I received a copy of Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters by Joshua Harris from WaterBrook Multnomah who provided it for my review. My first impressions are solid; the book is good and I would (will) recommend it for reading. Pardon my pun, but I found the book “earthy,” meaning it was easy to read in a manner that is very conversational. The book addresses the building blocks of doctrinal theology and Harris follows a very systematic approach as he develops each of these foundational blocks. Below is my own chart comparison (First column is the name of the doctrine of study; second column describes the study; third column is Joshua Harris’ chapter title that teaches on that description and doctrine. This may or may not have been the author’s intent, but it is my gleaning) from my interpretation and reading.
The book is not about systematic theology as much as “why it matters” (as reflected in the title). Harris follows his own experience with stories, anecdotal experiences, metaphors that help to keep the reader involved. I don’t want to sound condescending with my next statement and I hate stereotypes, but I don’t know how else to articulate my impression. This book is a great resource for the “unstudied” Christian, the seeker-curious, new convert, and anyone else that might fall into any category outside of Bible scholar. I think it might be helpful for the egghead-academic-ivory-tower-sanctified-saint too. It might help us to get over our sanctimonious self-importance and think more toward the practical when talking to others about our faith.
Personally, I think the book might be a little too “western flavored” for my tastes; and by that I mean traditional evangelical in its temper, but that is my opinion. Regardless of my opinion, I think it is a great addition to my useful resource list of tools and books to help people understand why it is necessary to know what and why they believe what they believe. I firmly agree that we should “own our faith” rather than “parrot” someone else’s faith. To this end, I am encouraging my fourteen year old son to read Dug Down Deep now that I have finished it…and will be placing it on a recommended reading list in my local church.
What will you build your life on?
With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.
For the indifferent or spiritually numb, Harris’s humorous and engaging reflections on Christian beliefs show that orthodoxy isn’t just for scholars—it is for anyone who longs to know the living Jesus Christ. As Harris writes, “I’ve come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong.”
Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:
What is God like and how does he speak to me?What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?How does Jesus’s death on the cross pay for my sins?Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life? With grace and wisdom, Harris will inspire you to revel in the truth that has captured his own mind and heart. He will ask you to dig deep into a faith so solid you can build your life on it. He will point you to something to believe in again.