Monday, March 5, 2012

Dug Down Deep: A Great Introduction to Christian Theology

Why study doctrine?  Joshua Harris gives the best reason I've heard yet on page 76 of Dug Down Deep when he says"…Why spend time figuring out a way to hold on to church attendance and Christian tradition and even Christian morality while not really believing much of anything about Jesus except that he was a really great guy?"  Doctrine tells us what we believe, which in turn tells us why we do what we do.

This book is an introduction to the fundamental doctrines of Christian faith for those who do not want to wrestle with a systematic theology textbook.  A chapter by chapter study guide makes Dug Down Deep an excellent teaching tool for mature middle school students through adults.  Harris concentrates on the non-negotiables of the faith, such as the deity of Christ and the authority of Scripture, while avoiding denominational distinctives, making this book appropriate for most churches.

Especially meaningful to me was Harris' account of the familiar story told about the railroad conductor who is forced to flip a switch and kill his son, trapped in the gears, in order to save a train full of people.  I heard this supposed illustration of God and Jesus when I was younger and was always bothered by it.  Joshua Harris explained why it bothered me:  Jesus was not helpless and trapped!  His death was not a tragic accident.  Jesus chose, before we were even born, to lay down His life out of His great mercy and love.

Finally, Harris concludes with a call to "humble orthodoxy" rather than using doctrine as a club against one another.  On page 217 he states: "Here's what deflates my arrogance faster than anything else: trying to live the truth I have."  Indeed, we should all think of this when tempted to pride!  This is a book I will place in my church library and recommend to pastors and teachers.

You can find this book at Lifeway.com.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.