The church that was formerly pastored by Joshua Harris has issued a statement in response to the author’s public renouncement of faith.
Harris, who penned the popular book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” took to Instagram Friday, noting that he had experienced “massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus.”
“By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian,” he declared. As you can imagine, that was a hard thing for many of his followers to hear, not least the congregation that he formerly shepherded.
In a letter obtained by investigative journalist Julie Roys, Covenant Life Church admitted that Harris’ life updates were “hard to hear.”
Just a few days prior to his announcement, Harris told his 22,000 Instagram followers that he was separating from his wife.
“For most of us, Josh isn’t just some distant public figure,” wrote Kevin Rogers, the church’s interim lead pastor. “He’s a beloved former pastor and friend. So this news isn’t just a lot to process theoretically. It hits home personally.”
Issuing some advice to those who are confused about how to respond when a well-known Christian figure loses their faith, CLC noted that the situation was “sad and confusing,” but that “it isn’t new.”
“Christian leaders occasionally veered from faith at the very beginning. Paul says some had gone off course theologically. Others behaved in ways that violated Christian conscience. For others, it was greed. In every case, Paul’s hope was for redemption and restoration,” Pastor Rogers explained. “That these leaders would develop “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim 1:5) That should be our hope and prayer for Josh as well.”
Rogers urged his flock to take the Harris situation and turn it into “an opportunity for greater resolve in our own faith, not less.”
“Seeing leaders who taught us the gospel veer from it should deepen our commitment to “guard the good deposit” entrusted to us. And “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1 Tim 6:11),” he added.
Finally, Rogers called his congregation to pray for the author, who now runs a marketing agency.
“Covenant Life, pray for our friend Josh,” the pastor wrote. “Pray with sincere hope for a redemptive end. And ask the God of all grace and power for fresh resolve in your own fight of faith. “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” (1 Tim 6:12)”
Harris’ now ex-wife, Shannon Bonne, posted to Instagram last week revealing thirteen things about herself — at number eight, the musician declared that she “still believes in God.”