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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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The American Hour: A Time of Reckoning and the Once and Future Role of Faith

The American Hour: A Time of Reckoning and the Once and Future Role of Faith

Free Press
The American Hour is a searching assessment of the strength of the American republic at the end of what has been called the "American Century." In an incisive analysis, Os Guinness examines the ways in which the current crisis of cultural authority strikes at theRead More
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The American Hour is a searching assessment of the strength of the American republic at the end of what has been called the “American Century.” In an incisive analysis, Os Guinness examines the ways in which the current crisis of cultural authority strikes at the heart of American identity. As he shows, this crisis has occurred because America’s beliefs, traditions, and ideals – civic as well as religious – are losing their power to shape the private and public lives of countless Americans. He first charts this growing crisis in America’s moral and cultural order, tracing its roots early in this century to the first open phase of conflict, which began to build in the fifties and climaxed in the cultural revolution of the sixties. He goes on to examine the subsequent conservative counter-revolution, focusing throughout on the impact of this crisis on three areas vital to the health of the republic – on American identity, as in the currently contested notion of what it means to be an American; American public philosophy, including the now controversial relationship of religion and public life; and American republican character, including our distinctive emphasis on the importance of the “habits of the heart.”

Guinness also examines the historical role of religion in American society and its integral function in American public life. He explores how religion came to lose its power as a vital shaping force of America’s moral and cultural order, and he considers the consequences of this loss. He then establishes four scenarios that range from the continued decline of religion in public life to a resurgence of faith, showing how each possible outcome could affect American society in the upcoming century. Examining closely the recent controversies over religion and politics, Guinness concludes by setting forth a vision of how we can move beyond these struggles and provide America’s diverse faiths with a revitalized and constructive role in public life.

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A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future

A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future

IVPress
Nothing is more daring in the American experiment than the founders' belief that the American republic could remain free forever. But how was this to be done, and are Americans doing it today? It is not enough for freedom to be won. It must alsoRead More
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Sometimes a book is so important and so timely that not to have read it is to embarrass oneself. ThisRead More
Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery

Nothing is more daring in the American experiment than the founders’ belief that the American republic could remain free forever. But how was this to be done, and are Americans doing it today?

It is not enough for freedom to be won. It must also be sustained. Cultural observer Os Guinness argues that the American experiment in freedom is at risk. Summoning historical evidence on how democracies evolve, Guinness shows that contemporary views of freedom–most typically, a negative freedom from constraint– are unsustainable because they undermine the conditions necessary for freedom to thrive. He calls us to reconsider the audacity of sustainable freedom and what it would take to restore it.

“In the end,” Guinness writes, “the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans. The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor.” The future of the republic depends on whether Americans will rise to the challenge of living up to America’s unfulfilled potential for freedom, both for itself and for the world.

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Sometimes a book is so important and so timely that not to have read it is to embarrass oneself. This is such a book. Its message is so crucial and so clear that all Americans are obligated to read it and have a national conversation on its themes. No cultural commentator or politician who has not read this book should ever be taken seriously again. Let this book be the new litmus test. If you are serious about America, be familiar with its themes and expect to discuss them and to be tested on them. Rest assured that you will be, because America is now herself being tested on them. Alas, we will not be graded on a curve. This book's clarion call is both piercing and full of hope. May God help us to hear it and to take action.
Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery
Zero Hour America: History’s ultimatum over freedom and the answer we must give

Zero Hour America: History’s ultimatum over freedom and the answer we must give

IVP
America has lost its way. And America will fall—unless. Americans are approaching a "zero hour" for the republic and its distinctive view of ordered freedom. America is caught between two revolutions and alternately suppresses and squanders freedom with a prodigal carelessness, with little understanding ofRead More
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A must-read for anyone hoping to grapple with the decline of the United States, and who longs to see itRead More
Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in chief, Forbes Media

America has lost its way. And America will fall—unless.

Americans are approaching a “zero hour” for the republic and its distinctive view of ordered freedom. America is caught between two revolutions and alternately suppresses and squanders freedom with a prodigal carelessness, with little understanding of the responsibilities that freedom requires.

Os Guinness warns that if America abandons its distinctive ideals and ideas, we will have carved into the chronicles of history yet another example of the failure of a free society. Like other crucial times in world history, the present crisis is a “civilizational moment” and also a pivot point that could lead to national renewal. Outlining seven key foundation stones of freedom, Guinness lays out a pathway for defining and ordering freedom, righting national wrongs, and passing freedom’s baton from generation to generation.

Human freedom is precious and rare, and citizens who prize it must do what it takes to renew and sustain societies that are free for all of their members. America’s window of opportunity is brief, and the alternative to renewal is bleak. The present moment must not be missed.

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A must-read for anyone hoping to grapple with the decline of the United States, and who longs to see it return to the grand vision of its founding ideals.
Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in chief, Forbes Media
Os Guinness is the Paul Revere for this generation, warning America to wake up before it's too late. With his keen insight and characteristic wisdom, Os diagnoses the root cause of the threats to our freedom and prescribes a look back and inward. In his helpful and engaging style, Os persuasively explains why knowing history and understanding virtue are prerequisites for the restoration of true freedom.
Steve Daines, U.S. Senator from Montana
While many have commented that the loss of faith and virtue are responsible for the precipitous decline of freedom and prosperity in America, few have explained the problem with the dazzling insight and gusto that Guinness provides. Zero Hour America is a bracing and powerful book that demands reading.
Mollie Hemingway, editor in chief, The Federalist