Tim Challies Says Evangelicals Got ‘Swept Away by Strange and Flawed Ideas’ of Purity and Courtship Movements

Tim Challies has praised Pastor Joshua Harris’ decision to apologize for his I Kissed Dating Goodbye book, saying that evangelicals sometimes get “swept away” by “strange” ideas.

Challies, an author and pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, wrote on his website on Monday that there are times “when a kind of weirdness settles over evangelicalism, when for a while people are swept away by strange and flawed ideas.”

“This usually happens when Christians are attempting to counter ideas that are prevalent outside the church. Instead of reacting in a measured way, we collectively over-react. I think the purity and courtship movements were two examples — or perhaps one example, since they were so closely aligned,” he said.

He then brought up, as an example, Harris, who in 1997 released his debut book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. The book sold millions of copies worldwide and lionized the purity and courtship movements.

“But 20 years have passed and a lot has changed since then. Josh got married, began a family, pastored a megachurch, endured some gruelling [sic] trials, moved to Vancouver, and pursued graduate studies. And along the way he began to re-evaluate I Kissed Dating Goodbye and its two sequels. He began to grow concerned that his book, though well-intentioned, had caused as much harm as good,” Challies pointed out.

“He began to wonder if what he espoused there was wise and, of even greater concern, biblical. He mapped out a journey or project in which he would listen to people who had been impacted by his work to learn how it had influenced them.”

Harris apologized for his book back in October, revealing that he will be discontinuing its publication.

“I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided,” Harris wrote in his public message online. “I now think dating can be a healthy part of a person developing relationally and learning the qualities that matter most in a partner.”

His 1997 book had criticized what he called back then “recreational dating,” describing it as “a training ground for divorce” that puts people in a habit of ending relationships when they get difficult.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov