The author of a 2013 book about sexual purity and fighting against pornography is removing the foreword written by author Joshua Harris from all future publications.
Heath Lambert, who pastors First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, announced in a blog post late last month the foreword Harris wrote for his book “Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace” won’t appear in any copies moving forward.
“I reached out to Zondervan and asked that Joshua’s [foreword] be removed from future publications of my book,” he wrote. “They have agreed, and are taking immediate action to accommodate my request.”
Lambert made the decision to pull Harris’ foreword after the author and former pastor announced his separation from his wife, Shannon, renounced his Christian faith, and apologized to the LGBT community for “standing against marriage equality.”
Harris revealed in an Instagram post last month he has “undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus.”
“The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away,’” he explained. “By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.”
When he first wrote his book, Lambert said he was “ecstatic” to learn Harris had agreed to write its foreword, noting he was “so impressed” with Harris’ own writings, including his book “Sex Is No the Problem, Lust Is.”
Regardless, Lambert admitted “there was no way for me to continue to have his [foreword] be associated with my book” after Harris abandoned his Christian faith.
“In ‘Finally Free,’” the minister wrote, “I am trying to be clear about a Christian approach to sexuality. Joshua’s recent actions and statements only confuse that attempt at clarity and will lead others astray.”
Lambert encouraged other believers to pray for Harris, asking if it’s possible the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” author could have been “a Christianized unbeliever who never knew Christ.”
“Is he a Christian who has fallen into grievous sin, and is in need of restoration? We do not know, but God does,” he continued. “What we do know is that Joshua Harris is in absolute spiritual peril. He needs our love, and he needs our prayers. He has mine, and I trust he will have yours as well.”
The Jacksonville pastor is not the only one to distance himself from Harris.
Following the controversial author’s series of announcements, the interim pastor at the Maryland megachurch Harris led — Covenant Life Church — from 2004 until 2015 has responded.
Kevin Rogers, who is currently leading the Gaithersburg congregation, wrote in a letter to members that news of Harris’ falling away is “hard to hear.”
“For most of us,” he wrote, “Josh isn’t just some distant public figure. He’s a beloved former pastor and friend. So this news isn’t just a lot to process theoretically. It hits home personally.”