Mark Cahill Biography
Mark Cahill was born March 16, 1962. Mark Cahill is a Christian evangelist, known for his prolific tract distribution and willingness to share the gospel with anyone, anywhere, and anytime in a one-to-one setting. Mark Cahill is the founder of Mark Cahill Ministries. Within Christian evangelism circles as well as at churches, Christian youth and sports conference, Mark Cahill is a highly sought after speaker. Mark Cahill’s conference/pulpit messages are most often evangelistic in nature, filled with personal stories and anecdotes with an uncompromising call to Christians to get outside of their comfortable American evangelical lifestyles and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mark has published three books1 and several gospel tracts. His book, One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven, reportedly has over 400,000 copies in print. It has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Romanian and Nepalese. His book, One Heartbeat Away, reportedly has over 500,000 copies in print. Mark’s most recent book, The Watchmen, is yet another work written to encourage Christians to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Christ by reaching the lost with the gospel.
Mark currently resides in Stone Mountain, Georgia. We don’t know where Mark attends church. All of our attempts and the attempts of others to find out have failed. This is a concern since we are not able to speak to his elders (Matthew 18:15-17). We can’t help wondering why he won't reveal what church he attends.
Mark Cahill ascribes to a theological position commonly referred to as Arminianism. Mark, despite his many good works for the Kingdom of God, is unlike most Christians who ascribe to Arminianism. Unfortunately, there are Christians in both theological camps who accuse the other side of being heretics and questions their salvation. He is a rabid anti-Calvinist who is damaging the Body of Christ.
Mark Cahill and Calvinism
Please understand that our goal is not to promote Calvinism or Arminianism. Rather it is to encourage Christian unity in the essentials and have charity for one another in those areas where we disagree (Romans 14:1-12). But we must stand in opposition to those who cause division in the Body of Christ (Titus 3:10-11) and who bear false witness against fellow Christians.
On October 10, 2010, Mark Cahill published an article, via the Save the Perishing website,4 titled Calvinism and the Bible.5 The article is still featured prominently on the website’s homepage two years after the article’s release. On page 8 of the article, Cahill writes:
“I got an unsolicited call one day from Tony Miano with Living Waters. He was trying to convince me of Calvinism. Let’s just say it did not work! During a moment of candor, he said, “Mark, what you believe and what I believe are mutually exclusive.” What an amazing statement. What I believe and what he believes both can’t be true at the same point. He is very correct. Now what we believe can both be wrong, but they can’t both be true. If God has already preselected who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, then I have no choice in this matter.”6
Mark's statements above are inaccurate. I did not make an "unsolicited call” to Mark. I sent him an email as part of an ongoing conversation we were having. Mark first wrote me asking me to consider doing an "Origin Into Schools" type project with his book, One Heartbeat Away. The project would be a large-scale evangelistic effort on college campuses in order to distribute one or more of his books. As the director of special projects for Living Waters I was responsible for organizing and executing the “Origin Into Schools” projects. Mark and I exchanged emails between February 16, 2010, and February 19, 2010.
On February 25, 2010, I received a phone call from an associate member of the Ambassadors’ Alliance, Living Waters’ online fellowship for those who ascribe to the Biblical evangelism principles taught by the ministry. He expressed concerns regarding recent correspondences he had with Mark during which Mark spoke disparagingly about Calvinism and those who ascribe to that position. Concerned with what effect such comments from a high-profile person in the Biblical evangelism community as Mark could have on his ministry and Living Waters, I emailed Mark again.
On February 25, 2010, I sent Mark the following email:
“Hey, Mark. I would like to change subjects for a moment, if I could. I know you're a busy guy. :-)
“As you know, evangelism circles are pretty tight with many Christians supporting both your ministry and Living Waters. The folks who attend our conferences attend yours and vice versa. The folks who read your books read ours, and so on.
“I've received word (not in the form of gossip) from folks who love and support your ministry and Living Waters that you have some sincere and passionate views regarding the Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism).
“Here, at Living Waters, we have in the building Calvinists, Arminians, Calminians, :-) and folks who would not place themselves in any of those categories--all working together as brothers and sisters in the Lord for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as you and I both know, there have been through the centuries great men and women of God who have ascribed to either Calvinism or Arminianism.
“As one who ascribes to the Doctrines of Grace, I know how passionate the discussion/debate can become between genuine brothers and sisters in Christ. “Since we (your ministry and ours) have beloved brethren and co-laborers on both sides of this theological discussion, I thought it would be good for you and I to talk about it. Far better for me--as your brother in Christ--to hear from you regarding your thoughts about the issue than to assign too much weight to talk going through the evangelistic ‘grapevine.’
“If you're open to it, I think it would be better to talk on the phone than via e-mail. It's so easy with a topic like this--one with which emotions and convictions can run so high--to misinterpret the tone of one's voice in an e-mail. I certainly wouldn't want that to happen in our conversation.
“So, when you have some time, give me a call.
The purpose of my email was not to convince Mark to become a Calvinist. Rather, I wanted to reason with him regarding the implications and ramifications such statements could have on the evangelism community as a whole. They could drive a divisive wedge between brothers and sisters in Christ, which could negatively impact a wonderful corporate effort to bring the gospel to the lost of this world.
