Joshua Harris, the author of the best-selling book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced in an Instagram post Friday that he is no longer a Christian.
The shocking admission comes a week after Harris publicly announced that he and his wife, Shannon, were separating after 20 years of marriage, but would remain “friends” as they continue to raise their three children together.
In the Instagram post, Harris commented on the responses he received about his pending divorce and dropped another shocking announcement by revealing that he is “falling away” from the faith and no longer identifies as a Christian.
Harris also apologized to the “LGBTQ+ community” for not supporting same-sex marriage and affirming their place in the church.
Here’s the Instagram post in full:
My heart is full of gratitude. I wish you could see all the messages people sent me after the announcement of my divorce. They are expressions of love though they are saddened or even strongly disapprove of the decision.
I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace. This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between. Of course there have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me. (There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that angered and hurt me.
The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. 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. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.
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.
Three years ago, Harris also apologized for the advice he gave in his 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, that he wrote when he was just 20 years old before he had ever been in a dating relationship. In the book he described dating as a “training ground for divorce.”
"I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided," Harris wrote in a statement posted on his website. "I now think dating can be a healthy part of a person developing relationally and learning the qualities that matter most in a partner."
Harris then announced last year that the book would be discontinued.
"In light of the flaws I now see in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I think it's best to discontinue its publication, as well other supplemental resources tied to it (this includes the two books I wrote after it whose content is similar)," he wrote.
Harris also previously served as senior pastor at Covenant Life Church, a megachurch in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and stepped down from that position in 2014 after a former church volunteer was convicted of child sex abuse.
That same year, Harris also resigned from his position at the Reformed ministry, The Gospel Coalition.