Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris, a review

Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why it Matters by Joshua Harris (Sex is not the Problem (Lust is); Stop Dating the Church)
Publisher: Multnomah Books; You may purchase the book from Waterbrook Multnomah here.
Hardcover; 240 pages; ISBN: 9781601421517

From the moment I opened the package from Multnomah this book has kept my attention. I don’t think I’ve ever held a book with recommendations from such a varied group of individuals such as, Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), John Piper (Desiring God Ministries), LeCrae (hip hop artist) to J.I. Packer (Knowing God). It piqued my interest immediately.

Harris’ stated purpose of the book was to reveal how he “…first glimpsed the beauty of Christian theology.“ His journey would lead him to the “…realization that sound doctrine is at the center of loving Jesus with passion and authenticity.” He desires to encourage the reader that “…orthodoxy isn’t just for old men but is for anyone who longs to behold a God who is bigger and more real and glorious than the human mind can imagine.” He writes in “…the hope that [the reader will] catch a glimpse of how good and beautiful the old paths of orthodoxy are, how firm and trustworthy the solid rock of sound doctrine can be for [the reader’s] life.”

Part of what seems to prompt this journey for Harris was the reading of the Sermon on the Mount, specifically Jesus’ tale of the wise & foolish house builders. Josh wrestled with what Christ was teaching, and came to the conclusion that Jesus was, in part, explaining that “…being a Christian means being a person who labors to establish his beliefs, his dreams, his choices, his very view of the world on the truth of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished – a Christian who cares about truth, who cares about sound doctrine.”

This book would be a good book, to be read discerningly, for those young in the faith, questioning the faith or just desiring a “brush-up” of what Christian orthodoxy & doctrine is all about. It is very easy to read, understand and yet Harris gives nuggets of truth for the reader to mull over and be challenged by. He takes the reader through a time in his life when he questions what he believes and he explains what he found as a result of searching to answer those questions. Every Christian goes through these times of questioning. Harris goes a long way to direct those searching to the One who holds all the answers.

Below you will find a short synopsis of the doctrines Harris examines, in his own words:

  • Theology Proper: “Near But Not in My Pocket” – chapter 3
    • The more you learn of who God truly is, the more incredible his invitation to know him becomes. When you know him as the infinite, almighty, holy, eternal God of heaven, the announcement that he loves you takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not expected. It’s not commonplace. It is cause for astonishment.
    • The high and lofty One offers to draw near to those who are humble. He sent his Son to die so that the One of perfect holiness could dwell among us. God is near. But we don’t manage or contain him. He’s not in our pockets. The almighty One is holding us in his hands.
  • Bibliology: “Ripping, Burning, Eating” – chapter 4
    • The Bible is much more wonderful and dangerous and radically life transforming than a mere book of instructions.
    • Getting the doctrine of Scripture right is essential for having a solid foundation as a Christian.
    • God saves. God delivers. It’s true for you and me. God alone can save. That is the central message of the Bible. And it’s the key to understanding the Bible and learning to love it as God wants us to. The Bible is the story of what God has done for us.
  • Christology: “God with a Bellybutton” – chapter 5
    • When you glimpse the big-picture perspective of who Jesus is and what he has come to do, it takes your breath away. His person and work are unlike any other.
    • Only Jesus can rescue. Only Jesus offers the world outside help. And that’s what our world needs. We need God to come down to earth to save us. Only Jesus claims this for himself. Only Jesus died and rose again. And only Jesus can and will unite all things in himself.
  • Atonement: “A Way to be Good Again” – chapter 6
    • Do you see how essential the doctrine of atonement is to the Christian faith? Apart from the Cross of Jesus Christ, our lives dead-end in hopelessness and terror.
    • We stand guilty before a God we can’t please. We know our best efforts are inadequate. And the gnawing guilt for our wrongs can’t be shaken.
    • Without the blood of Jesus Christ shed for sins, there is no atonement, no forgiveness, no reconciliation. No hope. Only the blood of the Lamb of God can cleanse us, cover us, and rescue us from judgment.
  • Soteriology: “How God Saved Gregg Eugene Harris” – chapter 7
    • God chose us.
    • God called us.
    • God regenerated our hearts.
    • God justified us.
    • God adopted us.
    • God is sanctifying us day by day.
    • God will transform us one day and give us glorified bodies.
    • Salvation then will be complete.
  • Sanctification: “Changed, Changing, to be Changed” – chapter 8
    • I know I’ll never obey God perfectly this side of heaven. Even though I’ve been changed, I’m still changing. I have a long way to go. I’ll fail many times along the way. I’ll need to repent and seek my Father’s gracious forgiveness countless times between today and the final day – the day when I’m ultimately and forever changed by the power of God.
  • Pneumatology: “I Believe in the Holy Spirit” – chapter 9
    • The Holy Spirit isn’t interested in drawing attention to himself. His role is to point away from himself and to Jesus. [J.I. Packer] writes, “The Spirit’s message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him, and hear his word; go to him, and have life; get to know him, and taste his gift of joy and peace.’ “
    • You know the Spirit is working if you’re more amazed by Jesus, more desirous to serve and obey him, more ready to tell other people about him, more ready to serve the church he loves.
  • Ecclesiology: “The Invisible Made Visible” – chapter 10
    • God chooses to include us. With our flaws – with all our weaknesses, petty jealousies, blind spots, and ignorance – he lets us play a part in his story.
    • Why are we still here? Why hasn’t he brought us home? Why has he given us a mission that seems so hard? so impossible? Because he wants to give us stories to tell around the campfires of heaven. Stories of how he orchestrated the crashing chaos of world history so people from every nation and tribe and tongue would be represented in his family on the final day.
    • Stories of how our ineffective churches still managed to put his glory on display.

The final chapter (11) is entitled, Humble Orthodoxy. It is in this chapter that Harris explains that the “…message of Christian orthodoxy isn’t that I’m right and someone else is wrong. It’s that I am wrong and yet God is filled with grace. I am wrong, and yet God has made a way for me to be forgiven and accepted and loved for eternity. I am wrong, and yet God gave his Son, Jesus, to die in my place and receive my punishment. I am wrong, but through faith in Jesus, I can be made right before a holy God. This is the gospel. This is the truth that all Christian doctrine celebrates. This is the truth that every follower of Jesus Christ is called to cherish and preserve. Even die for. It is the only truth on which we can build our lives and rest our eternal hope.”


3 thoughts on “Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris, a review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s