In a stunning Instagram post today, Joshua Harris, the author who became famous for his 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced that he is no longer a Christian. “I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” Harris wrote. “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.” Harris added that he is open to “a different way to practice faith,” but is “not there now.”
Harris also apologized in his post for “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.” These he has apologized for before, but today, he announced he had another regret.
“I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LBGTQ+ 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.”
Just last week, Harris announced that he and his wife of 21 years are separating. (Today he said he’s getting divorced.) “In recent years, some significant changes have taken place in both of us,” Harris wrote in an Instagram post last Friday. “It is with sincere love for one another and understanding of our unique story as a couple that we are moving forward with this decision. We hope to create a generous and supportive future for each other and for our three amazing children in the years ahead.”
In today’s post, Harris said that his “heart is full of gratitude” for the many messages people sent him after announcing his divorce. “This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between,” he said. But he added that there “have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me.”
In addition to writing a best-selling book, Harris also served as senior pastor at Covenant Life Church, a megachurch in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that was rocked by an alleged conspiracy to cover-up child sex abuse.
My heart breaks over this—for Harris, for his wife and kids, for his former church, and the many Christians who looked up to him. It’s just so very sad.
Below is Harris’ Instagram post: