At the blog Yahweh's Song: "I've read the deep theological books. Sometimes you just need something to chew a little and get a big taste. This is that book. Theology made simple to get your gears to turn and think about truth. If theology interests you, I highly recommend this book for you or even a small group study. This will definitely get the brain juices running." Read the full review.
We share both favorable and unfavorable reviews here on the Book Blog! Here's a mostly negative one: at the blog Worthy of the Gospel, Adam Miller shares a gracious critique of Dug Down Deep, admitting that he feels "the gnawing desire to rewrite most of his chapters." His biggest concerns is that Dug Down Deep "does not lay the necessary ground work for practically going deeper in theology. Each chapter is a rough overview of select doctrines. They are not conclusive, and not altogether sound in establishing a firm foundation. A fear I have about this book is that people will draw the conclusion that they have gone deep enough, thus preventing them from doing any of their own digging."
He concludes his review saying, "This book was not written for a scholar like myself to pick apart, but instead for the new Christian, the immature believer, and the shallow liberal who is wrestling with their faith's significance in the real world. In this way, "Dug Down Deep" is the best medicine currently out there.
With that said, I'm still waiting for that book which is solid and sound, enough theology but not too much to replace self discovery, and clearly concise that is yet to be written. Until then, I will recommend this book, with warning, to anyone who is at a place where they are ready to take on their own salvation and go deeper with their faith. As a starting point, I don't know of any better book."
Read the full review.
Pastor Jimmy Reagan reviewed Dug Down Deep at his blog "The Reagan Review." He writes, "How would you like to read a book on systematic theology that you could enjoy, learn from, and constantly forget that you were reading a book on theology? In this volume that is exactly what you will get. There's real depth here but it's sprung on you subtly. The cumulative amount of doctrine taken in will surprise you by book's end. In our day when Christians would rather face an IRS audit than read a book on systematic theology, this book has great potential. In fact, I don't think large theology books are read by anyone outside the categories of pastor or scholar, and probably few pastors have read such a work in years. This book will allow you to think of the great subjects again." Read the full review.
At the blog The Way Everlasting, pastor J.S. Park reviews Dug Down Deep.
He writes, "As both an autobiography and a statement of Christian doctrines, somehow Dug Down Deep succeeds at both. Joshua Harris' treatise on the Christian faith is a highly readable work that will stir both the young believer and the church veteran. We do not often stop to think on what we actually believe, and as Harris writes, what we think of God determines everything else: feelings, choices, character, our fate.
The personal touch here keeps the doctrine grounded. From stories of a wild youth group to Harris' hippie father to Harris' mentorship under C.J. Mahaney, the book is constantly engaging. It also paints theology as a captivating jewel to be cherished. Doctrine is not merely to be studied or weaponized, but is a life-giving truth that revives and rewires every part of us. There's a deep humility in each page that cut through some of my "autopilot" attitudes. We may know much of what he writes already but hardly feel it because we have not thoroughly grounded our convictions. Harris' journey may help you connect; it will surely remind you of the fascinating work and person of Jesus."
Read the whole review here.
This review of Dug Down Deep by a young woman named Jenna Lee from California, was an encouragement to me:
"Theology can be daunting; there seems to be so many hard-to-pronounce words to describe what are sometimes difficult-to-comprehend truths. If you're like me, you might find yourself occasionally needing to have complicated ideas broken down. That's why Joshua Harris is my new best friend. He has a way of making huge theological truths easy to understand and comprehend for the average Joe. In reading Dug Deep Down, I cried and I laughed. Harris discusses the importance of having an educated, informed faith that's based on truth from the Bible. As a result the book really started me on a path to understanding, appreciating and loving theology. It taught me to love the God I worship in more than just an "I love Jesus! Woo-hoo!" type of way. It made me want to dive deeper into my faith, pick up my Bible, and gain a more profound knowledge of my amazing, perfect Savior and why I need Him so desperately. I can pretty much guarantee that this book will freshly affect and refresh your heart whether you're a new Christian desiring a bigger, truth-filled view of our spectacular God or you've been studying theology for years and are looking for a refresher course in the glorious basics. I can't recommend it more highly!"
A New 4-part Video-Driven Youth Bible Study by BlueFishTV
There is only a short window in a student's life to lay a foundation that will last a lifetime. What we know about God shapes the way we think and live. If we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong.
In these four thought-provoking sessions, students share the honest doubts and struggles they have about their own faith. Joshua Harris uses Scripture to challenge students to root their faith in the life and words of Jesus.
Four video-driven sessions:
What Are You Building Your Life On? (20 minutes)
The Importance of Knowing God (17 minutes)
How God Makes Us Right (18 minutes)
How We Change (17 minutes)
52-page Leader's Guide
Printable Group Handouts
4 FREE Downloadable Video Illustrations
New cover: we decided to use imagery that tied into the theme of being built on rock.
New subtitle: I never really liked the old subtitle "Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters" because being "dug down deep" isn't about unearthing so much as it is digging down. The new sub is "Building Your Life on Truths that Last."
New Endorsements: I was very honored to have Wayne Grudem, Thabiti Anyabwile, Jerry Bridges and Adam Young add their kind endorsements to the book. Thank you!
New Introduction: It's only a page and a half, but the intro helps establish the purpose of the book and explains that we're all building our lives on some foundation--and the only true foundation is the truth of who Jesus is and what he's done to save us.
New Group Discussion Guide: We heard from a lot of church study groups, campus ministries and youth groups who are using the book and wanted discussion questions. So the publisher created a chapter-by-chapter guide with questions to spark conversation and deeper reflection.
