Christian Writer Renounces His Faith and Apologizes to LGBTQ Community

Joshua Harris, author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," announced that he is no longer a Christian.
Joshua Harris, author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," announced that he is no longer a Christian. Joshua Harris

Joshua Harris, former pastor and the author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” is renouncing his faith.

“By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian,” Harris announced in a post on Instagram.

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My heart is full of gratitude. I wish you could see all the messages people sent me after the announcement of my divorce. They are expressions of love though they are saddened or even strongly disapprove of the decision.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace. This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between. Of course there have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me. (There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that angered and hurt me.)⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 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.”

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Harris also went on to apologize for his attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community in the past: “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.”

Harris, who was a lead pastor of Covenant Life Church in Maryland, was outspoken for his religion-based writing on love and sexuality. Following his 1997 best-seller, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” he went on to publish several other books that discussed both faith and his own relationship.

He announced his separation from his wife earlier this month, citing changes in both of their lives and assuring their three kids will continue to be well cared for.

But, fans and followers didn’t seem so optimistic about their split.

“Nothing is irreconcilable – please give it your all to work out your issues before God and get back together,” one follower commented.

Another wrote, “This is very sad. You are trampling on the name of Christ and announcing to the world that the gospel has no power.”

Harris responded to those remarks in his latest post, saying that he is grateful his followers care for him, even though he was “angered and hurt” by many “spiteful, hateful” comments.

“The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” he clarified. “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.”

Harris concluded the emotional post by thanking his Christian friends for their prayers and making amends to the LGBTQ+ community: “I hope you can forgive me.”

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