Dug Down Deep : Building Your Life on Truths That Last
From the Publisher: What are you going to build your life on? Dug Down Deep is systematic theology like you've never seen it before. Readable. Relevant. Powerful. As best-selling author Joshua Harris shares his own journey from apathetic church-kid to student with a burning passion to truly know God, you'll be challenged to dig deep into the truths of God's word. With humor, conviction and compelling insight Dug Down Deep covers the basics of faith--God, scripture, Jesus, the cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit and the church. Don't settle for superficial faith, dig deep.
Review: This was a good, easily read systematic theology book. I found the author's journey to be very interesting and blended well with his theology. He is able to explain his understanding of theology to be transparent and well developed. I agree with much of his theology and am encouraged that younger people are holding to a Biblical theology by using the whole Bible and not parts of it. He has a fantastic story of mentorship and friendship with CJ Mahaney which is encouraging. Too often today people are coming up with Theology that is â€˜new' and this man has embraced the historical doctrine from the Bible.
I would like to thank Above the Trees and Multnomah for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Mr. Harris challenges us to see the real Jesus in full 3D. You can't have the love without the judgment, heaven without hell. When He comes to pass judgment on all those evil people who have wronged us in the past, what will He have to say to us?
Since watching the book trailer a few years ago (a relatively new phenomenon within the publishing community), "Dug Down Deep" has been in the top ten â€˜books I want to read' list, but I hadn't gotten around to it until recently. The topic of orthodoxy and having a deep faith is very close to my heart and vision. So close, in fact, that my preferences for how to approach the issue massively affected how I read this book. With that said, I have wrestled for a couple of weeks on how I would review and recommend this book. So please, take this with a grain of salt and understand the I have a great deal of respect for Harris and his attempt here.
Like most movies which have really tempting trailers, what you see initially is not always what you get. The trailer for this book is spot on, creative, and empowering. Just watching the video makes me want to poor into theology and understand God more. The book, on the other hand, doesn't quite hit a home run for me. But that doesn't mean it's not worth your time and consideration.
Joshua Harris is a well known author, pastor, and conference speaker who has written several books on the topic of dating and purity. Even his book on the church first boasted a title humorously playing off this theme ("Stop Dating the Church", now "Why Church Matters"). Harris started writing when he was 21 and one thing is clearly evident, he has grown up a great deal since then. "Dug Down Deep" is a narrative of sorts which catalogs his development into a mature scholar of theology. Harris writes primarily from personal experience and sometimes his stories cast a long shadow over the message he is trying to teach. As I've found with most of his books, I feel the gnawing desire to rewrite most of his chapters. But personal preferences aside, the message of this book is vitally important in out society today.
"Dug Down Deep - Building You Life On Truths That Last" is built on the analogy of Jesus' Parable about the two men who built separate houses. One built his house on the sand and when the wind and waters came, the house fell down. The other, wiser builder dug down to the rock and built his house on a firm foundation. When the wind and waters came, his house withstood the storm. With this metaphor, Harris builds his argument that our faith needs to be built on theology, with deep and firm foundations.
The first two chapters, making up the introduction to the book, center around why it is so important that our faith becomes personal. While compelling in many ways, I feel that the argument is under-developed and could use further Scriptural support. This is what I mean by my personal preferences getting in the way and wanting to re-write the book. In many ways, his arguments fall flat and the illustrations he uses confuse rather than clarify. There are so many biblical passages that explain better what Harris is attempting to say (Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8-10 come to mind), but as I stated before, he relies heavily on his personal experiences.
Furthermore, Harris makes some unfounded theological statements that I found difficult to overlook in light of the fact that he is writing about right opinion. Harris states flippantly that babies automatically go to heaven (a doctrine I know many people hold to, but one that cannot be proven through critical exegesis). His opinion on the matter only heeds in confusing people on the process of a proper hermeneutic and was an unnecessary comment I would have left out altogether. Surely Harris knows his view is not generally accepted without opposition.
While his chapters on theology are a hit and miss, his chapter on the Holy Spirit greatly concerned me. As a charismatic, Harris spends the bulk of his time defending his position from critics on the right while overlooking the blatantly obvious way the Spirit is abused by those to his left. I don't mean that he doesn't state where they are wrong, but he quickly gets past it to defend his position from attacks from non-charismatics. I found his argument lacking support and consistency. Changing the definition of prophecy to â€˜not foretelling events' and accepting healings as a possibility just so that he can affirm his views on tongues is not a compelling argument for their validity. Personally, I think the gifts are a minor issue to really understanding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Sticking to what we know about the third Person of the Trinity and avoiding the controversy would have been a better approach. There is a lot that Harris overlooks for the sake of focusing so closely on the issue of gifts. Still, Harris is a charismatic that I could fellowship with closely. It's just that his views don't reflect well on a book that is centered on theological accuracy.
