People departing from the faith is nothing new. It has plagued the faith since Paul declared that all in Asia had abandoned him. The philosophies of men and the desire of the flesh for earthly ordinances drives men from the truths of this age and will either leave then rigidly stuck in a man-made system or they will drift from the faith.
You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me...
-2 Tim 2:15
I was never opposed, per se, to Josh's book. As a guideline for some, it may have some value. But it contained guidelines, not scriptural absolutes. Even if a guideline was built in an absolute, we have to let the absolutes remain absolutes.
For example: It is an absolute that God sees the design for marriage as being between a man and a woman and for intimacy to take place only in that monogamous, permanent union. You can start there, but if you add on "courting" or any other system, we must make clear the system is merely a suggested guideline. It is not a demand of scripture, nor can it hold anyone to that standard.
Josh Harris was a committed Calvinist. As I have often stated, I find "Reformed Theology" to be dangerous, full of snares and mines. It certainly is a hindrance to Bible study. I recently stated at my home Bible study, I am a zero-point Calvinist. This surprised some, but each of the 5-Points (created post-Calvin) is a snare (more on that in another post).
The Calvinist view of God is a cruel and blasphemous one. It makes God the creator of every horrid wickedness which ever entered the mind of man. It makes him responsible for the commission of those sins. And at the end of all things, he is the cause of massive torture on an imaginable scale against people who had no other option but to perform the wicked deeds he "predestined" them to commit.
They will try to wiggle their way around these conclusions from their own premises, but there is no logical way around them. Worst of all, they teach we will rejoice in their horrific torture when we get to heaven.
There are myriads of unbiblical teachings tangled up in all that theological mess, but at the core is a basic misunderstanding of God and the message for this age.
That said, could it be that Josh Harris' problems stem from the unbiblical hate of a the Calvinist's hate-filled god that finally drove him to the empty emergent church? The virtue signaling "social justice" of the scripture-rejecting church is often used to try to ingratiate a person to his peers and critics and quiet a guilty mind.
Lighthouse Trails Research offers a good overview of the possibilities.
We realize that Josh Harris’ stepping down from the Christian faith is most likely multi-faceted, both in the personal and spiritual realms, but his Calvinist (and probably emergent) indoctrination left him defenseless in standing firm in biblical truth.' [excerpt]