Saturday, May 21

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

Theology.  Doctrine.  Orthodoxy.  To many people these words can be confusing or scary, sometimes both.  Everyone has an idea of what they mean, but often those ideas are jumbled together from what they’ve heard.  Even to Christians these can be difficult to identify with, especially since negative connotations have become attached to them in recent times.  If you were to mention any of these terms to a random person, chances would easily be that they either wouldn’t know what the term meant or they would have a negative reaction towards it.  But is this the way it should be?  Joshua Harries (Why I Kissed Dating Goodbye) doesn’t think so, and this prompted him to write Dug Down Deep, his attempt at writing a book on systematic theology for those who don’t want to attend the nearest seminary.

To begin, Harris examines some of the key terminology associated with theology.  Theology, he explains, is the study of the nature of God – of learning about God.  Essentially, if you’ve ever thought about God, in any context, you’ve already performed some sort of theology.  It may not have been incredibly deep theology, but it is theology none the less.    Harris goes on to point out that the person who declares their belief that God does not exist is performing theology just as the minister in the pulpit is performing theology.

After the initial chapters in which Harris lays out the basis of theology and its importance, he starts to delve into essential doctrines of Christianity.  These are teachings and beliefs which are essential to Christianity.  To remove one is the have something that is not quite Christianity.  These include the Doctrines of God, scripture, atonement, the Holy Spirit, and more.  They do not dig as deep as a theology textbook might in a college level course, but they serve as a good starting point – which is Harris’s intention.

Attempting to review a book on theology is strange thing.  Therefore, I’d like to offer a quick note before finishing my review: my final review/rating is not a reflection on the theology itself, but rather of the presentation of the material.

Having taken a class on theology at my university this past winter I was already familiar with what Harris had to say, which I felt made this read much easier.  Of course, I feel that someone who hasn’t been introduced to theology would still be able to have a solid understanding of the basics after this book.  Harris does well in acknowledging that this book is meant to readable and doesn’t cover every aspect of theology as well as being quick to point out when something is his personal opinion and not Christian doctrine.  He also includes many personal stories to serve as illustrations.  At times these illustrations work wonderfully, allowing for potentially new ideas/terms to be explained in a relatable way.  Other times in felt slightly like Harris would fall into rabbit trails, some of which wandered on a tad too long.

For someone who is curious about theology but perhaps a little nervous about starting it, this book would be a great introduction.  It also seems to be a great refresher for those who haven’t interacted with the ideas in a while.

3.5/5 stars

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Check out the first chapter here: 

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