How Do We Communicate with Winsome Persuasion in our Hostile Culture?
by Sean McDowell
Tim Muehlhoff and Richard Langer are two of my colleagues at Biola University. Dr. Muehlhoff teaches Communications and Dr. Langer teaches Biblical Studies and Theology. They recently partnered up to tackle a vital issue for today—how do Christians communicate with winsome persuasion in a culture that seems to be increasingly at odds with Christian beliefs?
I had the chance to endorse their book Winsome Persuasion and highly recommend it for both its content and style. In particular, Dr. Muehlhoff has really challenged me to personally consider how to speak truth today with both kindness and graciousness. I love his last book I Beg to Differ, and even used it in a small group with high school students. If you want to be an effective communicator today, check out this brief interview, and then think about getting their excellent new book:
SEAN MCDOWELL: Why did you write Winsome Persuasion?
TIM MUEHLHOFF: As a professor of communication at a Christian university, I’ve wrestled with a powerful question: How should Christians respond to a culture steadily moving away from a biblical worldview? Biblical views concerning sexuality, abortion, marriage, and God are abandoned in favor of an accommodative stance that often intolerantly attacks, belittles, and ultimately silences opposing views. When president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy answered “guilty as charged” when asked if he supported traditional marriage, he was publicly attacked and Chick-fil-A stores were defaced with “Tastes like HATE!” graffiti. As the minority, how can Christians engage those holding the dominant perspective in a way that is winsome, civil, and persuasive?
MCDOWELL: What mistakes do Christians make when sharing a biblical perspective?
MUEHLHOFF: If no one responds to our message, we often feel that the only option is to turn up the prophetic volume. So we shout louder, or stage more vigorous protests, or show more horrific pictures, or warn of increasingly apocalyptic disasters. But in the face of diminishing returns, it would be good to remember that there are other options than turning up our prophetic voice…
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