Products>Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

Format: Digital
, 2015


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

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.

Key Features

  • Analyzes recent trends in evangelism
  • Offers a comprehensive presentation of the art and power of creative persuasion
  • Demonstrates how apologetic persuasion requires both the rational and the imaginative


  • Creative Persuasion
  • Technique: The Devil’s Bait
  • The Defense Never Rests
  • The Way of the Third Fool
  • Anatomy of Unbelief
  • Turning the Tables
  • Triggering the Signals
  • Spring-loaded Dynamics
  • The Art of Always Being Right?
  • Beware the Boomerang
  • Kissing Judases
  • Charting the Journey

Praise for the Print Edition

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.

—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

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.

—Tim Challies, World Magazine, October 31, 2015

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.

—Ravi Zacharias, author and speaker

Product Details

  • Title: Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion
  • Author: Os Guinness
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 270
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Apologetics

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

About Os Guinness

Os Guinness is a philosopher, social critic, and the author of many books, including Time for Truth, The Call, and Long Journey Home. He was born in China, educated in England, and has worked in the Washington, DC area for more than 25 years. He has been a freelance reporter for the BBC, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies. In 1991, Dr. Guinness founded the Trinity Forum, which hosts discussions with senior leaders in business and politics. He speaks widely at universities and business and political conferences around the world.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition