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:
“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.