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Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ [Paperback]

By James W. Sire (Author)
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Item description for Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ by James W. Sire...

With wisdom borne of both formal and informal experience, the author offers practical insight into making a more persuasive case for Christ. He includes an annotated bibliography of resources for framing effective arguments.

Publishers Description
You gave it your best shot. You made the best case you knew how, and your friend still wasn't persuaded to follow Christ. Why is it that solid, rational arguments for the Christian faith often fail? For over fifty years James Sire, noted author and public defender of the Christian faith, has asked himself that question. Sometimes, of course, the arguments themselves just aren't that good. How can we make them better? Sometimes the problem has to do with us and not the arguments. Our arrogance, aggressiveness or cleverness gets in the way, or we misread our audience. Sometimes the problem lies with the hearers. Their worldview or moral blindness keeps them from hearing and understanding the truth. With wisdom borne of both formal and informal experience, Sire grapples with these issues and offers practical insight into making a more persuasive case for Christ. Includes an annotated bibliography of resources for framing effective arguments.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ by James W. Sire has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 10/01/2006 page 143

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Books
Pages   205
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830833811  
ISBN13  9780830833818  

Availability  7 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 10:18.
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More About James W. Sire

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Born on a ranch on the rim of the Nebraska Sandhills, James W. Sire has been an officer in the Army, a college professor of English literature, philosophy and theology, the chief editor of InterVarsity Press (a Christian publisher of books for thoughtful readers), a lecturer at over two hundred universities in the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia, and the author of twenty books on literature, philosophy and the Christian faith. His book The Universe Next Door, published in 1976 and now in its fifth edition, has sold over 350,000 copies and has been translated into 18 foreign languages. He holds a B.A. in chemistry and English from the University of Nebraska, an M.A. in English from Washington State College (now University) and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri. His most recent book is a memoir, The Rim of the Sandhills (eBook on Kindle and Nook).

James W. Sire has published or released items in the following series...
  1. IVP Classics
  2. Lifeguide Bible Studies
  3. Wheaton Literary

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Apologetics

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Reviews - What do customers think about Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a More Persuasive Case for Christ?

Great introduction to apologetic thought.  Mar 19, 2007
Wow this book is a real entertaining read, I was very impressed with Sire's open thought to certain Christian views that normally go with out question as being true. Not that I agreed with him on it, but I was glad to see that he was open to different thought.

The book itself is a great showcase of how postmodern and naturalistic world views have corrupted common thought so much that its hard to discern what truth is anymore for some. It has some great exampls of how both athiest and Christians are easy to just give arguments that have no logical ground. However, the arguments for Christians can be easily corrected, but for the athiestic worldview it is so flawed in every aspect that moral blindness is the only thing that keeps it afloat.

Now that is how I interpreted the book... I believe it can be much more in depth than that for someone it hits home on. For me though it seemed only to skim the surface. It skimmed it well enough to make me see the logical fallacies of many arguments against Christianity, but I would of liked it to be a little more in depth.
Great Resource For Improving Christian Apologetics  Feb 19, 2007
Some how many Christians have adopted the notion that if they put forward the right arguments for Christian truth claims (such as God's existence or Christ's resurrection), then they can persuade any person to become a Christian. These Christians are often disappointed and dismayed when they're best efforts seems to go no where. Dr. James W. Sire explores why this is the case in Why Good Arguments Often Fail.

The book is divided in three parts consisting of 12 chapters. Part 1 examines the most common logical fallacies by reflecting on a "Love is a Fallacy" by Max Shulman. Part 2 looks beyond logical fallacies to issues of character, perception, worldviews (naturalism and postmodernism), and sin. In Part 3, Dr. Sire offers two persuasive approaches, one from the Apostle Paul in Acts 17 and one from his own experience. The last chapter is a thorough annotated bibliography divided into ten categories.