Within minutes after sending the above email, I received a call from Mark. We talked for the better part of an hour. Yes, we discussed theology. And yes, I did use the phrase, "mutually exclusive," during our conversation. But Mark took my words out of context for the purpose of his Calvinism and the Bible article.
The theological positions known as Calvinism and Arminianism are "mutually exclusive" in that the two systems oppose each other in debatable issues but not in the essentials. The essentials would include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, Christ’s physical resurrection, salvation by grace through faith, etc. The debatable issues would include pre-trib rapture vs. post-trib rapture, worshipping on Saturday or Sunday, etc. That is the thought I conveyed to Mark.
Throughout my conversation with Mark, I asserted that I do not believe Calvinists and Arminians worship different gods or believe different gospels. I assured him that so long as we agree that we are saved by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (the Jesus of the Scriptures) that we are brothers in Christ. I told Mark I would welcome the opportunity to evangelize the lost with him, and he was welcome atop my box to open-air preach anytime. Sadly, by the end of our phone conversation, Mark would not affirm me as his brother in Christ. I repeatedly asked Mark if I was his brother in Christ. He refused to answer.
Sadly, Mark Cahill’s ongoing campaign to marginalize, vilify, and otherwise mistreat Calvinists has necessitated the writing of this article.
This article will document how for more than two years Mark Cahill has quietly and behind the scenes engaged in a campaign of misrepresentation, malignment, and malevolence toward Christians who ascribe to Calvinism and to those who associate with Calvinists. The timing of this article coincides with the recent publication of Mark Cahill’s new book, The Watchmen, in which he speaks disparagingly about Calvinism. It also coincides with the recent development of Mark speaking disparagingly about Calvinism during some of his recent public speaking engagements.
Cahill Becoming More Public About His Views Regarding Calvinism
On September 16-17, 2012, Mark Cahill spoke at an Evangelism Conference7 at Christian Family Chapel, in Jacksonville, FL. During one of his messages, Cahill spoke disparagingly about Calvinism and a few well-known and well-respected pastors/teachers. I received the following eyewitness' account via Facebook from Stephanie Johansen on October 15, 2012, at 2240 hours. Her testimony is shared here with her expressed permission. Stephanie wrote:
“I was at the Cahill meeting that Sunday PM meeting when this occurred. He briefly mentioned that predestination/Calvinism was a false doctrine. At the end a deacon of the church clarified that it was their church's position that while salvation is by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, that they still accept the idea that predestination is a legitimate Biblical doctrine. Cahill's response was an emphatic remark and made many people uncomfortable not just for the content but for the presentation of the content. I'm not challenging the pastor's account of the situation whatsoever, but to my memory Cahill's words were ‘John Piper teaches it. John MacArthur teaches it, even [can't remember his name] taught it. Some of the greatest names in evangelical Christianity have fallen prey to this false doctrine.’ He elaborated beyond that but I don't specifically recall his saying that those men were false teachers. However, by definition, if you teach a false doctrine, I guess you would logically be classified a false teacher? I'm not trying to confuse the issue or anything but just trying to provide a bit of texture to the scenario. Thank you for the article, Tony. I know that a public rebuke is a difficult situation to navigate, and although I am intimately familiar and supportive of Mark's ministry, I do not hold anyone above reproach. If men of God have determined that this was an appropriate response, then I will do my part which is not to "pick a side" per se but to pray that God continues to reveal His truths, brings conviction, and soften the hearts of those in need of it.”
32:05--“Be Very Careful of a false teaching that says God Pre-Selects who goes to Heaven and Who Goes to Hell. That is absolutely unbiblical.”
33:00--After quoting Romans 1:20, “If God Preselects who Goes to Heaven and who Goes to Hell, they would Have an Excuse” (when they stand Before Him).
With at least two of Mark’s more recent public appearances, he appears to be establishing a pattern of behavior in which he is now making public his disdain for Calvinism.
The Primary Issues with Mark Cahill
In addition to the above, we take issue with Mark Cahill’s persistent, uncharitable, and unrepentant behavior toward Christians, and we are concerned about his continued affiliation with other individuals and groups who treat Calvinists with the same level of disdain.
In CARM’s opinion Mark Cahill:
- Hypocritically quotes Calvinists in his first two books to his benefit yet now considers those same Calvinists to be heretics. And he shows a lack of integrity by keeping the books in print, knowing (according to his convictions) he is exposing his readers to men he now believes are false teachers.
- Mistreats Christians in the following ways: Confuses non-essentials of the faith with essentials and thus brings wrong judgment against fellow believers.
- Aligning one’s self with Calvinism or Arminianism is not a requirement for salvation.
- Shows a lack of love for his Christian brethern by breaking fellowship with Calvinists and refuses to call them brothers or sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Philippians 2:1-4)
- Willfully seeks to cause division in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10-12)
- Refuses to repent of his sinful treatment of fellow Christians and he refuses to reconcile with them (Hebrews 10:26-31)
- Affiliates and/or associates with at least one known heretic (Kerrigan Skelly) as well as with at least one group (Jesus Crew) that is vehemently anti-Calvinism (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Mark Cahill’s Books
Today, Mark attacks Calvinism as a heresy even though he enjoyed many years of fellowship and partnership with Calvinists. In his first two books, Mark has no problem benefiting from their teachings by liberally quoting them without stating that they are--in his opinion--false teachers. Mark Cahill boasts of a combined circulation of almost one million copies of these two books, knowing his books are filled with quotes from Calvinists.
