Joshua Harris – Dug Down Deep?

By | August 6, 2019
“Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done,
To spend your life in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun.
With one foot on the platform
And the other foot on the train,
I’m going back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain.
There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun,
And it’s been the ruin of many young poor boys.
And god, I know I’m one.”
-The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun,” 1964

What follows are Joshua Harris’ own words. I do not believe any commentary from me is needed.

“To Emma Grace, Joshua Quinn, and Mary Kate

Your father loves you very much. One day when you’re older
I hope you’ll read this book and realize that I wrote it for you.
I have no greater hope for each of you
than to see you build your life on Jesus.”

-Joshua Harris, “Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why it Matters,” 2010.

“The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is “deconstruction,” the biblical phrase is “falling away.”
By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.
Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this,
but I’m not there now.⁣⁣”

-Joshua Harris, Instagram post, 2019

“Theology matters, because if we get it wrong, then our whole life will be wrong.
We’re either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what he’s about, or we’re basing our lives on our own imagination and misconceptions.”

-Joshua Harris, “Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why it Matters,” 2010.



All quotes below are taken from “Dug Down Deep,”  Kindle Edition, by Joshua Harris.

“I know what it means to wrestle with questions of faith. I know what it’s like for faith to be so mixed up with family tradition that it’s hard to distinguish between a genuine knowledge of God and comfort in a familiar way of life.”

“The bottom line is that my parents’ faith wasn’t really my faith. I knew how to work the system, I knew the Christian lingo, but my heart wasn’t in it. My heart was set on enjoying the moment.”

“For me, the Christian faith was more about a set of moral standards than belief and trust in Jesus Christ.”

“It’s strange being on the other side now. When I pray for specific young men and women who are wandering from God, when I stand to preach and feel powerless to change a single heart, when I sit and counsel people and it seems nothing I can say will draw them away from sin, I remember the pastors from my teenage years. I realize they must have felt like this too. They must have prayed and cried over me. They must have labored over sermons with students like me in mind. I see now that they were doing the best they knew how. But a lot of the time, I wasn’t listening.”

“For me, dancing like Michael Jackson that night has come to embody my experience in a big, evangelical, seeker-oriented youth group. It was fun, it was entertaining, it was culturally savvy (at the time), and it had very little to do with God. Sad to say, I spent more time studying Michael’s dance moves for that drama assignment than I was ever asked to invest in studying about God.”

“Would I have listened? I can’t know. But I do know that a clear vision of God and the power of his Word and the purpose of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection were lost on me in the midst of all the flash and fun.”

“There’s a story in the Bible of a young king named Josiah, who lived about 640 years before Christ. I think Josiah could have related to me—being religious but ignorant of God.”

“For decades those who wore the label “God’s people” actually had no communication with him. They wore their priestly robes, they carried on their traditions in their beautiful temple, and they taught their messages that were so wise, so insightful, so inspirational. But it was all a bunch of hot air—nothing but their own opinions. Empty ritual. Their robes were costumes, and their temple was an empty shell. This story scares me because it shows that it’s possible for a whole generation to go happily about the business of religion, all the while having lost a true knowledge of God.”

“My friend Curtis says that most people today think only of themselves. He calls this “me-ology.” I guess that’s true. I know it was true of me and still can be. It’s a lot easier to be an expert on what I think and feel and want than to give myself to knowing an invisible, universe-creating God.”

“Love for God and love for neighbor require opposing falsehood. There is nothing more unloving than to be silent in the face of lies that will ruin another person. Sometimes love demands that we say, “This philosophy, no matter how plausible or popular, is not true. This person, no matter how likable, gifted, or well-intentioned, is teaching something that contradicts God’s Word; therefore, it is untrue.” Paul modeled this type of love-infused courage—courage that was willing to contend for God’s unchanging truth that has once and for all been “delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).”

“It’s regrettable that human sin can distort sound teaching just as it can mess up anything else that’s good in the world. But should this cause us to abandon the pursuit and defense of biblical truth?”

“I think this is what Paul was telling Timothy to do when he said, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16, NIV). It’s not enough to get our doctrine straight. Life and doctrine can’t be separated. Our lives either put the beauty of God’s truth on display, or they obscure it.”

“Our lives are like houses. And each one is built on some foundation of belief. The question is whether what we believe is true—whether it will withstand the flood of suffering in this life, the torrent of death, and the final judgment before our Creator. Jesus said that an unshakable foundation for life is found only in knowing him, in believing his words and living by his truth. The most important question any of us can ask is, Am I building my life on who Jesus is and what he has done? Is my life built on the rock of a true knowledge of God?”

C.J. for the irreplaceable part you played in this story.

John (Piper) for urging me in Al’s (Mohler) basement to turn the humble orthodoxy message into a book. Mark (Dever) for lunch and help with the table of contents.



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