Once someone becomes committed to a belief there is a tendency to refuse to acknowledge any facts to the contrary.  This selective sifting out of contrary realities is called willful ignorance.  Often willful ignorance has disastrous consequences.  Willful ignorance, for example, was at the heart of the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.  The report on this incident cited willful ignorance concerning a small component of the shuttle as the cause of the explosion.  There is even an interesting book about the perils of willful ignorance.  It is Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril”.

So, when I came across a video recently of William Lane Craig confidently asserting that the rapture of the church was never taught in the early church, I just shake my head at yet another example of willful ignorance.  In recent years books such as Dispensationalism before Darby”, and “Ancient Dispensational Truth” have demonstrated that the apostolic fathers had rapture on their minds.  Consider just one example.  Here is Irenaeus (ca. 130-202),  “And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.”[1]  He is a particularly interesting example.  He had learned the Christian faith from his mentor Polycarp.  Polycarp had been a disciple of the apostle John.  So not only is Irenaeus writing about the rapture but we can trace his understanding back to the apostles.

I think William Lane Craig’s willful ignorance is lamentable.  He has been a notable Christian apologist.  While I don’t share his evidentialist approach to apologetics, I nevertheless am grateful he has a prominent platform to address agnostic and atheist objections to Christianity.  However, when he says willfully ignorant things, he damages his credibility.  Nothing worse than an apologist that can’t be believed.

[1] Irenaeus of Lyons, “Irenæus against Heresies,” in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 558.

2 thoughts on “The Willful Ignorance of William Lane Craig

  1. Hello
    One thing I notice that is a hallmark of people who are entrenched in their Pet Doctrines is they are very cavalier as they falsely accuse their so called bothers & sisters.
    I read 2 posts here and have witnessed the same spirit in both.
    Does it surprise you that only secret Rapture believers read this secret into the Apostolic fathers?

    So how is Craig, respected throughout the world as painfully honest, loving, and thoughtful, guilty of Wilful Ignorance but you are not? As a Professor of Logic itself, I think Craig would spot the fallacy in your reasoning – and the conclusion is ironclad – you have falsely accused him and left yourself untouched.

    This is the state of Christianity today. Pet doctrines are used by so many to feed their lust, self-righteous, and make up for a lack of faith. You go on reading into God’s Word and calling it hermeneutics, reading into the fathers(the Catholics do the same thing) all in the name of protecting your Pet, you’ve got good company, it’s the bane of Christianity, but staying within clear scripture and not going beyond what is written is the mark of strong Faith. It trusts God and doesn’t need Calvinism, Arminianism, King James only, practicing tongues, 7th day Sabbath, secret Rapture, Mary, or any other device that feeds factions and the space where only Jesus Christ belongs.
    How does it feel having someone Discern *Your spirit for a change?

    Take it easy


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