Seasoned Speech: Rhetoric in the Life of the Church

IVP Academic. May 2019. 250p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780830852444. pap. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780830871209. REL
When one thinks of rhetoric, they do not usually do so in relation to the church. Yet, Beitler (English, Wheaton Coll., IL) argues that as congregations share about their faith, this element is important to take into account. Beitler focuses attention on five influential Christians who used rhetoric effectively in their writing and speaking: C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Desmond Tutu, and Marilynne Robinson. Beitler also addresses the rhetoric of worship by connecting each person with a time in the Christian calendar (Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, and Eastertide). He presents Lewis as communicating effectively through goodwill, Sayers's use of narrative to confront readers with theological truths, and Bonhoeffer's employment of identification and division. Tutu emphasized confrontation, repentance, and restoration through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, while Robinson used literature to open a space for faith and Christian hospitality. In the final chapter, Beitler's concluding summary notes that diverse rhetorical methods can be effective.
VERDICT Those interested in these five individuals, in Christian apologetics, or in the rhetoric of worship will find this work useful and insightful.

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