Joshua Harris is senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland. A gifted speaker with a passion for making theological truth easy to understand, Joshua is perhaps best known for his bestseller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
Right off the bat, I have to say that this book is something that I’ve been waiting for, and has been desperately needed in this generation of Christians. It’s a book that is theologically sound but also engaging enough to activate the interests of young people caught up in this age-of-short-attention-spans. As students, it’s really difficult to find books that engage our ever-wondering minds yet speak in a language we understand. It’s even worse for books on theology. In order to thoroughly study theology in college you either have to buy a textbook that easily exceeds our generous 300-page limit (the only non-required reading books students are willing to read are less than 300 pages) or somehow major in religious studies. We simply don’t have the time or energy to wade through another textbook.
Enter Joshua Harris and his new book, Dug Down Deep: Understanding What I Believe and Why it Matters. It’s not hard to guess what this book is about. Quite simply, it’s about theology. But not only does Harris explain fundamental principles of who God is and how he loved us, he indicts himself as the main case study. Acting as a pseudo-biography of himself, this book is relatable because it gives people an opportunity to look at their own lives from a different perspective. It’s refreshing. It’s convicting.
Dug Down Deep covers a plethora of biblical doctrines, all neatly packaged and delivered in a coherent writing style. “It’s only as we study and consider truth about Jesus with our minds that our hearts will be moved by the depth of his greatness and love for us,” writes Harris. Reading this book wasn’t like other theological books either: theology was woven into life stories that were tangible and real. I was hooked from the beginning and before I knew it, I had blown through eleven chapters that had covered at least twenty different doctrines of the Christian faith. Everything from God and the Bible to the Holy Spirit and church were covered in great detail and with proper biblical support. Harris doesn’t try to fit into a category or camp (charismatic, conservative, etc.) but sifts through controversial issues in order to point people towards the truly important details of theology—namely, glorifying Christ and him crucified.
This book lived up to its billing and encouraged me personally. I’ve known for quite a while that theology is important to the Christian life, but it’s been hard to articulate these everyday concepts to myself. Harris helped me have a higher view of God and his work on the Cross while motivating me to pursue sanctification with a reckless abandon. It was appropriate when Harris presented a challenge at the end of his book, asking, “what will we do with the knowledge of God that we have?” The message is clear: knowledge is meant to be used, and theology is meant to be life-changing.
I would highly recommend this book to readers of all ages, though it may be more effective for people who have grown up in the church and have some basic understandings of the Christian culture. As a college student, I can’t help but want all my friends to pick up this book and soak in all the truths revealed in it. It will undoubtedly prove to be worthwhile and paradigm shifting.