Joshua Harris falling away from faith: 'I am not a Christian'

"In the Instagram post, Harris commented on the responses he received about his pending divorce and dropped another shocking announcement by revealing that he is 'falling away' from the faith and no longer identifies as a Christian." - Christian Post

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WallyMorris's picture

I suspect there's a whole more to Harris' change of beliefs than is publicly known. Wouldn't surprise me if eventually claims to be homosexual.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

JBL's picture

There's just never any need for this type of speculation.

"Wouldn't surprise me if eventually claims to be homosexual."

John B. Lee

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

JBL wrote:

There's just never any need for this type of speculation.

"Wouldn't surprise me if eventually claims to be homosexual."

It would be pretty easy for some to infer this from the fact that he complains about the Christian view on sexuality, especially as it pertains to the alphabet soup types, and the fact that he separated from his wife.  Doesn't make it true though, and I agree that it's at best uncharitable to speculate on this until information comes out.  If he claims to not be a Christian, his soul is in danger regardless of what sins he wants to hold on to.

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

Whatever it is, we're likely to learn at least some of it soon, as he appears to be planning to have/continue a podcast about these matters.  I admit I took a look at their social media feeds, and concluded it's been building for a while (at least a year for the immediate stuff, they've been leading semi-separate lives), they appear to be supporting each other in this, and they're both reporting being "ex-vangelical".  It's not the classic divorce case with acrimony; the main thing that looks familiar is a gradual withdrawal from church/seminary activities as whatever it was happened. 

We might do well to listen to or read what he has to say, as it might show us better how to recognize signs that something is going seriously wrong--and figure out ways of lovingly intervening to possibly reduce the damage that occurs.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

He'd been in seminary until about a year back--Regent around Vancouver.  Now he appears to write advertising/marketing copy.    You can check out his Instagram link in the linked article.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

Considering what has been happening in modern Christianity, I wouldn't be surprised if he makes an announcement about his sexual orientation. Call my comments whatever you like, it's very possible. I guarantee you it's what a lot of you are thinking.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Larry's picture

Moderator

Wally,

Why do you feel compelled to say that?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I never thought that at all. 

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?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Three Lessons to Learn from the Josh Harris Recantation

In Wally's defense... it's not an observation I would have made, but now that he's mentioned it, there's something about the current cultural narrative that seems to beg for that turn of events. It just feels like how the story should go next. Pretty much everything nowadays has to be about LGBTQ, women's rights, or race.

(My son and I have a little game we play where we're watching movies I've never seen before and I tell him what's about to happen... or even what a character is about to say. Sometimes I'm completely wrong but it's hilarious how often I'm right. The stories are just that predictable. It kind of has that feel to it. "Here it comes, wait for it... boom!")

M. Osborne's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Three Lessons to Learn from the Josh Harris Recantation

Good article. This was well-said:

Of course, there is nothing wrong with Christian purity, but glorifying purity leads to taking pride in purity which leads to a form of self-righteousness that is in itself sin. The idea of Christian sexual purity is shocking to the world around us, but it should be normal for us.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Lee's picture

Heb. 6:4-6 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

Forget the debate about his morality.  The real question is has Josh Harris put himself in the position of one of the unredeemable lost?  This passage means something, and if the article is accurately describing his position he certainly appears to have the characteristics of what is being described here.  

Thoughts?

Lee

Bert Perry's picture

I thought the same thing Wally did for the reasons Dave mentioned.  I'd add to that that, given that both parties are walking away from faith to some extent, it's not like there's a religious difference that we can tell, and then why do you separate/divorce if you still love one another?

Not a gimme, not a proof, by any means, and it is my prayer that this hunch of mine is dead wrong.  One other thing that seems to suggest this; it is almost a proverb  in some circles, per "the lady protesteth too much, methinks", that a fair number of people who argue most vociferously against homosexuality are actually hiding something.

Again, praying I'm wrong, and I'd bet a shiny new nickel Wally is too.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

When I heard about this, I felt like I'd died and gone to high school--"It's what all the cool kids are doing". There's a bandwagon out there that just drives around to see who will hop on.

I agree with the earlier post that mentioned 1 Tim. 3:6 "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." Many talented young people experience too much success too quickly, and it's not exactly news when a young celebrity crashes and burns at some point. Josh Harris may not be young now, but I imagine the weight of the success and fame he gained at a very young age is quite burdensome.

