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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mark Cahill - Sad and Shocking News

By Justin Edwards

It saddens me to share some news I came across today involving recent comments made by Mark Cahill. After reading the following retweet from Lane Chaplin earlier, I was taken aback and proceeded to see what he was referring to:

Brothers, Mark Cahill's lack of understanding Calvinism is not unbiblical. His lack of love toward brethren is (Source). 

In the midst of welcoming my new son last week (healthy at 8lb 12oz! by the way :) ), I clearly missed a post from Ken Silva that shed light on the controversy. But before I share that, I'd like to take a brief moment to say that Mark Cahill has been such a great blessing to me. Since a brother in Christ shared him with me this past spring, I have read both of his books and listened to at least a dozen of his messages. I have also used him as an invaluable resource here on the blog as you can see in the videos to the right and on my Evangelism Page. So what I'm about to share with you is devastating news to me; not that he disagrees with the doctrines of grace (commonly known as "Calvinism"), but that he is vehement in doing so to the point of calling all those who adhere to these doctrines as false teachers and heretics.

The fact is, the Calvinism/Arminianism debate has been going on since the reformation, and actually could be traced back to Augustine and Pelagius. I myself am still studying these doctrines, and though I am finding myself more and more in the reformed camp, I would never consider my brothers and sisters in the middle of the road or unapologetic Arminians (the non-Pelagian kind) to be heretics. Unfortunately, Mark Cahill has gone as far as to place an anathema on the reformers and those adhering to the doctrines of grace, or those leaning toward these doctrines as heading toward the anathema of Galatians 1:9.

I share the following information not to stir up a debate about Calvinism, but to bring this to your attention so you can be in prayer for Mark. I can only wonder if he has been influenced by the heretic Charles G. Finney and modern "evangelists" who espouse his poison such as Jesse Morrell and Kerrigan Skelly of Pinpoint Evangelism, both of whom deny original sin and teach open theism and sinless perfection. Does that sound familiar? This is all rooted in the heresy Pelagianism - that man has a choice not to sin because man was born without sin (read about Rick Warren and this heresy HERE).

I question these men having influence on Mark Cahill because Kerrigan Skelly has an extensive collection of Cahill's videos on youtube, and in some cases (if not all), has "specific permission" to upload Mark's material such as this video. Further, Mark Cahill's comments as you will see in the articles below reek with Pelagianism in that man can choose God though he is dead in his sins. For example, Mark says,

We have the ability and responsibility to choose God or not to choose God. (Source)

But again, it's not that Mark has a misunderstanding of the grace of God and His sovereign work in salvation (if indeed he has not gone so far the way of Pelagian as Morrell and Skelly - this has yet to be determined). The issue for now is the manner in which Mark disagrees with these doctrines and his unbiblical attacks against the brethren. So with that, please allow me to share some things with you.

The first article I read was from Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries, where he offers the following in his post titled "The 'Different God' of Calvinists and Mark Cahill Announcement":

"Pastor Randall Easter, whom I am pleased to call my friend, sent me the link to Mark Cahill Announcement and John Speed is a member of his church:

The Lost Cause Ministries has long considered Mark Cahill to be a brother-in-arms in evangelism. We have linked to his ministry on our website, recommended and given away his books, recommended his ministry in “Evangelism in the New Testament” and had him as the speaker for our first Texas Revival Series meeting. His zeal and love for the Lord has been an encouragement to us. He has blessed our ministry with his books and teachings on evangelism.
However, it came to our attention this past week that Mark believes some pretty radical things about those who hold to Reformed Theology. Mark does not believe in the doctrines of grace. That, in itself, does not have to be an issue as far as we are concerned, although we do steadfastly believe in these doctrines. We have never regarded adherence to these doctrines as a test of fellowship if: 1) we can focus on the gospel when we are on the streets and 2) those who differ from us have not slipped into some outright heresy (denial of original sin, openness of God theology, etc.), in which case we would have to break fellowship. (Online source)

"I agree completely, because this is a good statement regarding proper Christian fellowship despite our disagreements. While I don’t self-identify as a Calvinist, largely because I don’t have time to study everything that term entails, I do hold to the doctrines of grace consistent with e.g. Phil Johnson or Dr. Jame White. That said, there are many I work closely with in the ministry field of online apologetics and discernment who do not.

