I Kissed Christianity Goodbye

After almost two decades, Joshua Harris left ministry battered and exhausted. A few years later, he left the faith altogether. In this bonus episode of the podcast, we try to understand why.

Love it or hate it, if you grew up in a youth group after 1997, you probably had to reckon with Joshua Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye, his treatise on dating and courtship. The book sold millions and made him, in Collin Hansen’s terms, an “evangelical boy wonder.”

At 29 years old he became the lead pastor of a Maryland megachurch and a rising star in Sovereign Grace Ministries. But when that movement was torn apart by controversy, conflict, and accusations of a systemic cover-up of child abuse, he found himself reeling, unsure of his calling and convictions. He left ministry in 2015, and in 2019, he announced that he no longer identified as a Christian.

In this bonus episode of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, we’ll explore Josh’s story as a contemporary of Mark Driscoll, someone who was his polar opposite in temperament, and whose struggles in ministry led to a divergent outcome. We’ll talk about faith, doubt, and celebrity, and discuss how Christians might think about their own doubts and deconstruction, recognizing them as a normal part of the Christian life.

Subscriptions to CT are one of the best ways to support this kind of journalism. If you want to help us continue doing this kind of work, consider joining today at orderct.com/marshill.

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill is a production of Christianity Today

Executive Producer: Erik Petrik

Produced, written, and edited by Mike Cosper

Associate Producer: Joy Beth Smith

Music and sound design by Kate Siefker and Mike Cosper

Mixed by Mike Cosper.

Our theme song is “Sticks and Stones” by King’s Kaleidescope.

The closing song is “Spirit (Keep On)” by Jeremy Casella

Graphic Design by Bryan Todd

Social Media by Nicole …

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