Doctrine and theology are subjects that can cause some Christians' eyes to glaze over. One reason for this is that it takes work to understand these issues, and our culture promotes instant gratification. As a result, many of us often settle for superficial teaching. Joshua Harris writes about topics that challenge us to dig down deep and understand the foundational principles of our faith. While the author's writing style did not always engage me to the fullest extent, I recognize the importance of the concepts he discussed. He did use Scripture to support his points, although he could have gone much deeper. However, if he had he may not have been able to keep the book true to the tone with which he writes and he may not have been able to connect with a good portion of the audience that can benefit from this book.
I would recommend this book to Christians who know there is something more, something they want to build their faith upon - instruction they long to both learn and apply. However, this book should merely be used as a way to enter the conversation or a supplemental tool. Then, the challenge will be not to just rely on this book, but to dive into your Bible, devour God's Word and use that teaching in practical ways as you live your life.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group, as part of the Blogging for Books Program, for this review.
If you like the simplistic, fluff-oriented, more-motivational-than-biblical kind of book to read, don't go buy Joshua Harris' latest book, "Dug Down Deep" (published by Multnomah Books).
However, if you would like a book that has some substance to it and doesn't read like a frat boy trying to preach, then you'll likely appreciate and benefit by this new paperback.
Harris starts by posing a vital question: What are you building your life on? Jesus spoke directly to that question, and it's this biblical teaching Harris uses to push off into a book that offers substantive biblical response and content in a highly readable fashion.
Harris is a gutsy pastor to write "Dug Down Deep" because in this book he takes us back to Christian basics and makes an excellent argument that --- now get this --- that theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy are actually very important for Christians.
Many Christians couldn't accurately define what those three things are. Others criticize each and have rejected them. But Harris does an insightful job of making the case for the need for each.
What you build your life on matters!
And Christians having a biblical theology, knowledge of doctrine, and orthodoxy really does matter!
Such terms sound heavy and usually frighten readers away. Don't be afraid of this book! Harris is a gifted writer who explains these terms, then takes us into key doctrines in a fashion that is readable, understandable, and even enjoyable for any reader. Through some story-telling, and relatable pastoral teaching, Harris not only makes things like doctrine understandable to a wide audience, but he takes us back to those things which are at the core of being Christian.
"Dug Down Deep" would be a solid learning tool for a variety of people --- the new believer, small groups and Bible classes, Bible students, theology buffs, the "average, ordinary Christian," or the unbeliever who would like to understand what Christianity is about.
I appreciate "Dug Down Deep" because it offers teaching with some real biblical substance to it. For that reason, I not only highly recommend it to you, I encourage you to buy it, read it, and share it with others.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Josh Harris has written a basic theology book without making it sound like a theology textbook. Throughout the 11 chapters he discusses the doctrines of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Sin, Salvation, the Church and more. There are plenty of necessary scripture references and technical terms, but it is all woven in with real-life examples and stories from the author's family. So while the Biblical foundation of an "orthodox doctrine" is laid, it does not feel boring or cumbersome. And what's best is how in the final chapter Harris challenges the reader (and himself) to have a "humble orthodoxy." In other words, to take the doctrines in this book and live them out in love. Not to be arrogant and puffed up because of new-found knowledge about God, but rather a different lifestyle because of a closer relationship WITH God. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review" and I enjoyed it.
Dug Down Deep, Joshua Harris. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Multnomah Books, 2010, 2011. 271 pages. Reviewed by Russell A. Whitfield.
Joshua Harris has brought fresh insights to the table concerning practical issues that every Christian deals with. In his past writings, as well as Dug Down Deep Harris has again done a thorough job of applying God's truth to life situations. The book, Dug Down Deep, is a collection of chapters that covers the basics of Christian faith in a relevant, readable, and practical way. The thirteen chapters of Harris' book are written to provide the reader with the materials needed to deal with the question posed at the beginning. Harris personalizes the parable found in Luke 6:47-48 by asking the question, What are you building your life on? as a way to introduce the basic truths that are crucial for every Christian to build upon. The first two chapters deal with his spiritual journey that led to his understanding the need to know God. He introduces terms such as: theology, orthodoxy, and doctrine, and how they matter to every believer. His next eight chapters focus on the basic truths of the Christian faith such as: God, Scripture, the person of Jesus Christ, the Cross, salvation, justification, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Church with the last chapter titled Humble Orthodoxy.
As senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland of Sovereign Grace network, Harris has interwoven his personal experiences from being the average church kid to the person he is now who aims to truly know God with the basic truths of Orthodox Christianity. Harris recognizes that his focus in his own youth group experiences was not leading him to the clear vision of God and His awesome Word. The experiences of Harris' younger ages have been used in his life to help him understand that everyone who thinks of God is a theologian, but not necessarily a good theologian.
Dug Down Deep aligns life experiences of the author's path to spiritual maturity with the basic tenets of the Christian faith. The first two chapters talk about his spiritual journey from just being a church kid to realizing his need to truly know God. In the first chapter, Harris says, We are all theologians and theology matters. He shares about a time in his youth group when he was asked to do a Michael Jackson impersonation to illustrate the point that no matter what we are doing, we are all theologians good or bad. His experiences as a teenager have confirmed in him the importance of orthodox theology because if we get it wrong, then our whole life will be wrong. Next in chapter two, Harris reminds the reader that the wise builder was motivated to set his foundation deep on the rock. The motivation of the wiser builder, according to Harris, is set to remind every believer that pursuing orthodoxy and sound doctrine has to begin with a heart drawing close to Jesus(the ROCK)--not to a theological system, denomination, or book. The next eight chapters deal with the basic tenets of Christianity individually along with Harris' personal experiences carefully woven into the pages for better understanding. These basic tenets of the Christian faith are: God, the person of Jesus Christ, the Cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. The last chapter titled, Humble Orthodoxy, focuses on what he saw as important for every believer who is either new to the study of theology or been studying theology for awhile. According to Harris, each believer must ask the question: what will we do with the knowledge of God that we have? He has written this chapter with the understanding that Christians must approach the theological knowledge they have with the attitude of living it out.
Dug Down Deep, in my opinion, is a Christian theology book written in the most practical way for every believer young or old to understand. Harris has thoroughly crafted a work that informs its reader of the basic tenets of the Christian faith, as well as challenges them to become individual theologians. The humor and personal experiences expressed in each chapter has strengthen the believability and relevance of each doctrine discussed.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers of their Blogger Review Program. 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."