International evangelist Ravi Zacharias is calling on America to return to biblical faith and moral values, and he’s encouraging Louisiana to lead the way.

“We are a nation today trying to reconcile liberty with law, and it looks like liberty trumps law, but again and again and again anarchy tends to break out,” Zacharias said recently.

“Society is governed by politics. Politics has to be rooted in law. Law has to be safely rooted in good, moral reasoning,” said the 69-year-old Zacharias. “So moral reasoning is the soil, the laws are the roots, political structure is the trunk, the branches are the outworking of all of this and what holds those roots together must be the moral soil which holds those roots together.”

“I pray this state will lead the way and be an example to the rest of the nation built on this solid soil of God’s answers to the human condition,” Zacharias told the more than 1,000 people attending the 2015 Louisiana Governor’s Prayer Breakfast on April 15 at the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge.

Zacharias is a pioneer of Christian apologetics, said Prayer Breakfast emcee Dustin Dowling in his introduction. “He defends the faith and fights for God’s truth. His motto is ‘Helping thinkers believe and helping believers think.’ All you have to do is hear him speak, and you will understand that.”

Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, “to give an answer,” and Christian apologetics is not an apology for Christianity, Zacharias explains on his website, Apologetics is defined as “formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position or system,” meaning to give a defense of the Christian faith.

In his address, Zacharias described his argument for Christianity and a moral society based on four foundational ideas given to man by God through the Holy Bible — eternity, morality, accountability and charity.

God wants man to live beyond the temporal moment, to live a moral life based on scriptural laws, live a life accountable to others instead of one’s self and to be charitable to others, Zacharias said.

“Society is in a quagmire right now,” he said. “We literally are in quicksand of sinking values.”

Born in India in 1946, Zacharias and his family immigrated to Canada in the early 1960s. Zacharias said he became a Christian as a teenager after he attempted suicide by drinking poison. A friend brought a Gospel of John to his home, he said, and while his mother read it to him on his sickbed, “I made a commitment to Christ.”

He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been awarded four honorary doctorates of divinity, according to his organization’s website.

He’s addressed audiences in dozens of countries including Russia and Israel and spends half his life traveling, he told the breakfast audience. He has written more than 20 books, including “The Real Face of Atheism,” “Can Man Live without God?” and “Jesus Among Other Gods.” He also hosts an international radio program, “Let My People Think.”

His speech included quotes and ideas from Aldus Huxley, C.S. Lewis, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Stalin and American astronauts seeing the Earth for the first time from the moon who quoted Scripture, “In the beginning, God.” He included comments from professional baseball players, an inmate at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, St. Augustine and numerous words from Jesus.

Moses gave his people 630 laws, David reduced them to 15, Isaiah reduced them to 11 and Micah reduced them to three — do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before your God, Zacharias said.

“When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He said ‘to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself,’” Zacharias said. “On these two commandments hang all of the laws of all the prophets.”

“Because of the foundation of the first, the second naturally follows,” Zacharias said. “If you do not have the first, the second has its feet firmly planted in thin air. You must have the foundation of the sacred.”

God gave Adam only one law in the Garden of Eden, Zacharias said: “Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” But Satan twisted that by telling Adam and Eve they would become as God and could define their own good and evil, he continued.

“Look at our society today,” Zacharias said with a wave of his hands. “All of the trees are now protected except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It has been uprooted.”

True liberty only comes, Zacharias said, when a person fully gives his or her life to God and lives for his eternal purposes.

“Jesus Christ didn’t come into this world to make bad people good,” Zacharias said. “He came to make dead people live.”

Rose Long, a prayer breakfast board member, sat nearest to Zacharias at the head table while he spoke.

“His message comes at a crucial time for individuals and for our state and for our nation,” Long said. “His words were powerful. The things he spoke about are the bedrock of society.”

“I believe Dr. Zacharias is on target with the words he shared and the big take away for me is what we read in Scripture, Corinthians 13:13,” said the Rev. Jay Johnston, a prayer breakfast board member, associate pastor at First Baptist in Covington, and Louisiana National Day of Prayer coordinator. “Now these three remain — faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love. If the church will demonstrate the love of Christ, we can begin to see those outside the church be drawn to Jesus.”