Jay's picture

Even if it was true that Harris becomes a homosexual, it's still unnecessary speculation.  Isn't this situation bad enough without adding fuel to the fire by making these kinds of accusations / statements?  

Now is a time for grief and mourning and soul-searching of our own hearts, not a time to start idly speculating about where he "goes next" with his rejection of the Truth.  Does anyone think that Josh, his kids, or his siblings and parents are edified or encouraged by these remarks?  Are making hypothetical remarks about his sexuality going to help him come back to the church?  Is it going to help the person in your congregation who is grappling with their own demons to come out and say "I need help, can we talk"?

I don't think that he has turned away from the truth and is eternally condemned to hell yet either; he made a remark about rejecting Christianity "by all the old measures he had", which makes me think that he is shedding a lot of the stuff he grew up in but not the gospel.  Maybe I'm being overly optimistic but as long as he is still alive, there is hope that he will repent.  God is certainly capable of turning him "back".

Finally, Susan's point about "not being a novice" is wise, and well worth meditation.  While I don't think we have any Fundamentalist superstars of his caliber, we are generally way too quick to push young, immature, and unsound men into the pulpit because they are "gifted" or "called".  Then when they flame out, we scratch out heads and wonder "where it went wrong".

"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

DLCreed's picture

Thank you, Jay....words of wisdom.

mmartin's picture

I can see Jay's point about specific speculation being unnecessary.  That said, I would agree that we shouldn't be surprised to hear of another bombshell from Mr. Harris, whatever that may be.

Regarding the biblical teaching of a pastor "not being a novice," what does it say about the non-novice folks that put a novice in such a non-novice role???  Mr. Harris didn't put himself in that position, other people did, many of whom are older and "wiser."

In our general fundamentalist circle, a somewhat recent example of this was Joe Zichterman.  I get it, he didn't leave the Christian faith.  He received an honorary doctorate from BJU at the age of 33, he and Jocelyn had their "Women at Home University" thing, their magazine, and he went around to various churches speaking against the likes of Hybels & Willow Creek, etc.  Again, I don't believe he has left is faith in the same manner as Mr. Harris, but the trajectory of what he was celebrated for in our circles has changed significantly in a way that if, say, BJU could've seen into the future they would not have given him an honorary doctorate, never mind at that young age.

Don Johnson's picture

Jay wrote:

Finally, Susan's point about "not being a novice" is wise, and well worth meditation.  While I don't think we have any Fundamentalist superstars of his caliber, we are generally way too quick to push young, immature, and unsound men into the pulpit because they are "gifted" or "called".  Then when they flame out, we scratch out heads and wonder "where it went wrong".

Really? I thought we were unwilling to mentor the young guys and not give them a chance at leadership? Now we are "way too quick" to push them forward? Which is it?

actually, I know the answer: "fundamentalist = bad, any narrative that comes along = a new opportunity to take a shot"

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bad idea to broadbrush causation. There were probably lots of reasons why Harris is where he is today - and these reasons include his own deliberate decisions!

Regarding mentoring, or lack thereof, and moving people along too soon - every ecclesiastical camp has its issues with this. Again, broadbrushing is often unhelpful. Truman has a good article on this matter at "First Things" today that suggests a more appropriate source of causation - celebrity evangelicalism.

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

....and it's not really a potshot at fundamentalists per se, but rather a statement of reality for all fundagelical (and pentamatic) circles.  All through fundagelicalism, we have our young heroes that we elevate far more quickly than their work really would justify, and having elevated our heroes in this way--be it a preacher-boy competition or a million-copy-selling book--it's awfully hard to mentor them, if even those older pastors have the time and energy to do so. 

