In Os Guiness’s recent apologetics book Fool’s Talk, what role does rhetoric play? Literary scholar David Parry draws on his knowledge of classical and Christian rhetorical traditions to unpack one strand of Guinness’s ideas about apologetics.
Summary: Guinness argues for the recovery of the lost art of persuasion that combines good apologetic work with evangelism and is aware of the many people Christians address who are not open to their message.
Against the doomsayers speaking of the darkness of the times, Guinness remains hopeful for a spiritual and cultural renaissance in the west, rooted in the power of the Christian message; and he charts the tasks of faithful witness that precede this and the contours of such a renaissance.
There is no shortage of analyses of the twin crises of the church and the West, but by themselves such analyses have too often led to despondency, fear and paralysis, just as medical diagnosis without remedies can be heartless and debilitating. What we also need is a constructive overarching vision of Christian engagement in today’s advanced modern world, one that is shaped by faith in God and a Christian perspective rather than by current wisdom, and one that can inspire Christians to move out with courage to confront the best and worst that we may encounter (27).
This book argues that a public square safe for diversity is one that protects freedom of conscience for all.