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 [since removed]. 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.
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.