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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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Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

Baker Books
The buzz among evangelicals today is about relevance and reinvention, about new ways of "doing church" through revising, innovating, borrowing, mixing, and experimenting. Yet, says Os Guinness, in our uncritical pursuit of relevance, Christians have actually become irrelevant. By our determined efforts to redefine ourselvesRead More
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The buzz among evangelicals today is about relevance and reinvention, about new ways of “doing church” through revising, innovating, borrowing, mixing, and experimenting. Yet, says Os Guinness, in our uncritical pursuit of relevance, Christians have actually become irrelevant. By our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more in line with the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and significance. Prophetic Untimeliness addresses this issue by giving practical, constructive solutions for living with integrity in the midst of modern pressures. Guinness explores what it means to be both faithful and relevant, and how to be truly relevant without being trivial or trendy. Readers will be challenged to develop “resistance thinking,” an approach inspired by C. S. Lewis that balances the uncomfortable truths of the gospel with the pursuit of relevance. Only by being true to Christ and living with integrity and wisdom will we meet the needs of a world that is hungry for some really good news.

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Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It

Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It

Baker Publishing Group
Os Guinness traces the retreat of the evangelical mind and the dumbing down of evangelicalism through popular culture. But this book goes beyond mere analysis. It is a strong call for reformation of yet another place where evangelicalism in not evangelical enough.
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Os Guinness traces the retreat of the evangelical mind and the dumbing down of evangelicalism through popular culture. But this book goes beyond mere analysis. It is a strong call for reformation of yet another place where evangelicalism in not evangelical enough.

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The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity

The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity

How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion's place in publicRead More
One of the foremost religious-liberty thinkers of our time, Os Guinness sets a soaring goal for this book: establishing aRead More
Thomas F. Farr, director, The Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion’s place in public life. Is there any hope for living together peacefully? Os Guinness argues that the way forward for the world lies in promoting freedom of religion and belief for people of all faiths and none. He sets out a vision of a civil and cosmopolitan global public square, and how it can be established by championing the freedom of the soul―the inviolable freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In particular he calls for leadership that has the courage to act on behalf of the common good. Far from utopian, this constructive vision charts a course for the future of the world. Soul freedom is not only a shining ideal but a dire necessity and an eminently practical solution to the predicaments of our time. We can indeed maximize freedom and justice and learn to negotiate deep differences in public life. For a world desperate for hope at a critical juncture of human history, here is a way forward, for the good of all.

One of the foremost religious-liberty thinkers of our time, Os Guinness sets a soaring goal for this book: establishing a vision of religious freedom ('soul freedom') that accommodates competing truth claims about who man is and why he exists, guarantees freedom and justice, and builds stability amidst a fragile world order. Guinness succeeds magnificently. This book should be required reading for the secularist and the theocrat alike. Its Global Charter of Conscience is a blueprint for all the peoples of the world―both in the West and beyond―struggling to achieve for themselves just and lasting regimes of ordered liberty.
Thomas F. Farr, director, The Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
For a generation now, Os Guinness has stood as one of our most consistently prophetic voices. In this latest book he returns to a lifelong concern: the precarious status of religious liberty in a fractured world. Drawing on a breadth of insights from history, philosophy, sociology and theology, Guinness makes a compelling case for the primacy of 'soul freedom' as the only enduring foundation for securing peace and human flourishing in our fractious era of unprecedented pluralism. And he does so in his inimitable way, with passion, eloquence and civility. It is a challenging yet ultimately hopeful message that demands to be heard, and to be acted upon.
William Inboden, University of Texas-Austin, former senior director, National Security Council, the White House
This is a closely reasoned and eloquent defense of religious freedom (Guinness calls it 'soul freedom,' because it refers to the rights of secularists as well as people of faith). This is not just one right among many, but a fundamental right rooted in the dignity of every human being. But it is also a right essential to the maintenance of a public space in which people with widely diverse worldviews can live together with civility. This is a book that should be read by everyone concerned with freedom of conscience, not only in the face of murderous persecution as still exists in many places, but also with the more subtle threats by political orthodoxies in Western democracies.
Peter L. Berger, professor emeritus, Boston University