First published in 1997 and updated in 2003, Joshua Harris's I Kissed Dating Goodbye still garners heavy sales on Amazon.com where readers have piled up almost 877 reviews over the last two decades, reviews averaging 4/5 stars. Overall, that's just under one review per week since publication. Pretty impressive for a 21 year old author, I'd say.
The relationship perspective between male and female which Harris embraced and non-negotiably insisted constituted the biblical view was what he called "courting" rather than "dating," a fairly provocative notion in evangelical circles even around Y2K. Truth was, virtually every married couple I'd known up until that time had not followed the "courting" paradigm Harris insisted was the "biblical view" but followed some some sort of "dating" paradigm (this included churched and unchurched couples). Hence, I had major reservations with Harris's book right from the start and more than once stated my reservations publicly from the pulpit.
Know also it was not so much I objected to "courting" per se as it was I objected to constituting "courting" in male/female relationships as the only viable biblical interpretation of male/female relationships. If Harris refused to "date" girls based upon his biblical conviction, I have few qualms to raise about that no matter how wrong I think his interpretation might be. However, when he or another insists all Christians ought to "kiss dating goodbye" because dating is unbiblical and only courting is biblical, then I'd like to stand up with a mic in my hand. I did. And I will again, if necessary.
Others like me publicly shared their reservations with Harris's book in the early 2000s, mostly questioning his very obviously flawed hermeneutic by which he came to his erring conclusion from Scripture.
Even so, many young evangelicals bought into Harris's stock, including youth pastors, church leaders, and churches whose characteristics tended to be control-centered. That is, churches that placed a lot of energy in controlling what its members did even in their own-personal families.
What's interesting is, I don't think I'll ever need to stand up with a mic in my hand to discuss "dating" and "courting" because Harris himself appears to be doubting his own view he embraced in I Kissed Dating Goodbye. You can read and/or listen to Harris in an interview on NPR "Former Evangelical Pastor Rethinks His Approach To Courtship."
While without hesitation, I fully embrace Paul's inspired counsel to "let no one despise your youth" (1Tim 4:12), we should be extremely cautious in allowing a 21 year old guy to sell us a novel message that constitutes the only viable biblical interpretation on any subject much less what makes for legitimate male/female relationships.