I don’t know Joshua Harris, but I am sure he helped a lot of people. Christians do that. It is what they are supposed to do. Serve.
Harris recently announced that he got it wrong on his Christian faith and he is leaving the church, well, kind of. In Evangelicalism, you don’t just leave the church, it leaves you.
No one knows for sure why Harris decided to hang up his Christianity, but many people say it is happening more often these days, disenchanted Christians leaving the Church, leaving their faith behind.
But maybe the reason Christians are disenchanted is not because they are tired of Jesus, but because of what the Christian Church has become, a political body of sorts, a super club that includes a list of litmus tests that you have to agree to in order to be saved.
Perhaps Mr. Harris grew weary of the various codes he had to follow, belief systems he had to adopt in unison. Perhaps this believing son might even feel like he is betraying God, or giving up his soul in order to gain the world,
I have a much different take on Joshua’s dilemma, as well as the dilemma of millions of people who would otherwise gladly follow Jesus’ teachings if they didn’t have to travel through a maze of theological rules in order to find the living Jesus, and the living God.
As a Urantia Book student who understands the importance of having a loving and deep relationship with God, I know how it feels to be scorned by the Church, of having to suffer being under suspicion because my faith doesn’t hold up to every precept and code taught by the Church, who requires me to do so in order for me to be counted as “a true believer.”
In the Urantia Books’ case, the Church has gone so far as to declare the revelation false, as possibly the work of false prophets. This tells me that the Church which bears Christs’ name will never reconcile with any other group that espouses Christs’ teachings – unless they do so in exact uniformity, unless the Church, no pun intended, gives its blessings
Anyone who doesn’t believe in certain doctrines like The Bible as the nly word of God, of holy books, of Original Sin and Atonement, or a virgin birth are declared excluded from God’s kingdom, according to religious authority.
Further, most Christian’s today are being forced to choose between having God in their life – to the exclusion of being able to love and have relationships with people who may not hold the same views, or they must renounce themselves as “true Christians.”
As funny as it sounds, Christian’s seem to have the monopoly on who gets to follow Jesus, and you have to play by their rules; you must be sanctioned through the process of accepting their mores.
This is why I believe the “Nones” are growing. The Law of scripture, has taken over the Spirit of the Lord. The Church has become exactly what Jesus fought against, formalized, fossilized TRUTH frozen in time, unyielding and unforgiving.
Ironically, the very challenges many believers face today are the same as when Jesus walked the earth, dealing with the religious authority of his day, the Pharisees and Sadducee’s – those who enforced Mosaic Law, and controlled who were admitted into God’s kingdom, those who were to be saved by God, and those who perished.
You had to play by their rules in order to get in, and I think today’s Christian is faced with a similar environment of religious authority; an all or nothing proposition.
Jesus says we did not come here to judge, but to serve.
In paper 155 of the Urantia Book, Jesus is giving his discourse to the Apostles on what the spirit of truth is, excellent points that perhaps apply to Joshua, and are well worth remembering.
And I will conclude by sayng this. Joshua Harris, don’t despair. You can have God in your life, and you can still have Jesus as your elder brother and fellow Son in your heart. None of that changes when you leave the church.
God is not a suckers proposition, an either/or – proposition. He belongs to you and I know you know that Josh.
It is written, it is far better to have a religion and not have a church, than to have a church and have no religion.
Here is what Jesus stated in the Urantia Book, and its is a short quote, but also helpful for many people today who love Christ, love God, love to serve – but don’t dig the Church because of it uniform belief system that fossilizes truth.
The religions of authority can only divide men and set them in conscientious array against each other; the religion of the spirit will progressively draw men together and cause them to become understandingly sympathetic with one another. The religions of authority require of men uniformity in belief, but this is impossible of realization in the present state of the world. The religion of the spirit requires only unity of experience—uniformity of destiny—making full allowance for diversity of belief. The religion of the spirit requires only uniformity of insight, not uniformity of viewpoint and outlook. The religion of the spirit does not demand uniformity of intellectual views, only unity of spirit feeling. The religions of authority crystallize into lifeless creeds; the religion of the spirit grows into the increasing joy and liberty of ennobling deeds of loving service and merciful ministration.” (Paper 155: 6:9)