Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Quote: William Lane Craig on the Ultimate Apologetic

"More often than not, it is what you are rather than what you say that will bring an unbeliever to Christ. This, then, is the ultimate apologetic. For the ultimate apologetic is: your life."

- William Lane Craig


Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

I don't agree with this. Faith does not come from watching, but from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Brian said...

I can appreciate what you are saying. And although I can't speak on Craig's behalf, I also think he would agree with what you are saying.

Perhaps out of context, this quote should be qualified.

First, he's not talking about proclaiming the Gospel or preaching... he is talking about defending the faith. It is in the end of his Reasonable Faith book. Basically, he says that there are lots of arguments to defend Christianity and stuff, but people are often more persuaded by the lifestyle of the believer than the arguments from the believer (apologetically).

So he cites the scripture "by this all men will know you are my disciples... that you love one another" - and he talks about our relationship with God and our relationships with our fellow man.

So, in context, he is not talking about preaching (nor was Christ at that point) - so just as we shouldn't disagree with Christ on the idea of men knowing we are his disciples, so I think it is good to take Craig in the same sort of context.

Of course faith comes by hearing. Totally agree with you there. I just think this is a slightly different category (though similar). It could be paraphrased perhaps by saying: all the arguments in the world may be unconvincing in defending the faith, but your transformed life speaks volumes.

One more thought... although faith comes by hearing, what if the one speaking is living like a complete sinner and showing no fruit of a transformed life? Doesn't that somehow hurt the delivery? Surely a life that is full of the fruit of the spirit is going to be a better mouthpiece for the truth.

I hope you get where I'm coming from here - because I agree with what you said - I just don't think that is what Craig is talking about here.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Hey Brian...Brian here,

I guess I took "bring an unbeliever to Christ" in the quote to mean, "result in salvation". Taking it that way, the quote reminds me too much of an infamous one I have heard often that says, "Preach the gospel...if necessary, use words". The gospel ALWAYS necessitates the use of words!

It also reminds me of another statement I have heard a lot which says, "You may be the only Bible a person ever reads." My life is not a Bible, and my actions are not the gospel.

I have no problem with Jesus' statement that by loving one another, all men will know we are His disciples. My question, though, would be whether or not anyone can come to saving faith by our love (or that our love can bring an unbeliever to Christ), or to use Craig's words, as a result of who we are.

Having said that, I agree with you. I don't think Craig believes that at all.

Brian said...

I think I take this Craig quote to be more along the lines of making the Gospel attractive and being a sort of living evidence of its transforming power. But as far as coming to saving faith in Christ - that's the work of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel.

Yeah, I agree... I can not stand that "if necessary use words" quote... terrible! Thanks for stopping by and for the friendly chat.

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