Pastor Joshua Harris, whose claim to fame is the much-circulated book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” announced this week he plans to, well, kiss the 1997 title goodbye because of the way some readers were “misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it.”
“I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided,” he said in a statement posted to 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.”
Here's my statement on I Kissed Dating Goodbye: https://t.co/iLH286wJI1
— Joshua Harris (@HarrisJosh) October 22, 2018
The 43-year-old minister encouraged Christians looking for relationship guidance to instead read books like “Boundaries in Dating” by Dr. Henry Cloud and “True Love Dates” by Debra Fileta.
In agreement with his publisher, Harris announced “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” will be pulled from production and the book will no longer be printed after copies currently in circulation have all been sold. Other “supplemental resources,” including two books he wrote after the 1997 work, will be pulled from production, too.
The book, written when Harris was only 20 years old, came at a time when he had not yet experienced a dating relationship. The popular Christian nonfiction detailed the hazards of “recreational dating” and outlined “biblical courtship” as a healthy alternative.
He went on to write that dating is a “training ground for divorce” and urged fellow Christians to embrace “purposeful singleness” because romantic relationships — of any kind — should only be entered into as a direct means toward marriage.
Harris, who is now married with three children, explained during a TEDx Talk in 2017 that he was young and “religiously zealous” when he wrote “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”
“I was writing to fellow Christians,” he explained. “I was saying, ‘We need to be serious about our faith, we won’t have sex until we’re married, and if we want to avoid premarital sex, we should radically change our lifestyle, and that means we should stop dating.’”
Harris noted in his statement that he began his evolution on the years-old book about dating roughly two years ago. He shares details about his reevaluation in his forthcoming documentary, “I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” which is slated to release sometime in 2019.
To those who benefitted from the book, it should be noted, Harris said, “I am so grateful that something I wrote helped you. The fact that a flawed man could write a flawed book and somehow that could help some people is amazing to me.”