Why the inconsistency?
One blogger, sharing an email exchange he had with Mark Cahill, quoted Cahill to have written the following in response to an inquiry regarding his many Spurgeon quotes in his books:
“I put Spurgeon in my books not knowing he made false statements like ‘Calvinism is the gospel.’ That is not even close to being Biblically correct. The good news is that Spurgeon is no longer a Calvinist. That all changed when he died.”10
One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven
In Mark Cahill’s book, One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven,11 he quotes the following Calvinists: Oswald J. Smith, on page 48, Dr. J. Gresham Machen on page 130, John MacArthur on page 131, John Bunyan on page 132, Martyn Lloyd Jones on page 132. He referred to the last four men cited as “great men of God” on page 130.
Cahill also quoted the following Calvinists: Steve Farrar on pages 174 and 187, and Jim Elliot on page 175--listing him with a group that he called, “faithful witnesses” on page 174. He quoted A. W. Pink, one of the most outspoken Calvinists of all time on page 195. Additionally, Cahill started each of the book’s 14 chapters by quoting one of the most famous Calvinists in history, C. H. Spurgeon (pp. 15, 22, 31, 48, 62, 73, 93, 111, 140, 149, 169, 182, 201, 221).
One Heartbeat Away
In Mark Cahill’s book, One Heartbeat Away,12 the very first page of the book, page 7, begins with a quote from Calvinist John Tillotson. On page 87, Cahill quotes Blaise Pascal who held to a form of Calvinism. He also included a quote by Calvinist Jonathan Edwards on page 231 and John Owen on page 233. Cahill quoted Charles Spurgeon 23 times pp. 142, 156, 157, 170, 190, 193, 199, 201, 205, 206, 211, 214, 217, 220, 222, 226, 229, 230). When Cahill wrote about Spurgeon on page 217, he said the following: “have you noticed that I really like this guy?”
In all his references to Calvinists in his first two books, Mark never disparages them as false teachers. Yet, he quotes them to aid in his writing, to emphasize points, and to add credibility to his positions. Is this the right thing to do for someone who despises Calvinism as much as Mark does?
A Lack of Integrity
Several Christians, including this writer, have encouraged Mark Cahill to remove his books, One Heartbeat Away and One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven, from circulation until such time as he edits the books to remove all of the quotes from Calvinists and every positive comment he made about some of those same Calvinists. These admonitions have been communicated to Cahill multiple times over the last two years, and he has ignored them. Cahill continues to print and distribute these two books in spite of the fact that he believes Calvinists teach a different, anathematized gospel and believe in a Jesus who is not the Jesus of the Bible. Evidence of this is found in Cahill’s Calvinism and the Bible article.
“If you believe in the god [sic] and jesus [sic] of Calvinism, you are either in Galatians 1 territory, or you are heading straight toward it.”13
Mark Cahill continues to profit--if not financially, by way of notoriety and popularity--from the distribution of his first two books. This shows either a lack of integrity and/or a lack of care for those he seems to be so determined to save from Calvinism. CARM believes in order for Mark Cahill to be theologically consistent and have integrity in his first two published works he must remove any and all quotes by Calvinists and positive references to the same. We also believe Mark should issue a public apology for misleading Christians by positively quoting Calvinists who he believes worship a false god.
Mark Cahill’s third book, The Watchmen,14 leaves little doubt as to what he thinks of Calvinism, especially in Chapter Eight. He prefaces the chapter with a quote from one of his anti-Calvinism mentors, Dave Hunt. Cahill then begins the chapter with a plethora of positive quotes about the Bible--quotes from both saved and unsaved people.
Cahill begins his assault on Calvinism with the following statement:
“You see, the wicked do have the ability to turn from their sinful ways. As a matter of fact, they are required to do so by God. How can God judge people that had no ability to repent and believe in Him? It is preposterous to think that.”15
And then Cahill begins to show his lack of understanding of Calvinism.
“One of the more interesting teachings over the centuries that is once again gaining a foothold among Christians is that God has unconditionally elected certain people to go to heaven, because He preselects them for salvation. It has nothing to do with their personal decision. God has decided in eternity past to regenerate certain people who are dead in their sins and aren’t seeking Him, and then makes them born again, before they repent and believe. But in order to hold that position, you have to hold to the fact that God has also unconditionally rejected certain people to go to hell, and there is nothing they can do about it. Does that sound like the loving God that we read about in the Bible?”16
“So what is the big problem with that belief? It’s simple: How can God hold me accountable for things I didn’t do, but rather that He orchestrated to happen in my life?”17
Cahill attacks the sovereignty of God while utterly misunderstanding the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility for sin. God’s Word teaches both--that God is completely and perfectly sovereign while at the same time man is completely responsible for the sins he commits against God. (1 Peter 1:16, Romans 1:20, Romans 2:1).
