Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review: Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

I Kissed Dating GoodbyeMost of us know Joshua Harris from his best-selling book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" some ten years ago. I certainly remembered that book and was expecting some of the same from this book. He didn't meet those expectations, but that's a good thing. Harris shows how much he's matured in this book and uses his life experiences as a means to lead readers to the same destination he has finally reached - having built his life on something deeper than shallow religion or simple church attendance: the person and gospel of Jesus.

A few things I really like about Harris' writing style is that he uses stories to explain dense theological concepts, which make them come alive. He takes his time explaining doctrinal vocabulary using layman's terms that are understandable for most people. I found myself identifying with him many times, causing me to look at my own life the ways he was doing. Another thing I like is that Harris writes as if he's writing a letter to the reader, personally. When read, it feels deeply personal, from his life and heart to mine. This makes it very compelling and an easy and enjoyable read. As such, I found myself considering many friends and family to recommend this book to.

Dug Down Deep: Building Your Life on Truths That LastDoctrinally, "Dug Down Deep" is sound. As an example, Harris takes the time to explain the importance of faith through grace, as opposed to works-oriented faith or faith apart from any fruit. He advocates for "humble orthodoxy," which he describes as (my interpretation) orthodox doctrinal beliefs that are rooted in humility and love for one another; good doctrine poorly lived-out is worthless. He also addresses some difficult and controversial issues, such as the Holy Spirit, with diplomacy yet with appropriate tongue-in-cheek humor at times.

One downside of this book is that its target audience is probably going to be somewhat limited to people who have grown up with some kind of Christian background. Most of Harris' stories are personal, so he talks about his experiences with various forms of Christianity. There is, however, a chapter about his father's life and how he came to Christianity. I found this one of the most rich chapters, particularly because it identified with the nonbeliever's perspective. However, I could also see readers who may be newer to the faith able to relate to some of the awkward yet common Christian dynamics (such as the chapter on the Holy Spirit, Chapter Nine).

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for new Christians or believers looking to strengthen their understanding of their faith in order to build a more biblical worldview and gospel-centered life. The Study Guide at the back is an added bonus.
"No one will say, "I wish I'd believed less. I wish I'd cared less about the gospel.""

*NOTE: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


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