"Joshua Harris" by Mike Hartnett / CC BY 2.0

Christian ‘Purity’ Guru’s Loss of Faith May Signal a Coming Reckoning For Conservative Christianity

Aug 7, 2019

By Elizabeth Shively

Joshua Harris, who literally wrote the book on Christian purity in the 1990s, announced in July on Instagram that he and his wife, Shannon, were separating after more than 20 years of marriage. Less than two weeks later, the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye (IKDG) dropped a second bombshell—he no longer identifies as a Christian.

“I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” Harris wrote beside a picture of him looking out over lake in the mountains. “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.”

Though he has not revealed the forces that led to the simultaneous unraveling of his marriage and his religious identity, it seems like it was questioning his previous stance on sexuality and gender issues that played a part in the latter. Harris paired his second announcement with an apology for contributing to a “culture of exclusion” with his previous views on women in the church and his opposition to marriage equality. The “deconstruction” of Harris’s faith not only seems intertwined with his change of heart on matters of gender equality and sexuality, but it could be an indication that evangelical churches in the United States will soon have to wrestle more fully with these issues as well.

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