Former megachurch pastor Josh Harris is now publicly lamenting that American Christianity’s support for President Trump has been “incredibly damaging to the Gospel and to the church.”
Speaking with “Axios on HBO,” Harris predicted that the evangelical movement would ultimately become “identified with President Trump” to its own demise.
“I don’t think it’s going to end well,” Harris said, as reported by The Hill. “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.”
When interviewer Mike Allen asked if perhaps evangelicals are “due for a judgment,” Harris replied that Trump is the judgment.
“You think Christians today who are embracing President Trump are due for a judgment?” Allen asked.
“I think it is the judgment,” Harris responded. “I think it is part of the judgment.”
“What do you mean by that?” Allen asked.
“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,” Harris answered. “That represents a lot of who you are.”
The modern purity movement among evangelicals began in the 1990s and 2000s, partly because of Joshua Harris’ 1997 book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” in which he suggested that dating should only be for preparing for marriage. Harris has since apologized for that viewpoint, saying he presented an unhealthy view of recreational dating.
“I didn’t leave room for the idea that dating could be a healthy way of learning what you’re looking for in a long-term relationship, that it could be a part of growing personally,” he admitted. “I gave the impression that there was one formula that you could follow, and if you followed that, you’d be happily married, God would bless you, and you’d have a great sex life and marriage. Obviously, the real world doesn’t work that way.”
In an Instagram post this past July, Harris wrote that he no longer identifies as Christian and denounced biblical sexual morality.
“My heart is full of gratitude. I wish you could see all the messages people sent me after the announcement of my divorce. They are expressions of love though they are saddened or even strongly disapprove of the decision,” Harris said. “I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace. This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between. Of course there have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me. (There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that angered and hurt me.)”
“The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” he continued. “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. 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.”
His statement concluded with an apology to the LGBTQ community and for the views he espoused about sexuality.
“I have lived in repentance for the past several years — repenting of my self-righteousness, my fear-based approach to life, the teaching of my books, my views of women in the church, and my approach to parenting to name a few,” he concluded. “But I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality. I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry. I hope you can forgive me.”