Joshua Harris, the Christian pastor and author who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye as a teenager and launched a mini-revolution of young Christians forsaking dating relationships, has been on a lengthy journey ever since, very publicly wrestling with some of the unintended fallout of his more than twenty-year-old advice. Now, Harris has released a statement apologizing for I Kissed Dating Goodbye and announcing that he will be discontinuing its publication, stating “I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided. I now think dating can be a healthy part of a person developing relationally and learning the qualities that matter most in a partner.”
…in an effort to set a high standard, the book emphasized practices (not dating, not kissing before marriage) and concepts (giving your heart away) that are not in the Bible. In trying to warn people of the potential pitfalls of dating, it instilled fear for some—fear of making mistakes or having their heart broken. The book also gave some the impression that a certain methodology of relationships would deliver a happy ever-after ending—a great marriage, a great sex life—even though this is not promised by scripture.
It’s a thoughtful and heartfelt apology with real substance behind it, that clearly comes from a place of deep personal introspection. “I know this apology doesn’t change anything for you and it’s coming too late, but I want you to hear that I regret any way that my ideas restricted you, hurt you, or gave you a less-than-biblical view of yourself, your sexuality, your relationships, and God,” he says.
Harris also talks a little about an upcoming documentary called I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye that will release next year, exploring both Harris’ journey and some of the conversations he’s had with people who’ve seen their romantic lives impacted by the book. He offers a free e-book about some of the things that changed his mind and recommends a few books on dating by authors like Dr. Henry Cloud and Deb Fileta.
You can read the full statement here.