Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review - Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

Many years ago, I bought a copy of Joshua Harris’s book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was not pleased. I found the book to be graphic and inappropriate. At the time, my oldest girls were still young and I wouldn’t let them near it. Several years later, when they were in their late teens, I finally let them read the book. I was amazed they had the same reaction I did. Even though my girls were “worldly” Christians, they still felt the book was inappropriate.

Regardless, we all have great respect for the Harris family. They have inspired many people to live godly lives. So, when I was given the opportunity to review Joshua’s latest book, "Dug Down Deep," I was thrilled. He is now the father of three children and a pastor. I couldn’t wait to see what he was up to and what he had to share.

The beginning of the book is enlightening. You read about Joshua’s teen years. He describes how he attended a mega-church which was superficial. He also talks about the Rumspringa of Amish teens. His insights are fascinating. What I really appreciated was realizing that the Harris family is a normal family, just like everyone else. Joshua snuck out and did normal things behind his parents back. This encourages us that there is hope for many Christians with wayward teens.

In his chapter about his Father’s conversion (as a young man), we clearly see the problems in our modern churches. They can, at times, turn young people away from the faith for a variety of reasons. One is the judgmental attitude of Christians. Another is the focus on standards and who is “right” pitted against who is “wrong.” This is still true today.

The book itself is a mixture of brief auto-biographical memories and Bible lessons. This pattern was a bit difficult for me to follow.

Some of what I viewed as negative:

1. A portion of the book was devoted to Charismatic theology. Harris had both positive and negative opinions. There was just too much of a focus on this.
2. A small section of the book had some cartoon - type illustrations of theology that I did not like.
3. Some of the book included graphic wording in his descriptions. This was too much for me and I found it took away from the overall quality of the book.
4. The book seems to be aimed at a young adult/ type audience who don’t have a working knowledge of theology. Harris attempted to make things clear, but some of it came across as shallow, confusing, and at times even, (dare I say it?) . . . bland.

Overall, Joshua’s book is sincere, open, honest and humble. He admits he doesn’t know it all, that he still struggles; this makes the book worthwhile for his many fans. Would I personally recommend it to my readers? Not necessarily. Its contemporary focus contains Joshua’s conclusions which will probably change in time, with life experience and as he continues to dig deeply into the Word of God.

*This book was provided for review by Multnomah.*


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