Pastor Joshua Harris, an evangelical outlier, heads to mainstream seminary

By Michelle Boorstein
January 30

For most of his career, Joshua Harris was the kind of evangelical pastor who chuckled at the joke that “seminary” should really be called “cemetery.”

The son of a national home-schooling leader — home-schooled himself — Harris by his mid-20s had become a prominent pastor as well as a best-selling author on religion and sex, despite having no formal theological training. He immediately became a darling of a movement that took off in the 1990s called nondenominationalism, largely made up of conservative evangelicals who view religious institutions and denominations as often lifeless and unopen to God’s spirit.

And for 17 years, Harris preached the power of outsiderdom as pastor of Covenant Life, a 3,000-member church in Gaithersburg that is well-known — and sometimes controversial — on the national nondenominational scene.

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