Anti-gay pastor quits Christianity, leaves wife & marches in Pride parade as atonement
A formerly anti-gay pastor has transformed his life and is now asking LGBTQ people for forgiveness. Joshua Harris used to be the pastor of the Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is a bestselling evangelical author.
He is best known for his 1997 hit I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a book that was popular in the sexual purity movement and advocated giving up dating in favor of what he called “courting,” which basically meant group dates and the involvement of a woman’s parents in the process that was geared towards marriage and did not involve premarital sex.
But now he has turned his life around, so much that he marched in Vancouver Pride this weekend.
The former pastor shared several photos of himself at Pride on Instagram, the Christian Post reports. He posted a picture with Matthias Roberts, the host of Queerology: A Podcast on Belief and Being and gay singer Trey Pearson. He had a rainbow cake in another.
The change in his life started long before this weekend. Three years ago, Harris denounced his book, which he said was a “huge mistake.” A year later he gave a TED talk where he said that the book was based on his fears of sex and getting hurt in relationships.
Last month, he posted an Instagram story saying that he and his wife were separating and “will continue our life together as friends.” He had previously written in his book that dating was “a training ground for divorce” and that having sex before marriage would make it difficult for people to commit to each other.
Then he posted that he would no longer call himself a Christian and apologized to LGBTQ people.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
Evangelicals and the sexual purity movement haven’t taken his announcements well. Robert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggested in a podcast last week that Harris was never “genuinely Christian.”
“If persons do continue in their repudiation of Christianity, then we have to remember the text 1 John 2:19 where we are told that, ‘They went out from us, because they were not of us,’ which is to say they never were truly Christians,” Mohler said. “They were pretend believers.”
Others have criticized him on social media.
📷Chuck O'Neal@ChuckONeal_Joshua Harris @HarrisJosh has made his apostasy very public. He's denied Christ. He's blasphemed God's Law and Gospel. He's become an evangelist for apostasy and homosexuality. These are not neutral or innocent acts. He's declared war against Christ and the souls of men. 📷1412:51 AM - Aug 5, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy
📷Eric Metaxas✔@ericmetaxasThe Joshua Harris story is simply heartbreaking. I happen to agree w/most of what he wrote in his book I KISSED DATING GOODBYE. To see him slide to where he now is painful. Let's pray for this man! And thank you @LarryTaunton for clarity on this subject. https://larryalextaunton.com/2019/08/exchanging-the-truth-of-god-for-a-lie-former-christian-mega-church-pastor-and-author-joshua-harris-renounces-his-faith-and-rebrands-in-slick-social-media-fashion/ … 2607:49 AM - Aug 4, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy
📷Albert Mohler✔@albertmohlerNew essay: “The Tragedy of Joshua Harris: Sobering Thoughts for Evangelicals.” https://albertmohler.com/2019/08/01/joshua-harris … 📷The Tragedy of Joshua Harris: Sobering Thoughts for Evangelicals The evangelical world has been roiled by the headlines concerning Joshua Harris. First came the news of his divorce, and then came the news of his departure from the Christian faith. It's hard to... albertmohler.com2824:47 PM - Aug 1, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy
Harris, though, said the he would not be silent. He posted on Instagram that it is important “to refuse to disappear.”
“To live my life. Hold my head up. Look my Christian friends in the eyes and smile when I pass them on the sidewalk. Even the seemingly insignificant act of posting a picture on Instagram is important for me.”
“To say I’m here, I’m alive, I’m not ashamed.”