In the past few weeks, Instagram has been flaming with a really good religion story about evangelicalism’s latest fallen star — Joshua Harris.
Harris, as I wrote about last December, has been a hot topic in the evangelical Twitter universe for months, but few religion-beat reporters have run with this story. Being that the guy hit his top fame moment 22 years ago — when many of today’s religion reporters were in elementary school — it’s a story lots of people don’t know much about.
With one exception: There’s a cadre of folks determined to dump on the “purity movement” of the 1990s as much as they can and for them, Harris is a gift that doesn’t stop giving. We’ll let the Guardian bring us up to speed in what was a straight forward news story:
The American author of a bestselling Christian guide to relationships for young people has announced that his marriage is over and he has lost his faith.
Joshua Harris, whose biblical guide to relationships I Kissed Dating Goodbye sold nearly 1m copies around the world after it was published in 1997, has also apologised to LGBT+ people for contributing to a “culture of exclusion and bigotry”.
Can’t walk back your views much further than that.
In his book, Harris, a former pastor at a US megachurch, urged young Christians to reject dating for “courtship” under the guidance of parents and observing sexual abstinence. Young couples should not kiss, hold hands or spend time alone together before marriage, he said. Dating was spiritually unhealthy and a “training ground for divorce”, the book argued.
The book, written by Harris when he was 21, was widely circulated within evangelical Christian youth groups, helping to promote a “purity culture” and vows to preserve virginity until marriage.
There’s a whole cottage industry of critics of evangelicalism out there and when Harris announced on Instagram that his marriage was basically over, it was a rich feeding time for the evangelical left.