I picked up Josh Harris’ latest with the eager expectation that I might be using it in personal discipleship with other guys. Harris is the pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. This book was billed as a one that, well, “dug down deep.”
I anticipated that the book would take basic Christian teachings (doctrine) and helpfully unpack them for those eager to learn. It did do that, but the unpacking was definitely of an autobiographical nature. Perhaps I should have taken the subtitle seriously – “Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters.”
The first couple of chapters recall Harris as a Christian poster boy author of fame that tries to live down his I Kissed Dating Goodbye notoriety now that he’s a pastor. It seems that he really struggled with the Christian attention and fame that he received as a result of that book. It was interesting, but again, it was a segue from what I hoped to be able to use and receive from the book.
While there are some helpful chapters, it really never digs down deep. However, two chapters stood out as being worth reading:
- Chapter 4: Ripping, Burning, Eating – This chapter does a great job exposes how we use the Bible (and how we ignore it when it doesn’t line up with how we prefer to live). In it, he expounds on how “doctrine” is NOT a bad, stale word. Rather, doctrine means truth, teaching, or standard, and without doctrine, we will quickly orient our lives around our own preferences.
- The last chapter (11) on “Humble Orthodoxy” is one of the best in the book. It urges us to not seek “rightness” on an issue but to seek righteousness. Too many folks in the church would rather win an argument than a soul.
Harris is on the money (as far as my theological tribe is concerned) about how he explains the teachings of the church in this book. It’s very readable. However, you may want to check out other resources for a more thorough and deeper treatment if you’re really curious. In addition, if you’ve read Dug Down Deep and have a different opinion of the book’s impact or contribution, I’d love to hear it.