A Christian apologist and educator says it's a dangerous example being set by high-profile evangelicals when they renounce their faith and deviate from biblical truth.
Joshua Harris, author of the 1990s bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye, says he is no longer a Christian. He's the latest in a line of former evangelical leaders who have either left the Church or its teachings. They call it "deconstruction" or "deconversion" – after taking a long look at their deepest held spiritual beliefs, they say they've changed their minds.
While Harris may be the latest to take that path, he's hardly the first. Popular Christian speaker Jen Hatmaker still considers herself a Christian, but – as she told the podcast "The Bible for Normal People" – she renounced some specific doctrines that defined her as evangelical:
Hatmaker: "We come to scripture, and the things that we say are certain are obviously not certain to other people with a completely different set of experiences."
Specifically, Hatmaker found she could no longer believe in a biblical sexual ethic; and, like Harris, she made profuse apologies to the LGBT community on behalf of the Church.
Christian apologist Dr. Alex McFarland says it's a dangerous spiritual path these two, and others, are taking.
"To those who would take a cafeteria line approach to Christianity – and who want the forgiveness and salvation of Jesus but not fidelity to the scripture or acquiescence to the Lordship of Christ – I would say the Bible itself gives a very severe warning," he shares with OneNewsNow. "Jesus says Many will call on me on that day, the day of judgment – and he will say I never knew you." (Matthew 7:21-23)
So – is Hatmaker still a Christian, having renounced some of the orthodox doctrines of the faith? What about Harris, who threw his whole belief system overboard? McFarland says ultimately, that's a question only God can answer – but the Bible, he adds, does provide a clue.
"I tend to believe these people were never in a relationship with Christ in the first place," he explains. "Or like 1 John 2, which says They went out from us but they really weren't among us." (1 John 2:19)
In addition to renouncing the conclusions of his book and his faith in Christ, Harris also has renounced his wedding vows, ending his marriage of 21 years.