A Brief Review of
Dug Down Deep:
Unearthing What I Believe And Why It Matters.
Hardcover: Multnomah, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]
Reviewed by Chris Smith.
Joshua Harris, on the surface of things, is not a writer that should be of much interest to me. He is pretty much a middle-of-the road evangelical whose theology is flavored heavily with Calvinism and modernism. In contrast, I am a post-evangelical whose theology is more comfortable with Anabaptism and postmodernism. And yet, I have oddly found myself in deep agreement with the primary themes of the two books by Harris that I have read: the immensely popular I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Stop Dating the Church. So, when I heard about his new book Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why it Matters, I was intrigued and jumped at the opportunity to review it.
In Dug Down Deep, Harris once again hooked me with his key idea – developed in the first chapter – that theology is for everyone in the church. He says:
I’ve come to learn that theology matters. And it matters not because we want a good grade on a test but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. What you believe about God’s nature – what he is like, what he wants from you, and whether or not you will answer to him – affects every part of your life.
This basic idea undergirds the rest of the book, in which Harris explores various facets of theology and calls us to a deeper life rooted in theological reflection. A careful reader will see that chapter-by-chapter Harris introduces the basic doctrines of theology: theology proper, christology, pneumatology, justification, sanctification, etc., but he does so in clear, simple and engaging ways. I was particularly struck by his chapter on ecclesiology, the theology of the Church, in which he emphasizes that the Church is essential to God’s mission, and that we, as the Church (not as individuals) reveal the person of God to the world.
There is much here that I could gripe about – the theology is thoroughly evangelical and despite his emphasis on the church’s importance, there is a heavy flavor of individualism here – but it is hard to argue with Harris’ self-effacing style of storytelling and the ends toward which he is calling us. Dug Down Deep may not be a bestseller among post-evangelicals, but it has the potential to be a significant and transformational work among evangelicals. I hope and pray that reaches this potential!
A copy of this book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Thanks for the review. I’m looking forward to reading more than the first chapter myself. For now, though, I’m enjoying reading the reviews aobut it.
-Marshall Jones Jr.