universities, including Oxford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Hong Kong. He has participated in 18 public debates around North America, Europe, and Asia. His focus is on the foundations of the Christian faith, the early history and teachings of Islam, and the interface of science and religion.
Dr. Qureshi holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University, and an MA in Religion from Duke University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in New Testament studies at Oxford University where he lives with his wife, Michelle.
Biochemist Fazale (Fuz) Rana writes and speaks extensively about evidence for creation emerging from biochemistry, genetics, human origins, and synthetic biology. As vice president of research and apologetics at Reasons to Believe (RTB), he is dedicated to communicating to skeptics and believers alike the powerful scientific case for God’s existence and the Bible’s reliability.
Fuz converted to Christianity during graduate school. Though he initially embraced the evolutionary paradigm, Fuz eventually drew the conclusion that only a Creator’s involvement could explain the elegance of biochemical systems. But it was only after his fiancee’s pastor challenged him to read the Bible that Fuz became convinced of the validity of Christ’s claims and of his own need for a Savior. Read more at Reasons to Believe’s webpage.
Daniel Rangel is a fulltime OCCA Fellow based in Dallas, TX. He is a gifted communicator speaking regularly with other businesses, universities, and churches in the United States and Latin America. He passionately seeks to bring clarity to questions regarding the Christian faith. Daniel also desires to represent the Christian responsibility to work for social justice by creating leadership and educational opportunities. He is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Daniel was born and raised in Houston and received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. After graduation, Daniel worked as a fulltime engineer before going on to study at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
Marty and Jen Reardon
Marty Reardon is the Worship Pastor at Trinity Anglican in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an ordained Anglican priest and holds a Masters of Worship Studies from The Robert Webber Institute where he is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Worship Studies.
Marty is married to Jen Reardon who is also a worship leader at Trinity Anglican. Jen holds a degree in Intercultural Studies from Lee University and volunteers at Trinity Anglican as a missions coordinator, facilitating missionary support and care for the various partnerships Trinity Anglican has overseas. In addition to being worship leaders, Marty and Jen are gifted songwriters who have recorded several worship projects. They have three children and live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nathan Rittenhouse is an OCCA Fellow with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He was graduated from Bridgewater College in Virginia with a double major in Physics and Philosophy and Religion, and a minor in Mathematics before attending the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is currently studying at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA.
Nathan has interests in topics of science and religion, church history, and systematic theology. He grew up in an active church and Christian family and developed an enthusiasm for Christ that has intensified with his academic studies. As a student, Nathan refreshed his mind by running track and cross-country and continues to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities with his wife and kids.
Nathan is based outside of Boston and travels and speaks throughout New England in universities and churches.
Michael Suderman is an OCCA Fellow based in Washington, D.C., with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He graduated from Tabor College in Kansas with a double major in Philosophy and Biblical & Religious Studies, and a minor in Psychology. He recently completed a Masters of Theology at the University of Oxford alongside two years of study at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
Michael has interests in topics related to faith and science, world religions, and the intersection of Christianity and culture. His passion is to help facilitate the discovery and rediscovery of Jesus by communicating and clarifying the gospel as the most profound solution to life’s most meaningful questions. Prior to studying in Oxford, Michael was involved with youth and university ministries and participated in educational and volunteer work throughout India.
Since 2011, Michelle has been speaking overseas as a part of the RZIM European team and as a guest lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Prior to joining the RZIM staff, Michelle worked for six years as the University Chaplain for St. Aldate’s—a thriving, historic, student friendly church located in the heart of Oxford.
Michelle has strong ties to Oxford since she met and married her husband there while studying abroad at Oxford University, during which she finished her bachelor’s degree in political science from Stetson University. Michelle then went on to pursue further studies in theology at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) and was part of the OCCA’s first graduating class.
Following God’s call to move back to the States and support the local church while serving with RZIM, Michelle and her husband, Peter, have relocated to Florida with their daughter, Sophia.
Alycia Wood graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College with a degree in Criminal Justice and from Marygrove College with a Master’s in Social Justice. She also graduated from the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and spent two years as a Fellow with RZIM in New England. Alycia’s speaking background is quite diverse. From universities (such as MIT, UCONN, Harvard, University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Dartmouth College, and Brown University), to retreats, from conferences to men’s and women’s prisons, Alycia has addressed major issues surrounding faith to diverse audiences.
Additionally, she has traveled to countries such as Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, volunteering at soup kitchens and orphanages as her passions for “showing Christ” extends beyond her local environment.
In her spare time, Alycia enjoys music and is a lover of all things football and hockey.