Before I begin full disclosure: I have been interested in Joshua Harris since I read his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye many years ago. My interest was not based upon his book, but his willingness to step out against the current status flow and make a stand.
I read Joshua's book because one of my teenagers at my Messianic synagogue handed it to me. After reading the book, my youth leaders used it as a study guide for a series on relationships.
First, let me share the similarities between Yeshua and Joshua Harris:
- They both share forms of the same name.
- They were both young men.
- They both stood up against the unbiblical flow within their faith systems.
- They both provided instructions from the Bible.
- They both were rejected by many of the religious leaders of their day.
- They both were followed by people who wanted G-D's blessings in their life.
- They both were attacked because of what they taught.
- They both had what they said misquoted and misapplied.
- They both had large groups of people who blamed their problems on the books they promoted.
- They both were blamed for the failures of others.
The truth is that there is almost nothing that has been criticized about Joshua's books that the same criticisms are not made concerning the Bible.
With all of these similarities between Joshua and Yeshua, what then is the difference?
The difference is that when Yeshua's words were misquoted and misapplied, and when Yeshua was blamed for the difficulties in the lives of those who claimed to follow His teachings, Yeshua didn't believe those lies and didn't accept the guilt people were laying upon Him.
I read where someone wrote that they followed Joshua's instructions, and their whole life was destroyed. They married the person they believed was their "perfect partner," and they expected that because they did what the book said, everything would be perfect. And when it wasn't perfect, they blamed Joshua and "that book."
Joshua taught that if they followed biblical precepts that they would have a blessed life, just as the Bible says that if we follow G-D's precepts, we will have blessed lives. But, and this is a big caveat, we must actually follow G-D's precepts. Those complaining said they missed out on choices because they waited for the "right people" or that they believed their sex life would be perfect and magical because they waited for the right person.
The complaints are many and varied, and each one puts the blame of bad relationships, failed marriages, poor sex lives and so on all on Joshua's book. If only they had not read the book, everything would have been perfect. The problem wasn't Joshua's book; it was people's unrealistic expectations of perfection. What they forgot was that even the most perceived perfect husband or wife is still an imperfect person.
Last night, I read that Joshua no longer proclaims he is a Christian, and I am praying for him. I hope every one of you will also.
Imagine the burden of guilt he has been carrying from the thousands of people that blame him for every failed relationship they had "because they read his book." Please pray that Joshua would remember that he didn't invent purity and holiness within relationships, and that he will begin to reject that burden of guilt.
What Joshua must remember and realize is that it is not his fault if people didn't follow the holy book (the Bible) that his book instructed them to follow.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians, and Galatians in Context.
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