Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion (Paperback)
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Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion (Paperback)   -     By: Os Guinness
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Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion (Paperback)

InterVarsity Press / 2019 / Paperback

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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.

  • 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

Product Information

Title: Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion (Paperback)
By: Os Guinness
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 274
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 9.02 X 5.98 X 0.62 (inches)
Weight: 13 ounces
ISBN: 0830844481
ISBN-13: 9780830844487
Stock No: WW844487

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Editorial Reviews

"It is bursting with insights, including some sociological insights into the structure of belief and unbelief (and unbelieving culture) that will enrich our own perspective on these matters. He raises issues that should be discussed in churches about how best to witness to people shaped by a deeply post-Christian society. This is a book worth having and savoring. No fooling."
"Here is a book meant to stir up one's mind—and heart. The author writes that it is a product of 'forty years of thinking,' and it should probe the best efforts of any reader."
"The great value of Guinness' approach is that he brings enormous erudition and sophistication to his understanding of culture. Rarely is analysis of this quality combined with keen theological insights in the service of the believing church. Guinness, who is certainly capable of being clever, chastens Christians to understand that a truly gospel-centered means of persuasion is based in what he calls 'cross talk' rather than clever talk. . . . This is a book that deserves a careful, slow and generous reading. It certainly deserves a place on the preacher's reading list."
"In what is a distinctive and vital contribution to a deeper understanding of apologetics and the art of persuasion, Guinness skillfully dissects the anatomy of unbelief and analyzes the framework of illusions and deceptions that shape the unbelieving mind. . . . As reads go Fool's Talk isn't light—but neither are the consequences of enfeebled apologetics."
"Guinness is a master wordsmith, using biblical theology, logic, history, philosophy and a keen understanding of worldviews to express his insights. This book about apologetics and evangelism avoids the overused cookie-cutter approach to sharing the gospel. . . . Readers interested in apologetics and evangelism will need time and focus to absorb this profound work."
"Os Guinness has done Christians a great service in writing Fool's Talk. He provides a way of persuasion and a way that does not artificially separate apologetics from evangelism. It is this point that is the book's greatest strength. . . . For the Christian looking to gain a seat at the table of world views, this book gives him or her plenty of preparation."
"With a finger on the heartbeat of our culture, Guinness shows the need for Christians to be persuasive when sharing the Gospel with the world. Our culture is not one ignorant of the content of Christianity; rather, it is one indifferent to it. In such an environment, Christian persuasion is essential to the fulfillment of our call to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Fool's Talk is a timely volume that is a great asset for those interested in improving their ability to communicate the Gospel."
"I appreciate Os Guinness' concern that he not become a professional apologist and along the way neglect the actual work of apologetics. But after many years of doing such work, he has written a good book, Fool's Talk, that introduces readers not to technique, but to the art of Christian persuasion—the kind of persuasion we see modeled in Jesus, in Paul, and in the Old Testament prophets before them. Eminently quotable and packed full of helpful insights, Fool's Talk is a well-written, well-structured, and well-argued book that I enthusiastically recommend."
"I've not yet been disappointed by a book Os Guinness has written. Fool's Talk is no exception. This is one of the best books on apologetics that I've read."
"More than a technical primer, Guinness’s volume is a masterful, albeit encyclopedic, explanation and presentation of the Christian faith against its detractors past and present. Very highly recommended."
"Guinness . . . presents a challenging argument for our Christian call to evangelize and persuade people of the power of the gospel, while providing much needed critical commentary on the social and cultural contexts that the gospel is being presented within."
"More than a technical primer, Guinness’s volume is a masterful, albeit encyclopedic, explanation and presentation of the Christian faith against its detractors past and present. Very highly recommended."
"Unlike many apologetics books, Fool's Talk is not a series of quick-fix answers to questions most folks are no longer asking or one-size-fits-all 'McTheories' (Guinness's term) for any situation. Rather, Guinness draws upon a lifetime of diverse experience to explore and invite us in the art of 'creative persuasion.'"
"This is the best apologia for apologetics, and the best example of how to do it, that I have ever read. When I grow up I want to be like Os! The Bible, in an unerring prophecy of the forthcoming desktop publishing, tells us that 'of making many books there is no end and much study wearies the body' (Ecclesiastes 12:12). With thousands of Christian books published every year we need to be discerning. Fool's Talk is a diamond in the rough—and well worth 'wearying the body' in order to study!"

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