I am not a big fan of Joshua Harris. I haven’t read his book on dating (more accurately not dating) or anything he’s written on relationships and marriage. I did read his book on the Church (“Stop Dating the Churc”h re-titled as “Why Church Matters”). I found it mediocre and insensitive to where people are coming from when they are ambivalent to church. I also found him theologically narrow.
So I was surprised that Harris’s book on doctrine and theology was something I actually enjoyed. In this book, Harris describes his ‘conversion’ to the sort of Christian who cared about doctrine. Then he reviews various different doctrines, in sort of an autobiographical survey of systematic theology. This is really what makes this book work. The theological weight of this book is rather light, though he does point readers to deeper places (and Wayne Grudem). What you get instead is Harris’s wrestling with doctrine and the story of why he thinks certain truths matter. This is autobiography as theology which endears it to me, even if I do not sign off on all of Harris’s generally reformed model of the faith.
I think doctrine matters and this is a passionate defense. More than that, Harris comes across as likable. His last chapter about ‘humble orthodoxy’ is the best part of the book. Harris is not arguing for a narrow and intolerant orthodoxy; rather he is arguing that Christians hold on to truth without compromising. This doesn’t mean they need to be judgmental and narrow-minded. Point well taken.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review