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Joshua Harris Says He ‘Excommunicated Himself’ from Church After Living in ‘Unrepentant Sin’

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“If you’re not living according to the teaching of the Bible, and you’re living in unrepentant sin, then you have to be put out of the church. I excommunicated myself, essentially.”


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Will Maule

Former evangelical pastor and author Joshua Harris has said that he willingly walked out of his Christian community after realizing that his lifestyle was not matching up to that of his church’s Biblical standard.

In an interview with Axios, Harris said: “If you’re not living according to the teaching of the Bible, and you’re living in unrepentant sin, then you have to be put out of the church. I excommunicated myself, essentially.”

When asked about his own “unrepentant sin,” Harris was reluctant to divulge. He did, however, note that “oftentimes, that’s related to sexuality.”

Expanding on the subject, Harris said he felt that if he answered the question candidly he would be subject to more backlash from certain Christians and that he would be kicked out of certain “circles.” He pointed out that he has little time for that type of response.

“It’s like if the answer to the question of my sexuality puts me inside or outside of your circle, accepted or unaccepted, I don’t want to be friends, you know? F— you and f— your circle,” he said. “That’s how I feel. And so that’s why I don’t feel any need to answer that question.”

Harris went on to discuss his continued personal grief over the hurt he belives he caused young Christians through the authoring of his infamous book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

“I apologized for it. I unpublished the books. I pulled the books off the market,” he explained. “But you can’t give people [back], you know, years of their life.”

As for his own faith, or lack thereof, Harris hinted that he still pines after something of the divine. “Someone said, ‘I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him,’” he said. “I can relate to that.”

Harris now runs a creative branding agency and regularly posts about his life journey on Instagram. Just prior to the shock announcement he made about no longer being a Christian, the former pastor revealed that he would be splitting up with his wife.

“We’re writing to share the news that we are separating and will continue our life together as friends,” he said in the post from earlier this year. “In recent years, some significant changes have taken place in both of us. It is with sincere love for one another and understanding of our unique story as a couple that we are moving forward with this decision. We hope to create a generous and supportive future for each other and for our three amazing children in the years ahead.”

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I was asked in an interview “Where did things go wrong in your life? Were you given too much responsibility at too young an age?” I understood the question, but I didn’t agree with its assumption that I consider where I am today a mistake—as some kind of tragedy that different choices in the past could have avoided. How do I explain that in spite of the messiness of my life and even my mistakes, I am so grateful for the journey that led me here, to this moment? I want to be here and so the events, the mistakes, even the hurts that delivered me here aren’t things I would reverse even if I could. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ My friend Kristi sent me this poem by Thomas Merton called “When In The Soul Of The Serene Disciple.” It captures so beautifully what I feel. How lucky I consider the wind and stormy seas that knocked off my halo and tore away the illusions about myself I once found so comforting.⁣ ⁣ I don’t even pretend to fully grasp all that Merton is expressing. I’m still puzzling over the line about “his God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.” But please read it and tell me what lines speak to you. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ – – – – ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ When in the soul of the serene disciple⁣⁣ With no more Fathers to imitate⁣⁣ Poverty is a success,⁣⁣ It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:⁣⁣ He has not even a house.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Stars, as well as friends,⁣⁣ Are angry with the noble ruin.⁣⁣ Saints depart in several directions.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Be still:⁣⁣ There is no longer any need of comment.⁣⁣ It was a lucky wind⁣⁣ That blew away his halo with his cares,⁣⁣ A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Here you will find⁣⁣ Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.⁣⁣ There are no ways,⁣⁣ No methods to admire⁣⁣ Where poverty is no achievement.⁣⁣ His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ What choice remains?⁣⁣ Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:⁣⁣ It is the usual freedom⁣⁣ Of men without visions.

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