The Adventures of Young William Lane Craig
Dr. Craig recently had some interesting challenges! Not only in his speaking schedule, but in his home!
The Adventures of Young William Lane Craig
KEVIN HARRIS: Dr. Craig, let’s talk about some of the past and some of the upcoming adventures of Reasonable Faith. You’ve been traveling a lot. Should we begin with the plumbing problems that you had?
DR. CRAIG: Oh my goodness! You talk about adventures! One Sunday morning while I was preparing to go to Defenders class, I suddenly heard Jan screaming in the kitchen, and I thought, “What’s the matter? Has she seen a rat?” I went running into the kitchen, and there was water just spewing out from under the sink, flowing across the floor. I ran downstairs to shut off the water, and already it was coming through the ceiling downstairs, down the walls. There was a big puddle on the floor in the downstairs. We finally got this shut off, but the damage was done. So in recent weeks we’ve been dealing with that. The cleanup people have come to the house and cut big holes in the drywall. I’m currently still negotiating with them to get an insurance settlement. We are trying to schedule now the people to come and do the hardwood floors that got warped from the water. They are going to redo the hardwood floors, and then all the drywall and ceilings. It is going to be major upheaval at our house for a while.
KEVIN HARRIS: Did this have anything to do with some of the recent flooding that has been going on in the southeast?
DR. CRAIG: No it hasn’t. It was just a bad what they call a supply line. I’ve learned some things about plumbing through this experience. The water line that comes from your pipe to your faucet is a kind of flexible tube. And that thing just burst open even though it was relatively new, shouldn’t have been defective, but it just split. So all the water was just spewing out of this burst supply line.
KEVIN HARRIS: Are there any theological or philosophical insights that you gained from any of this?
DR. CRAIG: No, except to sort of roll with the punches, recognize that this is in the providence of God. Jan and I always look for the silver lining when something like this goes wrong. I didn’t see what there could be from this one. But I think the silver lining is this: we are going to get the whole upstairs hardwood floors of the house refinished for free because the insurance is going to pay for everything. Since they say you can’t just refinish one room, they have to take it out into the hall and then down the hall and then into the bedroom where there was no water at all, but it is just sort of like you can’t stop. So the whole upstairs is going to be refinished free of charge, paid for by insurance, and this will be great for Jan and me for the next twenty years as we live in the house. So in that sense something good comes out of it.
KEVIN HARRIS: Sure. We had a little bit of damage from floods at my house. FEMA came in and declared our neighborhood a disaster area. We filled out FEMA papers. We didn’t get it as bad as you and Jan did. Kelly and I had some carpet damage as it came in. It was like a waterfall on either side of the house. Water can do a lot of damage.
DR. CRAIG: It really can. It is the mold that you have to watch out for.
KEVIN HARRIS: Afterwards. Exactly right. The Singapore trip. Let’s talk a little bit about that.
DR. CRAIG: This was set up by the local Reasonable Faith chapter director, Jesse Chin in Singapore. I didn’t even know we had a chapter in Singapore. This fellow arranged this whole conference. They had some key Christian business people to help pay for it. They put on a large conference that brought in not only me but also Sean McDowell as well as some local Christian speakers to participate. Then we had university outreaches as well for each of us in the city-state. Then from Singapore we flew on to Hong Kong and did the same thing there. At an Anglican Church named St. Andrews we held our apologetics conference, and then did university outreaches at the Polytechnic and at Hong Kong University. It was a nice combination of Christian training events, but also then evangelistic outreaches.
KEVIN HARRIS: Some of the most enthusiastic people that you will meet are those who are leading Reasonable Faith chapters. I have found that. They are coming up everywhere, Bill.
DR. CRAIG: I was really impressed with these people. These were really quality men who were capable; they were leaders and had a vision of doing something in their nation. That was just tremendously encouraging to be a part of that. Realize that while we are asleep, Reasonable Faith is having a ministry and impact in the lives of these people in Singapore, Malaysia, and China. People were there from Indonesia. There was one pastor at this conference that came over from Myanmar – Burma. It was just remarkable to see how the Lord is using this material in the Far East.
KEVIN HARRIS: Outstanding. I always want to tell people – go to ReasonableFaith.org, find out how to set up a local chapter. The Ohio State University event. We are going to be talking about this – when this occurred, we just said, “We have got to do some podcasts on this!” Bill, just a sneak preview, this was with the philosopher Kevin Scharp. This exchange took you by surprise.
DR. CRAIG: It did.
KEVIN HARRIS: We’ll talk about that in an upcoming podcast or two or three, however long it takes, because it turned out to be a very interesting event. But just a sneak preview, what is it about it that kind of caught you by surprise?
DR. CRAIG: The background to this is that I was invited by the Veritas Forum to give a talk at Ohio State. I thought, “Fine. This won’t be difficult. Just give a talk and have a Q&A.” Then very near to the event, they suddenly said, “We want you to do a dialogue with Dr. Kevin Scharp on this.” And I said, “Wait a minute, when you have a dialogue or a debate with another person, that is a whole different can of worms. That requires a lot of preparation. I will have to read his material. Let’s just stick to what we originally had. I’ll come and give a talk.” And he said, “Well, you can do that, but I have to let you know, the audience will be three times as large if you have this dialogue than if you just come and give a talk.” And I thought when you measure the impact of the event, it seemed worth it to have this dialogue. I thought, well, it is not a debate, it is just a dialogue. So this will just be a sort of friendly conversation. In preparation for it, I watched a previous Veritas Forum from about two years ago that Kevin Scharp did with a Christian mathematics professor. And Kevin Scharp didn’t even come prepared to that event. He was just very off-the-cuff, informal, conversational. So I thought this will just be a friendly conversational event. Nothing to be much concerned with. When I got there, I found that I had really walked into a hornet’s nest.
