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The book, marketed to teenagers and 20somethings, also discourages teen relationships and promotes courtship, a process in which a couple moves purposefully toward marriage with their parents' blessing and involvement as a better alternative to dating.

Any kind of physical intimacy before marriage, the book argues, is a violation of the sacredness of married sexuality, and could lead to lifelong regret.

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My own parents vowed that their children would never date, we would court, as laid out in Harris’ book.At the time, Harris was just 21, but he was already a rising star.His parents were pioneers of the evangelical home-schooling movement, and Harris had already founded New Attitude, a countercultural magazine for teens that gave tips for proselytizing and offered in-depth analysis on why pop culture songs like Joan Osborne’s “[What If God Was] One of Us” was unchristian. Here’s why we chose to give birth to black triplets.] As a young home-schooled evangelical, Harris was a paragon of all the Christian virtues — an autodidact, motivated and pure.Joshua Harris, the former lead pastor of Covenant Life Church, the founding church of Sovereign Grace Ministries in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is now apologizing to Christians he hurt when he advised against dating in his best-selling 1997 book,calling it a "huge mistake.""Part of the reason this has been so hard for me is that I have so much of my identity tied up in these books.It's what I'm known for," Harris told writer Ruth Graham earlier this month in Vancouver, British Columbia, in a report for Slate."It's like, well, crap, is the biggest thing I've done in my life this really huge mistake?