How to Argue Like Jesus

How to Argue Like JesusWhen I first saw the title of this book, I was a little put off by it.  In fact, the only reason I bought it was that in the course of ordering several other books from an on-line retailer, they offered it as an add-on for like next to nothing.  As it turns out, I am quite glad that I spent the few extra bucks to get it.  The book turned out to be pretty interesting. 

I am still not crazy about the title and it is still equally off-putting.  And as it turns out, there may have been a shock value kind of strategy employed here by the authors or the publisher, because the subtitle “Learning Persuasion From History’s Greatest Communicator” is more indicative of what the book is really all about.

At 174 pages in length, divided into 6 chapters and a final one, of sorts, called ” Case Studies” the book is not a difficult read, although it does wade pretty deeply into the framework of effective rhetoric that Aristotle proposed…logos, pathos, and ethos.  There were times when I felt like I had somehow stumbled into a 400 level college English course.  My head is still muddled with some of the terms that were used.  I suspect that the authors anticipated that this would be the case as they have included a really nice glossary of all the terms many of which I had never heard before, and likely will never hear again, apart from coming back to this book (seeing as I am not going BACK to college and if I did, it would not be to study English).  

In spite of the technicality of some of the content, the authors really do make it relevant and useful.  And perhaps more importantly, they provide evidence of how our Lord used these among other techniques to communicate to his hearers, whether common people, ruling authorities, or his disciples (which of course includes us).

While the examples from the book have an obvious theological basis, the authors have done a very good job of broadening their application to any contemporary need for persuasion.  Anyone who finds themselves engaged in speaking before groups of people of any size, related to any subject, will find this book offering some really useful suggestions for ways in which to improve their communications effectiveness.

UPDATED:  For the first time ever at “WHATEVER!” an author has made a comment related to my review of a book he/she has written.  You can find those comments below.  Also of note, the authors of How to Argue Like Jesus have been interviewed by Christian Book Notes, and are responding to questions left in the comment section of that blog.  Check it out by clicking HERE.

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One Response to How to Argue Like Jesus

  1. johnwilliamcoleman says:

    Chuck – thanks for your thoughtful comments on our book. We really appreciate you picking up a copy and helping to spread the word with this review. I just wanted to add that Terry Delaney is hosting a giveaway right now at http://christianbooknotes.com/2009/interview-carter-coleman/. If you have any questions about the book, Joe and I will be answering them in the comments and you’ll be eligible to win a free autographed copy. Also, if you link to the interview from your review above, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a second copy. I just thought you might want to know. Again, thanks for your thoughtful response to our book.
    -John Coleman

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