I have a 25-minute drive to work each morning and while I’m in my car I really enjoy listening to a local Christian radio station. Oh, it’s a blessing to hear about the Lord at the start of every day! One of the scheduled messages broadcast each morning is a 5-minute clip from Joni Eareckson Tada. I’m sure many of you have heard of her. Joni, a quadriplegic, provides daily messages of hope and encouragement for Christians who are struggling with challenges of all kinds.
Yesterday morning, my ears perked up when Joni cited “First Things” journal as an excellent publication and strongly encouraged her listeners to check it out. Well, “First Things” was started by influential Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, in 1990. It’s described as an “inter-denominational, inter-religious, ecumenical” journal featuring the writings of a broad spectrum of “Christians” (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) and Jews. All of the declarations issued by Chuck Colson’s and Neuhaus’s ecumenical “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” project were initially published in “First Things.”
The ecumenical spirit of “First Things” mirrors the teaching of Roman Catholicism which says all can be saved if they “seek the truth and do the will of God.”
“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery. Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1260.
The Catholic hierarchy once taught that only Catholics could be saved but, because they believe in salvation-by-merit, it was entirely predictable that they would eventually recognize all other works-righteousness religious systems – Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. – as legitimate. Making their already-broad path even wider, Pope Francis has said EVEN ATHEISTS will be saved if they follow their consciences and pursue “righteousness.”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” – Mark 10:18
But genuine believers are well aware that God’s Word clearly proclaims that salvation is ONLY by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. There is NO other way. Bible verses which state salvation is only by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior can be found here.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing in common with the works-righteousness “gospel” of Catholicism and the ecumenism of “First Things.”
So why would a high-profile Evangelical Christian, like Joni Eareckson Tada, irresponsibly recommend “First Things” and its ecumenical message to her listeners? What goes through her head? The postmodern heresies of pluralism and relative truth continue to spread like cancer and more and more Evangelicals ignore Biblical doctrine and succumb to accommodation, cooperation, and compromise.