"Since we all agree on the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name; salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the finished work on the Cross of Christ alone, we have common ground. As the late, great apologist Dr. Walter Martin would say, upon exactly how one ends up regenerated, we can “agree to disagree agreeably.” However, there has been a growing anti-Calvinist—actually aimed at the doctrines of grace—backlash, which in my opinion is a result of years of relentless propaganda from EC circles.

"For these reasins I think it was important to draw your attention to this developing story because allegedly Mark Cahill:

asserts that we “worship another god” and “another jesus”, we take exception. We do not make this charge of him because of his doctrines, and yet he makes them of us.

In fact, Mark has been covertly questioning ministries that he once had close ties with regarding Reformed theology and if they either have “Calvinists” on staff or hold to these doctrines, he has been breaking fellowship with them."

Ken is referring to the following open letter from Lost Cause Ministries concerning Mark Cahill and calling him to repentance: Mark Cahill Announcement. I encourage you to read the whole letter, and it concludes with the following admonishment to Mark:

Your actions and words are not the actions and words of a man who loves his brother. Your refusal to offer correction to what you presume to be lost men does not exhibit the love you claim for the lost, much less brothers. We must conclude that your hatred for the truths of the doctrines of grace have blinded you to the love you should have for the brethren. We hope and pray that you will repent.

The above letter went out October 1st, and at some point Mark Cahill responded with the following 9-page rebuttal (I am unclear if this was written before or after the Lost Cause Ministries' open letter): Calvinism and the Bible. In reference to the reformers and those in the reformed camp, Mark makes the following statement:

There are fables being taught and false prophets everywhere in our world. Are you sure you haven’t been captured by one of them?

This followed shortly after his quoting Charles Spurgeon, of whom Mark quotes at the beginning of every chapter in his book, One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven:

And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.

To which Mark immediately replied,

This is one of the saddest statements I have ever heard. Calvinism is not the gospel or the good news. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 tells us what that good news is!!

Now again, this issue is not about the merits of Calvinism per se. However, it is about Mark's unbiblical reaction to it and marking its adherents as rank heretics:

But now truthfully, it is time for you to choose. Choose which side that you are on. Don’t sit on the fence any longer. It’s time to make a stand. If you believe Calvinism is unbiblical, stand strongly against it. The character of God is at stake here. I have made my choice.

Mark goes on to quote Galatians 1:6-9,

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

And following shortly after that, Mark states while calling for the 2 Corinthians 13:5 examination:

If you believe in the god and jesus of Calvinism, you are either in Galatians 1 territory, or you are heading straight toward it.

This is so unfortunate. Either Mark Cahill is in grave ignorance of the doctrines of grace, or he has fallen for the deception of Pelagianism. In either case, he is handling this very unbiblically and my heart breaks for him.

Shane Dodson over at Sword of the Spirit posted an important article yesterday refuting Mark Cahill's comments and his disingenuous quotation of Dr. R.C. Sproul. I hope you take the time to read it so to further understand where Mark has gone wrong: Mark Cahill's Calvinism Critique Weighed and Found Wanting (Part 1).

We all need to be in prayer about this. Mark Cahill has done so much for the Kingdom of God and has blessed many, many people - including myself. It is never pleasant to see a brother trapped in sin, and it is even more disheartening if a brother refuses to heed the call to repentance. It is one thing to debate the issue of Calvinism and Arminianism, it is quite another to call your brothers in Christ damned heretics, including the Reformers used by God to destroy the religious bondage that Rome had on the church.

If you feel led to contact Mark Cahill about this, letting him know you are praying for him and urging him to reconsider his position and repent from his false accusations of the brethren, then you can contact him through his website at Mark Cahill.


  1. Extremely sad. Where is his love for those whom he believes to be out side of Christ?

  2. Yeah, it's sad indeed, Mike. If Mark is so concerned with those "trapped" in false teaching and falling under anathema, where is the loving rebuke and biblical call to repentance from him?

  3. I would comment (not in Mark's defense though), but you will just delete it rather than engaging with it. Sad indeed.

  4. Actually, I'm glad you stopped back by, Anon. I'm wanting to keep comments on topic. I welcome you to post your objections to my eschatology or endorsing WotM, but please do so under the appropriate posts. I think it was last week I posted a Living Waters video, so please find it and make your comment.

    I'm interested in your thoughts on the Cahill situation, and I will be posting more later about it, maybe tomorrow.

    I very much welcome you here, Anon. Let's keep our conversations seasoned with salt and discuss things in a manner pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ.