New Suggested Resources: For each chapter we've included a list of follow-up resources.
New Format: It's paperback! Which means it's less expensive. I was very grateful for the first edition in hardback--it was my first real, grown-up hardback book. But to be honest, I prefer the paperback. It's easier to read and I just like the feel of it.
You can order the paperback version of Dug Down Deep from Amazon.com.
At his website wrighters.net Matt Wright reviews Dug Down Deep: "Harris' writing style in this book is to mix narrative with sections on theology, making the book an easy read. The book also contains many quotes and references from well known Christian authors so digging through the bibliography for books to add to my 'To Read' pile is in order. There are ample scripture references, and I chose to read the book slowly and read them as I went along.
Like me, Harris grew up in a Christian home and was 'saved' at an early age. It took him much longer to grasp what it really meant to be a Christian and to understand how much of his view of God was incorrect or misinformed. I can identify with him in this area and found myself relating to many of the experiences he describes as he grew up. I can also look back over the years and see how I have let my lack of knowledge about theology allow me to have incorrect beliefs about God and what the consequences have been and still are in my daily living." Read the full review.
Andy Evans at Firwood Church reviews Dug Down Deep. He writes, "Harris' conversational style is disarming and engaging and I can imagine people reading this who would never contemplate wrestling with, say, Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology or John Piper's Desiring God. This is the great success with Dug Down Deep: that Harris has succeeded in presenting deep and weighty truths in a way which is both accessible and eminently readable. And Harris achieves all of this without neutering the sense of awe, conviction and holy exhilaration which must come when allowing the deep truths of God to thus penetrate our souls." Read the full review.
Describing itself as "Rants & Raves From a Christian Parent" this blog wrote the following about the book: "Harris is very transparent in Dug Down Deep. He confesses sins that he'd struggled with, admits his wrongful attitudes about church and theology, and is truthful about his short-comings. I appreciate his honesty." Read the full review.
On his blog Zoy Sauce Etc. Enzo Cortes shares his thoughts after reading Dug Down Deep: "What I like about this book is that Harris uses personal stories on how the doctrines were weaved into his life. I find this approach appealing to the readers. It not only informs its readers but also inspires them to live out the doctrines." Read the full review.
On her blog Megan Strange created an extensive list of some of her favorite quotes from Dug Down Deep. Here's a sample:
- "The doctrine of Scripture teaches us about the authority of God's Word. Scripture must be the final rule of faith and practice for our lives. Not our feelings or emotions. Not signs or prophetic words or hunches."
- "If we don't feel the need for atonement, it's probably because we assume God has the same nonchalant attitude toward evil that we do."
- "I think that a lot of Christians look around, see the diversity of standards, and assume that since nobody agrees, maybe it doesn't really matter. So they do whatever works for them. Sadly, few check in with God."
- "Love has to fuel mission. We can't go to the world because we want their approval; we can't go for power or to prove ourselves right. Mission has to be the overflow of a love for God that aches to see others experiencing His grace, love, and compassion for people who are lost and destined for hell."
At the blog Very Random Thoughts, Jonathan Thomas reviews Dug Down Deep. He wraps up by asking, "So, who should read this book?" He gives three categories:
1. Those who have never read a 'doctrine book' or 'systematic theology'. If you want a basic introduction to what the Bible teaches and who God is: This is the book for you.
2. 'Jerks'. That is, if you are a Christian who has read loads of doctrine, but have found yourself becoming harsh and dry...get this book! Let the humble orthodoxy that Joshua demonstrate challenge and encourage you.
3. Someone going on holiday. If you fancy a light read that is both funny and forming, this is the book for you.
Read the full review.
A reader sent me this picture of herself reading Dug Down Deep at the beach writing, "I thought you'd enjoy the irony of this picture."
Over on my Facebook page, I was encouraged by this feedback on the book:
Nikko: "Hi Josh! Just recently my mom gave me a copy of your book Dug Down Deep, I'm really amazed with how you present theology in a simple yet powerful way...Your book helped me to see God in a different perspective, I realized that to some extent I've been a victim of that so-called 'MEology' you mentioned in your book."
Becky: "I'm reading Dug Down Deep in my Bible class this semester, it's a very good book. I'm starting to understand theology, as in it's starting to make sense. I love the stories that you sprinkle in. I'm only on chapter 4, but I love it. Thank you so much for writing it, I'm looking forward to finishing it."
Nikko and Becky, thanks so much for taking the time to share how it's speaking to you. That means a lot to me.
Rick Denham from Editora Fiel Brazil wrote me: "We are excited to let you know that we will be publishing Dug Down Deep [in Portuguese], this next year! I wanted to let you know that we are committed to working along side you and your church in making the Gospel known in the Portuguese speaking world. I hope this book will be the first of many to come, and you will in our prayers as you seek to be faithful to what the Lord puts on your heart."
A girl named Queendiane Laurino sent me this picture from the Philiippines. Both Dug Down Deep and Stop Dating the Church have been published there and are available in bookstores.
Over on my Facebook page, a lady named Roz shared the following feedback: "I think what was most helpful for me in Dug Down Deep was the explanation of our emotions in relation to Jesus. As someone who grew up in the church, I think I have been desensitized over the years to the reality of the cross, His mercy, His kindness...the Gospel, really. And I have envied those who seem so emotionally attached to Jesus. So when the book says that the more I study the Bible and learn about Jesus, the more emotion will flow, it is not only a relief, but a reality I have seen in my life (especially recently as I have settled into a Gospel preaching church for the first time), as well as a charge to study my Bible even more. Thanks for the insight. I have already loaned the book out."
