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Good Arguments

Making Your Case in Writing and Public Speaking

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This brief introduction to making effective arguments helps readers to understand the basics of sound reasoning and to learn how to use it to persuade others. Practical, inexpensive, and easy-to-read, the book enables students in a wide variety of courses to improve the clarity of their writing and public speaking. It equips readers to formulate firmly grounded, clearly articulated, and logically arranged arguments, avoid fallacious thinking, and discover how to reason well. This supplemental text is especially suitable for use in Christian colleges and seminaries and includes classroom discussion questions.

Introduction: Why Arguments Are Good
1. The Basics of Good Arguments
2. Reasoning and Logic
3. Fallacies
4. Belief, Fact, and Opinion
5. Defining Your Terms
6. Drawing Analogies
7. Cause and Effect
8. On Good Authority
9. Making Your Case
Case Studies


"Most textbooks on argumentation cover too much or too little, aiming either too high or too low. Good Arguments is just right. Clear, compact, and complete, it's just the text I've been looking for. I know it will serve my writing students well."

Karen Swallow Prior, professor of English, Liberty University; author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions--The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

"While written for a broad readership, this engaging book gives preachers solid guidance on how to mount arguments in our sermons that are interesting, fair, and convincing. Though the art of oral argument has a noble history in Christian preaching, we haven't heard much on that subject lately. Holland and Forrest correct that, and those of us who preach will benefit from their efforts."

Will Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry, Duke Divinity School; United Methodist bishop, retired

"In an extremely approachable yet detailed primer, Holland and Forrest present instructions for lucid and humble argumentation in speech and writing. Good Arguments provides ample illustrations--some jovial and some provocative--that improved my ability to think clearly and to persuade, even when I found myself disagreeing with some of the examples. Believers are asked to provide a reason for the hope that resides within them, and this text will support that good work."

Amy Peeler, Wheaton College

"Roman teacher of rhetoric Quintilian depicts the consummate orator as a good person speaking well. In this volume Richard Holland and Ben Forrest provide the basics for speaking well, supplying both cerebration and celebration in their depiction of Christians arguing for a positive verdict in their witness of the gospel. In the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, they challenge Christians to 'always be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within' them. In an arena where truth is often dumbed down, this volume takes the reader higher up!"

Robert Smith Jr., Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

"We live in a day when too few people--including Christians--can tell the difference between assertions and evidence, opinion and fact, logical fallacies and helpful analogies. Thankfully Richard Holland and Benjamin Forrest remind us that we love our neighbors not only by learning to listen carefully to their concerns but also by learning when and how to respond with a reasoned argument. Here is a great, accessible primer on logic and healthy argumentation that can point Christians toward more faithful reasoning and speaking."

Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College

"Improving one's critical thinking and persuasive argumentation skills is well worth the time and effort. This volume is effectively designed to refine both abilities. I therefore confidently recommend a careful perusal as a worthy investment."

Paul Hartog, professor of Christian thought, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary

The Authors

  1. Richard A. Holland Jr.

    Richard A. Holland Jr.

    Richard A. Holland Jr. (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of philosophy at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

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  2. Benjamin K. Forrest
    Kaitlyn Becker Johnson

    Benjamin K. Forrest

    Benjamin K. Forrest (EdD, Liberty University) is associate dean of the College of General Studies and professor of Christian education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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"Whether preparing sermons for the pulpit, opinion pieces for publication, or a persuasive book on any given social or political issue, Good Arguments will prove to be exceptionally 'user friendly' in tone, organization and presentation. . . . Highly recommended for community, seminary, and academic library collections."

Midwest Book Review