Pastor Joshua Harris, author of ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye,’ separates from wife

"Nearly three years after apologizing to Christians and calling his advice against dating in his best-selling 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a 'huge mistake,' author and pastor Joshua Harris revealed he and his wife are separating." - Christian Post

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M. Osborne's picture

Does anyone know if he's a member at a church anymore, and more importantly, a church that would do the right thing and put him under discipline?

I remember being glad to read his recantation of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. For all the real problems that that group observed with the dating scene, the "courtship" thing was too often relied upon as a sure-fire way to protect young people, rather than more basically biblical truths about sanctification, spiritual warfare, love, marriage. But when I read his recantation, nothing suggested to me that he was on this kind of trajectory.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Jay's picture

Whatever else we say - let's keep in mind that Josh and his wife have (I think) at least three teenaged kids now.  We should pray for them as well.  This is a devastating thing to have to go through, especially since their parents were so well known in Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dgszweda's picture

He is starting a podcast where he will talk about why he is abandoning the faith.  This is a significant turnaround for him.

Don Johnson's picture

dgszweda's comment got me wondering. Went looking for more. Here is a recent interview. Frankly, the words "not a novice" come to mind. Harris wrote his infamous book at 21.

The whole Sovereign Grace movement is collapsing in on itself. And we think it's a good thing to import their culture into our churches?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dgszweda's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

dgszweda's comment got me wondering. Went looking for more. Here is a recent interview. Frankly, the words "not a novice" come to mind. Harris wrote his infamous book at 21.

The whole Sovereign Grace movement is collapsing in on itself. And we think it's a good thing to import their culture into our churches?

I agree Don.  Here is a link that I read about his new podcast.  It may be a bit more reformed for some, but I think the concerns that are expressed are shared by all on here.

 

https://www.agradio.org/time-to-kiss-new-calvinism-goodbye.html

 

GregH's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

And we think it's a good thing to import their culture into our churches?

No, we should not. It is just another version of fundamentalism, maybe a more polished one but with the same problems. I don't really have a problem with their music but I always wonder why their music is so popular considering the baggage that comes along with it. Speaking for myself, they can have their music because I want nothing to do with them.

GregH's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

 

dgszweda's comment got me wondering. Went looking for more. Here is a recent interview. Frankly, the words "not a novice" come to mind. Harris wrote his infamous book at 21.

The whole Sovereign Grace movement is collapsing in on itself. And we think it's a good thing to import their culture into our churches?

 

 

I agree Don.  Here is a link that I read about his new podcast.  It may be a bit more reformed for some, but I think the concerns that are expressed are shared by all on here.

 

https://www.agradio.org/time-to-kiss-new-calvinism-goodbye.html

 

I had not seen this and found this excerpt from the article to be humorous: 

In a properly ordered church a minister who comes to doubt the faith and his faith would do as Harris has done, leave the ministry and seek secular employment but he would do one more thing: be quiet. Harris no longer has a brief from the church to speak to others about the faith. He certainly has no authority from the Scriptures to drag Christ’s lambs that he once shepherded with him into his doubts and uncertainties via a podcast.

I am not sure why he would think that a guy that left the faith would still feel any need to be under the authority of a "properly ordered church" and stay quiet. The way this is written, it is almost as if the author thinks the church's authority extends beyond itself. From Harris' perspective, he does not need a "brief from the church to speak to others about the faith." Sort of weird.

I also find the nastiness on many blogs to be weird as well as the motive judging. Harris wrote a dumb book and he has apologized. I am not sure why people are so full of angst that he made money off a dumb book and then eventually changed his mind and then changed his mind and left the faith. I could understand sorrow being expressed but not the nastiness.

Jay's picture

I also find the nastiness on many blogs to be weird as well as the motive judging. Harris wrote a dumb book and he has apologized. I am not sure why people are so full of angst that he made money off a dumb book and then eventually changed his mind and then changed his mind and left the faith. I could understand sorrow being expressed but not the nastiness.

I'm in the same place as GregH, which is part of why I made the first post I did.   

The hostility Josh Harris is receiving now stands in direct proportion to the reception that IKDG, BMG, and his other books got from our circles when they were released.  We made him a hero - and now that he's separating from his wife, we have fully extended the right boot of fellowship even quicker than we lionized him.