My friend Patrick is an impressive young man. He loves Jesus, honors his parents and has a heart for God's people. All this and he's just 12 years old. So I was very encouraged when he sent me the following letter about Dug Down Deep:
Hey Mr. Harris!
I want to say thank you SO much for writing "Dug Down Deep"! I just finished it recently and I LOVED it! The way you wrote it was humorous, easy to understand, and helpful. Your many illustrations made me understand the other parts of the book. I've been reading it at night, and it's like digging down deep into the truth of what we believe as Christians. Also, it really challenged me to live my life all for Christ. I didn't ever think of the parable of the wise man building his house upon the rock the way you showed it!
One of my favorite parts of your book is "The Room." I was so moved by that dream. Afterwards I went onto your blog and watched the video about it, which was very moving as well. Thank you so much for putting that in your book!
I also loved the chapter on how your dad got saved. That is such an amazing story, and it helped me see that Jesus can save anyone!
Probably my absolute favorite chapter was the one on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is probably the member of the Trinity that we know least about, and that chapter helped me understand better about what He does.
Thank you so much for writing this! It reminded me of all the things that the Christian faith is built on, and helped me to understand theology and orthodoxy better in an easy, interesting way. Thanks!!!!!!
Nothing encourages me more than to hear that Dug Down Deep is helping Christians understand and apply biblical truth in their everyday lives. At the blog "Emerging Now" Tony LaMarca shares how the chapter on sanctification helped him. Read the post.
The blog "Confessions of a Small Church Pastor" reviewed Dug Down Deep saying it "weaves autobiographicaly stories along with sound theology, making the book not only readable, but memorable as well." And it's "a theology book for people who don't like theology." Read the full review.
Over at the blog "Borrowed Light" Mike Leake writes of Dug Down Deep: "Harris tells his story with humor, wit, and gospel-centered transparency. Along the way he explains "deep" theology in a way that those new to theological discussions could understand.This book is a systematic theology but not the type you would read in a classroom. It is also a biography but not the kind that only tells a story. This book is about Christian living but not the kind that is divorced from solid biblical truth. It is a biography about Christian doctrine that leads to faithful biblical practice. Read the full review.
A review from the blog Notes from the Trail states: "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." Read the full review.
My dear friend Randy Alcorn was kind of enough to give a kind mention of Dug Down Deep in this great post about the joy of studying God. Read it.
Over at the book review site, Good Reads, a girl named Sally wrote the following review of Dug Down Deep. Even though I'm sad to hear that I've lost some of my hipness, I was really encouraged by what she wrote: "In Harris' earlier books I was put off by his casual, cool-dude narrative voice, but either I'm getting less picky or he's getting less 'hip', because I liked this book! I found his anecdotes and personal sharing to be winsome and sincere without trying too hard. And his careful examination of foundational truths gives a good overview for non-theologically-minded readers. This is the kind of book I could hand to someone without having to worry about putting them off or putting them to sleep! Finally, Harris makes a plea in the last section for a meeting of the minds, so that we can appreciate orthodox doctrine without being too harsh about it or being too 'squishy' in an effort to accommodate others."
Writing a review of Dug Down Deep for the Examiner.com Christin Dicker shares that a few chapters in she wasn't very impressed. She writes, "When I first started reading this book I did not like it very much. The first few chapters seemed very disjointed and unrelated to the topic except in a very general sense. However, as I read on I began to see the chapters come together and form a coherent book on the various aspects of the Christian faith." Read the rest of her review.
Pastor Scott Frady writes that Dug Down Deep is "an interesting mix of theology and biography, as Harris skillfully weaves the story of his own spiritual journey into a discussion of the foundational beliefs which should shape our lives as Christians." Read more.
The author of the blog Heaven is My Destination writes of Dug Down Deep: "I bought this book for my daughter, she read it, and recommended it to me. I have enjoyed it. He has a very refreshing flowing style, and the ability to make what he says live, a lot of the time from the real life stories that he sets before you as you read." Read more.
Dr. David Steele at his blog "veritas et lux" writes: "Dug Down Deep is a terrific book for high school students or beginning Bible College students. It is an excellent introduction to systematic theology that will likely lure serious students of God's Word into deeper waters." - Read more.
My friend Curtis Allen (aka Christian rap artist "Voice") wrote the song "Whatever it Takes" inspired by Dug Down Deep. He recently created this video for the song. I'm a little embarrassed by how much he features the book, but I'm also very honored. Thank you, Curtis! By the way, Curtis has a new album called "Christ the King" that was just released. Visit his website for more info.
A number of people have asked if they can get a high-resolution version of Tristan Carnahan's winning short film based on Dug Down Deep so they can play it for their church or youth ministry. The answer is YES! My publisher has made it available and you have permission to play it for others in any way you want. Download page.
Our family went to see Owl City in concert last week and really enjoyed the show. It's encouraging to see an artist like Adam Young with such a clear witness to his faith in Christ enjoy so much mainstream success. Anyway, we all signed a copy of Dug Down Deep for him but weren't sure that he would get it. So today we were happy to see this tweet. Thanks, Adam. We'll keep you in our prayers and we look forward to the next album.
This week The Gospel Coalition launched a helpful new site called TGC Reviews. In describing it they write, "TGC Reviews is an online publication that brings readers helpful appraisals of books and other resources. Whether through reviews, interviews, excerpts, recommendations, or book notes the purpose of TGC Reviews is to serve the church of Jesus Christ by becoming one of the most trusted review sites on the Web."
Bob: Why do you think Dug Down Deep would be a good book for those who lead congregational worship to read?