KEVIN HARRIS: It was almost like walking into a slide presentation. “Bill Craig, this is your life!” with photos from when you were a baby, and stuff . . . he mapped out everything and just took this extremely seriously.
DR. CRAIG: He did.
KEVIN HARRIS: It turned out to be a very interesting exchange.
DR. CRAIG: Yes. I think that we can be very grateful to Kevin Scharp because he took the event seriously and put in the preparation. He made that very clear to me before the event. He said to me that he had listened to the debates with Alex Rosenburg at Purdue and with Sean Carroll at New Orleans. He said that he had listened to all seven years of our Reasonable Faith podcasts that you and I have done together. I said, “All seven years!” He said, “Yes, you don’t think I’m going to come into this event unprepared do you?” So we can be thankful that here is an opponent who took seriously the job of preparation and who came prepared to discuss these issues with me. As a result, I think we had a really substantive exchange that will repay future discussion.
KEVIN HARRIS: I can’t wait to get into those. Do not miss that. The venues in Illinois. Let’s talk a little bit about that.
DR. CRAIG: This was kind of interesting. When Jan and I were seminary students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, just up the expressway in Mundelein, Illinois was a Catholic seminary named Saint Mary’s On the Lake. This seminary has since grown in its enrollment and now has about 200 young men preparing for the priesthood. I was told that this is the largest Catholic seminary in the United States now, if not in North America. They invited me to come and give two lectures – an invited lecture series called the Meyer Lectures. The topics they set for me were very interesting. It was the impact of philosophy or the utility of philosophy for what is called the New Evangelization. That is a code word in Catholic theology for an initiative that Pope John Paul II started late in his papacy to try to re-evangelize traditionally Christian countries which have become secularized, primarily in Europe but also in North America. They wanted to know how would philosophy aid the task of reaching these secularized formerly Christian countries with the Gospel? In the second lecture they wanted me to talk about how to minister effectively on university campuses, drawing upon the years of experience that I’ve had speaking on campuses. It was odd to be speaking in a Catholic setting, not being Catholic myself. But it underlined, again, how widely disseminated and used our material is, not only among Protestants but also among Catholics and Orthodox and Coptics as well. When I was at St. Mary’s I met the newly appointed bishop of Los Angeles. He thanked me personally. He said, “I want to thank you for the way in which you have awakened an interest in apologetics among young Catholics.” I was grateful to hear that the Lord is using it in that confession.
KEVIN HARRIS: Outstanding. It shows where there are some terms of agreement and areas of agreement as well. The God’s Not Dead movies – there is part 1 and part 2. It really made an impact. Even Saturday Night Live did a skit on one of them. That is a stamp of cultural approval. At least it is making an impact.
DR. CRAIG: Yes. And the man that is behind this, a pastor named Rice Broocks, recently had a film showing of the movie in the Vatican for the Pope. It is getting international exposure. Millions have seen this film. Rice Broocks invited me to participate in an event in April at Arizona State University where we would have a dialogue with me, him, and Brian Miller, an MIT-trained physicist, on the evidence for the existence of God and for Christianity. They filmed it and then planned to use the footage from that event for a forthcoming documentary that would be God’s Not Dead: The Evidence that will be less drama and more evidence-based. More of a documentary than a dramatic story such as the other movies are.
KEVIN HARRIS: I really want to see God’s Not Dead Part 3 with you in a starring role. I want the producers to hear that right now. The storyline can be a philosopher whose house floods which prevents him from . . . anyway. [laughter] Quite an impact there. I am glad that they knew to come to some good sources, some friends of ours, friends of Reasonable Faith, as well as you, and backing up what they want to put across in these films.
DR. CRAIG: I couldn’t agree more. I think that is absolutely right. I am very glad to be collaborating with them. I feel that I can bring something to them in terms of academic substance, and they can bring something to us in terms of media exposure.
KEVIN HARRIS: Very good. A couple of things as we wrap up today. Let’s talk about what is going on in the future. Let’s talk about Houston Baptist. What is going on there? And also your books.
DR. CRAIG: I continue to teach at Houston Baptist University. I was there in the spring of the year, then I’ll be back there again in the fall. In 2017 we are planning trips to Ireland and Brazil, which should be very interesting. These are still just in the planning stages so we don’t have any firm dates. I am wrapping up on the publishing side of the ministry my two books on divine aseity. They are both in press now. The book God Over All (the popular-level version) is with Oxford University Press. I just finished reading the final proofs for that book. The other book – the more scholarly level book God and Abstract Objects – is under contract with Springer-Verlag in Berlin, Germany. We’ll be getting the final typescript of that to them to put into production. With that behind me now, I’ve turned to a new topic. I’ve begun to study the doctrine of the atonement. I cannot tell you how rich a study this has been. I am learning so much. I thought I understood the doctrine of the atonement. I taught on it! But I am finding insights and subtleties and nuances to this doctrine that I never knew existed. So I am really growing and learning a lot through doing this. I am excited to see what will come out of it.
KEVIN HARRIS: As we are growing up as Christians, as we begin to study, we usually just assume there is just kind of one doctrine of the atonement. It is this – this is what the atonement is. But it is really multifaceted.
DR. CRAIG: That’s the right word. It is like a diamond with all these different facets to it.
KEVIN HARRIS: Go to ReasonableFaith.org, sign up for the newsletter, and you can get these once a month right in your mailbox and keep up with what is going on with Reasonable Faith.
 Total Running Time: 17:22 (Copyright © 2016 William Lane Craig)