Dug Down Deep

As of right now, I have a new favourite book of 2010 ~ Dug Down Deep, by Josh Harris. It is somewhat hard to categorize this book. It's part systematic theology, and part autobiography. "This book is the story of how I learned to dig into truth and build my life on a real knowledge of God" writes Harris. One thing for me is clear however, the book is good - really good. Seriously, how could you not want to read more of a book that begins with the sentence, "It's strange to see an Amish girl drunk."

Harris begins by telling us that "We're all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true." He then asks another question; "What would I build my life on?" These are the questions behind the two opening chapters and they set the foundation of the chapters that follow. Each of which covers and defines a certain point of doctrine through the eyes of Harris himself.

There is a very personal tone in the book that draws the reader in simply because we've all been there or may still be there longing for more. A longing that can lead to a feeling-driven faith where we cast aside the very thing we need - theology - because we don't think we need it. A common reaction today when we hear the words doctrine, theology, and orthodoxy is to simply shut down and have a "just gimme Jesus" attitude. "The irony of this approach to Jesus is that ultimately it produces the opposite of what we actually want." We are reminded that, "Jesus never asks us how we feel about him. He calls us to believe in him, to trust him...In other words, he's in charge."

Harris points out that, “Doctrine can never take the place of Jesus himself, but we can’t know him and relate to him in the right way without doctrine” (pg. 31). That is true. But, by the time we get to page 31 and read it, we don't think this is just another one of the "frozen chosen" preaching to us. The beauty of Dug Down Deep is found in the subtitle - "Unearthing what I Believe and Why It Matters." The "I" is a humble, transparent Josh Harris sharing his journey with Jesus.

It is one thing to point out all the problems that plague the Church both individually and corporately. It's another thing altogether to first and foremost realize that you're one of them! To do so takes humility and grace; Harris displays both on every page. His love for Christ, the Church, and the gospel are clearly evident. The message I heard loud and clear from cover to cover was follow me as I follow Christ or to put it another way, "Don't measure yourself by what you know. Measure yourself by your practice of what you know".

This is a book I needed 10 years ago. It's a book I needed today, and no doubt I will need its message 10 years from now. As a pastor, I would say that Dug Down Deep should be required reading for every Christian. As a father, I can honestly say that I have yet to come across a better book to give to my soon-to-be teenage son to read on why "seemingly worn-out words like theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy {are} the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ."

Love in the Truth.


Gregg said...

I have heard good things about that book. I hope to get it soon.

Thanks for the nice comments on FB, drop by the blog site and leave a comment. You are always encouraging.