Harris, the author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and other books that helped shape purity culture for many millennial believers, announced on Instagram his split from his wife, of which they have three kids, and later, his faith.
"By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian," wrote Harris, who pastored Covenant Life Church from 2004 to 2015. "I am not a Christian."
Harris discontinued his books on purity, renounced what it said, and apologized to the "LGBTQ+ community" for "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. I hope you can forgive me."
Kevin Rogers, the interim senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, wrote a letter to the congregation that was obtained by investigative journalist Julie Roys, saying the news was "hard to hear" for many in the church.
"For most of us, Josh isn't just some distant public figure," Rogers wrote. "He's a beloved former pastor and friend. So this news isn't just a lot to process theoretically. It hits home personally."
He urged the church to "pray with sincere hope for a redemptive end."
Covenant Life Church offered pastoral care for any members struggling to process Harris' update.