Midwest Christian Outreach is very concerned about Josh Harris. Namely, they’re concerned about his reconversion from Christianity. Was it really Christianity that he left? They’re skeptical. Joshua Harris – Kissing WHAT Faith Goodbye? reads a headline on their website.
Have a look:
Joshua left “the unquestioning faith of his youth.” But here is a question that begs to be asked, and might be helpful for Joshua Harris to ask himself: Was it the historic biblical faith he left, or another faith that was passed off to him as the truth of scripture?
And once again:
It may well be that [Harris] is not a Christian[,] we can’t know his heart, but we ask again – is the faith he is “falling away” from the historic biblical faith or a heretical one? The Apostle Paul said it was very possible for people to follow “another Jesus” and “another gospel” than the one he preached to them.
Here’s the thing, though. Each Christian’s “Biblical” is another Christian’s “heretical.” To Catholics, the eucharist is Biblical. To Protestants, it is heretical. To the Presbyterian Church of America, baptizing babies is Biblical. To Baptists, baptizing infants is heretical. I could go on. To the Presbyterian Church of the United States, for example, having female pastors is Biblical. Meanwhile, to the Presbyterian Church of America, having female pastors is heretical. And on, and on, and on…
If this were easy to iron out—if the Bible were actually clear about these things—people would have actually ironed this out. We wouldn’t see 10,000 and more different varieties of Christian. And yet, here we are, because guess what? The Bible isn’t exactly crystal clear on a whole lot of this stuff!
Clear or not, Christians are generally the first to vote each other off the island. Josh Harris is leaving the faith? He must never have been saved in the first place! You know why? Because no one leaves the true faith. Handy little logic mechanism there, no? Ask a Christian about whether they believe in “once saved always saved” or not. Now there’s a doozy. Were people who “backslide” ever really saved to begin with?
The funny thing is that Midwest Christian Outreach is declaring heretical a man who has almost certainly always believed every single one of their tenets. The Trinity? Check. The virgin birth? Check. Salvation through grace alone? Check. Indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Check. The inerrancy of the Bible? Check. They’re not Catholics declaring that Josh Harris was always a heretic. They’re Harris’s people.
I mean goodness, check this out:
It is sad. A very high percentage of people who have been raised in these groups or similarly legalistic churches walk away from faith in God altogether. … But there is another way you can take – you can embrace grace. … You can reject the false faith that led you to despair and come to the true saving faith and a personal relationship with God.
Unless I very much miss my guess, Harris did have a personal relationship with God. That’s kind of a big deal, in the Christian homeschool circles we both grew up in. Harris embraced grace, too—for goodness sake, his denomination was named Sovereign Grace Ministries! But because it’s suddenly convenient, they’re happily decrying Harris as always and forever a heretic.
Harris didn’t tow the party line—he went and deconverted for gracious sake—so they’re voting him off the island. Actually, it’s worse than that. They’re denying that he was ever on the island.
So that’s fun.
I really shouldn’t have been surprised. I knew that evangelical and fundamentalist Christians often respond to individuals’ deconversion by declaring that they must never have actually been Christians to begin with. I knew that. That’s all this is. No True Scotsman is a beast.
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