  5. You have to also remember that most Calvinists, even the respected ones, are always screaming from the pulpits and pushing the comments into conversations that non electionists or non calvinists (whom they all lump into armenianism) call them heretics. They scream and yell it and scare people into thinking they will break fellowship with anyone who says they arent electionists or 5 point calvinists. Therefore for Mark to come out and say the same thing to the Christian community (causing calvinists to walk a mile in their shoes)... seems equally valid. If non calvinists preach a different gospel than non calvinists, then calvinists are preaching a different gospel than non calvinists and therefore both ARE following a different God and gospel. Its very clear that is true. If one's god is not in control of salvation and another view is that he is, it is a different god and gospel. This has to be followed through to its logical conclusion - from both calvinists, non calvinists and 5 point armeianists.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Anon. No doubt there are people like that pulling the victim card and threatening breaking fellowship. I myself go to a predominantly Arminian denomination and some of my closest brothers would consider themselves closer to Arminian. We love each other and we do not let these secondary issues affect our brotherhood. To see what I mean from a "respected one", check out Phil Johnson's message "Closet Calvinist" and you will see he is far from the description you gave above. Here's the link to download:

    "Validity" does not equal biblically. Mark has handled this in the wrong manner, and if any Calvinists make similar damning accusations, they too are in error.

    Clear-thinking Calvinists and Arminians preach the same Gospel - Christ crucified and justification by faith alone by grace alone (although Arminians contradict themselves, unbenownst to them in most cases).

    There is plenty of room for cordial discourse in this debate. Extremists (the position Cahill has seemed to take) go way too far in crying heresy. Reconciliation is in order.

  7. Here's my question. I reviewed what a Calvinist is and from what I saw, they believe that you can only come to Christ if you were picked before the world began and that no man can come to Christ otherwise and there is no need for evanglism. But to me, that is the opposite of what Jesus did. He spoke to all men and hoped that their blindness didn't overshadow what he was trying to say. That it was man's choice whether or not he wanted to follow. We all have a will and we can stand against Him or follow after Him. So, what is a Calvinist? Because now I'm reading just the opposite from what these two men are debating.

  8. Hi Anonymous, I think I just shared this with you elsewhere, but for the sake of other readers, I'll post my reply here as well:

    Calvinism is ALL about the grace of God whereas Arminianism ultimately hinges salvation on the ability and free will of man to choose God. Here's a few links for you that will contrast the two:

    These two links will provide with you additional links.

    These two will also be helpful:

    And you might also find the following 2 mp3's helpful:

  9. "they believe that you can only come to Christ if you were picked before the world began and that no man can come to Christ otherwise and there is no need for evanglism."

    Hi there..
    Man who is born dead in sin is unable to choose. he is dead. It is God who gives life to His own.
    It is not the "Calvinist" who states the elect were "picked before the world began" but God's Word says this:

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,even as He Chose Us In Him **before the foundation of the world**, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love **He predestined us for adoption as sons** through Jesus Christ, ->according to the purpose of His will<-,to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.Eph.1:3-6

    God sent out the general call of the salvation through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Only some (selective) whom God's Word refers to (over and over again) as His "Chosen, Elect, Beloved" will respond through repentance and believe ( Mark 1:15 -- ** note: no reference to "acceptance" nor "receiving"!) God alone awakens His own to the realization of their sinfulness/depravity and the sinner repents and believes. Jesus, who is God is also LORD and Savior. In repentant faith Jesus is LORD. So, we are Justified by Him!

    Is Jesus LORD of your life? Does one reflect upon what was done at the cross? How is your walk? Certainly man in his NONglorified/flawed present body will still sin; but there is conviction of the Holy Spirit unto confession.. The newly "regenerated" man- done SOLELY BY GOD ALMIGHTY, (which is correctly referred to as The Sovereignty of God) desires to Grow in Him; to become Christlike. This is Sanctification In Him-- through the reading of God's Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. This has also been referred to as "Lordship Salvation".. NO.. NOT At ALL a salvation based on "works". 'a foolish thought of man which pervert's God's Truth. Evidence of "Lordship" Salvation is the believers continual desire to become like Christ (santification again) and to place Jesus as Lord of his life. Here it is in scripture:

    "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.**For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God**. ***When Christ who is your life*** appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Col.3:1-4


    It is the Sovereignty;- God's own hand, and His AMAZING GRACE and mercy, that calls His own to Himself and for purpose of Praise and Glory to God Almighty! God Alone.

