Fool’s Talk: Rediscovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness is a well-timed reminder concerning the importance of persuasion in the proclamation of the Christian gospel. “We are all apologists now,” declares Guinness, “and we stand at the dawn of the grand age of human apologetics, or so some are saying because our wired world and our global era are a time when expressing, presenting, sharing, defending and selling ourselves have become a staple of everyday life for countless millions of people around the world, both Christians and others” (p. 15). It is here that Guinness boldly observes our time and context as the greatest opportunity for Christian proclamation since Jesus and the apostles, and thus, it is here that Guinness persuasively (pun intended) reorients the reader towards the heartbeat of apologetics found in the art of Christian persuasion.
Guinness guides the reader from beginning to end with noticeable expertise and experience in the field of Christian apologetics. However, for Guinness, Christian apologetics looks much different than the traditional approaches still used by many Christians today. Rather, the approach Guinness is keen to advocates is simple, cross-centered and cross-shaped persuasion. This is not a book for those seeking to catch up on the most recent apologetic techniques to be utilized in the workplace and beyond. It is a call to the Christian to put down the soulless crutch of technique alone and rediscover the all-encompassing power of the gospel of the cross. “Technique has its place,” as Guinness rightly acknowledges, “but it is time to challenge the imperialism of technique and keep technique in its place” (p. 46).
The art of Christian persuasion, then, is that which seeks to use the uppermost strengths of human reason and creativity in the defense of truth. Guinness describes the twofold reality of such persuasion as the apologists effort in, “Mustering all the powers of reason, logic, evidence and argument . . . [for] the task of answering every question, countering every objection, and dismantling false objections to the faith and to knowing God . . . Expressing the love and compassion of Jesus, and using eloquence, creativity, imagination, humor and irony . . . to pry open hearts and minds that, for a thousand reasons, had long grown resistant to God’s great grace, so that it could shine in like the sun” (p. 253). This is the art of Christian persuasion, the heartbeat of Christian apologetics, and the rediscovered platform of gospel-centered proclamation that Guinness commends to his readers.
Fool’s Talk: Rediscovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness is nothing short of a classic. Guinness is remarkably warmhearted in his exhortation and criticism of the present-day landscape of Christian apologetics, and his alternative approach is refreshingly biblical. “We are all apologists now,” and yet, as Guinness explains, “many of us have yet to rise to the challenge of a way of apologetics that is as profound as the good news we announce” (p. 16). It is here that Guinness has delivered a book that will both encourage your heart and reignite your soul for the task of Christian apologetics—namely, the art of Christian persuasion. If you are looking for an apologetic book that will alter the way that you interact with the world around you for the sake of the gospel, and reorient your heart towards the proper means of such interaction, then this is a book that you will do well to read. It comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.