Os Guinness's books have been invaluable for the Christian church for decades. A great deal of what I know about communicating the faith in modern times I learned from him. This book does not disappoint. Unlike most books on apologetics, it addresses the actual dynamics of conversation and persuasion - as well as providing an unusually comprehensive range of accessible and useful arguments and appeals for the truth of Christianity. I highly recommend it.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
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.
author and speaker
There is no doubt about it, Christian apologetics is having a renaissance. Oddly though, precious little of it addresses the art of persuasion. Who better to redress this lacuna than the preeminent apologist of our times, Os Guinness. Among the many virtues of Fool's Talk is the presentation of a robust Christian faith that is not predictable. Many people are so sure they know what Christians are going to say that they don't actually listen. Guinness keeps them off-balance, much in the way Jesus' parables caught his audiences off-guard. Faced with a plethora of modern challenges, from technology to globalization to political sales talk to moral relativism, we are tempted to develop a single, safe, reactionary method - ten steps to the punch line. Guinness does the opposite. Like G. K. Chesterton in an earlier age, Guinness reminds us that truth is quite unlikely, that is, dubious to unaided reason. He advocates a broad range of arguments, all of them imaginative, but all of them pointing to the surprising truth, the unpredictable love of God.
professor of apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary
Fool's Talk is a direct exposition of the inner logic and rhetoric of persuasion, showing how hearers are moved from unbelief and doubt to conviction of the truth of the Christian faith. Guinness's focus is not only on the nature of effective argument but the character, ethics and faith of the apologist. Intellectually profound and immensely practical. I loved the book. So will you.
-James W. Sire,
author, The Universe Next Door, Echoes of a Voice and Apologetics Beyond Reason
A remarkable book. Written with the benefit of decades of experience and reflection - this is one book on apologetics you will not want to miss. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
joint director, Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, international director, RZIM for Europe, the Middle East and Africa
In a day when Christian apologetics seems to win battles but lose wars, when evangelism is abandoned by the church and biblical strategies are ignored, Fool's Talk by Os Guinness is necessary and vitally important. Insightfully, he not only guides in the use of wit and weightiness, but also restores winsomeness to the art of communicating Christ. He teaches the reader to 'relativize the relativists' and build on the 'signals of transcendence' with brilliance. He acknowledges his debts to Peter Berger, C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, G. K. Chesterton and many others. Readers will be indebted to Guiness for the syntheses and wisdom we have come to expect from him. The benefits of the past are freshly and insightfully applied to the present. All people need to know they are deeply loved and forgiven by God. Fool's Talk will better equip us to tell them. I heartily endorse this book.
associate professor of evangelism, Wheaton College
Hardened skeptics and militant unbelievers are often a puzzle to Christian apologists. Arguments alone sometimes fail to stick to the souls of these unbelievers. Because of this, we need the rhetorical wisdom of Os Guinness, evangelicalism's greatest living social critic. Fool's Talk will make its readers wiser and more creative in commending the matchless gospel of Jesus Christ.
professor of philosophy, Denver Seminary
I have been waiting a long time for this book and I am not disappointed. Os Guinness brings together the rare combination of a firm grasp on a biblical view of unbelief with an acute understanding of people within the dynamics of modern culture. In relating apologetics to evangelism as he does, he engages us in the complexity of the interpersonal relationships that are so overwhelmingly relevant to communicating the gospel today. His discussions of diversion and hypocrisy are especially fresh and helpful.
L'Abri Fellowship, Southborough, Massachusetts
This is a timely book. It provides a much-needed and magisterial reaffirmation of that most biblical of New Testament models of evangelism - persuasive evangelism - bringing together evangelism and apologetics, heart and mind, objective and subjective, reason and faith. In short, it articulates and defends the most common form of evangelism in the New Testament. One of the most urgent needs of the global church is to recapture the biblical emphasis on persuasive evangelism. If the church (and most public evangelists) are able to heed Os Guinness's urgent call, it will lead to more faithful (and I suspect, more fruitful) evangelism, as well as the unexpected byproduct of greater confidence amongst believers in the truth claims of the gospel.
international director, the Lausanne Movement, director, the Fellowship of Evangelists in the Universities of Europe
There is no doubt that Western culture has lost its understanding and attraction to the truth embedded and realized in the life of Jesus Christ. As Dorothy Sayers said in 1947, 'The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.' Os Guinness, in his characteristically clear and insightful style, helps us recover the art of persuasively making the case for the truth of Christianity. Fool's Talk uniquely suggests we use, not the eager-to-win argumentative styles of the twenty-first century, but the persuasive styles of the church fathers, Old Testament prophets, New Testament writers and Jesus himself as our models. The irresistible nature of their reasoning and Guinness's brilliance in explaining them is a sure guide for apologists and evangelists, which he wisely urges be one in the same.
author of Is Reality Secular?
Here Os Guinness is ringing the bell that must be heard. Christian abandonment of evangelism, apologetics and discipleship, in a cynical age, is deeply serious. Social justice isn't enough. We simply must quickly recover the art of persuasion that loves and awakens souls. The world, deaf as it may at times seem, is dying for good news. Dr. Guinness shows us the brilliant 'advocacy of the heart' that wins not just arguments but, far more importantly, people. The gospel, Os reminds us, is the highest form of love. The best news. And the only hope for a world awaiting its redemption.
-Kelly Monroe Kullberg,
editor, Finding God at Harvard, founder, The Veritas Forum
The outcome of decades of rich reflection and fruitful ministry, Fool's Talk is a wise, creative, refreshing and unique book on the art of Christian persuasion.
Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University