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Fool's Talk


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Recovering the Lost Art
1. Creative Persuasion
2. Technique: The Devil's Bait
3. The Defense Never Rests
4. The Way of the Third Fool
5. Anatomy of Unbelief
6. Turning the Tables
7. Triggering the Signals
8. Spring-Loaded Dynamics
9. The Art of Always Being Right?
10. Beware the Boomerang
11. Kissing Judases
12. Charting the Journey
Conclusion: The Way of the Open Hand
Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index

About the Author

Os Guinness (DPhil, Oxford) was born in China and educated in England. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Global Public Square, A Free People's Suicide, Renaissance, Impossible People, and Last Call for Liberty. He has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow at the EastWest Institute. A frequent speaker and prominent social critic, he has addressed audiences worldwide. A passionate advocate of freedom of religion and conscience for people of all faiths and none, he was the lead drafter for both the Williamsburg Charter and the Global Charter of Conscience. He lives with his wife, Jenny, in the Washington, DC, area.


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.

--James M. Garretson, The Banner of Truth

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.

--Ian A. Whytock, Haddington House Journal 2017

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.

--John Bernstein, CBA Retailers + Resources, July 2015

Guinness offers helpful discourse on the anatomy of disbelief, how to respond to it, and how to avoid compromise while charting a journey toward faith.

--Publishers Weekly, May 11, 2015

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.

--Walter M. Dunnett, Word World, Summer 2016

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

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.

--Reformed Reader, October 23, 2015

If Twain and Chesterton were writers who marshaled wit and paradox in commending wisdom, Guinness richly mines many a classic vein of wisdom, and wit, to help Christians in our time discern what it means to be winsome, and compelling, in commending faith. . . . How can we speak for our Lord in a manner that does justice to the wonder of who God is, to the profundity of the good news He has entrusted to us, to the wily stubbornness of the human heart and mind, as well as to the wide-ranging challenges of today's world and the mind-boggling prospects of tomorrow's? In short, how can we as followers of Jesus be as truly persuasive as we desire to be? These are questions worth asking--and seeking answers, readers can do no better than turn the pages of this book. For over forty years, Dr. Guinness has crafted learned, witty, and compelling books. This book may be his finest--one rich in simile, parable, and insight.

--Kevin Belmonte, Huffington Post, June 24, 2015

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.

--Larry Johnston, Christian Research Journal, Vol. 39, No.1, 2015

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.

--Ted Turnau, Ordained Servant Online, November 2015

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.

--Brian Salveron, Metanoia, September 22, 2015

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.

--R. Albert Mohler Jr., Preaching, March/April 2016

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!

--David Robertson, Christianity Today, January 8, 2016

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.'

--Joshua Ryan Butler, Christianity Today, January/February 2016

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.

--Kristen Davis, Advance, Fall 2015

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