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Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters Hardcover – January 19, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kevin DeYoung Reviews Dug Down Deep

Kevin DeYoung is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. He is the author of Just Do Something and The Good News We Almost Forgot. He is the co-author of Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church, both of which won the Christianity Today Book Award for the church/pastoral ministry category. Read his guest review of Dug Down Deep:

I didn’t know Joshua Harris could draw cartoon monsters. I didn’t know his father, homeschool pioneer, was once a prodigal, guitar playing hippie. I didn’t know Harris was obsessed with Ira Glass and fascinated with the Amish. And I didn’t know that the crazy dream about the filing cabinets and Christ’s forgiveness--a Bunyanesque story we’ve used in worship before--was a real dream, and that Josh really dreamt it.

All this I learned in Harris’s new book, Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters. More importantly, I learned (or, perhaps, was reminded) that Harris is a skillful writer with a knack for making complicated truths accessible. This is not a book that breaks new ground in systematic theology; which is no knock on Harris, because he doesn’t intend to break new ground. Instead, he wants to dig deeper into the familiar ground right under our feet.

Many people know Harris as the guy who likes to talk about dating. First, he kissed it goodbye, then he said hello, then he tackled lust, and most recently he told us to stop flirting with the church and become a member already. See a theme? But if you think Harris is just a dating guru, you’ve really missed what he’s become in the past ten years. By God’s grace, Harris is now a humble husband and father, church pastor, sought after conference speaker, and, for the first time in five years, an author with a brand new book. Dug Down Deep still showcases Harris’s ability to spin a good yarn and connect with his audience through personal narrative and vulnerability. But it is also full of solid truth--simple, biblical teaching on God, Jesus, salvation, sanctification, and the Holy Spirit. Dug Down Deep is Harris’s attempt at "humble orthodoxy." It’s a winsome call for Christians to care about theology, understand theology, and not beat people up with theology.

Joshua Harris is a gracious man with a love for truth. Not surprisingly, then, this book is full of truth, delivered with grace. If you or someone you know is tired of swimming in the shallow end of the pool, Harris will be a gentle hand pulling you into deeper waters. If you find theology (and those who love it) distasteful, this book will offer good doctrine with a spoon full of sugar. Teens, young adults and those attracted to a Christianity too cool for convictions will do especially well to read this book.

Joshua Harris has put the cookies near the bottom shelf. And that’s good, because they’re real good cookies, and he serves them up warm and ready to eat. --Kevin DeYoung


Praise for Dug Down Deep

"More than forty years of quadriplegia has underscored to me the matchless value of knowing—really knowing—the doctrines of the Christian faith. Dug Down Deep reveals how biblical doctrine provides a pathway to understanding the heart and mind of God. If you're looking for 'that one book' that will push you farther down the road to faith than you've ever journeyed before, Dug Down Deep is it. I highly recommend it!"
—Joni Eareckson Tada, author; founder and CEO, International Disability Center, Agoura Hills, CA

"In Dug Down Deep my longtime friend Joshua Harris explains the basics of Christian theology in a way all of us can understand. He is a humble man and teaches humbly. If you are tired of hyped promises and want essential truth, this book is for you. As religious fads come and go, the truths in this book will last."
—Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz

"When the apostle Peter says, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…casting all your anxiety on Him," he implies that humble people are fearless. They have the courage to stand up for truth humbly. I love the term "humble orthodoxy." And I love Josh Harris. When they come together (Josh and humble orthodoxy), as they do in this book, you get a humble, helpful, courageous testimony to biblical truth. Thank you, Josh, for following through so well on the conversation in Al Mohler's study."
—John Piper, author of Desiring God; Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis

"Via vivid autobiography, Pastor Harris takes readers on a personal journey into the biblical theology that, belatedly, he found he could not manage without. A humbling, compelling, invigorating read."
—J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God

"Josh says that this book is his 'reveling in theology in my own simple way.' Having read it, I can say that it is also a popular defense of the importance of theology and, at the same time, an introduction to it. I enjoyed reading it. And my mind immediately began to go to how I could use this book. Josh has given me a new tool! It is interesting, well written, and excellently illustrated. Josh has succeeded again in giving us a book that is clear, engaging, direct, solid, easy to read, sound, God centered, balanced, humorous—and it even has pictures!"
—Mark Dever, author; Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC

"Dug Down Deep is an incredible book! It's a tangible and incarnate look at theology. I would give it to any young Christian who wants to understand their faith."
—Lecrae, hip-hop artist

"As two young guys who have been deeply blessed and influenced by Josh's books and example, we couldn't be more excited about Dug Down Deep and how God is going to use it to transform a generation. It's a gripping and honest read. In it we learned things about our older brother that we had never, in twenty-one years, been told before! But more importantly, we learned things about our Savior that caused us to fall more deeply in love with him and his Word. Get this book. Read it. And join us on a journey to rediscover what has always been true."
—Alex and Brett Harris, authors of Do Hard Things

"At Boundless, we've enjoyed watching young adults cultivate a fresh desire to go 'further up and further in' as followers of Christ. Few writers fuel that desire quite like Joshua Harris. With humility, humor, and honesty, Dug Down Deep shows the difference that a foundation can make—how vulnerable you can be when it's weak and how transformed you can be when you're willing to go deep."
—Ted Slater, editor, Boundless.org; Focus on the Family


