Former pastor Joshua Harris says he 'excommunicated' himself after renouncing faith

Former Evangelical Pastor Joshua Harris.
Former Evangelical Pastor Joshua Harris. | Photo: Courtesy of HBO

In his first interview since he announced he was renouncing his faith and ending his marriage, Joshua Harris, who authored the Christian cult classic I Kissed Dating Goodbye, admitted he excommunicated people from the church and eventually excommunicated himself.

“I was a leader and a spokesman and I called people to live in very particular ways, to sacrifice in very particular ways. And so for me to change in my thinking feels like a betrayal to them,” Harris said during a recent interview with Mike Allen, co-founder and executive editor of Axios on “Axios on HBO.”

“I excommunicated people. If you're not living according to the teaching of the Bible and you're living in unrepentant sin, then you have to be put out of the church. And I think I came to a point of recognizing, ‘You know what? I'm not living according to this. And I held other people to this standard.’ And, you know, I excommunicated myself essentially.”

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Harris, who was lead pastor of Covenant Life Church, the founding church of Sovereign Grace Ministries in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said he had been going through a process of deconversion for a while before making his decision but noted that the main reason he “excommunicated” himself was because of the failure of his marriage.

“I was really just trying to be honest about the fact that all the ways that I had defined faith and Christianity that I was no longer choosing to live according to those — most significantly, the decision that my wife and I made to end our marriage,” he said.

The former pastor noted that some of the things that could lead to excommunication include unbiblical divorce and unrepentant sin that was oftentimes sexual in nature.

“An affair. You know, living a gay lifestyle. Anyone in the LGBTQ community would fall into that if they weren't actively trying to overcome those inclinations,” Harris said.

View this post on Instagram

This photo has caused a lot of speculation and I want to clear some things up. There has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and rumors. ? ? First, several media outlets have stated I am holding a multi-colored cake. This is false. It is a multi-colored donut. I don’t necessarily recommend eating sugar-laden carbs but it was delicious. ? ? Second, by wearing the shirt pictured here I was not endorsing everything the British Empire has done in its history. I was born in the United States and I am still upset about the whole taxation without representation thing. ? ? I guess the big takeaway is you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the media. I also want to say it was an amazing experience marching in the Vancouver Pride Parade.

A post shared by Joshua Harris (@harrisjosh) on

When asked if he had been rethinking his own sexuality, Harris refused to discuss it.

“I don't like to answer that question because there are so many people that want me to give some sort of answer that I think will allow them to again label and categorize me. So I think I would just say I'm very comfortable with my sexuality,” he said. “… for me, it's like if the answer to the question of my sexuality puts me inside or outside of your circle, accepted or unaccepted, then I don't want to be friends, you know? F*** you and f*** your circle. That's how I feel. And so that's why I don't feel any need to answer that question.”

Less than a month after denouncing his faith, Harris demonstrated his support for the LGBT community by marching in Vancouver’s annual Pride Parade.

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