“Testing microphone one, two. This is your Jollof speaking. One, two, testing microphone.”
Na so I dey my workplace just dey press computer yesterday as I hear “pim pim” for my phone. I check am, na WhatsApp notifications. One mighty group wey I dey get information say Joshua Harris don renounce eem faith. First thing wey do me na say “Who be Joshua Harris?”
Translation of the above text: I got a message on WhatsApp yesterday that Joshua Harris renounced his faith. But who is he?
We live in a big world. When I heard the news I wasn’t trying to be rude by wondering who he was, I legit did not know. So, as I do with other things I may not know of, I searched him on Google. According to Wikipedia (let’s just trust that okay?) he is an author of some books including “I kissed dating goodbye” a book that laid out Christian principles for dating and “helped shaped the purity culture for many Christians”.
When I heard someone had renounced their faith, my first reaction was how to not react. I don’t know if you relate but I legit do not like when other people’s decisions or opinions open up a conversation that I have to read up on to understand. I like to make informed reactions. So if I have to stress to make one, or join in a conversation, I’ll just keep shut or research. For this, I did both. But enough about me. How did Josh Harris get here and why does that concern me, or you?
Now is a good time to mention that full headline has three components: his marriage ended, he apologized for opposing LGBTQ rights and renounced Christianity. He did this in two different Instagram posts as you can see below:
I have never read any of his books but when I do I will leave a review for you guys.
Mr. Harris’ posts don’t clearly state out the exact reasons for any of this and it is safe to say it did not happen overnight. I am almost angry at how some Christians have responded to this news. Many are claiming that it is “God pulling out the snakes” and “God revealing wolves”. A man just logically came to the conclusion that following Christ is not a coherent belief and the first thing that falls from our mouth isn’t mercy and grace?
“Be merciful to those who doubt;”
I understand the need to defend the faith. It is a command. But the command given to defend Christianity is based on the premise that there is an accusation against it. In this case there wasn’t one. Jeering at a fallen saint that his falling out is because he was never a saint is a cheap shot at an argument for self-sustainability, because it is God that keeps the believer and not the believer that keeps God. And sometimes, we fail at letting God do his job (heck, I failed at that today). He is still just a human. He has doubts, like everyone may. He has questions, too. I believe that Christianity is a coherent faith (hopefully you do, too) – logic, science, and other things back this claim. I also think that sometimes we have questions, and unanswered questions left long will create doubt somewhere in anybody and when this is the case, our first response should be grace and mercy. Then, truth affirmed in prayer (nice reminder that prayer works). I pray that God takes him through this in His sovereignty and reminds of all the ways the cross is love. I pray his heart remembers that home is the arms of our Father. I pray his questions are answered by God’s act of providence and his heart is rekindled with a fire that cannot be put out. I pray that he knows peace. Please pray for him and all the saints too. Right here, right now.
There is also the side of the many people his books have led to purity and certain lifestyles. This is me assuming that all the things written in the book have gone through the reader’s scrutiny. Let me explain what I mean by “reader’s scrutiny”. My favorite author is A.W Tozer. I think his expressive ability is very creative and I relate to it well. However, I sort what he writes out through scriptural truths. This became a practice after listening to a charge to “test every spirit”. Basically do not just consume what people give to you because truth has a standard and it is not the author, or speaker. Another example is my favorite literary fiction “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. The book is powerfully written but the author makes an argument against Christianity by calling it “the white man’s religion” and Christ “the white man’s God”. It implies that the African adoption of Christianity is based off an inferiority narrative fed by colonialism. Now that sounds well-written and it is fairly easy to adopt until held under proper scrutiny. Christianity is an Abrahamic faith, meaning that its origin is not Europe or “the white man”. It spread from Israel to the world. Even “the white man” was evangelized to, even he was influenced. However, the train for delivering this good news was darkened by white supremacy and slavery and the book does a great job of narrating the effects of those. I remind myself what case Christianity makes against other world religions (including African traditionalism). I hold it to scrutiny.
I can’t imagine how people who looked up to him and his writings currently feel but I do know this: our faith is authored by God, not men.
“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
-1 Corinthians 3:5-9
God is the focus, not men (thanks for coming to my TEDtalk). Yes, you may have a shepherd, but who is the real Shepherd? Christ. So your shepherd is just a fellow sheep under the shepherding of Christ. She/He has been called to feed you, edify and equip you to do the same. If his teachings check out as scriptural truths (I really want to read his books so I can share) please continue in them. Continue in Christ. Everyone is the body and Christ is the head. Look to Christ, not Mr. Harris.
Finally God keeps us. Jude 24 is, like all scripture, alive.
“To him who is able to keep you
from stumbling and to present
you before his glorious presence
without fault and with great joy—”
God keeps us from stumbling and presents us blameless. This like all scriptural truths is only experienced through continuous expressive faith and fellowship. The things we’ll experience are directly related to the depth of our conviction. Grow deep in conviction. God keeps you.
That is all for today. Follow peace; give grace; be love; show mercy.
All my love,
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