Author Joshua Harris is saying goodbye to his Christian faith.
Harris, an author known for pushing purity culture and religion to many millennials, took to Instagram over the weekend to publicly renounce his Christianity and to apologize to members of the LGBTQ community. Harris’ post came shortly after announcing his divorce from his wife.
“My heart is full of gratitude. I wish you could see all the messages people sent me after the announcement of my divorce. They are expressions of love though they are saddened or even strongly disapprove of the decision,” Harris wrote.
He continued, “I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace. This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, evangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between. Of course, there have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me. (There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that angered and hurt me.)”
The author then revealed he has gone through a “massive shift” in his beliefs. He plainly said at one point that he is “not a Christian.”
“The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” he wrote. “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 went on to say that he is looking to repent for his past beliefs.
“I have lived in repentance for the past several years — repenting of my self-righteousness, my fear-based approach to life, the teaching of my books, my views of women in the church, and my approach to parenting to name a few,” he wrote. “But 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.”
Harris followed up with another Instagram post on Monday.
Reaction to Harris’ announcement has been mixed, to say the least.
“Sometimes I think we don’t really understand faith until ours is tested. For some reason, everyone’s test isn’t of equal size. I would like to encourage you to keep search but above all keep praying. I will be praying for you,” one user replied on Instagram.
Another responded by saying, “Unfortunately, to know GOD and HIS Gift of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice, then deny it, there is no place for repentance. Don’t hate u at all. I’m concerned though.”
While some have praised Harris for renouncing his faith, others seem concerned about the drastic change. Some even feel betrayed.
Troubled to hear of Joshua Harris leaving the faith. Obviously 1 John 2:19 directs our thinking on this, but it’s still sad to know that he was never of us. How sad that he has dived straight into the chains of slavery, and yet feels free. Oh how deceptive his master is!
— Stephen Michael Feinstein (@Ptr_StephenFein) July 27, 2019
Some free advice for Joshua Harris – Perhaps you should consider deconstructing in private.@wartwatch
— Todd Wilhelm (@ThouArtTheMan) July 27, 2019
My heart breaks for #JoshuaHarris. He's lost his wife, church, testimony & integrity – all of which can be restored through God's Word, love, wisdom & forgiveness
— Kenny Fryman (@KennyFryman) July 27, 2019
Harris, 44, is the author of the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” which was an alternative look at dating. While the book made the case for avoiding dating, Harris actually apologized in 2010 for his words, which seems to be a running theme for the man. Harris was also the lead pastor for Covenant Life Church in Maryland from 2004 to 2005.
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