Then Cahill continues to rail against a Calvinistic understanding of God by accusing Calvinists of saying that God is a respecter of persons if they believe the doctrine of election is true (see Acts 10:34, Acts 13:48, Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:13) with these words:
“If election is true, God is a respecter of persons. But according to those Scriptures [scriptures he previously cited], He clearly is not. God respects faith from the heart. Never forget that whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins. Praise the Lord!”18
While Cahill is careful to point out that God is not a respecter of persons, he clearly asserts that if election is true, then God is a respecter of persons.19 By contrast, Cahill is guilty of the very thing he accuses Calvinists of doing.20 Such carelessness of speech should not be communicated in a book allegedly written to edify and challenge Christians.
For Cahill to ignore the reality of election and predestination in Scripture, regardless of his theological position, is to read the Word of God with one eye closed and the other eye partially obstructed with sand. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all speak of “the elect” (see Matthew 24:22, 24, 31, Mark 13:20, 22, 27, Luke 18:7, Romans 9:11, 11:7, 28, 2 Timothy 2:10, Titus 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter 1:3, 10, 2 John 1:1, 13). And there is no escaping the fact the Bible teaches predestination (see Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:4-5, 11). Whether out of ignorance or arrogance, Cahill blasphemes God by declaring Him a respecter of persons.
In the above quote, Cahill writes: “Never forget that whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins. Praise the Lord!"21
Cahill draws the following conclusion about Calvinism, a conclusion erroneously built with straw man arguments upon the sandy foundation of eisegesis. Cahill fails to understand or refuses to accept that simply because he believes Calvinism is not supported by Scripture, that does not mean he’s correct. Nor does it mean that those who ascribe to Calvinism are believing false teachings from Satan. Yet Cahill writes the following in The Watchmen:
“A watchman has to be on guard against all of these false teachings that Satan is throwing at us as we head towards eternity.”22
Cahill persists in shunning Christians with whom he disagrees, going as far as to question their salvation. And this brings us to one of the more critically important aspects of this article--Cahill’s ongoing mistreatment of Christians.
Mark Cahill’s Mistreatment of Christians
We have collected testimonies from Christians who have been mistreated by Mark Cahill. The following testimonies are reprinted with the expressed permission of the authors. These are their stories.
Received via email, on October 21, 2012, from Benjamin Davis.
“My interaction with Mark Cahill began as many others had. I had discovered biblical evangelism through his first book. I was on fire for evangelism. I live in the same state as he does so I went to hear him speak and had the privelege [sic] of witnessing with him on the streets of downtown Atlanta. My brother in law was a full time evangelist at the time and trusted very much by Cahill. Many people sent Mark emails wanting to go witness and Mark would shoot them to my brother in law and we would witness together with them. Cahill trusted my brother in law and I to believe the Gospel and be faithful witnesses. “As a Calvinist, I often wondered what Cahill thought, but never directly brought it up. With all the Whitefield and Spurgeon qoutes [sic] I was sure he at least swung in that direction. My brother in law told me one day that Cahill was asking questions about Calvinism and sent him the book "What love is this?" by Dave Hunt. I was struck not because Cahill wasn't of the same belief, but that this book misrepresented Calvinism so badly. I had one thought, Oh I hope Mark doesn't spread false information. People look to him as an authority. He preaches in pulpits so what he says has weight to many. I wanted an oppurtunity [sic] to talk with Cahill and a local evangelist fellowship party gave me the opportunity [sic]. “He said he was listening to a sermon by Paul Washer and that Paul was telling people to throw themselves on the mercy of God. He said he had to turn it off becuase [sic] those Calvinist believe God has to flick a light switch in someone to believe. He went on about a few other Calvinist beliefs (ignorant that he was sorrounded [sic] by many who held these beliefs) and I said to him well I kind of believe some of those things. I was hoping for some dialogue. A chance to at the very least explain these beliefs and why even though he didn't agree we could still have fellowship. I was cut off. Mark was shocked I said that and began attacking my belief. It was emotional, he said ‘so youre [sic] telling me your son may not have a shot at salvation?’ He didn't want an answer. I tried to say that the answer really lies in Romans 9 and Ephesians 1. He was disgusted. His whole attitude changed toward me. Lets be clear hear reader, Im [sic] not saying he disagreed and we walked away in fellowship, im [sic] saying in his eyes my salvation was questionable. He was now distant toward me. It was very clear from his attitude toward myself and others that he had cut off fellowship from us. “Mark was disgusted that people believed these things and I had begun hearing at this time that he was not fellowshipping with others over this. And at this time I experienced it. Scripture tells us to go to a brother and reconcile right? Well, he didn't want to. I was devestated [sic] that a man I looked to as a Christian leader was disfellowshipping [sic] others. At this time Cahill released a multi page statement on Calvinism that totally misrepresented what I and other really believe and it was clear that he thinks we worship a DIFFRENT GOD! This past weekend a brother and I passionately locked arms in fellowship and proclaimed the Gospel to homosexuals. We had discussed Calvinism, and he is not one. Hear me please, my heart is not for Cahill to become a Calvinist. It is for believers to work together to proclaim the Gospel. Cahill has slandered brothers calling them worshippers of a diffrent [sic] god. I will not do that to my non-Calvinist brothers because its [sic] not true. I hope you have heard my heart in wanting Cahill to come to repentance and reconciliation in the body.”