Josh: Dug Down Deep is a very simple introduction to Christian doctrine. So, honestly, there's nothing new here for worship leaders. But it might be useful because in the book I'm trying to make theology very clear and accessible to people. So I share stories. I talk about how various truths have reshaped my own life. I try and push past the "Christianese" we can so easily slip into and explain what terms mean and why they matter. One friend told me that he felt the book helped transfer theological concepts from the head to the heart. So maybe that's where the book could serve worship leaders. I think helping to transfer lofty theological categories from the head to the heart-and have truth about God touch our affections-is part of what worship leaders are called to do.
Bob: What are the 2-3 most important thoughts you hope people take away from reading Dug Down Deep?
Josh: I want them to see that a vibrant, real relationship with God isn't at odds with studying theology and doctrine-it's why we study theology. I also want them to see that Christian doctrine is for living. It's practical and it shapes how we view the world and how we live. That's why making sure what we believe is built on the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important.
Bob: Why do you think this is the most important book you've written?
Josh: In different ways my other books are about what we should do for God. Dug Down Deep is primarily about who God is and the good news of what he has done for us in Jesus. So it's the most important book I've written because there's nothing more vital for a Christian to know. At the end of the day, who cares whether you date or do courtship if you don't really know God? That's not to diss my past books. But this is the book I want to hand to non-Christians and young Christians. This is what they really need to know.
Bob: What is one of the most encouraging responses you've gotten from someone who has read your book?
Josh: Two people have told me that as they read Dug Down Deep they kept wanting to put it down and pick up their Bible. I can't tell you how happy that made me.
You can now purchase the audio book for Dug Down Deep from iTunes. It's unabridged (the only thing you don't get are the cartoons) and clocks in at nearly 7 hours with yours truly reading every word. Click here to purchase (or if that doesn't work just search "dug down deep" in iTunes.
Justin Dean is a pastor who gave a shout-out to Dug Down Deep. Justin is also an undefeated MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter and a highschool wrestling coach, hence the great title of his blog: God in a Headlock: Wrestling with God, Learning Through Life, Love and Leadership.
T.J. Dreyer, a church-planter, drummer, designer, Apple fan (I like this guy), wrote this about Dug Down Deep: "For Christians becoming sound in our theology is taking the time to understand the amazing Savior that we say we love, it is the way to create a strong foundation in our relationship. I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is searching to know Jesus deeper." Read more...
Pastor Trevor Peck from Ontario, Canada writes, "It is one thing to point out all the problems that plague the Church both individually and corporately. It's another thing altogether to first and foremost realize that you're one of them! To do so takes humility and grace; Harris displays both on every page....
This is a book I needed 10 years ago. It's a book I needed today, and no doubt I will need its message 10 years from now. As a pastor, I would say that Dug Down Deep should be required reading for every Christian. As a father, I can honestly say that I have yet to come across a better book to give to my soon-to-be teenage son to read on why "seemingly worn-out words like theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy are the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ." Read the full review.
Jennifer Ekstrand offers a thoughtful critique along with very kind encouragement of Dug Down Deep. She writes, "Many books seem to start strong and decline; Dug Down Deep started strong and got better. I think the best chapter was the last, "Humble Orthodoxy." It would be worth getting the book to read that chapter." Read her full review.
In a very encouraging and thorough review of Dug Down Deep, Thabiti Anyabwile describes the book as "theological autobiography" and then breaks it down chapter by chapter. He concludes by saying, "At the end of the day, Dug Down Deep is Knowing God in blue jeans and a shaved head. That is to say, it's a book of classic truth and worth, written for our day." Read Thabiti's full review.
The team over at the Boundless Webzine are featuring an excerpt from chapter 3 of Dug Down Deep. Read it.
Giancarlo read Dug Down Deep in English and then wrote his review in Spanish. Now admittedly, it's risky for me to point you to a review that I can't actually read myself, but I asked my Spanish-speaking brother Raul Pons for a recap and he said, "Wow! It is a GREAT review my friend. He says that he has read your previous books and that this one is his favorite. He can't wait to have it translated into Spanish and already has some ideas of how he is going to use it. He hopes the translation is done soon." Thank you, Giancarlo! I'm hoping the Spanish-version will arrive soon as well.
Tara writes: "I never intended to read this book. The only reason I read it was because the day after Todd brought it home, I had a flight to North Carolina and didn't have anything to read. I put it in my bag, but I was planning on just buying a magazine at the airport. Fortunately for me I was running late the morning of my flight and my only option was this book. That was a blessing in disguise. Dug Down Deep is one of the best books I've read in a really long time..."
At the "Where the Roots Grow" blog Brian Chang writes of Dug Down Deep:
"Right off the bat, I have to say that this book is something that I've been waiting for, and has been desperately needed in this generation of Christians. It's a book that is theologically sound but also engaging enough to activate the interests of young people caught up in this age-of-short-attention-spans. As students, it's really difficult to find books that engage our ever-wondering minds yet speak in a language we understand....
Reading this book wasn't like other theological books either: theology was woven into life stories that were tangible and real. I was hooked from the beginning and before I knew it, I had blown through eleven chapters that had covered at least twenty different doctrines of the Christian faith. Everything from God and the Bible to the Holy Spirit and church were covered in great detail and with proper biblical support. Harris doesn't try to fit into a category or camp (charismatic, conservative, etc.) but sifts through controversial issues in order to point people towards the truly important details of theology--namely, glorifying Christ and him crucified."
Read his full review.
