When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. Matthew 13:19
What's Craig's problem? What's going wrong here?
There is a credibility gap that prevents Craig from ever coming to terms with the gospel. The precise excuse or reason varies from person to person: it is what Tim Keller would call a "defeater belief."
Craig may have an intellectual understanding of the gospel. He may know his bible inside out. He may be a fool who embraces his ignorance. He may be sympathetic towards "faith" or strongly antagonistic. But whatever else is going on, he has a barrier to belief that prevents any sort of progress.
Such beliefs abound in modern society - "religion is the enemy of progress", "religion is the enemy of reason," "religion is the source of human conflict," "religion is irrelevant," "religion is repressive," "it doesn't matter what you believe," "religion is a crutch." Often mingling truth with untruth, they are dangerous and seductive lies.
For Craig to understand the gospel the barrier must be shown to be untrue. This is not a merely intellectual exercise: the issue is spiritual. The source of lies is the devil himself (Jn 8:44); any response that does not involve prayer and reliance on the spirit of God, the spirit of truth, is doomed. We need to pray for revelation; for Craig's eyes to be opened to the truth.
The pharisees - "blind guides" - were blinded by tradition and a false understanding of what pleases God.
Herod was a hedonist. He listened to the preaching of John the Baptist and was impressed by it, but was unable to turn his back on his immoral lifestyle. He believed that his route to happiness was compromised by the gospel.
- Do I assume that I will never be Craig? Or do I earnestly pray that God will confront the lies that I believe and live by and replace them with truth? Do I ask people to pray that for me?
- Do I give up to easily when someone simply can't or won't see the relevance of the gospel? Or do I recognise this as a symptom of the devil's activity and respond appropriately?