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Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

2016 Christianity Today Book of the Year in Apologetics/Evangelism
One of Desiring God’s Top 15 Books of 2015
Hearts & Minds Bookstore’s Best Books of 2015, Social Criticism and Cultural Engagement

In our post-Christian context, public life has become markedly more secular and private life infinitely more diverse. Yet many Christians still rely on cookie-cutter approaches to evangelism and apologetics. Most of these methods assume that people are open, interested and needy for spiritual insight when increasingly most people are not. Our urgent need, then, is the capacity to persuade—to make a convincing case for the gospel to people who are not interested in it.

In his magnum opus, Os Guinness offers a comprehensive presentation of the art and power of creative persuasion. Christians have often relied on proclaiming and preaching, protesting and picketing. But we are strikingly weak in persuasion—the ability to talk to people who are closed to what we are saying. Actual persuasion requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Guinness notes, “Jesus never spoke to two people the same way, and neither should we.”

Following the tradition of Erasmus, Pascal, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge and Peter Berger, Guinness demonstrates how apologetic persuasion requires both the rational and the imaginative. Persuasion is subversive, turning the tables on listeners’ assumptions to surprise them with signals of transcendence and the credibility of the gospel.

This book is the fruit of forty years of thinking, honed in countless talks and discussions at many of the leading universities and intellectual centers of the world. Discover afresh the persuasive power of Christian witness from one of the leading apologists and thinkers of our era.

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Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

IVP Books
2016 Christianity Today Book of the Year in Apologetics/Evangelism One of Desiring God's Top 15 Books of 2015 Hearts & Minds Bookstore's Best Books of 2015, Social Criticism and Cultural Engagement In our post-Christian context, public life has become markedly more secular and private lifeRead More
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In a battle of ideas, unlike a battle between nations, the goal is not to vanquish the opponents but toRead More
Ravi Zacharias

2016 Christianity Today Book of the Year in Apologetics/Evangelism
One of Desiring God’s Top 15 Books of 2015
Hearts & Minds Bookstore’s Best Books of 2015, Social Criticism and Cultural Engagement

In our post-Christian context, public life has become markedly more secular and private life infinitely more diverse. Yet many Christians still rely on cookie-cutter approaches to evangelism and apologetics. Most of these methods assume that people are open, interested and needy for spiritual insight when increasingly most people are not. Our urgent need, then, is the capacity to persuade—to make a convincing case for the gospel to people who are not interested in it.

In his magnum opus, Os Guinness offers a comprehensive presentation of the art and power of creative persuasion. Christians have often relied on proclaiming and preaching, protesting and picketing. But we are strikingly weak in persuasion—the ability to talk to people who are closed to what we are saying. Actual persuasion requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Guinness notes, “Jesus never spoke to two people the same way, and neither should we.”

Following the tradition of Erasmus, Pascal, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge and Peter Berger, Guinness demonstrates how apologetic persuasion requires both the rational and the imaginative. Persuasion is subversive, turning the tables on listeners’ assumptions to surprise them with signals of transcendence and the credibility of the gospel.

This book is the fruit of forty years of thinking, honed in countless talks and discussions at many of the leading universities and intellectual centers of the world. Discover afresh the persuasive power of Christian witness from one of the leading apologists and thinkers of our era.

Buy Now
In a battle of ideas, unlike a battle between nations, the goal is not to vanquish the opponents but to win them. Making that challenge even more difficult is that oftentimes, what we win them with is what we win them to. The art and science of dialoguing and debate must bring together the message and the method in concert. No one does this better than my colleague Os Guinness. For years I have benefited from his incisive thinking and carefully studied presentations. Here, he wisely observes that 'Our urgent need today is to reunite evangelism and apologetics, and make sure that our best arguments are directed toward winning people and not just winning arguments.' I am thrilled to see his unique thinking on these crucial subjects, co-extensive with a lifetime of doing apologetics. It is a must-read for anyone interested in engaging the skeptic or seeker. Few thinkers today rise to the level that Os does, even as he plumbs the depth of vital issues in defense of the historic Christian faith.
Ravi Zacharias
If Twain and Chesterton were writers who marshaled wit and paradox in commending wisdom, Guinness richly mines many a classic vein of wisdom, and wit, to help Christians in our time discern what it means to be winsome, and compelling, in commending faith. . . . How can we speak for our Lord in a manner that does justice to the wonder of who God is, to the profundity of the good news He has entrusted to us, to the wily stubbornness of the human heart and mind, as well as to the wide-ranging challenges of today's world and the mind-boggling prospects of tomorrow's? In short, how can we as followers of Jesus be as truly persuasive as we desire to be? These are questions worth asking―and seeking answers, readers can do no better than turn the pages of this book. For over forty years, Dr. Guinness has crafted learned, witty, and compelling books. This book may be his finest―one rich in simile, parable, and insight.
Kevin Belmonte, Huffington Post
Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat

Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat

InterVarsity Press
The hour is critical. The American republic is suffering its gravest crisis since the Civil War.Conflicts, hostility, and incivility now threaten to tear the country apart. Competing visions have led to a dangerous moment of cultural self-destruction. This is no longer politics as usual, butRead More
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It will be a tragedy of inestimable proportions for the American people if that great nation eats its own legendaryRead More
John Anderson, deputy prime minister of Australia 1999-2005

The hour is critical. The American republic is suffering its gravest crisis since the Civil War.Conflicts, hostility, and incivility now threaten to tear the country apart. Competing visions have led to a dangerous moment of cultural self-destruction. This is no longer politics as usual, but an era of political warfare where our enemies are not foreign adversaries, but our fellow citizens.

Yet the roots of the crisis are deeper than many realize. Os Guinness argues that we face a fundamental crisis of freedom, as America’s genius for freedom has become her Achilles’ heel. Our society’s conflicts are rooted in two rival views of freedom, one embodied in “1776” and the ideals of the American Revolution, and the other in “1789” and the ideals of the French Revolution. Once again America has become a house divided, and Americans must make up their minds as to which freedom to follow. Will the constitutional republic be restored or replaced?

This grand treatment of history, civics, and ethics in the Jewish and Christian traditions represents Guinness’s definitive exploration of the prospects for human freedom today. He calls for a national conversation on the nature of freedom, and poses key questions for concerned citizens to consider as we face a critical chapter in the American story. He offers readers a checklist by which they can assess the character and consequences of the freedoms they are choosing.

In the tradition of Alexis de Tocqueville, Guinness provides a visitor’s careful observation of the American experiment. Discover here a stirring vision for faithful citizenship and renewed responsibility, not only for the nation but also for the watching world.

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It will be a tragedy of inestimable proportions for the American people if that great nation eats its own legendary commitment to freedom from within. Equally, to lose the leadership of the world's most powerful champion of liberty would be truly dangerous for non-Americans everywhere in these increasingly unsettled times. Os Guinness has gifted us magnificently with the insights and understanding of a lifetime in this book, which really needs to be read—urgently—across the length and breadth of the world.
John Anderson, deputy prime minister of Australia 1999-2005
Os Guinness has stood as a beacon of eloquence and insight. In a host of important books, he has chronicled the struggle of those who resist the modern world's descent into carnival culture. Last Call for Liberty is his masterwork—an urgent guide that leads out of the maze America has wandered into. For those who seek to understand the best of freedom's vital gifts, Guinness is the master class leader.
Shelby Coffey III, vice chairman of the Newseum and former editor of the Los Angeles Times
A timely and important book from one of the most insightful observers of American society and politics. Guinness argues that America's future depends on learning the right lessons from America's past. Provocative without being incendiary. Sobering without being gloomy. Inspiring without being glib.
Peter Feaver, professor of political science at Duke University
The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How It Changed America Forever

The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How It Changed America Forever

Crossway
Guinness charts the journey of a generation, from the erosion of Christianity to the failure of the counterculture to provide an effective alternative to faith. The author calls for a new direction for the Western world, one which combines conviction with compassion and deep spirituality.
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Guinness charts the journey of a generation, from the erosion of Christianity to the failure of the counterculture to provide an effective alternative to faith. The author calls for a new direction for the Western world, one which combines conviction with compassion and deep spirituality.

Buy Now