Two Christian luminaries renounced their faith this summer. First, it was beloved Christian best-seller and pastor, Joshua Harris, who wrote the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Then it was popular Christian songwriter Marty Sampson who worked with the world’s most popular worship ministry Hillsong since the 1990s.
In response I am sending prayers of love to these men and I am also sending donations to my favorite Christian charities. With Joshua Harris in mind, I am sending a donation to Focus on the Family so they can continue to help millions of singles and married people with their amazing radio ministry. For Marty Sampson, who is struggling with his faith, I am sending a donation to Christian Resource Ministry which the world’s leading voice at defending the faith and helping people with their faith struggles.
These ministries are helping people similar to Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson by the millions every single day in their radio and online broadcasts.
The other reason I am sending money is to raise these ministry voices over the negative Christian voices I have been hearing. For instance, the national broadcast show of Todd Friel, decided to explain the Joshua Harris faith renouncement as “You can’t renounce a faith you never had”. His take is that any Christian who leaves the faith was never really a Christian in the first place — even if you were a pastor. I find this response to be too convenient, mentally untamable and grossly unhelpful to the situation at hand. I have noticed many Christian writers online using this incident as a way to bash Joshua Harris’ contribution to the purity movement as hopelessly flawed from the beginning and irredeemable as if his bestselling book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, never really helped anyone.
The answer is not to dismiss or destroy these men’s life work.
The answer is to be a part of the solution.
Both the Apostle Paul and John wrote about people in the early church who painfully hurt them or abused their positions (Demas, Alexander, Diotrephes). Yet, when Paul and John talked about these fallen brothers they made sure to quickly include a list of people in the same paragraph of those they cherished and supported (Luke, Mark, Priscia, Aquilla, Demetrius). Using this Biblical model, we should acknowledge these faith renouncements in the full pain that they cause us and then quickly move towards encouraging those among us that are making the world a better place.
— Notes: Demas, Alexander, Diotrephes found in 3 John 9,10. 2 Timothy 4:9, 14,15, Luke, Mark, Priscia, Aquilla, Demetrius found in 3 John 12. 2 Timothy 4:11,19