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This morning I am beginning a new Sunday series called “The Bestsellers.” The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association tracks sales of Christian books, and awards the Platinum Book Award for books whose sales exceed one million, and the Diamond Book Award for sales exceeding ten million.In this series I will look at the history and impact of some of the Christian books that have sold more than a million copies—no small feat when the average Christian books sells only a few thousand., written by Joshua Harris and first published in 1997, argued that traditional dating was “a training ground for divorce” because it puts people in the habit of quitting relationships when things get tough.
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.
It inspired both praise—from the likes of purity matriarch Elisabeth Elliot and Focus on the Family—and book-length rebuttals.
Harris was already a popular speaker at conferences for Christian home-schoolers and had started his own magazine, but the book’s influence quickly outpaced its modest built-in audience—it has sold more than 1.2 million copies to date. You weren’t just not having sex, you were adopting “a revolutionary pattern of living” that would make you both a better Christian and, someday, a better spouse.
A bride is walking down the aisle toward her beloved on their wedding day.
Stained glass, string quartet: Everything is perfect.