Pastor Joshua Harris' book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" was a big hit during the 90's. Christian singles loved how he encouraged them to seek purposeful singleness as he set the benchmark for Christian dating.
However, more than two decades after releasing that book, Harris is issuing an apology to individuals who have developed an unhealthy view towards love, sexuality, dating, and relationships because of his book.
"I'm hearing these different voices saying, here's how your book was used against me, here's how it was forced on me, or here's how I tried to — no one forced it on me, but I tried to apply it and it had this negative consequence in different ways," Harris tells NPR.
He says after hearing those negative comments, he tried to evaluate his words of advice. He says he is looking for "some way if I can apologise where needed" since some people mistakenly assumed his book is a set of rules that must strictly be followed.
"That was not my intention. But I think one of the things that I'm changing in my own thinking is I just think people — myself included — it's so easy to latch on to a formula. You know, you do these things and you'll be great. You'll be safe and you'll be protected and you'll be whatever," he says. "And I just don't think that's the way life works. I don't think that's the way the life of faith works."
Even though the Bible gives "certain commandments and guidance" relating to sexuality and relationships, Harris says Christians still add their own thoughts and opinions to it. More often than not, these extra thoughts get people in danger.
"We have God's word, but then it's so easy to add all this other stuff to protect people, to control people, to make sure that you don't get anywhere near that place where you could go off course. And I think that's where the problems arise," he says.
Harris, who is now a father of five, served as the lead pastor of Covenant Life Church from 2004 until 2015. He is now studying at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada.