Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekend Book Review - Dug Down Deep

Many Christian children grow into Christian teenagers who do the "church thing" because that's either what they have to do or because that's what they're expected to do. They live out a superficial faith that really isn't rooted into anything meaty or personal.

Many times, for many teens, Sunday church and midweek youth group becomes just another routine social event. It's a time to pass notes during the service and spend time goofing off with their friends during youth group.

In Dug Down Deep: Building Your Life on Truths That Last bestselling author, Joshua Harris, shares his personal testimony of how he went from the youth group class clown to a devoted, dedicated student of God.

Many of today's churches get caught up in entertaining their teenagers in an effort to keep them interested in church and religion (or at least just to keep them coming through the doors.) Harris, using examples from his own life, shares how this tendency for the church to want to entertain can actually be very detrimental to the establishment of a firm faith in a teen's life.

When energies are focused so much on staying culturally current and cool, little energy is left to really disciple a teen into a solid, real relationship with Christ. As a result, Christian teens are left knowing what they're supposed to believe, but not necessarily understanding why they should believe it or why it really matters. But they sure do have a lot of fun in the process.

This book digs deep into the theology of the Christian walk. Harris discusses the truths upon which we must build our faith so that we can experience a real, hand-in-hand relationship with Christ. He says in the beginning of the book, "What you believe about God's nature - what He is like, what He wants from you, and whether or not you will answer to Him - affects every part of your life." And that's exactly what he digs into in this book.

I found this book to be very raw and refreshing. Harris's honesty made this book very relatable. I, too, experienced a similar growth in faith in my twenties as I went from being the "good girl" who grew up in the church to the daughter of God who truly wanted to seek Him and grow in faith and trust in Him. So I could really relate to Harris's testimony, and I truly appreciated his willingness to openly share his struggles and his journey to wholeness in Christ.

I think that this is an awesome book for parents to go through with their teenage son or daughter. The paperback edition that I reviewed contained a study guide with chapter-by-chapter discussion questions in the back of it that would be wonderful for a parent to discuss with their son/daughter. The questions are thought-provoking and insightful and are designed to inspire conversation and discussion.

But I will say another thing... I do not think that this book's only target audience should be youth. This book is great for anyone who is struggling with understanding what exactly theology and doctrine is and what place each should have in a Christian's life. It's a good book for anyone wishing to dig deeper into their faith and the truths found in God's Word.

I also think that this would be a great book for a new believer. It presents theology in a way that is not the least bit intimidating. It's not the typical dry, boring theology book one would think of when they hear the word "theology" or "doctrine". Instead it presents theology in an interesting and practical way.

And I also really appreciated that Harris touched on the subject of what he referred to as "humble orthodoxy." Basically, this means that it is very important for us to be committed to sound doctrine and be willing to stand up for the truth, but, at the same time, it is very important for us to maintain grace and love in how we defend our beliefs to others.

This is a great book. Thoughtful, insightful, and filled with great information, yet not so heady that it's dry and difficult to understand. My copy has lots of underlining now that I'm done reading it. It will definitely be a book that I will refer back to in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

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