Received via email, on October 20, 2012, from Jack Suehiro:
“Mark Cahill has been an encouragement to me for many years. I remember when I first heard one of his sermons it rocked my world and influenced me to boldly preach the Gospel at all costs and in all circumstances. He was one of the first people I heard explain that evangelism was a command and not simply an option for the Christian. I have listened to many of his sermons and read all his books. He is by far the most outspoken person, I know, on the responsibility of preaching the Gospel to the lost.
“With that being said, it saddens me to think about the current state of Mr. Mark Cahill. I have recently had conversations with him about how a person is saved, where I would present my understanding of a sovereign God Who chooses a people for Himself, dies on a cross and bears the punishment of sin for them, thus granting them repentance, faith and His very righteousness in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. And, he would argue that the opposite is true, namely God has chosen no one, died for all, and those who (without any work of the Holy Spirit) decide to turn from sin and have faith in Jesus, will have everlasting life, as long as they remain in the faith and do not lose their salvation. “This is not an uncommon view, nor is it one that would immediately disqualify someone from the faith; however, what’s disturbing about Mark’s perspective about it is that he would argue that a person could not be genuinely saved if he or she would ascribe to anything but this view. Namely that, what is commonly referred to as “Calvinism”, advocates for a false god, a false jesus and a false gospel, therefore, anyone who would ascribe to it would be a . . . . false convert.
“On June 7th, 2012, I purchased $100.00 worth of Mark Cahill’s material from his website. Soon after my transaction went through, Mark sent me an e-mail [sic] thanking me for the support. I then told him to look me up next time he was in Fresno, and he then told me to find a school or church for him to preach at and he’ll be glad to come out.
“I was excited about the opportunity and wanted him to come to our church. But, before I encouraged my elders to invite him out, I wanted to look into something a friend of mine had mentioned to me about Mark, namely that he passionately opposed Calvinism. So I looked into it.
“Sure enough, I found a document, allegedly written by Mark Cahill, attached to Sermon Index. The document was a staunch rebuke of the doctrines of Grace and those who would attend to them. I e-mailed [sic] Mark asking him about the document, and sure enough he had written it and in fact, he sent me the same document in an electronic file along with a testimony from a woman who had been a ‘Calvinist’ and saw the error of her ways.
“I was shocked. He said Calvinism is false teaching and when I told him that it broke my heart to think that we couldn’t have fellowship together in Christ due to our differences on this topic, he said this isn't a side issue, but a huge issue, because it directly goes to the character of God, and people need to take it more seriously.
“I understood that this was no small issue, I think most of us would; however, what I was arguing against, or what I should say, what I was arguing for, was fellowship and unity in Christ. He did not see it the same way. We went back and forth via e-mail much of the day, but we soon paused our conversation which did not resume again until the next morning when I sent him an e-mail. I sent him an e-mail [sic] titled, Whitfield to Wesley, and in the e-mail [sic] I attached a link to a letter that George Whitfield sent to John Wesley regarding their differences on this same issue and yet rejoicing in their unity in Christ. He was not impressed. “He said he’s wasn’t concerned about their differences and that he was only concerned with the Bible, to which I agreed, that what’s most important is not the dealings of men, however, I argued that there is much we could learn from these godly men concerning how we deal with our differences.
I went on to say, ‘I was encouraged by the love displayed between these two men of faith though temporarily separated by their differences. I hope that we can find that kind of unity today’ and then told him, ‘Mark, I believe you to be glorifying God in your life. And we are of one mind in Christ according to the Gospel. Please don't forsake our fellowship.’ I was desperately seeking this man as a brother in Christ and it was feeling like he was slipping away further and further every time I say a new e-mail come in.
“He said that Biblically, truth is the only thing Christians can unify in, and then likened Calvinism to Mormon doctrine in that it misrepresents the character of God and the blood of Jesus Christ. He told me to read Galatians 1 and warned me that this was serious business.
“I have to admit, he makes good points concerning truth, and I would agree with Paul Washer when he says, ‘We do not kill truth in the streets for the sake of peace’ however, I don’t see this as a murder crime against truth. In fact the only crime I see here is Mark’s advocating for denying fellowship and unity with members of Christ’s body, THIS is serious business.
“I continued to plead with Mark and he continued to contend for disunity over this issue as he likened the doctrines of Grace to heresy. The conversation got worse and worse where Mark resorted to name calling, he said I wanted unity for the sake of unity and that I was like Rick Warren, just wanting everyone to get along, he sternly warned me that I would not like where this line of thinking would lead me. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Warren by considering Mark’s statement as “name calling”, I simply understood Mark’s point, he could have used anyone’s name here, or no one’s name for that matter.
“I sent him my last e-mail, explaining that I do not want unity just for the sake of unity alone, and he slammed his final nail in the coffin of our fellowship by arguing that I DO want unity for the sake the unity, and that I was on a slippery slope along with Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler (who, he said, recommends Richard Foster’s teaching). He ended by saying that a false god, a false jesus, and a false gospel always leads down these roads.