This review of Dug Down Deep is particularly meaningful because the young woman who wrote it has tracked my journey as a writer for many years. Gretchen was a subscriber to the magazine I published back in high school and a big encouragement when my first book was released. Now she's a wife and mother. On her website, Young Ladies Christian Fellowship, she wrote the following about the book...
I've always identified with Mark Twain's line, "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me--it is the parts that I do understand." It's been my excuse for staying away from theological debates, it's been the reason you'll find me more often in Psalms than in Revelations. But reading Dug Down Deep was a convicting reminder that I can't get so steeped in simple tradition that I forget the reason I am living thus.
Sometimes it is easier to act like a Christian than to be a follower of Christ. But in his new book Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters, Joshua Harris sounds a compelling call to dig down deep into the truths of why we believe what we believe so we will know how to live....
The best thing about the book Dug Down Deep is that it continually points you to the Book of books. It is the sort of book to be read with a Bible in hand, the sort of book that will make you set it down and pick up the Bible instead.
That last paragraph just might be the biggest compliment I've heard for the book. And I hope it's true. I hope it points people to the Book of books.
Read the full review.
Amazon.com is selling Dug Down Deep new for $13.59. You can get it for the Kindle for $9.99. An unabridged audio version is selling for $16.50 but is also available from resellers for as low as $5.80. (I'm not sure how they're selling it for that price, but a deal is a deal.) And even though the book has only been out a month, you can buy it used from Amazon resellers for $12.05. Visit the Amazon page.
My friend Kevin DeYoung was kind enough to write a "featured review" of Dug Down Deep for Amazon. I can't help but think he was hungry when he wrote this review. He writes in part, "If you find theology (and those who love it) distasteful, this book will offer good doctrine with a spoon full of sugar....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." Read Kevin's full review.
I was at Barnes & Noble studying today and I found the audio version of Dug Down Deep sitting next to Andre Agassi's autobiography Open. That's probably the closest I'll ever get to Agassi. I got to see him play at the Legg Mason Classic the year he retired. And, yes, that's all I wanted to say.
Mark from Boston, MA, writes, "What a book! I just read Dug Down Deep and it is easily my favorite book by Joshua Harris. This is a systematic theology for the average Christian. The whole time I was reading this book I kept thinking about the young people in our youth group. This book addresses the major doctrinal beliefs that all Christians should know and it does so in a way that is accessible and understandable. Harris uses life stories along with the Biblical narrative to explain what we believe as Christians and why. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to clarify their understanding of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. I would heartily encourage this book to youth leaders as a great way to walk their students through the key tenants of the Christian faith." Visit Mark's blog City on a Hill.
Jeff at the blog iCrucified reviewed Dug Down Deep and wrote, "This book is a great resource for the "unstudied" Christian, the seeker-curious, new convert, and anyone else that might fall into any category outside of Bible scholar. I think it might be helpful for the egghead-academic-ivory-tower-sanctified-saint too. It might help us to get over our sanctimonious self-importance and think more toward the practical when talking to others about our faith." Read more.
He also created the following graph for the breakdown of doctrinal subjects addressed in the book:
At the blog Holiday at the Sea Brent writes of Dug Down Deep: "This is a great book to give to those people who don't think they need theology. If anything, it's worth it to read a book endorsed by Donald Miller, Lecrae and Mark Dever! But the broad range of endorsements speaks to Harris' deft touch. He is never preachy but always passionate. A great introductory theology book." Read more.
Want to grow in humility? Write a book and then read the reviews people post on Amazon. Woo hoo! Nothing cuts you down to size faster! This review by a reader named Alisa was particularly effective in that regard. She writes, "I found this book to be rather disappointing. I've always thought Harris came across a little bit arrogant and self-absorbed in his previous books and his video lectures. But I thought that since he's older and wiser, and this book was *gasp* not about dating (as opposed to the majority of his books), I'd give it a try."
Alas, she wasn't impressed. She continues: "...the parts about theology and why it matters felt like religion class all over again. So mind-numbingly boring, and really, the stuff I grew up hearing in church and the Christian schools I attended. Not that it isn't important stuff. It is. But he doesn't have any new insights. In fact, he spends a large amount of time quoting from theologians who sound far more interesting and knowledgeable than himself. In fact, the one good thing I can say about the book is that I came away from it with a whole new list of books that actually sound in-depth and in-tune with God."
I was encouraged that she wanted to read the books I quoted after she read Dug Down Deep. That was actually one of my goals in writing it. But being mind-numbingly boring wasn't one of my goals! Oh, well. Thank God I'm justified by grace and not by Amazon reviews.
Stephanie Cherry writes of Dug Down Deep: "Several hot button topics in the Christian faith are clearly addressed. It is an excellent read. This is a book everyone should take time for. Many of us have been in the church our entire lives and have no idea what doctrines we hold true or why they are important." Read her full review.
Charisma magazine reviews Dug Down Deep: "The author credits notables such as J.I. Packer and John Piper for defining moments in the formation of his understanding of theology. He also focuses on why theology, along with orthodoxy, has been overlooked-to the detriment of the church. Some of the most memorable moments, however, center on times when Harris discovers his life should revolve around God and not vice versa." Read more.
If your church or ministry would like to buy Dug Down Deep at a 30% discount my publisher Waterbrook Multnomah makes it very easy to place orders with a credit card. They throw in free shipping. Visit the Church Purchasing page for all the details.
Just did a radio interview in Detroit, MI, with host Paul Edwards about Dug Down Deep. He asked if I still Moonwalked. Good guy and a great conversation. Anybody in Detroit hear it?
