This is both saddening and infuriating.
As a very young, intelligent–but untested–adult, Joshua Harris rocketed to the top of the evangelical world on the basis of his landmark book–I Kissed Dating Goodbye–which promoted the notion that dating was evil and that courtship is the preferred Christian alternative to dating.
Sadly, a large sector of Big Evangelical embraced Harris and imposed this dogma on the larger segment of singles, making getting married marginally harder at a time when it was already difficult due to many factors in play. Focus On The Family ran with it. Many homeschooling families ran with it. Churches used it to banish singles into a proverbial black hole.
The book made Harris an evangelical rock star. He would become C.J. Mahaney’s right-hand man at Covenant Life Church, the flagship church of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
As a student of Mahaney, Harris helped commandeer a dysfunctional church whose model of discipline was overbearing. Worse, multiple child abusers operated with impunity. The gross negligence was so severe that even Al Mohler–and the larger Southern Baptist Convention–are now reconsidering their support and alliance with Mahaney.
And make no mistake: Harris was an integral part of that abusive system. He was an executive under Mahaney, and therefore he has command responsibility.
(That is the price of being in charge.)
To his credit, Harris has recently repudiated his book and apologized for the damage he caused with it.
Sadly, it now appears that his marriage was not all he made it out to be.
I am saddened for his children. They didn’t ask for this. They will bear the brunt of this epic disaster.
Do I feel bad for Harris and his wife? Yes. The Church failed Harris, his wife, and his children.
I believe Big Evangelical used him for their financial gain. Yes, he benefited–sort of–but it was other parties which made the really big money at the expense of the larger Body. Harris was a means toward their ends.
NOT ONE evangelical leader stood up and tried to stop this big promotion of Harris.
NOT ONE evangelical leader stood up to question the wisdom of IKDG.
NOT ONE evangelical leader lifted a finger when Harris, an untested young adult, was Mahaney’s right-hand man.
Where was Piper? Where was Keller? Where was Mohler? Where was MacArthur? Where was Duncan? Where was Dever? Where were all of these super-knowledgeable mega-leaders? Most of these leaders pride themselves on their ability to ask hard questions. But none of them bothered to ask any of their own ranks.
Who was holding Harris to account? No one.
This is what happens when you take an untested, young adult–even someone otherwise intelligent like Harris–and make him a General.