Joshua Harris (pastor)

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Joshua Harris
Joshua Harris in 2007
Joshua Harris in 2007
BornJoshua Eugene Harris
(1974-12-30) December 30, 1974 (age 43)
Dayton, Ohio, United States
OccupationPastor, author
SpouseShannon Harris

Joshua Eugene Harris (born December 30, 1974 in Dayton, Ohio) is an American pastor and author, and is widely known as the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye (1997), in which he explained what he believed at the time[1] to be the biblical approach to dating and relationships. Harris was lead pastor of Covenant Life Church, the founding church of Sovereign Grace Ministries, in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 2004 until 2015, when he stepped down to become a student at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia.[2][3]


Harris is the first of seven children born to Gregg and Sono Harris, pioneers in the Christian homeschooling movement. He is of Japanese descent on his mother's side.[4]

He published New Attitude, a magazine aimed at fellow homeschoolers, from 1994 to 1997. His first book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye was published in 1997 and has sold nearly one million copies worldwide,[5] though in 2016, Harris was interviewed as reconsidering the book's prescriptions, and apologized to people who said they had been hurt by them.[6][1] Subsequent publications include Boy Meets Girl (2000), in part describing his engagement to his wife, Shannon; Not Even a Hint: Guarding Your Heart Against Lust, released in 2003 and renamed Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) in 2005; and Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God (2004). In 2018, his publishers agreed that the original book and two other follow-up books would not be reprinted once the current stock was depleted.[7]

Harris' book, Dug Down Deep highlights his passion for what he calls "Humble Orthodoxy." It was released in early 2010. In it, Harris shares his own journey towards a love for theology, and theological concepts that changed his life.

In 1997 Harris moved from Oregon to Gaithersberg, MD to be a "pastoral intern." [8] [9] Here "C. J. Mahaney, a charismatic Calvinist and founding pastor of megachurch Covenant Life Church, took Harris under his wing and groomed him to take over the church."[10]

Harris started Sovereign Grace Ministries' New Attitude Conference for Christian singles in 1999, with inspiration and guidance from Louie Giglio, founder of Passion Conferences.[10] From 1999 until 2011 he continued frequently to organize and lead this conference, although in 2009 it was renamed "Next." [11] The primary focus of New Attitude was to equip young Christians with what organizers believe is the biblical truth of the gospel, and to stress the importance of the church in the lives of all Christians. New Attitude's focus is that the truth should be conveyed with humility and uses the term Humble Orthodoxy to represent this.

Harris assumed the role of senior pastor for Covenant Life Church in 2004 at the age of 30.[8] In January, 2015 he announced his resignation from that role due to a desire to broaden his views and connect to other parts of Christianity. "Harris said the isolation of Covenant Life, and of a small cluster of churches of which it was a part, may have fed leadership mistakes, including the decision of pastors — himself among them — to handle a child sexual abuse case internally instead of going to police." [3]

His brothers, twins Alex and Brett, lead the youth movement The Rebelution. Rebelution is a neologism defined by its creators as "a teenage rebellion against low expectations."


  • I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Updated Version). Multnomah, 2003. ISBN 1-59052-135-8
  • Sex is not the Problem (Lust is). Multnomah, 2003. ISBN 1-59052-519-1
  • Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship. Multnomah, 2000. ISBN 1-57673-709-8
  • Not Even a Hint. Multnomah, 2003. ISBN 1-59052-147-1 (re-published as Sex Isn't the Problem, Lust Is in 2005. ISBN 1-59052-519-1)
  • Stop Dating the Church! Multnomah, 2004. ISBN 1-59052-365-2 (re-published as Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God in 2011. ISBN 1-60142-384-5)
  • Dug Down Deep Multnomah, 2010.
  • Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down Multnomah, 2013. ISBN 1-60142-475-4)


  1. ^ a b Graham, Ruth (August 23, 2016). "Hello Goodbye: The author of a best-selling abstinence manifesto is reconsidering the lessons he taught to millions". Slate. Retrieved December 11, 2017. “It’s like, well, crap, is the biggest thing I’ve done in my life this really huge mistake?”... He has come to question many assumptions that undergirded his book: the urge of parents and church leaders to strictly control young people; the purity movement’s implication that sexual mistakes are somehow irrevocable; and his book’s “formulaic approach to relationships that somehow guarantees a happy outcome.”
  2. ^ Lee, Morgan (5 February 2015). "Why Joshua Harris Kissed His Megachurch Goodbye". Christianity Today. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b Boorstein, Michelle (January 30, 2015). "Pastor Joshua Harris, an evangelical outlier, heads to mainstream seminary". Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Trip to Japan". Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Tom Heinen (March 28, 2007). "In conservative courtship, dating's outdated". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  6. ^ Martin, Rachel (July 10, 2016). "Former Evangelical Pastor Rethinks His Approach To Courtship". National Public Radio. Retrieved December 11, 2017. I think it's taken time for the consequences of the way that people applied the book and the way the book affected people to play out.... So I feel like I'm on the front end of a process to help people in some way if I can apologize where needed and re-evaluate where needed.... when we try to overly control our own lives or overly control other people's lives, I think we end up harming people. And I'm - I think that that's part of the problem with my book.
  7. ^ Harris, Joshua. "A Statement on I Kissed Dating Goodbye". Joshua Harris. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b Wishall, Garrett (August 17, 2009). "'It's a role of service:' Joshua Harris on being senior pastor of Covenant Life Church". Towers. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Joshua Harris Author Profile". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  10. ^ a b Hansen, Colllin (September 22, 2006). "Young, Restless, Reformed Calvinism is making a comeback—and shaking up the church". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  11. ^ Harris, Josh (January 2012). "New Attitude, Na, Next 1999-2012". Josh Harris. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.

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