Former megachurch pastor Joshua Harris made some minor-league headlines a few months ago when he separated from his wife and disavowed Christianity.
“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,’” Harris, the author of Christian courtship guide “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and former leader of Maryland’s Covenant Life Church, wrote in an Instagram post in July.
“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.”
The “falling away” of an evangelical Christian and author of a dating guide usually wouldn’t even have made a blip on the screens of a media that makes hardly any pretense of viewing Christianity as anything other than a vestigial remnant of a different time, something to be studied by cultural anthropologists and hardly missed.
But then he started apologizing to the LGBT community for having hurt them and, well, hot diggity.
Even then, Harris would have maybe occupied the last row of seats in the news-cycle crossover for a few weeks until being dropped off to continue his life outside the church and/or the spotlight. However, now he’s back and giving an interview about how Donald Trump is “damaging” the religion he left.
In a wide-ranging interview, Harris told “Axios on HBO” that he “excommunicated myself essentially” from his church, refused to answer rumors regarding his sexuality and, in the portion of the interview that generated the most headline wattage, talked about his problems with evangelical Christians being “identified with President Trump.”
“I don’t think it’s going to end well,” Harris said, telling Axios he felt that it would be “incredibly damaging to the gospel.”
“And I think, you know, you look back at the Old Testament and the relationship between the prophets and really bad leaders and kings, and oftentimes it was, it’s not something you unwind because it’s, it’s actually in the scriptures presented as God’s judgment on the False Religion of the day,” Harris said.
“You think Christians today who are embracing President Trump are due for a judgment?” Axios’ Mike Allen asked.
“I think it is the judgment,” Harris said. “I think it is part of the judgment.”
When asked what he meant by that, Harris responded, “To have a leader like Trump I think is in itself part of the indictment, that this is the leader that you want and maybe deserve.
“That represents a lot of who you are,” he added.
This is all very powerful stuff until you realize this is being spoken by a guy who says, in no uncertain terms, that he’s no longer a Christian.
Harris wasn’t necessarily a model Christian when he was a Christian, mind you. If you haven’t read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” I don’t recommend it even if you can find a copy; it’s a dating guide that contains a lot of extra-biblical advice mostly predicated on Harris’ own extrapolation.
Now that he doesn’t agree with either his dating guide or the gospel, he’s telling us all how this is being destroyed by a president he doesn’t like.
If Harris is concerned about how the gospel is being represented, I would argue that this kind of thing — talking about how Trump and his supporters are somehow damaging the eternal Word of God when it’s clear he doesn’t particularly believe in it anymore — is a lot more problematic.
Joshua Harris is no longer of the faith. If he has a problem with Donald Trump, he ought to discuss it on a secular level. Anything else is unnecessary and unconvincing.
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