Amid the levels of preparedness Christians can inhabit concerning evangelism, the conversational level is familiar to us all. We all speak to other people at some point and, after discerning the probable state of their soul, we can talk to them about the elements of salvation. But finding a natural place where that can take place is sometimes difficult, so to rememdy that situation The God Conversation was written. Learning how stories can be used as illustrations with spiritual applications can be a valuable resource in witnessing, and Moreland and Muehlhoff provide instruction as well as many of the stories that they use to make an impact on their audiences. The dozens of stories are short, well-written, and peppered throughout the text of the book, with frequent sidebars giving deeper understanding to the applications.
Think of It This Way . . . Our beliefs are challenged from many directions. Every day it seems more difficult to explain to our friends, families and neighbors what we believe and why. When our ideas and arguments fail to persuade them, what then? Is there another approach we can take? In The God Conversation veteran apologists and communicators J. P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff say that often the best way to win over others is with a good story. Stories have the ability to get behind our preconceptions and defenses. They can connect both emotionally and intellectually, appealing to the whole person rather than just to the mind. How do we defend belief in a good God in the face of terrorist attacks or natural disasters? What can we say to show we are not arrogant to believe that Jesus is the only way with so many sincere people following other world religions? What if they think we are naive to say Jesus actually rose from the dead? And when they seem confident in their right to choose their own ethical stances, how can we help them appreciate the value of a universal standard of right and wrong found in the Bible? The authors offer a wealth of penetrating illustrations, examples and quotes that respond to these issues and more. In these pages they enhance the logic and evidence found in other books defending the faith, with things that your friends, relatives or coworkers will ponder long after a conversation is over. Here is sound, empathetic coaching for those of us who long to communicate our faith more effectively.
J. P. Moreland (PhD, University of Southern California) is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He is the author or coauthor of over thirty-five books, including , , , , , , , and . In his distinguished career, Moreland has co-planted three churches, spoken and debated on over 175 college campuses around the country, and served with Campus Crusade for Christ for ten years. The founder and director of Eidos Christian Center, he also previously served as a bioethicist for PersonaCare Nursing Homes, Inc. headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. Moreland's ideas have been covered by both popular religious and non-religious outlets, including the , , PBS's "Closer to Truth," and magazine.
Tim Muehlhoff (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California, where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, persuasion, and gender. He is the author of and , and the coauthor of and . Muehlhoff and his wife, Noreen, are frequent speakers at FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, and he has served with Campus Crusade since 1986. They live in Brea, California, with their three boys.
The stories are memorable and thought provoking, and the colver writing brings out the authors' message. This is a well-written guidebook for evangelizing the curious and responding to skeptics.
"Most conversations, let alone ones about God, are either dull, single-sided or competing monologues full of smoke. It simply shouldn't be. Carrying on a vital, passionate, engaging conversation with another human being is an art that has been sufficiently lost that we need wisdom and perspective on how to engage well. The God Conversation is a gift to the church to invigorate our conversations with believers, seekers and unbelievers. J. P. and Tim walk with us through the use of story and authenticity with such masterful delight that one ends by sensing the authors have given us the very gift we are to give to others."
The God Conversation offers user-friendly help in countering objections to the faith.
Their stories, coupled with advice on constructive listening, will be helpful to any Christian who wants to move beyond ideas and arguments to communicate the gospel using a softer approach.
"If you are a headhunting evangelist or an intellectual who must have the last word, put this book down and go home. If you love your pre-Christian friends and want stimulating resources to engage them in meaningful spiritual dialogue on hard questions, J. P. and Tim are the mentors you seek."
"Today's culture is increasingly a story-based culture. As Tim and J. P. help to show, a story-based culture does not have to be a culture without truth. This book is an excellent tool to learn how to better communicate the great truths about God, the world, our faith and human nature through stories, modern-day parables, and by listening and teaching like Jesus. It is a must-read for all who want to help others find faith in Jesus Christ."
"I love stories and illustrations because of the impact they have had on me. If they have had a similar effect on you, this book is for you. It will reinforce your faith, hone your ability to share your relationship to Jesus Christ and delight your imagination. I cannot give it a higher recommendation."
"Moreland and Muehlhoff have written a unique and engaging book. The style is casual, yet the topics are treated with sufficient detail and nuance to be helpful. I commend The God Conversation to anyone seeking to discuss these matters in meaningful ways with family, friends and colleagues."
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