Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization, By Os Guinness
Impossible People
  • Length: 239 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: May 17, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4469
  • ISBN: 9780830844692

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  • ECPA 2017 Christian Book Award Finalist

The church in the West is at a critical moment. While the gospel is exploding throughout the global south, Western civilization faces militant assaults from aggressive secularism and radical Islam. Will the church resist the seductive shaping power of advanced modernity?

More than ever, Christians must resist the negative cultural forces of our day with fortitude and winsomeness. What is needed is followers of Christ who are willing to face reality without flinching and respond with a faithfulness that is unwavering. Os Guinness describes these Christians as "impossible people," those who have "hearts that can melt with compassion, but with faces like flint and backbones of steel who are unmanipulable, unbribable, undeterrable and unclubbable, without ever losing the gentleness, the mercy, the grace and the compassion of our Lord."

Few accounts of the challenge of today are more realistic, and few calls to Christian courage are more timely, resolute—and hopeful. Guinness argues that we must engage secularism and atheism in new ways, confronting competing ideas with discernment and fresh articulation of the faith. Christians are called to be impossible people, full of courage and mercy in challenging times.

"With his unique blend of incisive clarity and prophetic vision, Os Guinness has written a book that will challenge, encourage, and awaken us to live wholeheartedly for Christ in this 'grand clarifying moment.' I recommend Impossible People as a book for such a time as this."

Amy Orr-Ewing, director, The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics

"Every time I sit down to read the prophetic words of Os Guinness, I feel my spine strengthen and my mind perk up. His clear writing and earned wisdom bring both courage and uncertainty; for while we can't predict where our culture will head, we can rely on the truth that guides and emboldens every generation to meet the moment for which we've been called."

Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, author of Good Faith

"Os Guinness is a prophet. Hear him."

Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

"This remarkable book helps us to clearly see how Western modernity is trying to replace Christian faith with a progressive secularism. It is a timely wake-up call for the church to stand firm against this fatal challenge. I urge every Christian leader to read it."

Mouneer Anis, primate of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

"I read everything Os Guinness writes because he always challenges my thinking and enlarges my perspective. Impossible People may be his most important work. Read it, then buy five copies for friends and discuss it together. The message is that important. This could be the most important book you read this year."

Rick Warren, pastor, Saddleback Church, author of The Purpose Driven Life

"The prolific Os Guinness, always with his finger on the pulse of our Western societies, considers the current state of our civilization, its fraying at the edges now more deeply tearing toward the center, and how Christians can and must be salt and light in this newly loosed menagerie. . . . Guinness lays out why we must enter this fray with the right tools, and also provides insight on how to use them."

Christian Renewal, August 24, 2016

"His comprehensive grasp of history, philosophy, science, culture, and religion will give serious thinkers many hours of reflection. Guinness recommends solutions and he challenges believers to courageous action in defense of Christianity."

John Bernstein, Christian Market, August 2016

In his trademark fashion, Os Guinness takes on the biggest themes of the modern world, turns them on the church and its gospel, and challenges the church to be faithful, courageous and unflinching."

Scot McKnight, 14th Annual Outreach Resources of the Year, March/April 2017


Introduction: Found Faithful
1. New World, Old Challenge
2. The Greatest Challenge Ever
3. The War of Spirits
4. Exploring the Heart of Darkness
5. Life with No Amen
6. Yesterday, Today, Forever
7. Give Us the Tools
Afterword: A Time to Stand
Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Os Guinness

Os Guinness (DPhil, Oxford) is the author or editor of more than thirty-five books, including The Dust of Death, The Call, Fool's Talk, Carpe Diem Redeemed, The Magna Carta of Humanity, Last Call for Liberty, Impossible People, Unspeakable, and Time for Truth. He is the founder of the Trinity Forum, a prominent social critic, and a frequent speaker who has addressed audiences worldwide.