Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Gospel According to Joni Eareckson Tada

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 21, 2013

ppt-jpeg4Though Joni Eareckson Tada has experienced monumental life setbacks, namely, quadriplegia and breast cancer, she has lived a life of experience and accomplishments that others can only dream of. Also, it cannot be denied that she has propagated a gargantuan mass of good works that has benefited much of the world.

And she is a self-proclaimed Calvinist. THEREFORE, her good works and her life testimony have become an endorsement for Calvinism, because that is what she has proclaimed herself to be. Good works are not a pass for who you are, or how you define yourself, they endorse what you believe. And Tada believes Calvinism. She has even proclaimed that all of her good works, even a smile that she might give someone, flows from her Calvinistic beliefs (Crystal Cathedral: Hour of Power ; May 3rd, 2009).

That’s my point here. Everything Tada is, in turn, sells what she believes—that’s the choice she has made. So, the question/issue becomes the following: is Calvinism true?

The very definition of a Christian is someone who loves the truth (2Thessalonians  2:10).  In reality, and regardless of appearances, only truth sanctifies (John 17:17). The greatest errors are closest to the truth, and every landfill full of the dead is located at the end of a road paved with good works.

Tada has stated that shortly after her tragic diving accident that left her paralyzed, she was looking for answers (Scott Larsen: Indelible Ink ; Waterbrook Press 2003, Joni Eareckson Tada, chapter 1):

That was when Joni asked a friend to help her understand God’s sovereignty. Wisely, he gave her meat to chew on~hers was no simple, slightly uncomfortable situation~and started her on Berkhof’s Systematic Theology and John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Still just a few years out of high school, Joni found Calvin too heavy, so her friend replaced it with Loraine Boettner’s The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.

“Somewhere in its pages I realized I was reading something mansized. Rather, God-sized. Perhaps it expressed the unspoken desire of my soul: to encounter towering biblical doctrine like the Himalayan peaks that rise to the breathtaking height of Mount Everest. To apprehend a God who was much, much bigger than I ever imagined when I was on my feet.”… “I realized that my suffering was the key to unlocking the hieroglyphics of God’s foreordained will. I was about to embark on the adventure of my life.”

Calvinism might have given Tada answers that invigorated her will to live on, but one searches in vain for her concern that Calvin taught a true gospel. And he didn’t. Calvin’s view of God’s sovereignty was the issue, not his gospel. Is there a difference? Obviously there is. Calvin believed that God is completely sovereign, and also believed that we have to ask for forgiveness of daily sins in order to keep ourselves saved:

Secondly, this passage shows that the gratuitous pardon of sins is given us not only once, but that it is a benefit perpetually residing in the Church, and daily offered to the faithful. For the Apostle here addresses the faithful; as doubtless no man has ever been, nor ever will be, who can otherwise please God, since all are guilty before him; for however strong a desire there may be in us of acting rightly, we always go haltingly to God. Yet what is half done obtains no approval with God. In the meantime, by new sins we continually separate ourselves, as far as we can, from the grace of God. Thus it is, that all the saints have need of the daily forgiveness of sins; for this alone keeps us in the family of God (John Calvin: Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles; The Calvin Translation Society 1855. Editor: John Owen, p. 165 ¶4).

Calvinism is no different than any other Christ + something else false gospel. In the case of Calvinism—keeping ourselves saved by perpetual re-repentance for sins in sanctification that remove us from grace:

In the meantime, by new sins we continually separate ourselves, as far as we can, from the grace of God… Thus it is, that all the saints have need of the daily forgiveness of sins; for this alone keeps us in the family of God.

Oh, and by the way, Calvin said such forgiveness can only be found in the institutional church and administered by ordained pastors (CI 4.1.21,22). This Protestant absolution was exemplified by Tada confidant John Macarthur Jr. during the 2013 Shepherds Conference. During a general session, MacArthur shared that a young Aids victim requested that MacArthur seek forgiveness for sins on his behalf. MacArthur agreed to the request accordingly.

During the aforementioned message at Crystal Cathedral’s Hour of Power, Tada stated that God brought said grievous trials into her life so that she would live by the cross daily:

And so God, bless his heart, forces us down the road to Calvary where we are not humanly inclined to go. It’s not our natural inclination to go to the Cross every day. And so God gives us suffering like a sheep dog. It is a sheep dog snapping at your heels, driving you down the road to the Cross where otherwise you might not normally go. You’re driven there by the overwhelming conviction that you just have nowhere else to go. And so God permits the broken heart. He permits the broken home. He permits, he allows, he ordains, he plans even the broken neck until we become broken… Even Jesus himself said blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Who are the poor in spirit? Those who come to Jesus every day in empty-handed spiritual poverty, asking him to show them the reason for living that day. Because we’re all richer when we recognize our spiritual poverty.

Come now, are born-again Christians spiritually impoverished? We need to seek God’s purpose for our life daily?  Our smiles are not even our own smiles, but we have to get them from God?

