Because of all of that, I’m going to do my best to keep in mind that what he said in 1997 may not represent his views now (although I am working with the updated 2003 edition). Joshua writes, “Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person as God loved us.” That sums up the book’s message Once we embrace this principle, the rest is just details. I’m going to end up massively disagreeing because the rest is almost absolutely not “just details.” I agree with the idea that every relationship is an opportunity to show the love of God to a person.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that although he might have matured and changed, his book is probably the most popular book on courtship (and possibly on Christian dating in general) , and on Amazon the recent reviews are even more glowing, including one that went up last week. I don’t disagree with that– what Christian could possibly say “no, relationships have nothing to do with us showing God’s love to people”?
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Harris has begun engaging his critics and is trying to raise money to film a documentary about the book’s negative feedback.
All the other books I’ve reviewed have done this: they continually conflate with “God’s will” or “what God wants for your life.” This is always done honestly– Stasi Eldredge and Nancy Leigh De Moss and Mark Driscoll and now Joshua Harris are all convinced that they’re representing God and “wisdom” and “Christian living” and whatever else, and they’re doing their best to do that faithfully.
Whether religious or not, and whether sexually active or not, sexuality is a fundamental aspect of each person’s physical, emotional, and relational health and development.
While there are legitimate reasons to wait till marriage to have sex, Christians need not resort to fear-based, guilt-based, poorly researched, culturally biased, or statistically dubious reasons to state their case.
The author contends that arguments based on fear, guilt, or insecurities, rigid interpretations of the “one flesh” principle, avoidable or disputable consequences, and historic ecclesiastical intervention rather than genuine biblical ideals, are inadequate to explain why unmarried Christians should be condemned for, or even dissuaded from, engaging in loving sexual acts outside of a legally-recognized marriage.
A higher perspective based on Christ-centered purity ethics is offered.