    1Cor. 13:12 -> For now *we see in a mirror dimly*, but then face to face. Now I know *in part*; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

    So shall we be GLORIFIED and we shall understand fully and Praise Him forever!

    and to conclude this:

    "For those whom HE foreknew HE also predestined (Who knew?Who predestined?) to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn -among 'many' brothers-.
    And those Whom HE Predestined (who predestined?) HE also called (who called?), and those Whom HE called (who called?) HE also justified (Who justified?), and those Whom HE justified (Who justified?) He also glorified.(and so it shall be) Romans 8:29,30

    Continue- Romans 9:13-16

    Soli Gloria Deo!

  10. Hi DG, thanks so much for your comment. Ephesians 1:3-6 and Colossians 1:1-3 are 2 of the most beautiful passages of Scripture imo. They clearly show God's sovereign role in our salvation, and emphasize salvation is for the glory of God alone. You also made some great points on the often misunderstood biblical doctrine of "Lordship" salvation. I'll be reposting your comment under my recent post on that very topic that can be found here:

  11. Calvinists are really comfortable with the idea of other people being chosen for damnation, but what about your nearest and dearest? In the West, few people are believers, and most children from Chistian homes are rejecting the Gospel. However, to be consistent,a Calvinist would not complain about that -- after all, it's what God wanted. Think about that when you kiss your kiddies goodnight -- that God has probably chosen your children for damnation.

    Doesn't seem like such a "beautiful" idea, now, does it?

    I am a different Anon, who found your site while looking for Mark Cahill.

    You are all suggesting that he is in SIN because he openly challenges the hardline ideas of Blogging Calvinists -- apparently it's fine for you to use that poisonous passive aggressive "Let's all pray for him" line.

  12. New Anonymous, I approved your comment to address the latter portion as you completely missed the concern for Mark Cahill. His sin is not that he is taking a position against the Doctrines of Grace, his sin is his vehement attacks against the brethren. Perhaps you missed this from the article:

    "We all need to be in prayer about this. Mark Cahill has done so much for the Kingdom of God and has blessed many, many people - including myself. It is never pleasant to see a brother trapped in sin, and it is even more disheartening if a brother refuses to heed the call to repentance. It is one thing to debate the issue of Calvinism and Arminianism, it is quite another to call your brothers in Christ damned heretics, including the Reformers used by God to destroy the religious bondage that Rome had on the church."

    Do you consider the Reformers damned heretics as well Anon?

  13. thank you for posting this, I was recently banned from a forum who I had been a part of for 5 years because I said he is wrong in dividing the brethren and calling them heretics. This forums moderators all agreed that Calvinism is poison and restricted any opposing views. I was hurt, this was my home where I fellow shipped with fellow believer's waiting for the Lord's return.

    I began wondering if I should have opposed them, and question if correcting them in dividing the body of Christ was smart. But I'm glad that at the same time the Lord showed to others that this is divisive, I ask that you pray for them that the Lord shows them the error and for Mark as well that he may receive sight to the division and hurt he caused among brothers because of his thoughtless words.

  14. Thanks for the comment, Anonymous from 11/23. Your story sounds all too familiar. I wonder if we come from the same message board. Feel free to email me to talk about it (

    It is so unfortunate when professing believers spew such venom against the Body of Christ. While I have hardly met a hyper-Calvinist (who I would greatly oppose), I find much anger coming from the side of Arminianism. As I mentioned earlier, I have a best friend who leans Arminian, but any time this topic comes up it does not divide us nor do we cease to love one another. However, I have come across many Arminians and others who claim to "be in the middle" to show such disdain, not only for the Doctrines of Grace, but for supposed brothers and sisters in Christ who understand these biblical truths.

    You are correct in saying Mark is wrong in dividing the Body like this and for accusations against the saints. This conflict is not about Mark's theological position, but his seeming hatred for what are supposed to be his brothers and sisters. I commend you for standing for the truth and calling this situation for what it is.

    Many of our brothers and sisters who are not graced with the wonderful truth of God's sovereign grace need to be shown much patience, love, and compassion. We must resist in getting into "godless chatter" if these things cannot be discussed in a God-glorifying manner, they need not be discussed at all with some.

    If you'd like another place of fellowship with like-minded believers, please email me.


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