More than 20 years ago, he wrote a popular Christian guide to relationships that said dating—including holding hands, kissing, and couples spending time alone together—was bad and a "training ground" for divorce. Now, after pointing out the "flaws" more than a year ago in his I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris' own marriage is over, he doesn't consider himself a Christian anymore, and he's apologizing to the LGBT community for perpetuating "a culture of exclusion and bigotry," the Guardian and CBN News report. The first sign Harris' personal life was undergoing a sea change came earlier this month when he put up an Instagram post announcing he and his wife of more than two decades were separating. "Some significant changes have taken place in both of us," the 44-year-old wrote, showing a pic of the two of them together and noting the "sincere love" they still have for each other.
Then, on Friday, a new Instagram post from Harris, announcing a "massive shift" he hadn't previously disclosed. "By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian," he wrote, adding that "many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I'm not there now." He also included a surprise apology to the LGBTQ community. "I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry," he wrote. "I hope you can forgive me." Meanwhile, on his website last year, the former megachurch pastor said he was discontinuing his best-selling book. "While I stand by my book's call to sincerely love others ... I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided," he wrote. (Read more Christianity stories.)