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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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Invitation to the Classics (Masterworks)

Invitation to the Classics (Masterworks)

Baker Books
Invitation to the Classics (Masterworks) Baker Books Guinness and Louise Cowan gather over 50 brief essays by a number of respected Christian literary scholars that extend invitations to readers to experience anew or for the first time the wonder and the beauty of selected classics.
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One of the many purposes of Invitation to the Classics is to warm the heart to the masterworks of WesternRead More
Jill Heatherly, Amazon.com

Invitation to the Classics (Masterworks) Baker Books
Guinness and Louise Cowan gather over 50 brief essays by a number of respected Christian literary scholars that extend invitations to readers to experience anew or for the first time the wonder and the beauty of selected classics.

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One of the many purposes of Invitation to the Classics is to warm the heart to the masterworks of Western civilization. In doing so, editors Louise Cowan and Os Guinness hope to "reawaken ... people to the vibrant heritage of these classics that are rich in themselves and in their 2000-year relationship to the Christian faith." From Homer to Chaucer, Dickens to C.S. Lewis, each author receives a chapter that includes a biographical sketch followed by a thorough summary of the classic(s) he or she penned. The "Issues to Explore" sections at the end of each chapter pose penetrating questions for interrogation of the text as well as recommendations for further study depending on whether your scope is technical, theological, analytical, critical, or biographical. Once you read Invitation to the Classics, you may agree with C.S. Lewis that we must "keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books."
Jill Heatherly, Amazon.com
Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times

Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times

InterVarsity Press
We live in dark times. Christians wonder: Are the best days of the Christian faith behind us? Has modernity made Christian thought irrelevant and impotent? Is society beyond all hope of redemption and renewal? In Renaissance, Os Guinness declares no. Throughout history, the Christian faith has transformed entire culturesRead More
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For decades Os Guinness has been one of the most nuanced, realistic, yet hopeful voices calling Christians to engagement withRead More
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

We live in dark times. Christians wonder: Are the best days of the Christian faith behind us? Has modernity made Christian thought irrelevant and impotent? Is society beyond all hope of redemption and renewal?

In Renaissance, Os Guinness declares no. Throughout history, the Christian faith has transformed entire cultures and civilizations, building cathedrals and universities, proclaiming God’s goodness, beauty and truth through art and literature, science and medicine. The Christian faith may similarly change the world again today. The church can be revived to become a renewing power in our society—if we answer the call to a new Christian renaissance that challenges darkness with the hope of Christian faith.

In this hopeful appeal for cultural transformation, Guinness shares opportunities for Christians, on both local and global levels, to win back the West and to contribute constructively to the human future. Hearkening back to similar pivotal points in history, Guinness encourages Christians in the quest for societal change. Each chapter closes with thought-provoking discussion questions and a brief, heart-felt prayer that challenges and motivates us to take action in our lives today.

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For decades Os Guinness has been one of the most nuanced, realistic, yet hopeful voices calling Christians to engagement with culture. This latest volume from him should not be missed by anyone. Os summarizes some of the most helpful recent discussions, updates many of his own lifelong challenges to the church and provides many fresh insights. Highly recommended.
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
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