My final issue with the book is that while Harris is talking about going deeper into God's Word and discovering who He is, he does not describe how that process can be accomplished. In the end, he lays out his thoughts and develops a desire to know God better, but he fails to provide the tools in which we can go deeper in our faith. Proper exegesis does not come naturally. It must be taught. But "Dug Down Deep" does not lay the necessary ground work for practically going deeper in theology. Each chapter is a rough overview of select doctrines. They are not conclusive, and not altogether sound in establishing a firm foundation. A fear I have about this book is that people will draw the conclusion that they have gone deep enough, thus preventing them from doing any of their own digging.
This is a tough balance for authors, pastors, and teachers, so I don't mean to cast a blanket disregarding critique of the book without examining it's valuable takeaways. The message of this book is critically important. Young Christians have not been challenged enough in their faith, and in light of our generations emphasis on tolerance, orthodoxy has become a negative word associated with radical and fundamentalism. Because we live in the information age, truth is relegated to knowledge and not discernment, therefore wisdom is rarely achieved. Harris's book is fresh, current, and right where it needs to be on our time and culture. Harris notes through personal experience how settling with theological knowledge is not enough. We cannot simply accept the teachings of those who have gone before us. We must get our own shovels out and dig our own foundation.
This book was not written for a scholar like myself to pick apart, but instead for the new Christian, the immature believer, and the shallow liberal who is wrestling with their faith's significance in the real world. In this way, "Dug Down Deep" is the best medicine currently out there.
With that said, I'm still waiting for that book which is solid and sound, enough theology but not too much to replace self discovery, and clearly concise that is yet to be written. Until then, I will recommend this book, with warning, to anyone who is at a place where they are ready to take on their own salvation and go deeper with their faith. As a starting point, I don't know of any better book.
You can read this and other reviews every Wednesday on my personal website worthyofthegospel.com
How would you like to read a book on systematic theology that you could enjoy, learn from, and constantly forget that you were reading a book on theology? In this volume that is exactly what you will get. There's real depth here but it's sprung on you subtly. The cumulative amount of doctrine taken in will surprise you by book's end. In our day when Christians would rather face an IRS audit than read a book on systematic theology, this book has great potential. In fact, I don't think large theology books are read by anyone outside the categories of pastor or scholar, and probably few pastors have read such a work in years. This book will allow you to think of the great subjects again.
Mr. Harris can write. There's no question about that. When he uses the example of rumspringa from the Amish world in chapter one to lure us in, I was caught a third of the way in. We realize the gap between what we say we believe and what we do is often helplessly far apart. This could be because we have never really grasped what the Bible is saying to us as we have imagined we have. Another hint: Jesus Christ is part of the answer no matter what the question is.
I loved how he used his story and the earlier story of his father to tell this story. That's how he pulls it off. The story is captivating and doctrine woven through it. When you finish the story, you think, wow, that was interesting. Then as you think about it, you find yourself wrestling with the greatest doctrines.
He begins with the doctrine of the Bible as a foundation to decide our beliefs. He reads well and is never superficial. From there he makes us face the doctrine of Christ. Next he carefully draws a realistic picture of the depths of the tragedy of sin in us. How our age needs this discussion! We forget how badly we need Jesus because we haven't fully comprehended the mess we are in.
In chapter 7 the chapter is as good as its catchy title: "How Jesus Saved Gregg Eugene Harris". I think you will find it quite similar to the story of how Jesus saved you. There's no overt Calvinism in the chapter though you suspect he believes that regeneration precedes your putting faith in Christ. Still, the chapter was thought-provoking. In his chapter on the Holy Spirit I was absolutely shocked that he, to some degree, looked favorably on speaking in tongues. Had the few sentences that spoke of that been deleted, you would find an exceptionally balanced presentation of the doctrine of the Spirit.
The book works on every level. He even addresses common misunderstanding that are driving the Christian world and how they don't quite mesh with God's Word. As a pastor, I found the book personally rewarding. It was review, it was more perspective, and it seemed to suggest dozens of sermon ideas. Beyond that, I recommend Christians every where read this book and mine its treasures.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 .
This is a great book, it is great to depen your knowledge of the basis of the christian faith and your relationship with Christ. A bit appologetic in its approach, this is a fresh book to help you fall in love with Christ all over again based on what he did at the cross.