The blog Fundamentally Reformed reviews Dug Down Deep: "This book will introduce the young Christian to the glory of orthodox Christian doctrine. It will also encourage those who do know doctrine, to aim for a humble orthodoxy and see how such knowledge should fuel love and service for others. Dug Down Deep will be an easy read for anyone, but it packs a punch. It will challenge you to make sure you are building on a sure foundation. I recommend this book highly." Read full review.
Ashley at the blog Putting God First Place writes, "I slightly disagree with Joshua Harris' theological views in Chapter 9, I Believe in the Holy Spirit, on the gift of speaking in tongues, an issue that is well debated in the Christian church, in general. However, the fact that we slightly disagree on this topic does not deter me from reading books by Joshua Harris in the future, because I truly do believe that his heart is in the right place and the fundamentals of his Christian doctrines of grace are correct and biblically sound." Read her full review.
The Snoodlings blog says of Dug Down Deep: "This book is great for new Christians, but it's also great for those of us who have been in a relationship with Christ for awhile but haven't thought about the 'whats' and 'whys' of our faith in a long time, if ever....it helped me to realize that I've viewed the events of the last year through a self-centered mind-set. When I don't like the events of my life, I feel hurt and betrayed. I haven't spent much time thinking about my life from God's perspective. It seems like a small adjustment, but it's given me a lot to think about." Read the full review.
Kevin Holtsberry at the blog Collected Miscellany very thoughtfully reviews Dug Down Deep and critiques what he considers certain "extremely oversimplified" theological topics in the book. He writes, "Harris tries to avoid getting bogged down in theological debate so he can focus on a faith lived out. Sometimes this works and other times less so." Read his full review.
Darryl Dash explains why we shouldn't need Dug Down Deep...but that we do. He concludes by saying, "The best endorsement I can give this book is to say that I plan on buying it to give away to some others. My favorite books are those that are theologically rich, and that apply that theology to life in a clear and winsome way. Dug Down Deep fits the bill. I recommend it." Read his full review.
A gentlemen named Robert read Dug Down Deep and posted his review at Amazon. He wasn't too impressed. My favorite part of his 2 star review was this paragraph: "But the more I read, the more disappointed I got. First, because Harris's fitting tributes and attributions of his ideas to his mentor, C. J. Mahaney (who is also Harris's predecessor as senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland), made me wonder why I was reading THIS book instead of a book by Mahaney." Amen, Bob! You should go read a book by Mahaney. But you could at least give me an extra star for planting that good thought in your mind.
Micheal Felker writes, "Joshua Harris cost me a few dates back in college when his I Kissed Dating Goodbye was all the rage. The young guy who rashly encouraged all the pretty girls to turn me down for dates has matured into an honest, thoughtful, and engaging author and minister. With Dug Down Deep Harris has proven that theology and doctrine are necessary to deepen one's faith and understanding. Even more than that theology and doctrine help solidify the relationship between the believer and the Creator." Sorry about those lost dates, Micheal. I appreciate your encouraging words. Read his full review.
In a very generous review Rob Edwards writes of Dug Down Deep, "Boy, was I surprised! Rather than reading some dusty, doctrinaire systematic theology, I felt like I was sitting across from Joshua as he laid open his heart about the core beliefs he holds dear. I felt like I was having a conversation with an old friend-comfortable but not overly familiar..." Read the full review.
Becky at the blog Christian Chick's Thoughts shares her thoughts about Dug Down Deep. In particular she writes about her reaction to the chapter on the Holy Spirit: "I grew up in a conservative Christian community where, at least in my recollection, the Holy Spirit was ... well ... not really mentioned. Couple that with my charismatic friend who "weirded me out," and I never really had any desire to learn about the Holy Spirit. I realize now that my knowledge of God is rather lopsided--I know a lot about God the Father and God the Son but not much about God the Spirit. Harris devotes an entire chapter to the Holy Spirit, explaining his view that neither the charismatics nor the fundamentalists (or whomever the opposites of the charismatics are) have it all right. No matter our view on tongues and prophecy, we need to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is living and active! Reading this chapter helped me see where I've been closed-minded, and I now long to know more about the Spirit." Read the full review.
Mark Lamberti begins his review of Dug Down Deep remembering his reaction to my first book: "I had to laugh at the placement of the books in the store. Joshua Harris's book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was next to another book titled I Gave Dating a Chance. Honestly, I kissed Harris goodbye before reading any of what he had to say. The title alone was enough for me to pass that one over. As an aside, I always felt that the book was great at protecting fragile egos. For example, let's say there was a Christian person who really wanted a date, but couldn't find one. Well, that person could simply say, "I kissed dating goodbye!" What a wonderful way to gain an illusion of control and protected desirability. You could even call it "defense-method theology". How quickly that person's viewpoint would change when asked on a date! Well, Joshua Harris is back and this time I've decided to actually read what he has to say. You might say that I gave Joshua Harris a second chance. I am glad that I did." Read the full review.
Janalyn Voigt writes, "Like the author, I grew up going to church but still had to find my way again as an adult. Reading this book with that background, I found it to be a good reference I can use to find important scriptures and stories to share with others in a practical, easy to understand way. And it helped fill a few important holes in my knowledge that I did not even realise were there. I highly recommend Dug Down Deep to all parents, especially if your child is struggling. And I recommend this book as a gift for 20-somethings and/or anyone who is looking to see 'what Christianity is all about'." Read the full review.
I was very encouraged to get the following note from a girl named Lainey from Australia. She wrote it on my Facebook page about Dug Down Deep: "I just went down to get it today at Blackburn near Melbourne, Australia. It was a long wait n I think they're only selling it at one location here so far... but sure worth it... reading Ch 2 now n really identifying with it. My husband can't wait to read it too! I've recommended it to friends. I'm excited about seeing people in Australia getting deep into God. Thanks for writing this book... a well-needed, timely book."
