Joshua Harris is pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. Before that he was popular as the guy who wrote that book about dating. And before that, he was an immature Christian who knew little of the Bible’s theology or its implications for his life. Harris opens his book, Dug Down Deep, explaining how he went from one to the other, and how along the way he came to see doctrine as vitally important to the Christian life. The goal, however, wasn’t doctrine as an end in itself—doctrine as a means of knowing God.
This book serves as a call to a younger generation to seek God, not through triviality or mere experience, but in a lifestyle of knowing Him that is built on knowing and thinking deep things about Him. The extended metaphor of the book (and its title) comes from day when his young brother who went out to “dig for holes.” Harris is clear that we often go digging for holes—a superficial faith—when we really need to be digging for something else; the solid, bedrock truths of God from his Word upon which to build our lives. After that introduction, Harris spends the remaining chapters explaining key doctrines that have made an important impact on this life.
Harris says: “I write in the hope that you’ll catch a glimpse of how good and beautiful the old paths of orthodoxy are, how firm and trustworthy the solid rock of doctrine can be for your life. I hope these pages will inspire you to dig into the richness of theology. . . . Doctrine isn’t dry and boring. It isn’t just for arguing. It’s for knowing God and living life to the fullest” (34)
Three things stand out as important strengths in this book. First, we see the solid nature of what Harris is saying. This is good, rich theology he is highlighting. It comes, not from his ideas, but the Bible itself. Furthermore, Harris isn’t riding hobby-horses or pushing a theological agenda. Instead, he is presenting the essentials of the faith and how they should affect our daily lives (e.g., the doctrine of God, the Bible, Christ, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Church).
A second strength is the style in which the book is written. Harris has a very easy-going way of writing that causes you to glance at the clock or the page number and realize you’ve been reading a lot more than you thought. It would be easy for a book like this to dry, but Dug Down Deep is anything but dry. It’s engaging and written in a way that addresses life in the real world.
Finally, Harris weaves his own life story into the call of the book. He’s not afraid to show the dead-ends and failed thinking of his own life as a warning to his readers. More than that, though, we get to see how God uses great men—both living and dead—to bring Harris to where he is today.
Dug Down Deep is a great book to give to any Christian—young or old—who could either be encouraged to deepen in his faith or be reminded of the necessity of continually digging deeply into the word, finding there lasting truths upon which to build his life.
*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review, though this has not affected the content of the review itself.
Good review, John…did your continual purchase of books get you on the publishers “must review” list? :)
Some old dude with a croaky voice just called me up and said, “Your reviewing skills are now complete, young Jedi….” Actually, it is through LibraryThing’s early reviewer program. I’m also on the list for Ligonier and Multnomah Publisher’s direct list (although I haven’t reviewed the book yet!). End of the day–nothing special, just signed up.