Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Kissing Jesus Goodbye

Joshua Harris, pastor and author of 1997’s moderately controversial I Kissed Dating Goodbye, on doing much the same thing to the man he once called Lord and Savior:

“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 practise faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.”

Put bluntly, Mr. Harris has apostatized.

“No True Christian ...”

Harris is not the first by a long shot, and he won’t be the last. His announcement was preceded by an Instagram post in which he revealed he was separating from his wife of 21 years and immediately followed by an apology to the LGBTQ+ community for his previous unwillingness to affirm gay marriage and the rightful place in the church of men and women who are living in sin.

I read the article a few days ago and it’s been floating around in the back of my mind ever since. I am usually reluctant to use the Christian equivalent of a “no true Scotsman” argument (not least because it is generally considered a fallacy), but in this case we have the authority of an apostle to consider:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
Plainly put then, if Mr. Harris is indeed not a believer today, then he never was, notwithstanding the fact that he performed the duties of a pastor and Christian teacher for the past couple of decades. No true Christian suddenly decides everything he has believed for twenty-plus years was not only misled but morally inverted. Doubt is an understandable, if occasional, feature of the Christian experience. Total public repudiation of the faith is something else entirely. If you can undergo a “massive shift” in regard to your faith in Jesus, it is reasonable cause to conclude that what you had was not really faith in the first place. His sheep hear his voice, after all.

Antichristianity in Action

When John writes about people who “were not of us”, associating them with the spirit of antichrist, he is not talking here about the sort of antichristianity that manifests in globalist plotting and forcing people to take the number of the beast, but rather the sort that manifests in the desires of the flesh and the love of the world and the things in it; the sort that leads people who had formerly professed faith in Christ to disclaim him for the pleasures of a lifestyle they know he would never sanction. Those of us in the evangelical community who have seen this pattern dozens of times will not be gobsmacked a few weeks or months down the road at the inevitable revelation that Mr. Harris now finds himself attracted to men.

In any case, we have the man’s own testimony as to how he thinks about Jesus Christ, and I see no compelling reason to try to persuade him or anyone else that his soul is in any better shape than he says it is.

This poses a major difficulty for some Christians, not least those who read and benefited from Mr. Harris’ teaching and writing over the years, the bulk of which he now disavows. It can be deeply disappointing, discouraging and confusing to find that someone you respected and admired has declared himself to be precisely the opposite of what he once appeared.

No Sheepskin Jacket

That said, it is not at all a new thing. Paul wrote of wolves among the flock, and the Lord Jesus spoke of weeds among the wheat. Both were anticipated. The fact that Mr. Harris has publicly declared his apostasy rather than shrugging on a sheepskin jacket and playing church (and house) like so many others is something for which his congregation, his wife and the Christian community at large ought to be deeply grateful, as it sends a clear message which allows them to respond to Mr. Harris unambiguously and biblically, rather than feeling obliged to continue to give benefit of the doubt to an increasingly transparent act of fraud.


  1. If one considers this person to have a pathology what would today's psychiatrist tell him (provided he/she is consulted in the first place)? In my opinion, basically nothing other than if you are happy with yourself and don't plan on harming anyone, carry on.

    Not caring about, or misrepresenting one's or anyone's, spirituality is now perfectly acceptable since there mostly don't seem to be any consequences. It is for some people that there are consequences in that they do reach out to God as a last resort, it depends on who you are and what happens to you in life. Others don't seem to care if they loose their life. In any case, since individuals and mankind can manage to get into tight spots where only God could help, these things will in the long run become selfcorrecting because there are no other avenues left except to turn to your Creator. Obviously we are still quite removed from that point as a society.

  2. Maybe it's a pathology. I suspect he's simply a man who was elevated too fast with insufficient scrutiny by evangelicals who liked what he was saying and thought his ministry deserved support.

    I've seen it before. He poked around in the Christian faith as a youngster and found himself a message that got people excited, and then the whole thing got out of control long before he ever really knew who he was and what he was dealing with. Today he finds himself exposed to temptations he has never previously faced, and now he's succumbed to one or another of them.

    Having done that, and recognizing word was inevitably going to get out, renunciation of the faith seemed the only way to go. It's WAY safer than claiming to be a follower of Christ while doing these things.

    1. Unfortunately this type of thing seems to also have taken over Catholic hierarchy as this article shows concerning the Vatican. I feel bad for our honest parish priest who are trying to make Christ's teaching work.