Jan 20, 2010

Dug Down Deep - A Review

As part of my book review agreement with WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing, I had the privilege of getting an advanced copy of Joshua Harris' new book, Dug Down Deep. I have known of and followed Harris' ministry since I was first introduced to his "kiss dating goodbye" theories as a youth pastor. Many in my group read his first book and were extremely encouraged by it. He also wrote another great book called Not Even a Hint that encourages men to pursue moral purity. Josh is an accomplished author and is now pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

This book is a description of Josh's journey from average church-going Christian young man to someone passionate enough about theology that he would leave his family in Oregon and move to the Washington, D.C. area to be personally mentored by C.J. Mahaney, eventually taking over as pastor of the church when C.J. decided to focus more on the Sovereign Grace Ministries. It's a fascinating story and one very similar to many young twenty and thirty somethings who have been experiencing a fascination with doctrine and theology in the last ten years. In some ways, Josh is a poster-child for this movement, having experienced the Passion movement, the teachings of John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Mahaney, and many other Reformed voices.

Harris book is not meant to be s systematic theology or a seminary textbook. It's a solid discussion of how Josh's theology has been hammered out through his own personal discovery and life experiences. He is honest enough about his start as a child of the church movement that was more concerned with being "seeker-sensitive" and getting crowds in the door, but offering little in the way of theology or meat to live off spiritually. Harris is very gracious in his critiques of the churches of his upbringing. He also shows the power that has occurred in his life when he didn't settle for a shallow understanding of Scripture. He has a solid hold on matters of doctrine relating the the Person of Christ, the doctrine of God, the necessity of the Atonement, the authority of Scripture, and the importance and purpose of the Church. His theology is mature and well-thought out and reflects someone who has studied these issues for a long time. Though his book lacks a lot of Bible references, it is grounded in Scripture. Harris also shows the tenderness of a pastor-shepherd as he explains these truths in a way that is understanding of the post-modern culture he is a product of.

Dug Down Deep is not necessarily a deep book. Each of these doctrines can be mined out in much more detail, but that is not the author's purpose. Instead, he has provided a book that is practical for the light Christian who has no understanding of theology and the veteran scholar who wants to be reminded of the importance of the journey into deeper waters. I would highly recommmend this book to college students, young adults, or the 45-year old Baby Boomer who has become tired of years of swimming in the shallow waters. Buy this book, get your shovel, and begin to dig deep to the rock of security that sound doctrine provides.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Steve said...

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:


They tell another side. Hope this helps.

Josh Harris is the Sr. Pastor of their "flagship" church.

Lori said...

I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye in college and had a love/hate relationship with it!