Waterbrook Multnomah sent me a copy of Joshua Harris’s newest book to review. I’d heard of Josh Harris and know plenty of people who have read his other books, but this was my first time to read one of his works. I asked to participate in this blog book tour because I was interested in the subject matter. It’s a book about theology and doctrine, which at first blush sounds like dry reading, but I’m at a place in my spiritual walk where I’m not satisfied with shallow, surface facts. I need and want more.
What better book than one titled Dug Down Deep to help me “dig deeper” into the meat of what Christianity is truly about. Don’t let the words scare you. Theology? Harris explains that’s ” the study of God.” Doctrine is “the meaning of the story God is writing in the world, the explanation. It’s the explanation of what He’s done and why He’s done it and why it matters to you and me.” Chapter by chapter, Josh Harris writes a clear, easy-to-understand explanation of the basic tenets of the Christian belief. I love some of the chapter titles: “Near But Not in My Pocket” is about the doctrine of God, who He is and what He’s like. “Ripping, Burning, Eating” is about the Bible. “God with a Bellybutton” (that’s my favorite one) is about Jesus.
This is book is great for new Christians, but it’s also great for those of us who have been in a relationship with Christ for awhile but haven’t thought about the “whats” and “whys” of our faith in a long time, if ever. I love that Josh gives his story of his quest for a deeper knowledge and understanding of theology and doctrine. He even discusses specific books he read that helped him understand difficult concepts. This book would be a great starting point and a reader who wanted to dig even deeper could continue with some of the classic works that he mentions.
The chapter that affected me the most was the one that discussed the sovereignty of God. Josh talked about looking out the windows of the coffee shop where he goes to write. The people outside the window have to focus intently to see inside. With just a cursory glance, they only see their own reflections and the window is more like a mirror. Josh explained that many people view themselves as “the starting point of life and reality.” This man-centered view makes their own thoughts and goals supreme. The work of the Cross becomes more about them than God. A biblical mind-set is completely opposite. God’s “rights and goals define reality.” The Cross is about God’s glory and His perfect love.
Why is this important? Well, for me, it helped me to realize that I’ve viewed the events of the last year through a self-centered mind-set. When I don’t like the events of my life, I feel hurt and betrayed. I haven’t spent much time thinking about my life from God’s perspective. It seems like a small adjustment, but it’s given me a lot to think about.
Is this the most detailed and in-depth book about theology and doctrine available? No. Could Josh have dug even deeper in his subject matter? Certainly. But this is a great book to get the conversations and questions started. It would be an excellent resource for Christian teenagers. I think it would be fun to read as a family and discuss together. So many people go to church week after week and leave without a real knowledge of what they truly believe. This book is an introduction to theology that even the newest Christian could understand.