The Other McCain

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Red Pill: Celebrity Pastor Josh Harris Divorces Wife, Renounces Christianity

Posted on | July 29, 2019 | 1 Comment

Normally, I ignore church scandals, but the apostasy of Josh Harris hurts at a personal level. My wife and I began homeschooling our children in 1996, and so we were — indirectly, but in a real way — part of the same Christian community that produced Josh. When we lived in Gaithersburg, my wife and daughter attended a weekend women’s conference at Covenant Life Church, where he was youth minister before becoming senior pastor, replacing C.J. Mahaney. Some commentary about Josh’s apostasy suggests that it was somehow a predictable sequel of the child-abuse scandal that hit Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries in 2011. However, I was more reminded of the downfall of Doug Phillips, an eminent figure in Christian homeschooling who was destroyed by a 2014 sex scandal. Christian leaders who make themselves national spokesmen for an ethos of sexual purity are, necessarily, forfeiting their privacy and exposing themselves to destruction if they stray from the narrow path. Paula Bolyard summarizes feelings I share:

Many Christians (homeschoolers, in particular) are familiar with the Harris family — Josh’s mother and father, Gregg and Sono Harris, were pioneers in the Christian homeschooling movement of the ’80s and ’90s and Josh’s book advocating the view that dating should be avoided in favor of a courtship model sold more than a million copies . . . Many of us were understandably shocked and disappointed by Harris’ apostasy (the Greek word means simply a defection or revolt). An individual whom many of us admired and learned from has chosen to forsake Christ and embrace the world — he’s denounced the faith of his childhood, one that he has embraced very publicly over the last two decades. . . .
Besides being a warning about dangers of Evangelicalism Inc.’s celebrity culture, these incidents also serve as a warning about how Satan prowls about like a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour.” Make no mistake: The prince of this world revels over each and every one of these stories.

Indeed. This son of eminent church leaders, a bestselling author whose message made his name familiar to millions of young Christians, must surely have been a target of Satan’s most fiendish demons, who now dance in delight at his downfall. We have been warned that the kingdom of God shall not come “except there come a falling away first,” and that we “be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled” by such apostasies.

What happened to Josh Harris? Honestly, I don’t know. He quit the pulpit in 2015, and by 2017 was promoting himself as a consultant offering businesses “branding and content strategy.” He announced his separation from his wife in sensitive blue-pill language (they “will continue our life together as friends . . . to create a generous and supportive future for each other and for our three amazing children”). We don’t know what we don’t know, but we may speculate that his wife — who had fallen in love with him when he was a evangelical superstar — lost interest in her husband once he ceased to be a celebrity. The Mahaney scandal must have inflicted collateral damage on Josh’s reputation and status as a leader, and what is the church to such a Christian celebrity except a source of status, an adoring audience for his performances? Necessarily, the celebrity pastor’s wife becomes part of the performance, playing the role of Perfect Christian Wife, and what happens when the show is over? What happens when the pastor leaves the pulpit and there is no longer an audience for this performance?

Maybe Josh Harris could learn something from Rollo Tomassi, but as I say, we don’t know what we don’t know. In his Instagram apostasy announcement, Josh Harris went out of his way to apologize to “the LGBTQ+ community.” My hunch is that this was not a coincidence, but I’ll avoid sharing my other hunches about the significance of this.

There are probably many lessons to be learned here, but I’ll skip the didactic approach and simply mourn Josh Harris’s apostasy.



One Response to “Red Pill: Celebrity Pastor Josh Harris Divorces Wife, Renounces Christianity”

  1. Josh Harris Kisses The Truth Goodbye – Sticks, Stories, and Scotch
    August 1st, 2019 @ 9:11 am

    […] divorce, renouncing Christianity, and embracing the LBGTQIAWTFBBQ++’ crowd until it came up on The Other McCain blog earlier this week. But now, woah […]