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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 Great Quest: Invitation to an Examined Life and a Sure Path to Meaning

The Great Quest: Invitation to an Examined Life and a Sure Path to Meaning

IVP
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates What is life all about? What are we here for? Is there any meaning or purpose to our existence? Thinkers throughout the centuries have pondered these questions. While the distractions of the modern world prevent many fromRead More
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This slim volume is a masterpiece. Guinness brings a breathtaking range of thought—to aim at the key question of life:Read More
Shelby Coffey, Former Editor, LA Times

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates

What is life all about? What are we here for? Is there any meaning or purpose to our existence? Thinkers throughout the centuries have pondered these questions. While the distractions of the modern world prevent many from grappling seriously with such matters, the truth is that humans cannot live without meaning any more than we can live without breathing or eating.

Os Guinness invites us to examine our lives and join the great quest for meaning and a life well lived. For those who are up to Socrates’ challenge, it is a search that is indispensable to making the most of life. Guinness charts the course of the thinking person’s journey toward faith and meaning, calling for a firm grasp of reason, an honest awareness of conscience, and a living sense of wonder. He affirms that there is a time for questions, and that following those questions can indeed lead us to answers, evidence, and commitment.

When life becomes a question, the search is on for an answer. Come find yourself on a sure path to meaning.

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This slim volume is a masterpiece. Guinness brings a breathtaking range of thought—to aim at the key question of life: What is the meaning of life, and how do we, individually, determine it? This is a summa and a gift to questing souls of all persuasions.
Shelby Coffey, Former Editor, LA Times
The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom

The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom

IVP
In these stormy times, loud voices from all fronts call for revolution and change. But what kind of revolution brings true freedom to both society and the human soul? Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such asRead More
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This book should be read by anyone who is concerned about the future of America and of Western civilization. InRead More
Rob Gifford, senior editor, the Economist

In these stormy times, loud voices from all fronts call for revolution and change. But what kind of revolution brings true freedom to both society and the human soul? Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such as the French Revolution and the faith-led revolution of ancient Israel. He argues that the story of Exodus is the highest, richest, and deepest vision for freedom in human history. It serves as the master story of human freedom and provides the greatest sustained critique of the abuse of power. His contrast between “Paris” and “Sinai” offers a framework for discerning between two kinds of revolution and their different views of human nature, equality, and liberty. Drawing on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, Guinness develops Exodus as the Magna Carta of humanity, with a constructive vision of a morally responsible society of independent free people who are covenanted to each other and to justice, peace, stability, and the common good of the community. This is the model from the past that charts our path to the future. “There are two revolutionary faiths bidding to take the world forward,” Guinness writes. “There is no choice facing America and the West that is more urgent and consequential than the choice between Sinai and Paris. Will the coming generation return to faith in God and to humility, or continue to trust in the all sufficiency of Enlightenment reason, punditry, and technocracy? Will its politics be led by principles or by power?” While Guinness cannot predict our ultimate fate, he warns that we must recognize the crisis of our time and debate the issues openly. As individuals and as a people, we must choose between the revolutions, between faith in God and faith in Reason alone, between freedom and despotism, and between life and death.

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This book should be read by anyone who is concerned about the future of America and of Western civilization. In warning that Western freedoms are under threat, Os Guinness is not issuing an angry culture-war call to arms but a rational, cogently argued case for looking again at what made America and the West so successful in the first place. Guinness is a masterful writer. He pulls no punches in his critique of what ails the postmodern West. His arguments will and should be hotly debated, but they should not be ignored.
Rob Gifford, senior editor, the Economist
The Magna Carta of Humanity cries out like a voice in the desert calling for a bold rediscovery of the vision of freedom that once helped to shape the English-speaking world. The imperative to respond with humility and rediscover the ancient paths rings out on every page.
Baroness Philippa Stroud, Legatum Institute
The survival of the Jewish people in history is a miracle in itself, but Guinness goes beyond that. He argues that the Sinai revolution provides both a precedent and a pattern for the future of humanity. This is a bold argument and a must-read for anyone seeking to understand our present global crisis.
Tomas Sandell, European Coalition for Israel
Clichés aside, America is at a crossroads. Will the spirit of 1776 (the American Revolution) or the spirit of 1789 (the French Revolution) inspire us through the upheavals and crises of recent years? Os Guinness takes us back even farther, to the original revolution of freedom, the Exodus. Os sees the big picture through the right lens, that of the Bible and the Bible's constructive influence on America's founding ideals (1776). He is our Tocqueville, an outsider who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Douglas Groothuis, professor of philosophy, Denver Seminary
Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror

Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror

HarperOne
We are still surprised by evil. From Auschwitz to the events of September 11, we have been shocked into recognizing the startling capacity for evil within the human heart. We now know 9/11 revealed that our country was unprepared in terms of national security, butRead More
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A ‘must read’ for anyone who wishes to explore the most fundamental questions confronting us all.
Baroness Caroline Cox, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords

We are still surprised by evil. From Auschwitz to the events of September 11, we have been shocked into recognizing the startling capacity for evil within the human heart. We now know 9/11 revealed that our country was unprepared in terms of national security, but it also showed we were intellectually and morally unprepared to deal with such a barbaric act.

Our language to describe evil and our ethical will to resist it have grown uncertain and confused. Many who speak unabashedly of evil are dismissed as simplistic, old–fashioned, and out of tune with the realities of modern life. Yet we must have some kind of language to help us understand the pain and suffering at the heart of human experience.

Author and speaker Os Guinness confronts our inability to understand evil – let alone respond to it effectively – by providing both a lexicon and a strategy for finding a way forward. Since 9/11, much public discussion has centered on the destructiveness of extremist religion. Guinness provocatively argues that this is far from an accurate picture and too easy an explanation. In this expansive exploration of both the causes of modern evil and solutions for the future, he faces our tragic recent past and our disturbing present with courageous honesty. In order to live an “examined life,” Guinness writes, we must come to terms with our beliefs regarding evil and ultimately join the fight against it.

Addressing individuals as well as a traumatized culture, Unspeakable is an invitation to explore the challenge of contemporary evil, a call to confront our culture of fear, and a journey to find words to come to terms with the unspeakable so that it will no longer leave us mute.

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A ‘must read’ for anyone who wishes to explore the most fundamental questions confronting us all.
Baroness Caroline Cox, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords
Guinness offers a brilliant ‘map’ to help us navigate and confront the difficult landscape of modern life, and modern evil.
Rome J. Hartman, producer, CBS News "60 Minutes"