Item description for Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief. by Douglas Wilson...
Overview This collection of conversations follows Evangelist, one of the Master's servants, who walks the road of life and talks to those he meets. Along the way he reasons with fellow travelers about a variety of questions including atheism, marriage, and hypocrisy in the church. Though this book is a quick read, the thought-provoking arguments it describes are not easily forgotten.
Publishers Description Back in print with a brand new cover, this collection of conversations has long been one of our most popular titles. Persuasions follows Evangelist, one of the Master's servants who walks along the road of life and talks to those he meets. Along the way he reasons with fellow travelers about a variety of questions-including atheism, marriage, and hypocrisy in the church. Though this book is a quick read, the thought-provoking arguments it describes are not easily forgotten.
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Douglas Wilson (MA, University of Idaho) is a pastor, a popular speaker, and the author of numerous books. He helped to found Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, and is currently a senior fellow of theology at New St. Andrews College. He blogs regularly at DougWils.com.
Marvin Olasky (PhD, University of Michigan) is the editor in chief of World magazine, holder of the distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College, and senior fellow of the Acton Institute. He was previously a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, a Boston Globe reporter, and a Du Pont Company speechwriter. He is the author of twenty books and more than 3,500 articles. He and his wife, Susan, have four sons.
Reviews - What do customers think about Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief?
Spare, but very good Aug 23, 2007
I was a little surprised at first by how lean this book is - there's one page of ... not explanation, really, but setup, and then a series of isolated vignettes. And that's it. No conclusion, footnotes, afterward, nothing.
The vignettes, though, are gold - gentle but powerful reasoning between "Evangelist" and various folks who are headed the wrong way on the road. "Evangelist", of course, is Wilson, doing what he does so well - jousting with opponents in the hope that they will lay down their weapons and join him at the Table.
I can best describe Wilson's style of argumentation as "insisting that folks take responsibility for what they are saying, with all the implications." As in real life, it ends with either 1. opponent thoughtfully walking away, considering new thoughts, or 2. continued disagreement, but with everything out in the open, or 3. spluttering indignation and stubborn persistence in the opponents, who are now bereft of their veneer of reason. Whatever the outcome, the vignettes are a great read, and great examples of evangelism by conversation.
Refreshing! Aug 7, 2007
I really enjoy reading Douglas Wilson. I agree whole-heartedly with him 80% of the time. Unfortunately that other 20% of disagreement is on the doctrine of justification, a notion that is bound up with the very heart of the gospel as evangelicals have formulated it since the time of the Reformation. This book is great though.
It is a fictional account between Evangelist and several objectors to the Christian faith. Evangelist is on his way to the City and along the way tries to warn and persuade people who are heading to the Abyss. Wilson is a great writer, very witty, sharp, and satirical at times. Wilson is also a Van Tilian presuppositionalist. This book is all example with no theory. It is a very refreshing and easy read. Here is the table of contents:
The Road Randy--Immorality John--Antinomianism Janice--Feminism Jack--Agnosticism Rev. Howe--Empty Scholarship Mark--Atheism Robert--Election Jim and Sarah--Marriage Dorothy--Hypocrisy in the Church Bill--Salvation and Sanctification Miriam--Pantheism Paul--Evolution Michael--Roman Catholicism
Persuasions...Christians really can think Apr 6, 2006
Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief. This is a wonderful book. Christians sometimes come across as non-thinking, non-reasoning, hyperactive people who simply put their feelings above everything.I teach an adult Sunday School Class and wanted a simple book that would help introduce (to some) and refresh (with others) the idea of evangelism using aplogetics. My students often come to class discussing answers given them by friends and relatives that they are not prepared to answer.This book was just what I needed. It addresses most of the quick responses to Christianity given by many unbelivers. Upon receiving the book I read it at least 3 times during the weekend. What a joy. Not only is the dialogue interesting, it is at times humorous as well. Unlike some of the other material out there on apologetics this book is simple to read and the wit although quick and sharp is easy to follow. You don't have to be a genius to read and enjoy this one! This book would also be a great introduction to the subject of apologetics for teens. I have a sixteen year old son who enjoys the questions and answers put forth by apologetics.
Effective conversations with unbelief May 29, 2005
The book has 3 main virtues: it's short, smart, and gentle. The result shows how Christian thought can surround and correct external challengers ... and also internal deviations.
The thirteen topics are: immorality, antinomianism (the belief faith is sufficent for salvation, freeing Chrisitans from moral law), feminism, agnosticism, empty scholarship, atheism, election, marriage, hypocrisy in the church, salvation and sanctification, pantheism (New Age, etc.), evolution, Roman Cathoicism.
If for some reason none of these topics interests you, you will still profit by reading the book. 500-page apologetics books filled with footnotes, scholarly analysis, and invaluable data are vital, but putting them to effective use can be tricky. Most criticism of Christianity comes from incorrect reasoning which can be readily fixed by simply comparing it with correct reasoning. Which this book does.
The book's dialogues are practical ... they follow the flow of objections and criticisms anyone who has engaged unbelief will recognize, just as a fisherman learns to recognize the twitches on the line.
They are not fake dialogues designed to make response easy, but the criticisms found in hundreds of books, taught in colleges and many modern seminaries, and every time you flip on the TV, go to a movie, or read the newspaper.
Finally, the book avoids a harsh approach. They really are conversations "on the road" -- the imagery itself providing some "minds-eye relief" compared to, say, a treatise on symbolic logic.
In the end, if their objections flow only from what they believe is well-founded reason, those conversing with the Evangelist would be left with no avenue but graceful surrender. But pride and sin still have to be dealt with and, in the book, this means the people sometime just walk away.
Real-world application of these arguments is more likely to be met with emotionalism and rage, so things won't be so smooth, even if you are gentle.
I remember one time I found myself just talking in circles with one civil, proudly rational person. I was never able to progress despite careful explanations in many different ways. I then started asking him to repeat the sentence I just said to verify he was hearing and understanding me. He wasn't even able to bring himself to repeat the words, but had to alter them ... and refused to acknowledge he was altering them. We just kept going round and round and round. So pride and sin are still the main problems, not reason, but there are many others for who the reasoned arguments of this book will be very helpful.
Apologetics for the average Christian -- wonderful book! Oct 14, 2004
Kudos to the author for an excellent primer on Christian apologetics. This semi-allegorical book is designed to equip the "average" Christian to understand the major criticisms of his faith, and how to refute them logically, lovingly, and effectively -- without needing a seminary degree!
The narrator relates his observations of Evangelist, who travels the road leading to the City, i.e. heaven. He meets a series of people traveling in the opposite direction, toward the Abyss which awaits at the other end of the road. Each mistakenly believes, however, that he is headed in the right direction. When Evangelist gently notes their error, each proceeds to explain to him why they are correct and he is wrong. Each dialogue is based on a different critique of Christianity, whether it be antinomianism, existentialism, or hypocrisy within the church, to name just a few. Each conversation ends with the traveler continuing on his way, with new ideas and implications to think about.
There are thirteen such encounters in all, each presented in a concise, easy to read chapter. The arguments follow a smooth logical flow, and the reasoning presented in each chapter is incisive. In short, this book enables the lay reader to quickly grasp and use some powerful tools to "be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." This is an incredibly practical resource which can easily be read in one sitting. However, I definitely intend to re-read it when the opportunity arises. I commend this book to the reading of every committed believer in Jesus Christ.