I read the book when my oldest was still in primary grades.  I enjoyed it and I found a lot of truth and solid information in it.  The idea of my children ‘waiting until marriage’ appealed to me since I knew the damage that not waiting does to the heart and soul.  I still appreciate the idea even now and I pray that all of my children will value purity – both before and after marriage.  Because I valued much of what was in the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was surprised to read that the author, Joshua Harris, is second-guessing his work.  Here are 4 Things You Need To Know Before Kissing Joshua Harris Goodbye. 

So, what do you do when a popular Christian teacher doubts his previous teachings? Are you quick to throw the first stone? Or do you offer abundant grace? Here are 4 Things You Need To Know Before Kissing Joshua Harris Goodbye.

As I read through the article linked above, I was dismayed at how quickly some people were to blame Harris for the things he said in his book.  How fast they were to hold him responsibility for their troubled marriage and the regrets in their life…or whining about not attending prom, as was stated in this article.  How many are responding to Harris’ confession, and how they have responded to his book has me deeply concerned.  Here’s why…  

God Gave Us Brains

One thing I am trying to teach my kids is that when they read a book, take the information that applies to them and leave the rest.  Strong reasoning and logic are seriously absent these days for many in the world.  I don’t want my kids to be among those who lack the ability to use their God-given brains.    

In reviewing some of the responses in the articles mentioned above, it is very clear to me that those who are angry with Harris have simply failed to learn how to think constructively about ideas that have been presented to them.  I see this serious problem with many authors and speakers, especially in the Christian circle.  Instead of learning to be constructive and analytical thinkers in today’s world, we have people who effortlessly fall for any and all ideas that are introduced to them.  My husband often says that many people ‘think as an afterthought’ 😆  

So, let’s actually use the brains God has given to us.  In Acts, Paul is often seen reasoning in the synagogue with “Jews and God-fearing Gentiles”.  Maybe he was on to something with the whole reasoning thing 😉  

God Gave Us Responsibility

Galatians 6-5-8Another grim concern that I see rising out of this little fiasco is just how quick people are to blame others for their problems.  In one of those articles, one guy actually blames Harris for how his own past sexual sin is ruining his marriage now.  I mean, this is utterly ridiculous!  This guy needs to read his Bible, which also points out that sex before marriage is sin.  And he needs to take responsibility for his own stuff and the problems in his marriage instead of passing the blame – and power to change –  on to an unsuspecting author.   

If you are prone to holding other people responsible for your marriage problems, then here’s a news flash for you:

Marriage is FULL of problems!  

Do you know what, it would have been so easy for me to blame childhood sexual abuse for the marriage problems I had in our first 10 years of wedded unbliss.  But would it have been fruitful?  Nope.  Not in the least.  Would it have solved the problem?  Absolutely not.  

A Healthy Marriage

Instead, I wanted a healthy marriage.  I wanted a strong marriage.  A Godly and abundant union is what I longed for – one where we were both living in the freedom of Christ.  In order to have that kind of marriage meant that my husband and I needed to take responsibility for any and all issues in our lives and do something about it.  A lot of that meant taking hurts and wounds directly to Jesus for healing.  It meant not passing the blame onto others – yeah, sure, my abusers were to blame for what they did to me, but they weren’t about to seek restitution – and even if they did, they could not return to me what they stole.  It was my responsibility to deal with that wounding in a healthy way.

The thing is this, if the guy mentioned in the article had not read Harris’ book or if he and his wife had not had sex before marriage then maybe he wouldn’t be dealing with his present problem.  Maybe.  However, there would only be a different crisis for him to either blame someone else for or take ownership of.  There is no such thing as a problem-free life or a problem-free marriage of two sinners.

So, you can take the easy way out, as the fellow in the article did, and blame others for your problems.  Or you can be responsible and own your stuff.  I can honestly say that taking ownership, while it is the more difficult choice, is going to be the one that is fruitful and beneficial.   

God Gave Us Jesus

John 1 1The third critical dilemma I see happening here is that a human being was elevated to a position in life that he likely did not want or ask for.  This is just an assumption on my part, but I like to assume the best of my Christian brothers and sisters, but I don’t believe that Harris ever desired to have his own disciples.

However, this is a phenomenon I have seen occur too many times.  In fact, my husband and I have fallen for it ourselves when we have failed to use our reasoning skills.  We start listening to an alluring speaker or reading books by a fascinating author and we just start hanging on to every word they say (whose responsibility is this???).  It is so easy to become a disciple of another human being if we are not abiding in our Savior.  