So really, the "young giants" and "failure to make disciples" are two sides of the same coin.  My take is that if a church's definition of "discipleship" is attending three services a week and volunteering in the nursery or AWANA, they've got some things to learn from the Master.  It's simply not how Jesus did it with the Apostles, and it's not what Paul describes as his interactions with Timothy and other young pastors.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

I saw these thoughts on Twitter a few minutes ago, and wanted to share them as well.

https://twitter.com/racheljwelcher/status/1155120506175180802

"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

Mike Harding's picture

Harris gives all appearances of being an apostate according to the book of Jude and Hebrews 6.  If such is the case, and only God knows with absolute certainty, he not only has never been regenerated, he is also irredeemable.  Apostasy can occur both on a doctrinal level and on a moral level.  There is no doubt that he has doctrinally renounced the faith, but his comments on the LGBTQ agenda and his divorce may indicate a moral apostasy as well (Rom 1:18-33).  Time will tell.  Since he was an evangelical pastor, he falls under the judgment given by James that teachers of the truth of God's word will incur greater judgment.  Jesus said, "To Whom much is given, much more will be required." His comments indicate that he desires full acceptance by the secular culture and is willing to abandon all biblical beliefs and behavior to receive that acceptance.

Pastor Mike Harding

Bert Perry's picture

David French apparently was a volunteer youth pastor when the book came out, and he writes this regarding his view that the idea of Harris' smacked of legalism, and one of his proudest achievements was to put the kibosh on people trying to implement the book at the church he served.  This could speak to all kinds of things here.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Craig Toliver's picture

https://www.garbc.org/commentary/be-hopeful-the-church-does-not-rise-or-...

Ab Initio:

Alexander and Hymenaeus are not the most famous characters in the New Testament. Most would probably have a difficult time identifying who these men were and why they were mentioned in one of the apostle Paul’s epistles—these were men who made “shipwreck” of their faith (1 Tim. 1:19–20). Paul used them to illustrate the contrast between those who keep the faith with a good conscience and those who abandon the faith. Yet during this time when a few were apostatizing, the gospel was nevertheless spreading, countless multitudes were being saved, and churches were being planted at an incredible rate. So we shouldn’t be too quick to write off the church. God is faithful, and He will accomplish His purposes despite the unfaithfulness of some.

We all grieve over the tragic news of former megachurch pastor and bestselling author Joshua Harris’s announcements of separating from his wife and a week later publicly proclaiming that he’s “not a Christian.” Not only that, he went so far as to apologize for at one time standing for the Biblical teaching on sexual ethics. This recent “fall from grace” has brought to mind Biblical names such as Alexander the Coppersmith, Hymenaeus, and Demas.

Joshua Harris is a human being who is created in the image of God. He’s also the father of three beautiful children. He is obviously in a terrible place spiritually and in great need of prayer. Undoubtedly many in his former church and circle of influence are grieving right now. What happened to him could happen to any of us (1 Cor. 10:12–13). It’s important that as we consider these things, we keep our language from becoming quarrelsome, slanderous, demeaning, or unbecoming of a follower of Christ. This is especially important with respect to what we post on social media. Yes, let’s be bold and truthful. But at the same time, let’s say what we mean without being mean in how we say it (Col. 4:6).

But we also need to be cautious about embracing a “sky is falling” mentality. Thankfully, the church’s foundation does not depend on the performance of prominent Christian celebrities. Even when a well-known pastor and author publicly announces his divorce and denial of the faith, the church still marches on for God’s glory. Many who mock the gospel will gloat about this public denial of the faith. That’s tragic, but it isn’t fatal to the church’s future. I believe we should be more optimistic than ever about the future of the church—not because of the celebrities it often elevates, but because of the Christ Who is the rock and the head of the church.

Joeb's picture

Maybe Harris  just feels plain guilt for all the damage his book caused in the Fundamentalist circles.  Why he left his wife who knows.  It could be as simple as severe depression due to his guilt.  Don’s  assumption could still be right to.  I guess we will find out.  To me it’s sign that Pastors need to take the bull by the horns and do away with this Purity ring nonsense and ask forgiveness of our Christian Sisters for blaming them for a man’s fall.   

In regards to being vocal about gays.  I have seen the big mouth press grabbing Prolife preachers go down just as much.  One went down in Texas two weeks ago.  I’d say the bigger the mouth in condemnation the more skeletons in the closet.   

This proved true of the Pastor in Colorado Ted Hazard I believe was his name.  However his story was one that was very sad and understandable. He claimed he was sexually abused by a male friend of his father at 13.  I understand he did not reject his faith and he and his wife and family are still together.   

G. N. Barkman's picture

The DBTS article is a better analysis then most I've seen so far.

G. N. Barkman

T Howard's picture

The DBTS articles makes a helpful distinction between purity and the kitsch of purity culture. I certainly would want to preach / teach on purity. Is that now taboo?

 

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