Kissing Christianity Goodbye

A number of announcements came from popular christian author Joshua Harris this past week. For those that do not know, Joshua Harris has been a well known christian author for the past couple of decades, his most famous book being I Kissed Dating Goodbye. He was a pastor of a church in Maryland for a number of years with his speaking, preaching, teaching and writing being lined up with reformed theology. Then a series of events happened that lead to the most shocking of all this past week. He first left his church in Maryland amid sexual abuse scandals (not him directly but other leaders in his church)and went on to British Columbia to study theology at Regent Seminary. After being silent and obscure for a couple of years he recently came out and apologized for his popular book over the harm it may have caused for single christians. Then over the last week he announced that he and his wife will be separating and on an instagram post this past Friday he announced that he is no longer a christian! 
He stated, “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.”
This is definitely a shock and a big turn in Josh’s life. When something like this happens, especially with someone so prominent, it brings so many questions to our minds. What caused this? Did he lose his faith? Was he ever saved? Should we still read the books we already have? Is this a sign of the end times? For some people, it may even lead them to question their own faith. If someone so knowledgeable in the faith all of a sudden no longer believes the bible’s claims are true then have I been mislead? Who has it wrong, me or him? What are we to learn from this sad departure that Josh has taken from the faith? There are a few things we need to keep in mind;

  • Abide. We are taught by God’s Word, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9) Do not fail to remain in Christ. Continue to abide in Him till the very end. And how do we do this? “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (1 John 3:24)
  • Persevere. Christianity is referred to as a race, but it is not a sprint. We are warned in numerous locations that we have to persevere to the very end. You may start out well (like Josh did) but it is about how you end. Perseverance should never be taken lightly in the faith. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9)
  • Sanctification is not our work. Praise God that our sanctification does not rest in us. If we try to be a good Christian on our own, we will fail. It is impossible for us to carry the infinite. It is only by God’s grace that we will remain his and be sanctified to the end. Sanctification is His work. “ And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) We can not sanctify ourselves. It is God working in us. It is us relying on the power of the Spirit. It is not the work of man but the work of the Lord. Anyone who lives a christian life on their own power is not truly a christian and it will eventually be too much to carry . God promises that He will be faithful in completing the work in us. With that in mind, we see that what happened to Josh is that he was just trying to sanctify himself. 
  • We can not lose our salvation. This is a harder one to accept. Especially looking at an example like Joshua Harris. How can we say someone can not lose their salvation ,and then see someone who taught, preached and wrote correctly the truths of God ,all of a sudden leave the faith completely?  But rest assured, we are not strong enough to undo what God can in salvation. Just trust God’s word when it says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Next week I will write in length why we can not lose our salvation. That Joshua Harris was not a christian to begin with even though the church believed he was. In the meantime abide in Christ and pray for Joshua Harris’ salvation. 

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