We have a New Year treat for all of you Joshua Harris fans! We did an email interview with the best-selling author to pick his brains about social media, theology, doctrine and his latest book Dug Down Deep. Although there’s a sort of sad news towards the end, we think you’ll find it a very interesting read! Enjoy!
You are primarily known here in the Philippines as a “relationship” writer. What made you decide to shift gears and write about theology?
In some ways this book is very different than my older books. It isn’t about romance or how to pursue a godly relationship. But in another sense, even my relationship books are all about knowing God and conducting your love life in light of who he is. I hope that in all my writing people get the message that Jesus Christ must be the center of our lives.
So I think the focus of Dug Down Deep is a logical next step. I wanted to help people see that our theology—what we believe about God—shapes every part of our lives. I want to show how wonderful and hope-giving it is to study how God speaks to us, how he has saved us and how he works to transform us. And as with my other books, I wanted to make the truth simple and clear using stories and lessons I’ve learned in my own life.
Do you think the words “theology, doctrine and orthodoxy” should be made more palatable for young people in order to attract them to it or can/should they stand on their own?
I think they’re confusing words unless they’re explained to you. So I try to make them more accessible to young adults by defining the words. I try to show that the unchanging truths of the Bible—what theology and doctrine and orthodoxy are all about—aren’t just for old people but for everyone who wants to know the living Jesus Christ.
Is the whole social network revolution detrimental to the growth of Christians in terms of deepening their faith?
I think it can be used to strengthen fellowship and encourage but it can also be a distraction from prayer and service. All technology has to be approached with discernment and wisdom. We can use it for God’s glory but we can also hinder us if we’re self-controlled. I wrestle with these questions all the time in my personal life. I consistently pray that God will help me be “self-controlled and sober minded” for the sake of prayer (1 Peter 4:7).
How do we help young Christians develop an appreciation for reading & learning doctrine?
I think the answer is by showing them the connection between doctrine and real Christian life. It matters what you believe about the atonement the next time you sin and are tempted to feel that God doesn’t love you and won’t accept you. Knowing what God’s word teaches about how Jesus’ death on the cross has paid for your sin and imputed Christ’s righteousness to you is incredibly practical and transforming. So we need more pastors and church members who can teach God’s clearly and show the power of God’s truth.
What is on your recommended reading list for those who want to understand and appreciate all these theological and doctrinal ideas that you discussed in the book
I’d recommend Knowing God by JI Packer, Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper for starters. And at my website www.joshharris.com under the Book Blog we have a list of extra resources for each of the chapters that might help people who want to study more.
What can we expect from the next Joshua Harris book?
It will probably be awhile before I write a new book. I believe God is speaking to me that I need to have a laser focus on my local church. For me that means a lot less travel and also taking a long break from book writing. But I hope that one day in the future I’ll be able to write a new book. And I’m so grateful for all the loyal readers in the Philippines who have encouraged me and prayed for my family. I’m so thankful to God for the work he’s doing in your country and remember you in my prayers often.
Dug Down Deep is very personal and narrative-driven, with 11 chapters–eight of which are reflections on key Christian beliefs including the Doctrine of God, Scriptures, the Person and Work of Christ, the Atonement and the Holy Spirit. Harris shares the questions, misconceptions and hang-ups he had and what it meant to allow Scripture’s truth to reshape his thinking.
Dug Down Deep is available at all OMF Lit Bookshops, PCBS, National Bookstore and Powerbooks nationwide for only P250
With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.