“I have no strength for a smile for this woman who’s going to come to the bedroom door in just a moment, and I’ve gotta give her a smile. And Lord, I don’t have a smile… So God, please give me your smile. I have no smile for this woman, but you’ve got a smile. May I please borrow your smile?” And not but a moment goes by and I have a smile. It’s already a miracle. I’ve experienced a miracle before 7:30 a.m. when my girlfriend walks to the door and I can smile, not in spite of my paralysis but because of it. My paralysis has driven me every single morning to the cause of Jesus Christ where I tell him how much desperately I need him. And so that smile is already hard-fought for and hard-won by early morning. That’s the first nugget of wisdom. Begin your day needing Jesus Christ desperately (Ibid).

Is this really the essence of the Christian life? We have to plead and beg God for even a smile? It is, if we also have to go back to the cross daily to beg God for salvific forgiveness. That’s Calvinism; daily resalvation. You have eternal security IF you beg God for smiles every day, and IF you were elected.

You are elected IF you practice a daily application of Christ’s death on the cross. You are elected IF you believe that even the slightest sin in your Christian life separates you from grace.

Tada is sacrificing her stellar life on the altar of Calvinism. Her good works point people to John Calvin who plainly taught a false gospel. What she believes and what she does cannot be separated. There is time to go back to the beginning and once again look for answers.

This time, pick up a Bible, not the Calvin Institutes.


8 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on October 21, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


  2. Trust4himonly-Faith said, on October 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    Paul, this is where of course they get it so wrong and probably why I could not quite understand their position on salvation; actually I was a very confused puppy about this junk when I went to a Reformed church not too long ago- like you said they view Christ on the outside instead of the inside. Christ’s WHOLE purpose was for us was to be changed internally so that we would be effective and productive in bringing others to Him.
    Calvinism produces only putty to be manipulated and formed by the elite elders or pastor.
    This is where Joni, sadly, misses the mark- she does not realize that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer; this is co-laboring. We HAVE the tools to be able to DO and BE a Christ follower. We are PERMANENTLY sealed and to be used for good works. We have the Holy Spirit at all times to be able to go to when we are weak and to strengthen us for His glory. We can also quench Him by going our own way and not taking the responsibility to act. ALL this is done internally, not outside- thanks for making it clear on this site Paul.

    Another problem is that JMac wants to pick and choose what the Holy Spirit can or cannot do in each and every Christians life. This is arrogancy at its finest hour. What could he say to the Muslim-turned-Christian who claims he saw a vision of Jesus telling him to follow Him? Who are we to state that that was not so?
    Now I am not a Charismatic because I saw all the false lies and money laundering going on in the American Charismatic movements and churches here; but I can state that the Holy Spirit does work in ways that are a mystery. JMac and the other elites, I guess think that they have the answer for us all.


  3. trust4himonly said, on October 21, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    “During a general session, MacArthur shared that a young Aids victim requested that MacArthur seek forgiveness for sins on his behalf. MacArthur agreed to the request accordingly.”

    This really happened?? Boy, does this make me fume!!


  4. paulspassingthoughts said, on October 21, 2013 at 11:39 PM


    Sad indeed. A difficult article to write. Why are men the authority and not the plain sense of Scripture?


  5. johnimmel said, on December 21, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    As fantastically unpopular as this comment will be I insist that Joni Ericsson Tada is a theological fraud. Her life is a case study in causality blame shifting. She is a woman who refuses to take responsibility for her own actions. The first time was when she dove into the river and broker her neck and then pretend that the tragedy was divine prerogative as apposed to a stunning manifestation of adolescent stupidity. (I was twelve when my dad taught me NOT to dive into a river. There might be ROCKS you don’t see!!!) And every time since when she is used as the poster child for the doctrine of “suffering” all the while taking actions to perform at some of the highest levels of HUMAN achievement.

    She has let herself stand for evil and she is evil personified.

    (psst . . . i dare you Calvinists to take me to task on this comment)


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on December 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM

      You hate to do it, especially someone like myself who cares for people in this condition. But, while being all in for making lemonade out of lemons, it should be lemonade and not hemlock tea. In addition, the technological marvels that make her life what it is would be Martin Luther’s “glory story.” If she would really want to suffer for Jesus, leave the limelight and come be with those that I serve who don;t have the same financial means. But in the end, anyone who propagates a false gospel cannot get a pass for any reason.


      • johnimmel said, on December 21, 2016 at 10:58 AM

        Well her “condition”: is why she gets a pass on what she preaches. No one has the B@!!$ to take her to task for the evil doctrine coming out of her mouth. I have watched the Tada Doctrine prevail in Christianity for my whole life. It mesmerizes people into intellectual passivity because to challenge her doctrine is to fail in compassion for her plight. But her plight was self inflicted. the scope of the tragedy doesn’t NOT mitigate the causality. I don’t suffer being dazzled by the suffering and i am advocating that everyone else cast off the daze. Tragedy is NOT a licences to advance the most disastrous body of doctrine perpetrated on humanity. And as for compassion . . . MY compassion is for those who suffer under the theological madness perpetrated by the evil men and women who propagate it.


      • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on December 21, 2016 at 11:17 AM

        Right, because we must remember that there is only ONE reason their detractors are not jailed or worse; American jurisprudence. Farfetched? Such was the case during the highly lauded colonial days overseen by her heroes the Puritans. Look what the contemporary churches do to improvise when someone crosses them. How big is the one step away from state force? Just scoot one foot forward a little.


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