Joshua Harris takes inventory of his devotion to God by acknowledging the need and desire for an adherence to the orthodoxy of Christian doctrine in Dug Down Deep, Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters. Harris comes to terms with a biblical understanding of scriptural authority, the hypostatical union of Christ, justification, and sanctification through a combination of personal experience, the wisdom of mentors, and the guidance of gifted authors. He solicits from himself (and hopefully from his reader as well) a private and delicate response to key questions like: 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’ death on the cross pay for my sins? Who is the Holy Spirit and how does He work in my life?
Harris does not limit his book to a personal evaluation, but considers the society in which he lives and evaluates how he as a pastor is to consider the importance and necessity of doctrine in the lives of Christians tempted by material and cultural consumerism. Harris posits, “…a lot of Christians look around, see the diversity of standards, and assume that since nobody agrees, maybe [doctrine] doesn’t really matter. So they do whatever works for them. Sadly, few check in with God.” (p.169). He also considers the need for a deeper and more meaningful theology among Christians that “…just adopt the standards and practices of the Christians around them…” and then later “…start to chafe under the restriction” of an obedience to rules and traditions that do not lead to a joyful relationship with God (p. 169). For Harris, the answer for such Christians is not just a pithy acknowledgment of sin but a sincere and daily struggle against the desire of the flesh, which when honestly practiced leads either to repentance and then joy or directly to that joy in God.
There is much that Joshua Harris states in Dug Down Deep, but this short book is not meant to be an educational tome. It is conversation-starter. It is a sharp word from a good friend. It is a means for Christians to accept the standards God placed on His children and how his children need to learn how to agree not by committee or policy review but by honestly reviewing where rebellion creeps into our hearts.
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