A BIOGRAPHICAL WIKI ON APOLOGIST WILLIAM LANE CRAIG
Biography of Life
It is an unfortunate yet all too common notion to believe that faith and reason cannot coexist. William Lane Craig would profoundly disagree, and has made it his life work to further prove his convictions and likewise empower others to do the same. After all, the phrase “reasonable faith” has accompanied his work in book format (Crossway, 3rd edition, 2008), via his podcast on philosophy entitled “Reasonable Faith,” and in his personal website: www.reasonablefaith.org. Craig was born on August 23, 1949, and while he did not grow up with Christian parents, he first encountered the teachings of Christianity in his teenage years. At the age of sixteen, he heard the message of the Gospel and “yielded his life to Christ” (www.reasonablefaith.org). Concerning his personal life, William married Jan in 1972 and have two sons. Regarding his academic credentials, Craig has a wide array of degrees: a B.A. from Wheaton College, two M.A.’s from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, a Ph.D. from the University of Brimingham (England), and a D.Theol. from Ludwig-Maximilliéns-Universität München, Germany. William Lane Craig has already influenced the fields of Christian philosophy and apologetics in a significant fashion, yet it does not appear his contributions are slowing down. Therefore, an even closer examination of his work would be most worthwhile.
Dr. Craig has written a plethora of publications, comprising of both scholarly and popular-level books and articles. Despite two doctorate degrees, Craig connects with the youngest of audiences in his ten-volume set of short children’s books on the attributes of God, “What Is God Like?” However, most of his work is aimed for adults in matters of philosophy, theology, and the resurrection of Jesus. Some of his more simplified works include: Apologetics: An Introduction (1984), Hard Questions, Real Answers (2003), Reasonable Faith (2008), On Guard (2010), and most recently, A Reasonable Response (2013). Also, some of his more complex works are The Kalam Cosmological Argument (2000), Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity (2000), Time and Eternity (2001), The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz (2001), and Creation Out of Nothing (2003, with Paul Copan) just to name several of many scholarly writings. Additionally, he has contributed to a wide array of theological and philosophical research journals and has even served as president on both the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Philosophy of Time Society. Suffice it to say that William Lane Craig has compiled an impressive list of research for an assortment of readers young and old as well as scholarly and popular-level.
Methodology, Major Ideas, and Important Argumentation
Craig’s methodology of apologetics would fall in the category known as “classical apologetics.” Although similar to “evidential apologetics” in that it utilizes philosophical arguments for God’s existence, “classical apologetics” always begins with the evidences for the existence of God prior to introducing Christian doctrines such as the resurrection of Jesus and other miracles. Likewise, many ancient Christian philosophers applied similar techniques. One major issue (and debate method) that has been propagated by Craig is the Kalam Cosmological Argument, upon which he has written two books and multiple articles. Another significant contribution in a lesser-known subject has been in promulgating the “middle knowledge” view of predestination. While the latter issue is more of an in-house “theology” discussion among Christians, many of Craig’s debates have been in apologetics arguing against non-Christians. In whatever topic of debate he faces, his argumentation is always meticulously structured yet strikingly eloquent. Undoubtedly, he is an apologist of prominence.
Assessment of the Apologetic Approach
Classical apologetics is a very intriguing approach, one that incorporates both extra-biblical sources of philosophy as well as biblical authority. No skeptic or spiritual seeker will ever be won over to Christianity by mere reason alone since “faith comes by hearing…the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Nevertheless, the apostle Paul engaged his audience Acts 17 without necessarily restricting himself to the Bible alone as argumentation. William Lane Craig appears to attempt a similar strategy, and while he may be a little excessive in his incorporation of philosophy, he has certainly been influential in his work.
Very few Christian apologists alive today could claim more prominence than William Lane Craig. With his debates against some of the most distinguished skeptics in the world, he has done more than simply defend the faith; he has demolished his opponents’ arguments. In matters of theology, he has written and taught extensively. Some would most definitely argue that his conclusions are based upon philosophy than biblical exegesis, but regarding issues of philosophy, he has is a significant authority. What can hardly be disputed is that faith can coexist with reason, thanks to the contributions of William Lane Craig and many others like him.
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Talbot School of Theology. “Faculty.” http://www.talbot.edu/faculty/profile/william_craig/
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