Throwback Thursday: Popular and influential evangelical, Joni Eareckson Tada, endorses ecumenical “First Things”

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Throwback Thursday.” For today’s installment, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 8th, 2015 and has been revised.


I used to have a 25-minute drive to work each morning back when I was employed and while I was in my car I really enjoyed listening to a local Christian radio station. Oh, it was a blessing to hear about the Lord at the start of every day! One of the scheduled messages broadcast each morning was 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.

However, one morning, my ears perked up when Joni cited “First Things” monthly 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 describes itself 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 pathways to God. Making the already-broad path even wider, Pope Francis has said EVEN ATHEISTS will be saved if they follow their conscience 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 alone. There is NO other way. Bible verses which state that 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 false gospel of Roman 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 unwary and trusting listeners? What goes through her head? Does she believe the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone or not? Respected Reformed theologian, Carl Trueman, also inexplicably lends his support to the wide-is-the-way mission of “First Things” as one of the journal’s regular contributors. 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.

20 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Popular and influential evangelical, Joni Eareckson Tada, endorses ecumenical “First Things”

  1. Yes, “heresies are spreading like cancer” and, with much grief, I believe will worsen into the one world church. Joni spoke at our church and is due accolades for her fortitude and perseverance but cannot get a pass on compromising the Gospel.
    Popularity is proving to be a great snare in modern Christianity. Once you have it and gravitate toward more, it becomes a gross imitation of God’s favor.
    Press on brother!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth. Yes, there is tremendous pressure on these celebrity believers to succumb to Gospel-denying ecumenism. As I was walking our dog this morning, I was listening to a sermon from a “rock-solid” pastor, the last person in the world I would have expected of the following: At the start of his sermon, he quoted a very famous Roman Catholic and cited him as a “great Christian.” My jaw dropped to the road. Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa Beth!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Answering your question on my blog: I only have 4,745 steps. Going to now go get a hair cut and also walk in a garden where I also hope to take a break in nature and work on my sermon prep with Translating Ruth…and hopefully some more steps!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sad to see Joni endorse First Thing. More shocking to me is the endorsement by Trueman who should know better. He can make fun of Evangelical fundamentalists and be hard on them but he’s soft with modern Catholics…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, Trueman must ignore the very pronounced dichotomy rolling around in his head = the RCC is completely wrong about HOW a person is justified and saved (the CRUX of the Reformation), and yet he believes Catholics are saved.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crissy! I’m glad she spoke the truth at one time and was a help to you, but these celebrity Christians are under so much pressure (and temptation) to increase their audience/followers by watering down the truth and accommodating what they never would have when they began.


      1. Thanks, Crissy. Along the same theme, I took my dog for a walk yesterday and listened to a sermon from very solid pastor. At the start of the sermon, he quoted a famous Roman Catholic writer, a person who actively promulgated and defended Rome’s false gospel. The pastor referred to the person as a “great Christian.” So disappointing.

        Liked by 1 person

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