Kissing Jesus Goodbye

So a little update post on my last entry regarding the shake-up around author and former pastor Joshua Harris’ retreat away from the teachings that skyrocketed him to fame in Christian evangelical circles. To recap, he wrote a catchy book calling for a more serious approach to Christian dating, one that would ease the pain of hook-up culture and hopefully give young folks a more secure foundation in the search for a marriage partner. Some good ideas to be sure, but when paired with sheer willpower and good old Christian legalism, a recipe for disaster. He apologized profusely for ever writing such nonsense, announced his divorce and touched on the fact that he just isn’t sure about any of it anymore.

Unsurprisingly, and quite in step with his previous announcement, Harris today announced his total departure from Christianity, officially, on social media, as is the way nowadays:

Joshua Harris via Instagram

“May your deconstruction be bright and beautiful”, one reader wrote.

There’s nothing beautiful about denouncing Christ to the world. Ever. Believers need to at least stop and ponder this for a moment. We live in a culture that will celebrate the erosion and eventual destruction of our faith. Why is that? Staying and working things out, fighting for faith and marriage? Nobody has time, they are too busy trying to please the masses. Combine this “you be you” mentality with an already man-centered theology, and the only logical end is to abandon Christ.

A different follower remarked, “Notice how gracefully he departs from Jesus with a kiss.” This stings.

Harris has come to one true conclusion: the kingdom of this world cannot coexist with the Kingdom of Christ. Once you begin to see life through the lens of culture, the only logical conclusion is that you must deny Christ.

I think about Christians in other parts of the world hiding in basements, being tortured, cast out, and killed for their faith. I think of all the people down through history who chose the narrow path even though it cost them dearly. I think of them and I have a very hard time swallowing this Instagram-able moment in which a guy chooses to cooly and publicly kiss Jesus goodbye and remain in the wilderness. I have a difficult time with people praising this departure as anything but the shipwreck it is.

Jesus is willing and waiting to bring us into all truth, if we will surrender. All the clanging voices have convinced us otherwise. Christianity isn’t some embarrassing problem we humans need to solve, but a freeing relationship to be lived and shared.

What more can be said? What a sad departure. What sad responses. I think it’s a matter of time before we start to see more ‘believers’ having to pick a side. I’ve said it before, God can handle our brokenness and our doubts. Give people grace, give them space, but don’t ever compromise on the truth. There was nothing ‘bright or transformative’ about Judas’ kiss.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today, ” lest any of you be hardened through deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

Hebrews 3:12-14

Sin hardens and deceives us, sometimes to the point of no return. Let’s not be a stumbling block for ourselves or others. We’re living in a time of wholesale rebellion against God’s standards. Let’s encourage one another in truth, not feelings or cultural fixes.

Speak it loud and with love.

14 thoughts on “Kissing Jesus Goodbye

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  1. When, at first I read of this article/post; I thought, “What a sad and tragic event!” Perhaps, in all fairness to Former Pastor Joshua Harris, he “believes” that “GOD” actually thinks the same way as our modern day culture of Evil and Sin has permeated EVERYTHING! It’s called: “Humanism” or “Self-will” to the core of our being. I think Joshua Harris “may” have MEANT well; he just doesn’t ‘get’ the most pivotal statement that Jesus Christ as the Messiah could EVER Make. Namely: AS GOD, JESUS IS OUR CONSCIOUSNESS/LIFE! PRAY FOR HIM! But, please don’t judge! We all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God! Timothy

  2. You’ve made an excellent point about Christians who endure real persecution. What a glaring contrast to the compromise and apostasy in western churches! I hope your readers really latch on to answer point.

  3. “Falling Away” Harris identifies with this. Jesus says that it is a real condition that will be present especially in the last days. We can extend all the Grace that we possess from our Father to Harris and it will not change the facts. These things will and apparently are happening. Paul says:
    Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you (1 Timothy 4:15-16 – NASB).
    Harris has not paid attention to these things. His salvation can be lost. God’s word warns of these things.

  4. Excellent, well-written post. Thanks for unpacking all of this for us. While I don’t believe we can lose our salvation, I do believe we can fall out of fellowship (fall away), which for a believer is like living hell. No doubt Harris did not arrive at this decision lightly and the freedom he sought is likely filled with wretched torment. But by the grace of God…

    1. Appreciate it, thanks for reading. It must be indeed like living hell, really sad. The freedom that man seeks on his own really is like torment I believe… and how easily ensnared we can become when we take Jesus from His proper place in our lives.

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