Hien Pham: A Man Set Apart

November 8, 2004

Excuse this deviation from my usual political emphasis on this blog, but I want to share with you a fascinating story. Ravi Zacharias has long been one of my absolute favorite Christian thinkers, authors, apologists. (His books are all outstanding, and thought-provoking. I feature a number of them on my Christian books section.) He’s one of the most brilliant people in the world. He alone puts the lie to the myth that Christians and intellect are incompatible — you know, part of the Red State stereotype. One of the activities he’s been known to engage in is to visit college campuses and debate Christianity with the student or faculty intellectuals.

The first time I saw Ravi on television I wasn’t yet a believing Christian (excuse the redundancy), but I was drawn to him, his brilliance and grace. He spoke with a humble authority that frankly, was dazzling. He heads up Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), which does wonderful Christian work.

Ravi was one of the six Christian experts I interviewed for the last chapter of my book, “Persecution.” Each day RZIM e-mails (and makes available on its website) a devotional/inspirational story or article called “A Slice of Infinity.” Various writers with RZIM, including my friend Danielle DuRant, take turns contributing. I have meant to post certain “Slices,” but have never gotten around to doing it.

I’m on the Slice e-mail list and today’s caught my undivided attention for two reasons. One is that Ravi wrote it. The other is that it concerns a story that I’d read before (in Ravi’s book, “Deliver Us From Evil,”) and that deeply moved me. I recently considered asking Ravi’s permision to borrow this story from the book, type it myself, and post it on the blog. So it is especially significant to me that Ravi shared it in “Slice.”

The story is about a friend of Ravi’s, Hien Pham, who was an interpreter Ravi met in Vietnam in 1971 when he was ministering there. After Vietnam fell, as you’ll soon read if you follow the link, Hien was imprisoned on charges that he had assisted Americans. After periods of attempted indoctrination, and hardship, Hien decided to abandon his God, thinking He may not exist after all. The story of how God directly brought him back into the fold (and what followed) is dramatic and touching and abundantly revealing of God’s love and sovereignty. Please read the rest of the story, Hien Pham: A Man Set Apart,” here.