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Christian Apologist Found His Calling through Limitations

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article about William Lane Craig, the man they called "Christian philosophy's boldest apostle." Craig has traveled the world debating many of the world's most articulate atheists. The atheist Sam Harris said, "Craig is the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists"—which is probably why the atheist Richard Dawkins refuses to debate Craig.

But the story of how Craig became a brilliant scholar and debater reveals the sovereign work of God in the midst of our weaknesses and limitations. From birth he has suffered from Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, a neuromuscular disease that causes atrophy in the extremities. He walks with a slight limp, and his hands often look as if they're gripping an invisible object. Growing up, he couldn't run normally. "My boyhood was difficult," Craig said, "Children can be very cruel."

Since varsity sports weren't an option, he joined his high school debate team. Initially, he wasn't interested in spiritual issues, but he started reading the Bible, and the Jesus he found there took hold of him. Craig explained, "For me it was a question of personal … commitment: Was I prepared to become this man's follower?"

During college he continued debating and searching for his calling. Not until years later, though, after establishing himself as a philosopher, did he start to debate and defend his faith in a public setting. It came as a welcome surprise. He said, "I was just thrilled to be able to [use debates] as a means of fulfilling this vision of sharing the gospel."

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