Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Fall of Joshua Harris

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It's heartbreaking.

Joshua Harris, the best selling author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and later pastor of the Covenant Life Church in Maryland, recently announced on social media he and his wife Shannon were separating--noting a "lot of changes" had occurred between them.

On Friday, he announced he no longer considers himself to be a Christian, noting his views on sexuality has changed.

Be informed.

Fox News reports, "Well known Christian author, purity advocate, renounces faith; "I hope you can forgive me."

Fox reports this:

Harris, the author of the best-seller "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," a book he authored in 1997 that he later renounced after shaping the purity culture for many millennial believers, revealed that he is stepping back from his faith. In an Instagram post, he also apologized for his previously held views, including "bigotry" to the LGBTQ community.

In addressing some of the "changes" that have occurred between him and his wife---and in his own beliefs, he posted this on Instagram on Friday:

"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."

Harris noted that his views on sexuality have changed.

"I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say, that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality. I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry. I hope you can forgive me."

This announcement by Josh has been met with both praise and grief. Homosexual activists, of course, are rejoicing.

I am personally grieved. I know others who share the grief. I have known the Harris family in the past.

Michael Faust notes that Grayson Gilbert, a self-identified Christian writer at Patheos, "applauded Harris for his honesty."

He wrote,
"For Joshua Harris, this journey didn't lead to an embrace of Progressive 'Christianity---not yet at least. In the end, it looks much the same, sans the false notion one can deny the text and remain a Christian. For that, I earnestly think he is more forthright than many of his predecessors who have left the Evangelical world."

I'm sure Gilbert is thinking about a number of names who are now leaders in the so-called "religious Left"---Compolo, Wallis, Keller...

Or perhaps he thought of former evangelical preacher and children's songwriter Dan Barker---who now, with his wife Laurie Gaynor, is co-president of the atheist "Freedom From Religion Foundation."

Barker had a similar falling to that of Harris. He says in his book "Godless: How An Evangelical Became One Of America's Leading Atheists" that "exposure to more liberal Christians pushed him away...Then, in his early 30s, he studied theology, philosophy, history, and science from the liberal view, and slowly his beliefs began to unravel."

He says his "conversion was painful" as he shared it with his family, but he says, "How can you talk to God when there's no evidence?" He says, "The likelihood of the existence of God keeps getting smaller and smaller--to a point where you have to round it off."

He says, "The phrase I like to use is 'I dumped out the bathwater and there was no baby there'."

Barker says he now sees that "Believing in an afterlife kind of takes away some of the dignity of the actual life we have."

Gilbert writes of Josh Harris,
"His embrace of the sexual anarchy that is homosexuality, departure from men's roles in ministry, etc., is but the cherry on top of his apostasy. Surely, if one departs wholly from 'all the measurements [they] have for defining a Christian, ' it is little wonder they would likewise depart from the biblical sexual ethic.

However, Gilbert did call the announcement "incredibly sad". He noted that "Harris' message was coupled with a picture of him enjoying God's creation, looking at a serene lake and scenic mountains."

"Truly," Gilbert wrote, "it is a breathtaking view of the handiwork of our Creator and one who stands before it as if to say, 'It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul'."

Joshua wrote this in conclusion:
"To my Christian friends, I am grateful for your prayers. Don't take it personally if I don't immediately return your calls. I can't join you in your mourning. I don't view this moment negatively. I am very much alive, and awake, and surprisingly hopeful. I believe with my sister Julian that 'All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well'."

Pray for Joshua.

The church Joshua formerly pastored has stated publicly that they love Joshua and his wife and are praying for them both.

The current pastor said, “Several times Paul mentions former Christian leaders ‘swerving from,’ ‘wandering from,’ or ‘making shipwreck’ of their faith. So while this is sad and confusing, it isn’t new.”

He notes,
“Paul says some had gone off course theologically. Others behaved in ways that violated Christian conscience. For others, it was greed. In every case, Paul’s hope was for redemption and restoration. That these leaders would develop ‘love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith’ (1 Tim 1:5). That should be our hope and prayer for Josh as well.”


Jesus spoke of a falling away---a time when many would turn away from the faith having a heart that has grown cold---a time when many false prophets would arise.

Paul warned, (2 Corth. 11:3): "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

Proverbs 4: 23 to 27 gives this godly counsel:

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil."

Be Faithful. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.