“Any attempt I have made since to find out if he’s under local authority anywhere or to discuss this matter further have been futile. In some ways I understand where Mark is coming from, since he truly believes that Calvinism is heresy, but he’s wrong. I also understand what it’s like to be in his shoes, there was a short time in my life that I thought Calvinism was a horrible doctrine and unfair, but I was wrong . . . . I pray for Mark, and I hope one day we can rejoice in Christ together, even if we don’t agree on how God works in salvation. As important as this is, we can differ here and still behold the glory of Christ . . . . together.”
Received via email, on October 19, 2012, from William Brannon:
“I have known Mark for quite some time . . . . or at least used to. We first met when he spoke at a youth conference I attended. My parents and I picked him up from the airport, and he had lunch at our house. I can honestly say that at that time (it must have been early 2000s), Mark totally turned my life upside down in a good way. After that conference, we kept in touch. Not regularly, mind you. I would say we e-mailed once or twice a year. My family would go listen to him speak from time to time, so he at least knew us by name, knew our ministry, and kept in touch. Ironically, some of my dad and mines witnessing encounters made it into some of his presentations.
“In 2010, I received an e-mail [sic] from Mark out of nowhere. He asked how I was doing and how Judah (an evangelist I was preaching with) and I were doing with our outreach. He closed the e-mail my asking what my opinion was of Calvinism. The ironic thing about this part of the story is that I am not a Calvinist. I am not Arminian. Honestly, I would say I am confused! I have been studying the issue off and on for at least 3 years, and still cannot fit into either side neatly. “I told Mark I was not a Calvinist, but that I understood that some of the Bible seemed to point that way. I was shocked at the e-mail [sic] I got in return. Mark e-mailed about the issue, he said, because he had heard from somebody (I do not know who) that I was promoting you, Tony. I had recently joined a group (I think on Facebook) that was titled something along the lines of ‘Tony Miano for Deeper" to try to get you as a speaker. I love your ministry, and point to your resources often. Apparently, someone told Mark this, and it offended him. He declared that anyone teaching Calvinism is teaching a false gospel. I remember being startled when he closed the e-mail to me: "I have set before you life and death, choose life!!"
“I was honest with Mark, and told him I agree that some parts of Calvinism do raise some important issues that we must think through. I proceeded, though, to say that is in no way heresy. Only those who fall off the cliff into hyper Calvinism are in heretical waters (as all true Calvinists would agree!). Despite that I was not a Calvinist, that was not good enough. Mark clearly viewed me as promoting a false gospel by promoting teachers of Calvinism (such as yourself). I asked him if he then thinks Spurgeon was a heretic (I thought of this because he quotes Spurgeon is his book). I also brought up Piper, MacArthur, and Washer. He simply ignored my question.
“He also said, "Where the real destruction comes from people like Tony is when they disciple people. The disciple them into a false god and a false jesus. that is the real problem." A series of e-mails [sic] then proceeded where I attempted to support Calvinism, while acknowleding [sic] that I did disagree with it. Again, that simply was not good enough. I had to declare it as heresy, or I was unbiblical.
“Mark never told me I was going to hell, but I am not sure he means when he says, "I have set before you death and life, choose life!" Ultimately, his e-mails became very brief, and instead of responding to any actual points I made, he would just [send] one sentence responses such as, “Still didn’t answer my question.” That sentence fragment is a literal, full e-mail I received from him.”
Received via email, on October 19, 2012, from Cheryl Eberly:
“A group of us went to Central Manor Church Camp in Lancaster, PA on August 17 and 18th, specifically to hear Mark Cahill speak as we are big fans of his. We appreciate his passion for the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a great motivational speaker. After he spoke we went to talk with him to thank him for his efforts. We told him how we like Living Waters and we use the Way of the Master method in our street evangelism. Mark Cahill quickly proceeded to criticize the organization because they are Calvinists. That Calvinism is a doctrine straight out of the pit of hell and strongly criticized anyone who accepts that line of thinking. He said the problem with Calvinism is that those who embrace it will eventually stop sharing the gospel to the loss and resort to simply writing books and being unproductive for the Lord. We were very disappointed with the experience as it came off very hateful. In fact for a short time afterwards, it created division within our group. Mark Cahill said he will no longer associate with anyone from Living Waters because of their stand on Calvinism. He specifically mentioned Ray, EZ and Tony . . . . One of our people tried to defend Calvinism and Mark cut him off and called him a heretic. He said he would email me with scripture supporting his position but he never did. One of the points Mark made was that he believes it is quite possible that people may be in hell because nobody told them the gospel for them to repent and be saved whereas Calvinism claims that cannot be true. Calvinists say those who are in hell are predestined to be there because God created them to be children of wrath and nothing we could say or do could have stopped those people from perishing. If a person isn't chosen, predestined, elected, they are destined to hell regardless of any of our efforts. His sole complaint against Calvinism is that it greatly discourages a believer from their efforts to save the loss since it has already been decided, the choice has already been made for them. I believe if he is forced to embrace Calvinism, he would lose all motivation to do what he is doing and he assumes it would have the same effect on others. Perhaps someone can help explain to Mark how Calvinism has scripture support and how it should not discourage him or anyone else from sharing the gospel.”
