Courtship Author Joshua Harris Falls from the Faith: ‘I Am Not a Christian’

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Monday, July 29, 2019
Courtship Author Joshua Harris Falls from the Faith: ‘I Am Not a Christian’

Courtship Author Joshua Harris Falls from the Faith: ‘I Am Not a Christian’


Joshua Harris, the bestselling author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye who previously announced that he was separating from his wife, said Friday he no longer considers himself a Christian.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye was one of the most popular Christian books in the late 1990s and early 2000s among Christian families and singles who embraced the courtship model. Harris then went on to pastor a congregation, Covenant Life Church in Maryland.

In mid-July, Harris and his wife, Shannon, announced on social media they were separating. 

“In recent years, some significant changes have taken place in both of us,” Harris wrote on Instagram. 

On Friday, he revealed one of those significant changes. 

“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 on Instagram. “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 also noted that his views on sexuality had 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,” he wrote. “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.”

The reaction to Harris’ announcement ranged from grief (from Christians) to joy (from atheists).

Grayson Gilbert, a Christian writer at Patheos, applauded Harris for his honesty. 

“For Joshua Harris, this journey didn’t lead to an embrace of Progressive ‘Christianity’ -- not yet at least,” Gilbert wrote. “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. 

“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, or any biblical ethic,” Gilbert wrote. 

Still, Gilbert called the announcement “incredibly sad.” He noted 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.’”

Below is Harris’ full Instagram message:

“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.”

“I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace. This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, 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 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.

“Martin Luther said that the entire life of believers should be repentance. There’s beauty in that sentiment regardless of your view of God. 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. 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.

“To my Christians friends, I am grateful for your prayers. Don’t take it personally if I don’t immediately return calls. I can’t join in your mourning. I don’t view this moment negatively. I feel 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.’” 

Related:

Christian Author Joshua Harris of I Kissed Dating Goodbye Separating from His Wife

3 Things Joshua Harris Regrets about I Kissed Dating Goodbye

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.

Photo courtesy: Joshua Harris Instagram