Whose Disciple Are You?

John 8-31When we diligently follow someone’s teaching, we have become their disciple.  I have seen this happen with countless authors and speakers like Beth Moore, Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.  When we become disciples of these people and when we hold fast to their teachings – biblical or not – we have allowed them to take up residence in our lives where only Jesus ought to be.  We worship these fallible human beings instead of Jesus.  And that’s on us, ladies and gentlemen.  That’s on us. 

But, you see, when we use our brains and we take responsibility for our own choices, we will be less likely become a disciple of another human being.

God Gave Us His Word

Ephesians 4-14We have the word of God to help us learn truth and live a life according to His laws and ordinances.  In His word, we are warned to not get carried away by every wind of doctrine.  While I don’t believe that most popular Bible teachers are into ‘deceitful schemes’ – including Joshua Harris – we can still get caught up in the winds of doctrine and get tossed to and fro with various teachings.

When we are digging deep in the word of God, it will be harder for us to become carried away with ‘bandwagon movements’ like courtship.  Like our daughters staying at home and waiting for a husband to come knocking on the door.  Just like the quiverfull movement.  And countless others.  Yes, there are some good ideas in these doctrines – I don’t want my kids to date a string of people.  I would love for my kids to remain home after graduation if they wish to do so.  And I do believe that children are a blessing from God.  But when we grab hold of these doctrines in their entirety, they start to replace God and His word in our lives. 

God Gave Us Grace

Grace.  It is what we have been given, freely and fully, by God.  And yet when it is our turn to extend it to someone else, we become incredibly stingy with it.  We are so quick to stone a fellow Christian who might have the courage to say, “I may have been wrong on some things I said.”  It’s like we suddenly become a lynch mob, ready to attack at a given notice – when we see our brother or sister in Christ slip.      

Can we reason here?  Joshua Harris is human.  Of course, he’s going to get it wrong some of the time – hence the importance of us using reason, abiding in Christ and living by His word (oh, my, that certainly would solve a lot of problems, wouldn’t it?).  And guess what?  So am I.  I’m going to get it wrong somewhere along the way because I am human.  And do you know what else?  So are you.  That might come as a complete shock to some of you, but it is true.  You will get it wrong.  And when you do, would you like the rest of us to burn you at the stake?  Or would you like us to offer you Amazing Grace?      

So how about this, we start using our brains, take responsibility for our own choices, follow hard after Christ, dig deep in His word and extend endless grace to all.  What do you think?  Will you drop that stone and join me in practicing grace to Bible teachers?  Christian bloggers?  Your pastor?  I hope so.

PS ~  The other night, I asked my husband what we will do when a boy becomes interested in our oldest daughter and his response was quite sound and good.  I hope to share that in the next couple of weeks. 

So, what do you do when a popular Christian teacher doubts his previous teachings? Are you quick to throw the first stone? Or do you offer abundant grace? Here are 4 Things You Need To Know Before Kissing Joshua Harris Goodbye.

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Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a wife to an incredible husband, Marcus, and mother to three fabulous children. She works from home as a homeschool support teacher and she homeschools her own children as well. She loves writing abut her faith and decided to give blogging a try in 2013. The rest is history...

Latest posts by Aimee Imbeau (see all)

  • Christie

    I was surprised to hear that he was rethinking his teaching, too. We did his book with our students and we still believe and teach to wait until marriage. Thanks for writing this, Aimee!

    • I’m wondering if he might just be reconsidering the wording of his philosophy, not truly changing it. And as we grow and mature in Christ, we ought to be allowed to do that without the risk of being flogged. I can’t see him doing a complete turn around on his thinking on courting/dating, though. But I’m just speculating here. I intend to have my daughter read the book as well since there are so many gems in it. And then we talk about it. We reason together. She will know that she doesn’t have to marry the first guy she dates/courts if it turns out to be not God’s plan for her – however, this requires reason and wisdom to be used, right? She also knows that dating for the sake of dating is not something she is interested in. And all of this comes down to identity in Christ, anyway. Not in a book. Not in a movement. Not in a philosophy.
      Thanks, Christie.

  • Belinda

    This is so very good. And applicable to many situations not just Josh Harris. We are big fans of the Harris family – they have been thinking people, they have put their thoughts out there to encourage others along the way. I really like your points here – especially using our brains as we read, and not replacing the Bible and Jesus with a man’s words – regardless of whether they are right or wrong.