Contend Earnestly: How to Argue Like Jesus

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Argue Like Jesus

This book was the first one that I have read from Crossway since being given the chance to review books for them on a regular basis. I asked for this book because of the title. I was a little skeptical on what in the world the writers were trying to convey with the title. What I found as I started to read is that the main title, "How to Argue Like Jesus" was a little misleading and the subtitle, "Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator" was a more appropriate title for the whole of the book. But, the title did its job, because I wanted to read it. I know I am not the only one who felt this way as Frank Turk described this same frustration.

The book is co-authored by a blogger, Joe Carter which gives us all hope of someday taking our writing to the real world. After getting passed the title and understanding what the book was actually about, which was communication and persuasion, I found the book to be very well done and one that I will have to re-read in the future and use as a reference to make my sermons and teachings more on point of how Christ communicated his eternal truth.

The book is set up to really show you how to communicate effectively and then drawing from the Scriptures to show you specifically how Christ used the same techniques that were put forth in writing by Aristotle. Not only did the authors show forth Christ's words but they also drew from historical events to show the speeches, etc. to bring their points home. In other words, even in writing this book the authors used the techniques presented to display the effectiveness to the reader.

The book from the very beginning shows one the basics of logic and how to employ logic in ones presentation for ideas, whether pastor, businessman or soccer coach. This book is really widespread and for that I allow the small errors in theology to go unmentioned.

The book goes from the basics in communication to the importance of the communicator and his/her life and how they engage their audience. Again, very good practical advice that will aid anyone who communicates to do in a better style. Not only does the book span the normal ideas of persuasion, but at the end of the book they present those qualities of communication that was unique to Christ that we should also take note of. Some of these were (these are only explained in half pages so that is why there is so many):

1. Always employ some sort of good news, even when reporting wholly bad news
2. Start with your audience's needs
3. Start with examples your audience will understand
4. Speak your audience's "language"
5. Never speak about your speech
6. Use Witness
7. Communicate with confidence
8. Get it right
9. Do not boast; act with humility
10. Know when to speak and when to be silent
11. Be enigmatic
12. Listen
13. Ask Questions
14. Just ask (for what you want)
15. When appropriate, stand up to authority
16. Don't bend core principles or standards to gather disciples
17. Create a sense of urgency
18. Remember that a prophet is without honor in his hometown
19. Praise those who do well; express disappointment in those who disappoint you
20. Don't Fear Division
21. Don't Cast your pearls before swine
22. Words Matter

Overall, the last part of the book and the beginning, with logical analysis of Christ's words, were my favorite. The only downfall of the book is that sometimes it seems too mechanic. This is what will happen when trying to convey Jesus as something other than our Saviour. This book is focused on communication, so very little, if anything, is presented about his true mission, which was to save sinners. Because of this, some parts of the book made it sound as though if you do "A" then "B" will happen. Which we know of many pastors who labor long, communicate well, and still have very little in the way of converts or numbers in the congregation. I know that the authors try to convey this at the beginning in one or two sentences but it is hard to shake as you read throughout the book. But, through all this, it does show how complex, and on point, even Christ's words were apart from the work of the Spirit. Just Christ's mere language and communication was nothing short of brilliant, but as we know, and the authors know, we can't stop there with Christ.

I would recommend this highly to any who would like to communicate better to their audience whatever their profession or ministry. I very much liked the book, now it will be about going back for further study on the methods of communication that they put forth. Highly Recommended

Links to Buy:



Related Posts with Thumbnails