I did a short interview with Tim Challies in which he asked me who I wrote Dug Down Deep for and why I chose to use my own story as the backdrop. Read the interview.
Kristen Leigh is an amazing young woman in my church who runs a successful wedding photography company. She's really good. (I'm thinking of marrying Shannon again and having another wedding just to have Kristen take the pictures.) Kristen was kind enough to take the pictures that the publisher used on Dug Down Deep. She did a blog post telling that story. Read Kristen's post.
Calling the Dug Down Deep "humorous and meaty" Justin Childers writes, "This book is filled with personal stories and examples that make it so fun to read. In chapter 7, Josh tells the story of how his dad was converted. My heart was so full of joy and confidence in God as I read this chapter. Seriously, its worth the price of the book." Read the full review.
A thoughtful review and helpful critique of Dug Down Deep from the While We Sojourn blog. He writes, "Joshua Harris's writing style is easy to read. There are no difficult words (unless he explains them), and there are no tongue twisting phrases or complex arguments. This book is written in a way that a child can understand. I read some of the sections about Jesus out loud to my five-year old while she was coloring. When I stopped, she wanted me to read more. The stories keep it entertaining." Read review.
Dana Young-Bailey reviews Dug Down Deep. She writes, "Joshua is transparent and brutally honest about his background and struggles. His confession of pride and misunderstandings about the Word are refreshing and easy to relate to." Read more.
Over at the Blazing Center blog they've posted a very generous review of Dug Down Deep. Stephen writes, "If the thought of studying about God seems boring, you need to read this book. You can't read this book without being persuaded that theology matters. A whole lot." Read it.
On Sunday we did some filming for a promotional video for Dug Down Deep. This project is being produced by Don Nalle with Andrew Gallo behind the camera. I'm so grateful for these friends and their kindness in helping to produce this. The video will be posted on book seller websites like Christianbooks.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Don found the incredible location pictured above and God gave us beautiful weather Sunday afternoon. We had about six people who were kind enough to read the book come and share their thoughts. A big thanks to everyone who helped.
Photo by Carissa Gallo.
I've been so encouraged by the incredible response to the Dug Down Deep Film Contest. We received nearly 100 submissions. It's so good to see so many of you out there who are developing your gifts and who desire to glorify God with your art.
It was no easy task to choose just ten finalists to participate in the contest. I wish I could have included everyone. And to those who weren't chosen, please don't be discouraged. But after much evaluation we chose ten gifted filmmakers to produce short films illustrating content from Dug Down Deep. In no particular order, the following are the ten finalists with links to their work (To be clear: These are samples of each artist's work--not his actual submission for the final contest):
These ten filmmakers are receiving an advanced copy of Dug Down Deep, as well as an audio recording of a short excerpt from the book. The clips are all different and will be assigned randomly to be used in the films. Even with these parameters, I expect widely different and creative films.
The filmmakers have till January 7 to submit their films. Then they'll be shared here on the website, and judged by our panel of judges. We'll give you the chance to cast a vote as well. After all this the winning film will be announced and the winning filmmaker awarded the prize of a Canon EOS 7D SLR camera.
Our panel of six judges were chosen because of their love for film, involvement in filmmaking and their desire to encourage Christian filmmakers:
• Lukas Naugle (Desiring God)
• Andrew Gallo (VsTheBrain)
• Carolyn McCulley (Citygate Films)
• David Altrogge (Vinegar Hill Pictures)
• Don Nalle (Covenant Life Church, Communications Director)
• Katherine Reynolds (Covenant Life Church, Josh's Assistant)
I spent six hours today recording the audio version of my new book Dug Down Deep. We got to page 85 today. Next week we have two more days scheduled to finish the book.
I wore these massive headphones that made me look like Princess Leia in the first Star Wars movie. I also had to wear sweatpants so my clothes wouldn't make a lot of rustling noises. The microphone is very sensitive and picks up everything.
You can pre-order the book here.
If you're a filmmaker/budding video genius--or you have a friend who is--please read this and pass it on.
In January my new book Dug Down Deep will be released. It's a book about the importance of knowing Jesus Christ and building your life on a true knowledge of him. I care very much about its message and want to do all I can to spread it to people who are indifferent or unconcerned about Christian theology. I'd like to create a series of short videos that can be played online to generate interest in the book.
But I have another desire that informs what I'm announcing today: I want to encourage Christians to get involved in the arts--in particular, film. At different times and different ways I've done what I could to encourage young filmmakers to hone their gifts and use film to influence the world for Christ.
So I'm combining my need for promotional videos with my desire to make an investment in Christian filmmakers. And I'm doing this in the form of a contest.
I'm looking for 10 filmmakers to participate in a short-film contest. Each contestant will create a 2-3 minute long video featuring a reading from Dug Down Deep. The entries will be judged by both a panel of four judges, and an online vote. I'm hoping this exposure will benefit everyone who participates. But that won't be the only prize.
The Prize: The first-place winner will receive a brand new Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera. (My friends Dave and Mike, filmmakers at Vinegar Hill Pictures, tell me this is a hot camera for indie film makers. It shoots in full HD. I get really excited about putting this tool into the hands of the winner so he or she can go and make even better films in the days to come. You can read more about the camera here.) And here are the details of the contest:
1. If you'd like to participate, please submit a sample of past video work you've done. From these submissions we'll choose ten people to participate in the contest. We're looking for as high quality work as possible. So if you'd like to participate, please email us your name, phone number and address along with a link to an online sample of a video that you've produced (something on Youtube or Vimeo for example). Email: kreynolds (at) covlife (dot) org. All requests for participation must be received by Oct. 9, 2009.
