By R.E. Olsen
Have you heard about Joshua Harris? (I mean the homeschooler, not the fisherman in “Deadliest Catch.”) He is the oldest of seven children born to Christian homeschooling pioneers Gregg and Sono Harris. In the 1980s-1990s they traveled around the country speaking at homeschool conventions and seminars.
As a teenager, Josh produced his New Attitude magazine for fellow homeschoolers. Harris’s first book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, was published in 1997 and became a bestseller. He advocated for courtship, believing that casual dating was training for divorce. Josh courted singer-songwriter Shannon Bonne, and married her in 1998.
From 1999 to 2011, Josh led the New Attitude Conference for Christian singles. Sadly, his mom died on July 4, 2010, after a short battle with cancer. At age 30, Josh assumed the role of lead pastor at Covenant Life Church, until he resigned in 2015.
Josh, his wife and three children moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Harris enrolled in the transdenominational graduate school of theology at Regent College. He said that his studies included “a mind-expanding mixture of art, religion, history, culture, documentary film-making, and content marketing.”
Josh’s Bombshell Announcements
On July 17, 2019, Joshua Harris announced that he and his wife would be separating due to “significant changes [that] have taken place in both of us.”
On July 26, 2019, he elaborated in a follow-up post: “By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.”
The former pastor also issued an apology to the LGBTQ community and is no longer selling his book; in fact, he made a film titled I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
So, over the past few years, Joshua Harris got a whole new attitude. He left the ministry, embraced liberal Christianity, denounced his book on courtship, renounced his faith, divorced his wife, and joined those who let the world set the standard for “truth.”
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 13:24-30 about weeds growing amidst the wheat, warning that there would be false teachers living among us. Therefore, the actions of Joshua Harris should not surprise anyone.
God’s Still in His Heaven, All’s Right With the World
Josh’s followers may be shocked by his change of heart. Rest assured, the personal choices made by Harris does not mean that all the ideals he once stood for are obsolete. Keeping your mind and body pure and holy are still good virtues. But as Josh found out, there is no magic formula for guaranteeing a perfect, long-lasting marriage.
I Kissed Dating Goodbye was simply the viewpoint of a single 21-year-old guy who had only been in one serious relationship at the time he wrote the book. His opinion was not gospel; readers could feel free to take it or leave it.
Not to worry, we still have God’s Word, God’s principles, and God’s promises. None of those things have changed, because God never changes.
Humans are fallible. We all make mistakes. That is why I always say don’t take my word for it; read the Bible instead.
Are our churches really filled with unbelievers?
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, several times he mentioned Christian leaders “straying from,” “falling from,” or “making shipwreck” of their faith. So to have a Christian leader leave his faith is nothing new.
Joshua Harris, having been raised in a conservative Christian household, immersed in Christian culture and groomed to be a pastor, knew how to talk the talk – only to realize he is not a Christian.
It’s like Jesus said: “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” (Matthew 15:7-9).
Jesus explained that in the last judgment He will tell such people, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
True Christians vs. False Converts
The late D. James Kennedy said, “The vast majority of people who are members of churches in America today are not Christians. I say that without the slightest fear of contradiction. I base it on empirical evidence of 24 years of examining thousands of people.”
The following scripture comes to mind:
“Ye shall know them by their fruit.” ~Matthew 7:16
Not only has the modern gospel filled America with bitter backsliders, but it has also packed the church (in pew and pulpit) with false converts.
Why is divorce, addiction, and immorality so prevalent within the Church today? This video explains why.
Why do 80-90% of those making a decision for Christ fall away from the faith? Listen to this important teaching.