6B:

Lesson 6B Preview: Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Badawi “The Islamic Conception of God”; Dr. William Lane Craig debates Dr. Peter Millican on “Does God Exist?”; Early Christian Martyrs video; Dr. Michael Haykin audio lecture “The Persecuted Church”

A Contemporary American Apologist in Action: Prof. William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig of the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA defines  theological errors of Islam as he debates Jamal Badawi at the University of Illinois. He first addresses religious relativism, widely popular today, before turning his attention to the inadequate understanding in the Quran of the historical Jesus and the moral nature of the Triune God. Craig discusses the errors made by Christian writers of apocryphal gospels in the second and third centuries, subsequently echoed in the seventh century Quran.

The above video segments of this debate are available at YouTube, including Dr. Badawi’s presentations in response to Dr. Craig.

In early 2012 Dr. Craig visited the University of Birmingham, England where he debated Dr. Peter Millican on the question “Does God Exist?” The entire debate, exceeding two hours, is available below:

Additional debates involving Dr. Craig are available at YouTube. If you wish to learn more about Dr. Craig’s contributions to Christian Apologetics through his writings and his audio and video presentations, you may find his website reasonablefaith.org of interest.

This brief biographical review (5 minutes) of the early Christian Martyrs reminds us of the memories the young Church had, imparted by the Holy Spirit, that sustained it through the persecutions of the second and third centuries:

Prof. Haykin’s next lecture, titled Remembering the Persecuted Church (57 min.), offers insights into early Roman prisons and the ongoing persecution of early Christians. Keep your Bible handy as Dr. Haykin provides repeated exegeses of key New Testament texts that reveal the scope of early tribulation and how the Apostles responded. You will recall Prof. Haykin is currently Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bible Verses for Reflection: Acts 16: 25-30; Acts 6: 11-17; Heb 13: 1-3

A Quote for Your Consideration: “…it is clear that the term Trinity, just as the other terms used in explaining the doctrine of God, has not been coined to satisfy reason, but only to express the doctrine of Scripture concerning the true God…Nevertheless, though the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is beyond reason, it is not against reason or self-contradictory, since Unity is not predicated of God in the same relation as Trinity.” (John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, 155).

Questions For Discussion:

1. What does Jesus intend with The Parable of the Vineyard (Mt. 21:33-42); that is, how does Craig explicate this parable in the context of the debate? How does it serve his apologetical purpose?

2. The apocryphal gospels offer episodes from Jesus’ life that have doubtful historicity, according to Craig and others.  What is the significance of this for our understanding of the Quran?

3. Drawing on Craig’s presentation, how would you defend the resurrection’s historicity to a non-Christian?

4. Echoing C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, Craig argues that there are only two positions one can take on Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. What are they? How does he reason his way through to these final two positions?

5. Craig asserts Islam has a “morally inadequate conception of God”. What is the crux of his argument?

6. At the end of his lecture, Prof. Haykin asks his class “what does all of this mean to us”? What does Haykin thinks it means? What does it mean to you?

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