[Writer’s Note] Having served with Living Waters23 for 4 ½ years, I can testify that Living Waters is neither a Calvinist ministry nor an Arminian ministry. Living Waters--with great effort and intentionality--has sought to remain neutral on this in-house, theological debate among Christians. The leadership of Living Waters made it perfectly clear to the staff, at many times and in many ways, that the purpose of the ministry is to inspire and equip Christians to fulfill the Great Commission,24 regardless of where they stand on the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. Living Waters’s staff members were encouraged to study the Word of God for themselves on all matters pertaining to life and doctrine. No one on staff was ever asked to ascribe to any particular theological position other than essential doctrines of the Christian faith as delineated by the ministry’s Statement of Faith.25
Received via email, on October 18, 2012, from Justin Edwards:
“After hearing the news of Mark Cahill in October 2010, I wrote an article expressing my concerns for Mark based on his abrupt and caustic reaction to Christians who embrace the doctrines of grace. My concern was not Mark's disagreement with Calvinism, but in how he was disagreeing with other Christians. In an effort to reach out to Mark, I sent him the following email: "I was sad to read yesterday concerning your recent comments and the subsequent fallout. I have no desire to argue the merits of Calvinism with you, but I would like to let you know I am praying for you. I pray that God will bring reconciliation and that you would reconsider your position in calling your brothers and sisters in Christ rank heretics, or who are at least heading in that direction. It broke my heart yesterday to hear of this news, and I felt the need to share this news in hopes the many Christians you have so blessed would also be in prayer for you. You can find the story here: http://airocross.com/2010/10/13/mark-cahill-sad-and-shocking-news/"
“I was disappointed in Mark's response as it was clear he had not read the article. He dismissed my email with a generic response pointing to the very statement the article examined, and he also attached a list of quotes by John Calvin supposedly showing how ‘unbiblical’ he was.
“My follow-up email was met with the same dismissive tone from Mark. I mentioned my hope that he would read the article, and I also asked him a few questions as to whether he was ready to condemn historic, godly pillars of the faith to hell, and whether he believed Charles Finney was a sound teacher. His only response was that he was too busy to read the article.
“Despite showing Mark prayerful concern and a desire for him to be reconciled to many Christians whom he had offended with his remarks and actions, he showed me that he despises instruction. Proverbs has many things to say about such people, not the least of which is a lack of fearing the Lord (Proverbs 1:7).”
These testimonies serve as a reminder that even men who start the evangelistic race well, can, if they are not careful, deviate from the right paths of integrity, accountability, and Christian love. By God’s grace, many men who swerve off course for a time are brought back in line through the prayerful and practical support and accountability of other Christians. However, some men not only continue to go in the wrong direction but also they join others who are making the same sinful mistakes. And God’s Word is true. “Do not be deceived. ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Apparently, Mark Cahill is aligning himself with false teachers and professing Christians who treat Calvinists with the same sinful disdain he does.
Cahill in League with a Pelagian and Other Angry Anti-Calvinists
It appears that Mark Cahill is now in league with a known Pelagian and others who marginalize, vilify, and victimize Christians who ascribe to Calvinism. Pelagianism is a 5th Century heresy condemned by all church councils that denies Original Sin, the Imputed righteousness of Christ, and the federal headship of Adam.
Kerrigan Skelly is well known as one who denies the doctrine of Original Sin,26 the Imputed Righteousness of Christ,27 and the Penal Substitutionary Atonement of Christ.28 He is vehemently opposed to Calvinism.29 He also serves Mark Cahill by posting his preaching videos on YouTube. On the Mark Cahill section of his YouTube channel, Skelly writes the following:
“FULL preaching videos of Mark Cahill. Mark has greatly inspired me to be a more bold and consistent witness and I pray that these videos will do the same for you. ALL of these videos are uploaded with the permission of Mark Cahill himself. Most are high quality. Check out Mark’s ministry and resources at his website: http://markcahill.org”30
Kerrigan Skelly, who ascribes to Sinless Perfectionism,31 the error that a Christian can stop sinning (in contradiction to 1 John 1:8, Romans 7:18-25), has also designed at least two gospel tracts for Mark Cahill.32
It appears Mark Cahill is affilated33 with an anti-Calvinism34 evangelism team in Texas known as the "Jesus Crew." "Jesus Crew” employs some of the same modus operandi Mark Cahill does (see above testimonies) to identify and then shun Christians who ascribe to Calvinism. I have personally experienced this from a member of the "Jesus Crew" by the name of Stephen Starnes.35
In a newsletter from several years ago, Cahill wrote what now appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Every man of God that you listen to, DVD’s you watch, and books you read, be very careful. You don’t know if they are telling you an untruth unless you know the truth. Where do you find the truth? In a good translation of the Bible, and that is it. You must filter everything back through God’s word to see if people are speaking truth. I am at the point now, that I expect people to lie to me, but if I know God’s word, I will know when someone tells me something I cannot trust.
