Update: Unfortunately, though we thought this a very good book, Joshua Harris is one of many "evangelical deconstructionists" who has since left the faith and pretty much everything he professed here. We will not continue to carry this book in future.
These days, Christians are always looking for the next C. S. Lewis. They're looking for someone, that is, who can articulate the key elements of the Christian faith in a way everyone can understand, and in a way that will make people pay attention. But in an era when everyone is allowed a hearing as long as he isn't preaching the one true Gospel, how likely are we to see an articulate member of the academy who is a committed Christian speaking publicly about Jesus Christ?
Whatever those odds may be, there's one voice that resounds very similarly to Lewis's in the middle part of the last century. The voice belongs to Joshua Harris, a former homeschool kid from Oregon who now pastors in Maryland, and who seems particularly suited for bringing biblical truth, not primarily to the world, but to his fellow Christians. In this present age, when Christians are as doctrinally uneducated as unbelievers, we can't help but think Lewis himself would be pleased by Harris's efforts.
In Dug Down Deep, Harris directly addresses the problem of biblical and doctrinal illiteracy among Christians, using a combination of memoir, exhortation, and straight-up theology. He forthrightly describes his life growing up in church, his lack of a genuine relationship with God, and the only cure for his rootless Christianity: the study and love of pure doctrine. This isn't a systematic theology, but a simple plea to Harris' brothers and sisters to hearken back to the Bible and to knowledge of the triune God.
The title comes from a parable Jesus told about two men who built houses, one on a rocky foundation and the other on sand. It's a story most of us know by heart, but how many of us (as Harris confesses was once the case with himself) know just the surface meaning, and not the real significance? It's not that the second builder wasn't a Christian at all, but that his "faith" was shallow and not strong enough to withstand the hardships and suffering of life.
By contrast, the builder who used a rock-solid foundation understood the necessity of a faith that is rooted in knowledge of God Himself, a faith that is Dug Down Deep. Dispelling myths and unfounded concerns Christians may have about doctrine (that it is divisive, that it's cold and unfeeling, etc.) while encouraging them to delve into knowledge of God, Harris engagingly presents an argument every single Christian needs to hear and heed, that our faith will only hold if it is rooted in Christ Himself.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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