I think there are primarily two reasons people should buy this book. The first is that Part 1 of the book is an excellent introduction to basic critical thinking. Dr. Sire takes seemingly abstract rules of logic and makes them tangible through clear explanations and applications to arguments against Christianity and even a few bad arguments Christians sometimes put forward. The second reason this book is worthwhile is for the bibliography at the end. It is a handy guide that covers most apologetic issues in great detail.

While apologetics deals primarily with intellectual issues for rejecting Christianity, almost every non-Christian (if not all) have other issues that must be dealt with. This book acknowledges this by addressing the character of the Christian evangelist and the "moral blindness" of the non-Christian. However, it's general approach is of an intellectual nature and I think it'd be stronger if it dealt with sin and psychological issues to a further extent.

Why Good Arguments Often Fail is a much needed book to help Christians think more critically about the arguments they put forward for Christianity. Dr. James W. Sire's experience and wisdom provides ample illustrations and insights that can make our overall case for Christ more persuasive to non-Christian ears.
Some excellent charts, book is generally solid  Dec 21, 2006
Sire is well-known for his world views books. In this new one, he shares some personal stories about how to share one's faith even when argue back. He uses a lot of logic and straight thinking, and I think most readers will be appreciate his style. If you generally enjoy apologetics and doing your best to "give an answer to everyone who asks you," then I think this is a worthwhile purchase and read.
Contending for the faith  Aug 22, 2006
James Sire has been involved in Christian apologetics for quite some time now. His classic work, The Universe Next Door, first penned in 1976, is now in its fourth edition and has sold over a quarter-million copies. His many years of speaking and writing about apologetics in many different countries makes him an authority on the subject.

Yet he asks, like many of us may have, why do my arguments seem to fail? Why am I not more effective? Why do so many seem to reject the message?

This book seeks to answer those questions. While there are of course spiritual dynamics at work, often our arguments are simply not very good. Or perhaps we are offensive and unloving in our presentations. Or perhaps we have not done our homework. Or maybe we lack sufficient knowledge of who our audience is.

Sire focuses here on how we can better make our case, and how we can avoid common pitfalls. Thus he first examines flawed arguments and common fallacies we often make when seeking to defend the faith. He looks at faulty arguments which both believers and non-believers can make. There is plenty of fuzzy thinking and poor reasoning ability to go around, it seems. Yet Sire reminds believers that we need to do the best we can as we make our case for faith. The involves the effort needed to think clearly and analyse worldviews and arguments carefully.

Secondly he examines what makes for a good argument, and why it may be rejected. How can we learn from our mistakes and more successfully engage our unbelieving friends? What is that keeps good reasoning from being accepted? Sometimes they way we present our case is the problem. We may be abrasive or arrogant or condescending. The way we deliver the message can often be as important as the message itself.

And sometimes we misread the audience. Perhaps we underestimate their intelligence. Or we may overestimate it. Or we may not even be speaking the same conceptual language with them. Or there may be psychological obstacles to overcome, such as unhappy experiences in childhood or at church. Thus knowing who we are talking to and where they are coming from is an important part of making our case effectively.

Finally, he gives several examples of effective apologetics. Here he shows how a successful argument can work. And he uses the apostle Paul at Athens as his major example. Paul certainly knew his audience well and was quite capable at building bridges to them. In addition, using the thought-world and language of his audience, he was able to lay out the basics of the Christian faith.

All in all this is a helpful introductory text to logical thinking, and the need for believers to more finely tune their arguments and more carefully make their case. It encourages us to keep on in the apologetic task. A helpful volume indeed.
Lucid and readable  Jul 12, 2006
James Sire begins with a story that helps outline logical failures in arguments, but then moves to the perhaps more critical areas of reading one's audience and understanding the effect of one's argument. He offers an array of answers for his title question, without ever forgetting to focus on the necessity of going out and witnessing and of remembering that the Holy Spirit ultimately convinces unbelievers. All in all, a rapidly read and very digestible book that will speak to and encourage all Christians, from those who love to talk about Jesus to those unsure about sharing their faith.

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