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; First Edition edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601421516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601421517
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Since writing his breakout book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, at the age of twenty-one, Joshua Harris has enjoyed tremendous publishing success, with total book sales exceeding 1.5 million copies. His later books, including Boy Meets Girl and Stop Dating the Church firmly established him as a trustworthy voice to his generation. Harris is senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He and his wife, Shannon, have three children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Hayton VINE VOICE on January 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In today's world, doctrine and orthodoxy get a bad rap. Many sincere Christians assume studying doctrine is primarily a waste of time. Doctrine usually leads to cold and dead religion, or else it promotes a divisive and bitter spirit that splits churches and wounds people. What really matters is one's personal relationship with God, and his love for fellow believers.

Joshua Harris would have agreed with this basic sentiment at one time. Dug Down Deep is the story of how he came to realize how important and even life-changing the study of the Bible's doctrine really can be. Harris invites the reader along as he explains what the basic doctrines (or teachings) of the Bible are and illustrates the impact they have had in his own spiritual walk.

Harris writes in a refreshing, open manner. He lets you into his life even sharing some of the dark secrets of his past. He shares the story of his father Gregg's conversion to Christ, as well as his own journey from a seeker-sensitive church youth group to being pastoral intern to C.J. Mahaney.

The book's readability helps it to communicate so effectively when Harris explains such doctrines as the sovereignty of God, sinfulness of man, substitutionary atonement, and the gospel of God's grace. It is the books focus on grace which most dramatically stands out. This is what drew Harris to the joy of knowing Bible doctrine, and it is worth quoting him at some length on this point.

"...it was this message of the gospel of grace for which C.J. Reserved his greatest passion. Most preachers and zealous Christians I knew got fired up over what we needed to do for God. But C.J.'s greatest passion was reserved for exulting in what God had done for us.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lori Kasbeer on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been writing book reviews for almost three years and sometimes you know when a book is going to make a difference. I received this book while I was away on Christmas vacation and when I arrived, for the first time in three years a book arrived almost destroyed (this was NO fault of those who sent it). Something leaked from someone else's mailbox, I knew this was a book Satan did not want me to read. This made me even more determined to dry the pages out and read the book. Boy was I glad I did. If you have ever thought studying orthodoxy is just for scholars, well Josh shows you that is not true. His book is easy to read, easy to understand and written in a smooth conversational tone. Readers will feel like they sitting across the table listening to Harris share some of his insights of why theology matters.

This was a GREAT book to begin 2010.

Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:

What is God like and how does he speak to me?
What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?
How does Jesus's death on the cross pay for my sins?
Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Harkness on November 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
As you might notice from the title, this book has no illusions of literary style. In fact, I found the author's style sloppy. However, I had agreed to read the book, so I plowed ahead. The author of Dug Down Deep is Joshua Harris who also authored the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Joshua Harris describes Dug Down Deep as follows:

These pages hold the journal entries of my own spiritual journey--a journey that lead to the realization that sound doctrine is at the center of loving Jesus with passion and authenticity.

I would characterize Dug Deep Down as an overview of theology that is designed to awaken the reader to the basic theological beliefs and understandings one must have in order to be called, "Christian." But primarily, it stood out to me as a self-indulgent memoir structured around precepts of theology.

The language is of the sort a youth pastor might use to identify with teenagers. When I was a teenager, there was no youth pastor. Instead I sat under a man who had more knowledge of scripture than I may ever possess. Although difficult for a teenager to understand, his high level explications probably impacted me in ways I do not fully comprehend and helped shape a life of inquiry.

On the other hand, Dug Deep Down assumes that the reader is unwilling to dig and will be satisfied with a superficial explanation of doctrine. The author both underestimates and proves a disservice to all true followers of Jesus.

This book is at its best when it quotes or references other authors such as J.I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Sally Lloyd-Jones, C.S. Lewis, John Frame, Mark Dever, Timothy Keller, and the Bible. In fact, this could have been two smaller books: the memoir and a summary of the books listed below.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ashertopia TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Joshua Harris takes the well known, but not well understood, parable of the builder (who builds his home on the sand vs the builder who builds his home on the rock under the sand) and applies it in a rich and insightful way to our understanding of Christian doctrine and theology. Dug Down Deep calls the reader to a deeper understanding of Christianity; to the why not just the what of our belief. It is a call to a firm foundation that will lead to a revived love for and appreciation of God. Each of the chapters in the book, after the first couple which serve to introduce us to the topic, go into greater depth on a specific orthodox theology, explaining why it matters and how we apply that knowledge to our walk with Christ.

In reading this book I found a balance between head knowledge and its affect on heart. Too many times I have seen someone go to the extreme on either side. I've seen people go too far to knowledge side where they know so much about God but they may not actually know God, and I've seen the opposite where people experience God but have no idea what their experiences mean. This book is a great resource for those in your life (including yourself) that fit into one of those categories.

Highly recommended.

This book was supplied by WaterBrook Multnomah as a review copy.
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