“And here is the main point to this newsletter. In the days to come, be very careful of Mark Cahill. If Mark Cahill ever walks away from one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and preaches heresy, get as far away from me as you possibly can. At that point, you take my books, tapes, whatever you have, and throw them in a trash can. At that point I will have fallen under the sway of Satan to preach deception in the end of days. One of my prayers is, ‘Father please do not let me be deceived so that I will not deceive other people.’ I know I have a platform, and I don’t want to misuse that to send people towards a lie instead of towards the truth. Please pray for every Christian person that influences your life in any way that they will not be deceived in the coming days. Pray that these men and women of God will finish the race of life very strong. Read your Bible, study your Bible, and obey what you read. You will not be deceived by anyone in the coming days if you are a person who does just that.”36
The fact Mark Cahill disagrees with the Calvinism does not make him a heretic. But, in our opinion, Cahill is deceived into believing that those who ascribe to the Calvinism are not Christians. As the self-deception grows, so grows his anger toward and mistreatment of Christians who ascribe to Calvinism.
Therefore, according to Cahill’s own words, “get as far away from [him] as you possibly can.”37
In our opinion, as long as Cahill remains unrepentant regarding his lack of love for Christians with whom he disagrees, you are not helping him come to repentance by asking him to speak in your church, conference, or camp. You are not helping him by purchasing his books. You are not helping him by donating to his ministry. By continuing to associate with or support Cahill, you are making it easier for him to justify his sin in his own heart and mind. You are--in effect--making it easier for him to remain in his unrepentant state. With concern for the Body of Christ and for Mark Cahill in particular, we must warn our Christian brethren to “get as far away from [Mark Cahill] as you possibly can."38
Do we wish to hurt Mark Cahill? Absolutely not. We want to see him reconciled to his Christian brethren (Matthew 5:23-24). We want to see his integrity and reputation restored. And we want to see him in a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
Is Cahill a false convert? We do not know. But so long as he continues to hate his Christian brethren (1 John 3:15) and as long as he remains unrepentant (Psalm 17:11-13), we at CARM are very concerned for Mark Cahill (Hebrews 10:26-31).
Join us in praying for Mark Cahill.
- 1. markcahill.org/resource.html
- 2. http://unworthyservants.blogspot.com/2010/04/meeting-mark-cahill.html
- 3. markcahill.org/request.html
- 4. http://www.savetheperishing.com/
- 5. http://www.savetheperishing.com/calvinismstatement.pdf
- 6. http://www.savetheperishing.com/calvinismstatement.pdf, page 8
- 7. http://christianfamilychapel.com/events/detail/741/2012/09/16/
- 8. http://www.bbcgreene.org/apps/calendar/showEvent?calID=3929899&eventID=196828688&next=%2FshowAgenda%3FcalID%3D3929899%26pageNum%3D2
- 9. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/26507768
- 10. http://reformedevangelistmichael.blogspot.com/2010/10/mark-cahill-anti-calvinist-and-on.html
- 11. http://www.amazon.com/One-Thing-You-Cant-Heaven/dp/0964366584/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351792989&sr=8-1&keywords=%22One+Thing+You+Can%27t+Do+In+Heaven%22
- 12. http://www.amazon.com/One-Heartbeat-Away-ebook/dp/B0056GUR42/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351793124&sr=1-2&keywords=%22One+Heartbeat+Away%22
- 13. http://www.savetheperishing.com/calvinismstatement.pdf
- 14. http://www.markcahill.org/request.html#topprod
- 15. Cahill, Mark (2012-08-17). The Watchmen (Kindle Locations 2847-2849). Mark Cahill. Kindle Edition.
- 16. Cahill, Mark (2012-08-17). The Watchmen (Kindle Locations 2878-2882). Mark Cahill. Kindle Edition.
- 17. Cahill, Mark (2012-08-17). The Watchmen (Kindle Locations 2883-2884). Mark Cahill. Kindle Edition.
- 18. Cahill, Mark (2012-08-17). The Watchmen (Kindle Locations 2889-2890). Mark Cahill. Kindle Edition.
- 19. A “respecter of persons” is one who either judges or blesses another by what is in the person (i.e. their own perceived goodness, good decisions, or righteous deeds) or what might be obtained from the person (i.e. status, station in life, or a quid pro quo), James 2:2-3.
- 20. According to Cahill’s position, God saves those who have the internal quality or characteristics of being good enough or wise enough to choose God.
- 21. Cahill, Mark (2012-08-17). The Watchmen (Kindle Locations 2889-2890). Mark Cahill. Kindle Edition.
- 22. Cahill, Mark (2012-08-17). The Watchmen (Kindle Locations 2955-2956). Mark Cahill. Kindle Edition.
- 23. http://www.livingwaters.com/
- 24. http://www.livingwaters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=64&lang=en
- 25. http://www.livingwaters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=307&Itemid=225&lang=en
- 26. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL337C5A1DA80DF6CC&feature=plcp
- 27. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW2iUkPthao
- 28. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaOyBvkVSg8
- 29. http://www.youtube.com/refutingcalvinism
- 30. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA9104777CF43D97A&feature=plcp
- 31. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDEzXfN2ErI
- 32. http://gospeltract.org/store/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Cahill&x=35&y=8&categories_id=&inc_subcat=1&manufacturers_id=&pfrom=&pto=&dfrom=&dto
- 33. http://www.jesuscrew.net/10.html
- 34. http://www.jesuscrew.net/14.html
- 35. http://www.jesuscrew.net/6.html
- 36. www.markcahill.org/news/0906news.html
- 37. www.markcahill.org/news/0906news.html
- 38. www.markcahill.org/news/0906news.html