How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest CommunicatorPosted: January 27, 2009
My Review: Living in Grand Rapids, MI I often get a lot of flack about my last name, which I am most often called as if it was my first name. The number of ways that the traditional Dutch circles write out or pronounce my name is absolutely ridiculous. Here are some of the examples of what I’ve seen and heard:
DeWalt (which is not even Dutch, but French!)
It seems that no matter where I go, people in my city try to make me Dutch! If I had a dollar for every time someone tried to persuade me to change the spelling of my name, my whole seminary bill would be paid! The same goes for many more areas, but this is one that seems to be so important to these Dutch that they feel they must somehow persuade me to change so as to fit into their community. My name is spelled “Dewalt,” which is pronounced “Da-walt.” Dewalt is German for “The Family of the Forest.” I guess my ancestors lived out in the woods, which is something that hasn’t changed much to this day. The point of all of this is that even in something as simple as a name, I encounter many people that are awful at communicating what they want to, especially in areas of persuasion. It is not just Dutch people in my community of course; it goes for myself as well. I find myself trying to communicate the way I want to or the way I think I need to, and very often do so in order to get what I think is best or to come out on top of the conversation.
- Thinking about your own communication, answer these few questions in your mind right now:
- When was the last time you thought of your conversation as bearing the image of your heavenly Father?
- Was your last conversation centered on the person and work of Christ?
- Does the message that comes from your lips portray the image in which you are to walk?
These are just some of the thoughts that Joe Carter and John Coleman write about in their book, How to Argue Like Jesus. In a world where words are spoken and written more than ever and easier than ever, it is extremely important to think about what you are saying. There is much communication in today’s world, but unfortunately words and conversations also tend to have less meaning than ever. This is why it is vital that believers learn to carefully and effectively communicate, reflecting Christ as we do so, as we draw from His own words and the example He gave us.
In this work, Carter and Coleman teach how Jesus Himself used the great gift of communication to reach out to others, and they look specifically at Jesus’ use of the rhetoric, which is a form of speech that is often lost today. They also show that Jesus was the master of communication, in that He Himself knew perfect communication and how to relate to people and persuade them to His Father like no other.
Christians need to work more at cultivating our own words and language, especially in the area of how we use our communication for the Kingdom of God, and this is the perfect book to help educate and encourage one to do so.
Book Description: Uses Jesus’ words and actions found in the New Testament to systematically evaluate his rhetorical stylings, drawing real lessons from his teachings that today’s readers can employ.
Jesus of Nazareth never wrote a book, held political office, or wielded a sword. He never gained sway with the mighty or influential. He never took up arms against the governing powers in Rome. He was a lower-class worker who died an excruciating death at the age of thirty-three. Yet, in spite of all odds—obscurity, powerlessness, and execution—his words revolutionized human history.
How to Argue Like Jesus examines the life and words of Jesus and describes the various ways in which he sought—through the spoken word, his life, and his disciples—to reach others with his message. The authors then pull some very simple rhetorical lessons from Jesus’ life that readers can use today.
Both Christian and non-Christian leaders in just about any field can improve their ability to communicate effectively by studying the words and methods of history’s greatest communicator.