If there is blame to go around for his rapid ascent in fame and influence and corresponding fall from grace - we ought to take some time looking in the mirror first.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Those of our circle who thought Josh Harris was somebody worth paying attention to shouldn't be blamed, but they should be warned. They should have seen flaws in his theology and position. The problem we have is that when someone loudly says things we tend to agree with (modesty, purity, etc, in this case) that many tend to forget about discernment and other factors that ought to raise questions.

1Jo 2:18 ¶ Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Joeb's picture

I wish him well and pray that Joshua and his wife can reconcile if there is no serious problems other than not getting along.  Someone correct me if I’m wrong was he not connected to CJ Mahaney.  Also did not this book impower the Purity Movement.

 I’d have to say if I’m right this shows you how corrupt the Purity Movement is and hopefully the hard right Fundamentalists will drop the Purity Rings and go about repairing the damage to our young sisters in Christ ie a young man’s fall is not all hung on their shoulders.   Corrupt Biblical Teaching.  

Additionally, Don you mention decrement.   I say it’s very lacking amongst the Fundamentalist/ Evangelical  World in the US as a whole.  Across the board in many areas. Don is right when obvious unbiblical teaching takes root this is what happens when it closely matches are preferences.  My question has the church made an effort to identify the people who specifically have this gift so they can be consulted when certain matters come up.

 I believe my father had this gift.  My father saw through Bill Gothard 45 years ago and made an effort when the Gothard clan made a move to get their claws into the church I was attending in high school.  He told the people in the church who were persuaded by Gothardism that Gothard was a phony and was not teaching correct biblical theology.  My father told them to stay away from his children and warned people in the church including the Leadership about the dangers of Gothard.  

My father was saved through Jack Wrytzen’s ministry at West Point.  My church at the time was closely aligned with Jack Wyrtzen and Keswick Colony and Bible Camp in Whiting NJ and Philadelphia College of the Bible now known as Carin University.  These ministries still stand today with no major scandals and solid in the Lord.  I’m sure they had their problems like anyone else.   

TylerR's picture

Editor

I wasn't around when Harris's book came out and I didn't grow up as a Christian, so "purity culture" wasn't a thing for me. To be honest, I don't even know what, exactly, "purity culture" is ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Tyler, Harris' books start with what I think is a laudable motivation--that parents ought to take an active role in couinseling their children as they seek a marriage partner--and in the view of many, transforms into a list of dos and don'ts that leaves a lot of kids, especially girls, without a spouse.  I've not read it, but I did read Doug Wilson's "Her Hand in Marriage", which proceeds from a lot of the same notions.  Bill Gothard and Doug Philipps did a fair amount of the same analysis, too.  Purity culture is manifested by purity rings given to girls (yes on the left ring finger, taken off on her wedding day, etc..), lots of preaching about virginity and "damaged goods", "modest is hottest", etc..  We find it in the various "camps" represented here on SI.

One other note here is that, given that Harris is placing a large portion of the blame for the disaster on excessive rules, those of us from traditions which, ahem, have a lot of rules might want to refrain from saying "I told you so."  This is especially the case if your tradition (I am pointing at myself here, BTW) has "preacher-boy" competitions and routinely hires 22 year old youth pastors just out of Bible college.  

Perhaps we need to recover the concept of why Scripture uses the word "elder" for the pastor's role, because what our culture too often does is elevate young men (and women) to positions of prominence without their theology being tested, and without life experience.  Not a good situation.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Craig Toliver's picture

Jay's picture

Here's some more from his Instagram page:

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.”

Pray for Shannon (his wife) and their kids.  I don't know where she is at spiritually, but it's clear that Josh has rejected everything about the faith.

This whole thing is just so, so sad.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joeb's picture

I understand where he is coming from.  It probably did not help seeing CJ Mahaney engage in all the bad things he did.   I hope and pray for him and his wife that they can reconcile and he can return to the Lord.  

I was there myself.  If it was not for close friends and my memory of great men of God I have known I would have gone there to.  I also include those here on SI.  In my life I have suffered great loses but not any different then other men or women.   It’s only through God’s strength I have survived and seeing God do wonders in other people’s lives.   

Ill share one wonder.  A very good friend of mine and brother in Christ who has s Magic Shop in Scranton Pa just had an opportunity to share the gospel with youth at a Daily Vacation Bible School at a Catholic Church.  The Priest who my friend knew from the magic business invited my friend to do a magic show to the youth along with presenting the Gospel to them.  

Some on SI might say that’s not separating. To them I say your wrong.  My friend says this Priest knows the Lord.  So my friend never turns an opportunity down to share Christ.