Frank Turek interviews William Lane Craig about Christian apologetics and debate

This interview is getting good reviews on Facebook. I would say it is a must-see, because it will change your view of what we should be emphasizing as Christians. Please watch the lecture and then mail this post to all of your friends – we need to be challenged by this man William Lane Craig.

(H/T BirdieUpon)

This interview occured after William Lane Craig’s debate tour of the UK, and they talk a lot about it. I think the lesson for us is that apologetics is the best evangelistic tool that Christians have, and people really do show up by the thousands to see these debates. Maybe we should do more of them? And maybe we should be encouraging young people to follow Craig’s path and become solid philosophers and debaters? And are we going to take seriously the duty to sponsor events like this? We have to ask ourselves these tough questions, and be practical and effective about defending God’s honor when it’s called into question. Having a relationship with God is not just about us getting what we want. There are things that we need to be doing to hold up our end of the relationship. Hard things. Self-sacrificial things. Things that we may not like at all. Things that work.

In Intellectual Neutral

Here’s an article that I think might be appropriate for this interview.

Excerpt:

You may see, perhaps for the first time in your life, that here is a need in your life and as a result resolve to become intellectually engaged as a Christian. This is a momentous decision. It is a step that is desperately needed in the lives of millions of American Christians today. No one has issued the challenge to become intellectually engaged more forcefully than did Charles Malik, in his inaugural address at the dedication of the Billy Graham Center on this campus. He emphasized that we as Christians face two tasks in our evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind, that is to say, not only converting people spiritually, but converting them intellectually as well. And the Church, he said, is lagging dangerously behind with regard to this second task. Listen to what he says:

I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough. But intellectual nurture cannot take place apart from profound immersion for a period of years in the history of thought and the spirit. People who are in a hurry to get out of the university and start earning money or serving the church or preaching the gospel have no idea of the infinite value of spending years of leisure conversing with the greatest minds and souls of the past, ripening and sharpening and enlarging their powers of thinking. The result is that the arena of creative thinking is vacated and abdicated to the enemy. Who among evangelicals can stand up to the great secular scholars on their own terms of scholarship? Who among evangelical scholars is quoted as a normative source by the greatest secular authorities on history or philosophy or psychology or sociology or politics? Does the evangelical mode of thinking have the slightest chance of becoming the dominant mode in the great universities of Europe and America that stamp our entire civilization with their spirit and ideas? For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence.

These words hit like a hammer. Evangelicals really have been living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. The average Christian doesn’t realize that there is an intellectual war going on in the universities and the professional journals and the scholarly societies. Christianity is being attacked from all sides as irrational or bigoted, and millions of students, our future generation of leaders, have absorbed this viewpoint.

This is a war which we cannot afford to lose. As J. Gresham Machen warned in his article, “Christianity and Culture” in the Princeton Theological Review of 1913, on the even of the Fundamentalist Controversy, if we lose this intellectual war, then our evangelism will be immeasurably more difficult in the next generation. He wrote,

False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation to be controlled by ideas which prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion. Under such circumstances, what God desires us to do is to destroy the obstacle at its root.

You can get the video and audio from a later version of this talk from Apologetics 315. I was present in the Wheaton College chapel when he gave the talk I excerpted above. It was moving.

We need a three part approach. We need to be intellectually engaged ourselves. We need to be intentional about marrying well and raising up young people who are intellectually engaged. And we need to study hard subjects so we can be good earners, and support the right kinds of operations. We can’t just do whatever makes us feel good, willy-nilly, and then hope that things will work out – we have to work at this.

4 thoughts on “Frank Turek interviews William Lane Craig about Christian apologetics and debate”

  1. It drives me nuts how the Christian church in general can so easily forget that it is in the throes of a spiritual battle and as such, that our main weapons would be those that employ faith and reason. You can’t obvioulsy fight a whole war on unsupported faith, and Peter tells us that in our favourite verse:

    1 Peter 3:15
    “But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.”

    What are we doing as Christians if not apologetics? What are we basing our faith on.

    Personally, as a Catholic, I can’t criticize evangelicals for being intellectually lazy, because they are 500 years ahead of Catholics. By separating from the Pope they necessarily had to be intellectually independent, something that is severely lacking in the Catholic Church. No Catholic can just drift along in our faith relying on doctrine and dogmas to define their walk, when we haven’t had a single new dogma defined for 61 years and the one previous to that was in 1854. Oh but they do drift, because Catholics get these nasty little letters from the Pope every so often we call encyclicals. Which are not dogmatic (thank God, because they’re 99% socialist) but according to Pope Pius XII have to be followed blindly:
    “It is not to be thought that what is set down in Encyclical letters does not demand assent in itself, because in this the popes do not exercise the supreme power of their magisterium. For these matters are taught by the ordinary magisterium, regarding which the following is pertinent: “He who heareth you, heareth Me.” (Luke 10:16); and usually what is set forth and inculcated in Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their acts, after due consideration, express an opinion on a hitherto controversial matter, it is clear to all that this matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among theologians.”
    —Humani Generis

    So if you’re Catholic and you want to think for yourself you become a Lord Acton who was nearly thrown out of the Church like his mentor Johann Ignaz von Dillinger, or a Father Robert Sirico who is constantly being accused of being a Calvinist.

    As Christians we all must understand that we are at war. We must arm ourselves with the reason for our hope, and we must be prepared to take on the opposing worldview. At Obama’s visit to Notre Dame (where he received an honorary degree) Fr. Jenkins suggested that reason was to be employed for the purpose of healing and agreement between the Church and the world. The exact opposite is true. Reason needs to be employed to purge the world and shine the light of truth so that the darkness can be eradicated. If we look around and find the world offering what we are, we might want to change course. Our fight is against powers and principalities and is an intellectual battle. We must be engaged for our very survival. We are at war, we must chose sides, and arm ourselves, now!

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    1. Oh my goodness, everyone in my building is hearing me laugh… You are exaggerating for effect because you are unhappy, and it’s really funny. I do that too when I am angry with church Christians.

      Funny:
      “Personally, as a Catholic, I can’t criticize evangelicals for being intellectually lazy, because they are 500 years ahead of Catholics.”
      “Oh but they do drift, because Catholics get these nasty little letters from the Pope every so often we call encyclicals. Which are not dogmatic (thank God, because they’re 99% socialist) but according to Pope Pius XII have to be followed blindly…”
      “So if you’re Catholic and you want to think for yourself you become a… Father Robert Sirico who is constantly being accused of being a Calvinist.”

      HA HA HA! These are funny.

      To be fair, there are some good Catholics, like Jay Richards, Robert Sirico, Francis Beckwith and Michael Behe. But you’re right – when I think of the top Christian apologists and scholars, they are all evangelical. Evangelicals scholars have something to prove. Knowledge is to us what speed and altitude are to a fighter pilot. We have to have knowledge, because we are on the field competing in the marketplace of ideas. We have to know, because we have to persuade. And that means we have to study. It’s a desperate situation where we have to study new things every day, on every subject related to our Christian worldviews, just to be convincing to our friends and co-workers. We have to know the truth, because we have to declare the truth.

      Like

  2. A fun read, very engaging. Thank you for the clip as well! “We have to know the truth, because we have to declare the truth”!!! Loved that line!

    Wonder where our heads go to when Paul talks of renewing the mind.. Its as though we think the mind is like a foot or some random part that doesn’t really matter..

    Thank you again.

    Like

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