The church, just like our nation, is being rattled with constant shifts, some good, and some bad. Recently, author and former pastor, Joshua Harris, renounced his faith in Jesus and rejected Christianity.
Harris authored quite a few books relating to the topic of dating, marriage, and sexuality, based on scripture. Granted, I have never read any of his books. But friends of mine have, and I am familiar with his view.
Here is a portion of Harris’s Instagram post:
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.
First of all, Harris has lost sight of what repentance is. The Bible is clear as to what repentance is.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
“Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19
There are plenty of verses to back up the benefits of repentance and its purpose. Based on Harris’ statement, he believes he is, in fact, repenting when he is doing the opposite of what scripture instructs us to do.
It is unfortunate that Harris has rejected God, and as a result, will disappoint an entire generation of young men and women who respected him and relied on his writings for encouragement and guidance. However, there is a lesson to be learned here: Do not put your faith in man, but in God alone.
The opposite is true
Harris, in his statement, also said that he apologizes about his “bigotry” towards marriage equality. Keep in mind; Harris pastored a megachurch. He also apparently held controversial views of women in the church, which I can assume meant he did not agree women should hold leadership positions in the church, specifically, as a pastor. But that’s not the point I’m getting at.
Harris now holds the view that he is repenting of the sins he has committed, such as self-righteousness. He believed he was better than others. By that statement, he is saying his newfound view of sexual immorality is biblical. Well, that is not biblical at all. Harris lived a life of confusion and pain throughout the years he was preaching to others. How do we know this? The Bible states what is sinful and is clear about what is a Christ-centered life.
Believe truth for yourself, not for man.
Harris, like many humans, has gone through struggles, which is natural. The difference is, not only did he renounce the view that he has held his whole life (in his 40’s), but he left his family! For anyone out there who has read his books and may feel disappointed, don’t worry, truth remains truth. And of course, people change. Harris did say that he is still best friends with his wife, and he is committed to taking care of his children with her. But that damage he has caused, emotionally and spiritually, is very harmful.
Harris is a big disappointment. The best thing to realize is that Jesus has not changed! He remains the same, regardless of what Harris or any other man claims within their warped view of the Bible.
It’s also important to note that, while Harris and others may renounce their belief in Jesus, others are stepping up in defense of their faith!
John Cooper, lead singer of the Christian rock band, Skillet, recently came out with a lengthy statement about apostasy within the church. Skillet has been around since the late ’90s and has always been known as a Christian band. Their lyrics, however, are not overtly “Christian.” Which is why, in part, they have gone mainstream in the secular music industry. That has not stopped Cooper from defending his faith, especially in an age where doing so can end your career.
Tim Tebow is yet another notable public figure. Tebow has also taken a big stand publicly about his faith in Jesus.
It’s not all bad. In a time where horrible things are occurring in our culture, I believe the church is being renewed and awakened. This is the time when young men and women, who are believers, are called to take a stand for truth.
If you’re young and single (like me!), I highly recommend Waiting and Dating by Dr. Myles Munroe. It’s a great book that explains the biblical way to approach dating and how to prepare for marriage (which I have). By understanding the proper way to date and marry, you can avoid many of the hardships that most people face. The first part is choosing the right spouse. If you’re single, you are off to a great start with that first part!