It’s a tragic day when a highly influential Christian leader turns away from God. It’s even more devastating when they take others with them and continue to speak into people’s lives through social media and other outlets. There used to be a shame in denying that Jesus is the Son of God, yet in this era, people embrace it and call it an “awakening.”
At the beginning of last week, I asked God to show me what I should be writing and praying about. I’d been at a loss for words and struggling to know what I should be focusing on. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed to see if anyone needed prayer, I came across a video by GirlDefined, a Christian vlog hosted by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal. The video was titled “Our Thoughts on Josh Harris and the Purity Movement.”
If you are like me, you grew up with the haunting shadow of a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye sitting on a bookshelf in your house. Your parents patiently awaited the day boys/girls no longer looked like cooties so you could read the book to learn the dangers of the world’s definition of dating. Joshua Harris has been in the limelight for more than twenty years; however, he’s been in transition over the last three years. From being a pastor at a megachurch and a married man, Joshua has now divorced his wife, made statements apologizing for his past teachings and books, and told the world through Instagram that he no longer calls himself a Christian.
“I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.” ~ Joshua Harris via Instagram
I could write a whole post about how Joshua’s book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, impacted my life along with my thoughts on the purity movement and Joshua’s documentary, I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye; however, in this post, I want to focus on a question that was raised during GirlDefined’s video about Joshua’s “fall from the faith.”
As Kristen and Bethany were answering questions, Kristen raised the topic of losing your salvation. She asked, “Can someone lose their salvation?” before going on to say, “Based on scripture, we don’t believe that someone can lose their salvation if they were genuinely saved, born again, child of God.” I’m not sure what Bible they’re reading from, but I’d love for someone to show me the verses that prove John Calvin’s teaching of, “Once saved, a person is always saved.” It doesn’t matter if we call ourselves Christians or believers, unless we continue to walk in God’s ways, acknowledge that He is the Lord, and believe in His word, we will not be saved.
Like it says in Romans 8:7-9, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ/Yeshua, they do not belong to Yeshua.”
How can we remain a part of the Kingdom of God if we no longer believe in all that He has done or that Jesus/Yeshua is our savior? (Romans 10:9) The moment we step out of our walk of faith and turn to a life in the world, we no longer have the Spirit living in us or the promise of eternal life. (John 3:16-18) Nevertheless, if people lose their faith, Yeshua will not stop interceding until the prodigal sons and daughters return home. (Romans 8:34)
There will be moments in our lives where we will question our faith. We all need to discover who we are and who God is for ourselves, no matter if we are brought up in a Christian home or not. Salvation is for the individual (Ezekiel 18), and as children in the Kingdom of God, we should not become hateful or harsh towards those who are questioning their faith. Instead, we should be praying for them and encouraging them through their trials.
My heart breaks for the new life Joshua Harris and his family have adopted, and I continue to pray for them every day. God has not forgotten about those who have turned away from Him, and I believe that He has not forgotten about Joshua Harris.
Romans 10:12-13, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
John Cooper, the band Skillet’s lead singer, wrote a profound post about how the church is being influenced by people rather than the Word of God. In his opening paragraph, he states,
“More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once ‘faces’ of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?) as they announce that they are leaving the faith.”
The entire post is worth a read (click here); John Cooper’s wisdom is precisely what believers need to read to wake up and understand that we need to return to the Word of God. Churches have gotten so wrapped up in the entertainment aspect of Christianity and allowing world values into the place of worship that they’ve forgotten who stands at the head of their faith. We are living in a culture that is run by social media. We look to others to teach us about the Bible, we follow what’s trending, and we ask for other people’s advice before asking for God’s. Our logic has become askew, and it’s time that changes.
Don’t stop praying for those who are struggling or publicly proclaiming their new lives. Satan is on a mission, and he won’t stop until we no longer allow him to speak into our lives!
If you’re questioning your faith, please don’t feel ashamed to ask someone to answer your questions. As a body of believers, we are called to help one another and speak into each other’s lives with encouragement and truth. Test everything you hear and study the teachings your pastors and leaders are telling you. Pray for the Lord to reveal Himself to you, and be open to the things to Spirit wants to teach you!
2 Timothy 4:3-5, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”