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#738 Preparing a Legacy

June 27, 2021

Dr. Craig,

This is more of a personal question, but I hope it is one that you will take anyways. There are several of us in the "apologetics community" (if you even want to call it that) who have come to Christ and remained in Christ largely due to your life and work. Your life as a living witness to the truth you've both written and proclaimed is invaluable, and speaks as loud (if not louder!) than your work alone. That brings me to my question. You've often said that you have no plans to pass on Reasonable Faith and that the ministry will "die with you." Why have you decided not to invest in a successor, someone who can take the work you've done, build on it, and continue on as a living witness to it? What good reason is there to NOT invest in a successor vs. investing in a successor?

This is a question many of us lay apologists often wonder about. It just seems it would be prudent, and ultimately beneficial to Christian apologetics in the future, for you to disciple (as it were) a successor for RF and have them carry on the flag that you have so faithfully carried for years.

Thanks Dr. Craig, your life and work has changed my life and work.


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Dr. craig’s response


Thank you, Kyle, for your kind words and this chance to clarify my intentions! Having seen how other ministries begin to drift and become theologically liberal after the founder is gone, I have a great fear that trying to perpetuate Reasonable Faith under the leadership of a successor could subvert what we have tried to accomplish. It has never been my goal to found a big apologetics ministry like RZIM. Rather Reasonable Faith was established simply to help disseminate my work more widely and so multiply its impact for the Kingdom, to serve, as it were, as a megaphone for our ministry. Better, then, to have the ministry serve an archival purpose after I’m gone. That obviously does not preclude finding fresh ways of repackaging our materials and continuing to translate those materials into foreign languages to reach as many people as possible.

What I’ve said in no way implies that I am not investing in younger scholars to carry the flag to future generations! Quite the contrary, I believe deeply in the importance of mentoring and training younger persons. For that reason I have taught at Talbot School of Theology for over 25 years, helping to prepare bright, young philosophers at the Master’s level to go on for doctoral work at the world’s finest universities, not to mention others who enter other fields of service for the Lord. I’ve had the privilege of teaching students who have gone on to become fine Christian philosophers in their own right (I shan’t mention names, lest I inadvertently sleight someone!). In our local church I have taught an adult Sunday School class called Defenders on Christian doctrine and apologetics for over 20 years. Out of this class have come several young fellows who have now gone on to establish their own ministries. It’s such an encouragement to see them blossom in this way! On a more personal level, when Michael Licona moved to our area, I offered to coach him in debate, having observed his talent for debating in his masterful handling of Richard Carrier. Mike and I spent many hours together watching debate videos and going over with him everything I knew about debate. So I’ve tried to invest in the lives of others to carry on after I’m gone.

Now we have the opportunity to establish the most significant legacy project we could have imagined. We are trying to establish an academic center in Christian philosophy, theology, and apologetics, to be affiliated with some accredited, respected academic institution. The center will offer an online curriculum of courses based on my work covering all the areas I’ve written on. The BA and MA courses will be offered for credit from the host institution, and certificate courses will be available for laymen interested in continuing education that is not oriented toward a degree. The vision of such a center was not our own, but when it was presented to us, Jan and I immediately saw its enormous potential for extending the worldwide impact of Reasonable Faith to future generations. If this vision can be realized, it will have an impact on the future far beyond the risky appointment of a successor.

- William Lane Craig