2. All contestants will receive an advance copy of Dug Down Deep. We're going to assign passages for you to create a film for, but if you have a strong preference for a different passage, you can make that request. Obviously we want to avoid duplication.
3. The submissions for the contest can be diverse. We want them to be as creative as possible--film, animation, text, stop motion...you name it. The only stipulation is that the video accompany a reading of Dug Down Deep. The deadline for submitting your film is January 7, 2010.
4. Each video will be judged by a panel of five judges: Lukas Naugle, Carolyn McCulley, David Altrogge, Don Nalle and Katherine Reynolds. One aspect of the score each film receives will be votes it receives from people online.
5. All the videos will be featured on Joshharris.com and with links to your contact information or company if you'd like that. The winning video will be announced in mid to late February.
If you know someone who might be interested in participating in the contest, please send them this information. The contest is open to Christian filmmakers of any age--whether video is your profession or just a hobby. It's open to non-U.S. residents as well. Again, if you'd like to participate, please email your name, phone number, address and a link to an online sample of your work to kreynolds (at) covlife (dot) org.
Photo by Beth Altrogge.
From the Back Cover:
I know from experience that it's possible to be a Christian but live life on the surface. The surface can be empty tradition. It can be emotionalism. It can be doctrine without application. I've done it all. I've spent my share of time on the sandy beaches of superficial Christianity.
This book is the story of how I learned to dig into truth and build my life on a real knowledge of God. How I first discovered that orthodoxy isn't just for old men but for anyone who longs to know a God who is bigger and more real and more glorious than the human mind can imagine.
The irony of my story is that the very things I needed, even longed for in my relationship with God, were wrapped up in the very things I was so sure could do me no good. I didn't understand that seemingly worn-out words like theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy were the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ.
They told the story of the Person I longed to know.
--Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep
The Story Behind the Title:
The name for the book was inspired by a parable that Jesus told. Last summer I was on a beach in Florida reading Luke 6 and I came to the familiar story of the two builders. One built his house on sand and it was washed away by a flood. But the other "dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock" (Luke 6:48 NIV). When the torrent struck, his house stood firm.
Jesus said that the man who built his house on rock was a picture of the person who comes to him, listens to his words and them puts them into practice. That simple, slightly off-beat phrase "dug down deep" jumped out at me. And I knew I wanted to use that as name of the book I was writing. For me, it sums up the heart of what it means to build your life on what Scripture calls sound doctrine. Ultimately it's all about the person and work of Jesus. It's about coming to him, hearing his words and then putting them into practice.
Dug Down Deep has eleven chapters--eight of which are reflections of key Christian beliefs including the Doctrine of God, Scripture, the Person and Work of Christ, the Atonement and the Holy Spirit. The book is very personal and narrative-driven. I share the questions, misconceptions and hang-ups I've had what it's meant to allow Scripture's truth to reshape my thinking.
I hope the book will be accessible to people who might not normally read theological books. That includes Christians who are turned-off by doctrinally faithful but arrogant believers as well as people who are skeptical of the usefulness of Christian doctrine. I also hope that it will be given to friends outside the faith who have never really understood basic Christian beliefs.
Many of you have prayed for me during the writing of this book. Thank you so much. If you get to read the book, I hope you'll be encouraged. Please continue to pray as the final stages of copy editing, proofing and design are finished by the publisher.
In the coming months we'll be posting book-related updates and news, including plans for the cover and a book-themed film contest. Stay tuned. If you're interested in getting periodic updates, please consider signing up for our email list or using Twitter or Facebook to get information. You can also pre-order the book from these online stores:
Thanks to everyone who submitted ideas for how to get the word out on my new book, Dug Down Deep. I said I'd pick a winner, but I got so many good suggestions that I went with my top 5. Here they are:
Matt Hall: A photo editing contest where people have to photoshop your book into a picture and post it either on their blog, facebook, or twitter. (Angelina Jolie or Whistler's Mother contemplating your book...)Thanks for the ideas, guys. Each of you will be mailed an advance copy of the book. We'll start doing a few of these and other contests in the coming months. Also, stay tuned for an announcement about our short-film contest.
Ryan Corbean: Give a copy to various bookstores and allow them to give it away as some kind of reward. Like someone who purchases another one of your other books.
Mike Hunsberger: Have people tweet practical ways they have "dug down deep" and implemented sound doctrine in their own lives. Post the winners on your blog.
Robyn Drake: Ask people to include the hashtag #dugdowndeep in their tweets and then randomly choose one person each day for a week who does this. Their tweet doesn't have to have anything to do with the book but it would create interest.
Nate Palmer: In keeping with the title, how about a promotion to see who can snap a picture of themselves with the sign "How deep are you?" in "deep" places like a hole, a basement, a cave. You could hand out prizes for most unique, deepest, funniest, and so on.
In early 2014 a team led by Matt Maka is planting Christ Church in Mt. Airy, Maryland. Please pray for this new work. You can get updates by visiting their Facebook page.
"When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone... Two thinkers, you become confused... Ten thinkers, you'll begin developing your own voice... Two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise." - Tim Keller, via Keller Quotes
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"Read the Bible praying, 'Father, hold my mind's attention. Wake my heart's affection. Speak for your glory and my holy joy.' - John Piper
I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with an amazing wife and three wacky, fun kids. I'm a pastor at Covenant Life Church. I’m also a writer.