Below is a letter of admonishing towards Mark Cahill from Ralph Provance. I used to support Cahill's ministry monetarily in the past, until he and I had a go round via email back in Feb. regarding his treatment of a fellow brother in Christ, named Doug Nagel. Mark had been warned by Doug that he would bring the issue to the attention of another brother as taught in Matthew chapter 18. Doug sought after my counsel to keep his replies to Mark lovingly biblical. He had done so, but Mark's replies were showing less and less love each time. As I engaged Mark in emails and also had been advising Doug a few points, it was evident that Mark had no intention of repenting for his sin against Doug. Not only Doug, but those he named as false teachers and worshipers of another god and jesus. As this escalated, I sought the counsel of one of the best friends the Lord has placed in my life, Ralph Provance. Ralph and I have prayed together, labored together, and also fretted together over so much gone wrong in among the brethren, and I knew I could not only trust him to hold my accountability as he had done so before, but he would also keep this issue of rebuke a secret between the handful of brothers who knew about this issue. We wanted Mark to repent and apologize for what he had done. Since he has made his stance on Calvinism clear as well as discuss the emails and phone calls in his own circles, the issue is now public. Ralph even mentions our emails in the beginning of his letter below. Before my last letter to Mark asking him to repent, I also talked to Tony Miano of Living Waters Ministry and fellow member of the Ambassadors Alliance. I trusted Tony to hold me accountable as well, while I warned him that he was associated with someone who did not see him as a brother in Christ Jesus our Lord. Tony chose to handle the issue with a direct phone call to Mark, which was talked about in Mark's 'off course, discourse' of Calvinism, as well as Tony's rebuttal on his own blog from October 14th, 2010. (Please note that since this was written, Mr. Miano, among other unpredictable changes, has made his blog(s) containing his original rebuke of Cahill, to be viewed by 'invitation only'. As strange and nontransparent as that may seem to me, I'm sorry for you, the reader. It seems as if Miano had a change of heart about Calvinism, by dropping a Calvinist blog he had created only after a matter of hours of posting it to the internet, including his Calvinist blog titled The Lawman Chronicles. You'll have to contact Miano directly and ask him if you can see his original blog post. I will however, leave this link active in case he get's the courage to be transparent enough allow people to view his original comments freely and uninvited. I believe that once you have rung a bell, especially of this magnitude, then it can not be unrung. I will remain hopeful.)
I want to thank my dear brother Ralph Provance, for bringing his letter of rebuke to this venue for Mark to see, since Ralph learned from me of Cahill's rebel toward the Reformed Theology and more importantly, the claim of those who follow it to be anathema. So, without further adieu, here is an open letter of admonition to Mark Cahill, written by my closest brother in Christ, Ralph Provance.
Back in February I was contacted by a friend about some concerns he had regarding a set of e-mail correspondence involving Mr. Mark Cahill. For those who don’t know, Mark Cahill is a well known Christian evangelist who travels around the county, speaking at different churches about the need for sharing the Christian faith, something I agree with, by the way.The concern involved Mr. Cahill’s apparent disdain of Reformed Theology and the Doctrines of Grace. I was quite surprised to read these email exchanges as I had always supported Mr. Cahill’s ministry publicly. As time went on it became clear the Mr. Cahill had moved beyond a discussion of theology amongst brothers in Christ to an area of anathematizing those of the Reformed faith.Recently, Mark’s disparaging comments became public.Here is a link- http://lostcauseministries.com/?p=665As I begin to write this critique of Mark Cahill’s “Calvinism and the Bible,” there are a few things that need to be said first.1. This response is in no way meant to be disparaging to my Arminian brothers and sisters in Christ. I will labor with you come jail or death. But, Mr. Cahill’s response goes well past the classic Calvinism/Arminianism debate. He made the statement “If you believe in the god and jesus of Calvinism, you are either in Galatians 1 territory, or you are heading straight toward it.”To this, I take issue.2. I wish that this critique was not necessary. However, we must. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:33. There are a few responses on the internet to Mr. Cahill that go into some detail about his argument against Calvinism. This response will attempt to identify his use of citations. When applicable, a very brief defense of the Reformed position will be made using Scripture. There are many books on the Calvinism/Arminianism debate written by far smarter men than I. Also provided here are 3 types of fallacies that Mr. Cahill uses. While reading his paper, see how many you can identify.The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of "reasoning" has the following pattern:
- Person A has position X.
- Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
- Person B attacks position Y.
- Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
Description of Ad HominemTranslated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."
An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form:
- Person A makes claim X.
- Person B makes an attack on person A.
- Therefore A's claim is false.
Description of Appeal to FearThe Appeal to Fear is a fallacy with the following pattern:
This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because creating fear in people does not constitute evidence for a claim.
- Y is presented (a claim that is intended to produce fear).
- Therefore claim X is true (a claim that is generally, but need not be, related to Y in some manner).
Mr. Cahill’s entire 9 page paper can be found here-He has only sent it out in e-mail form, as it is not posted on his website. Why is this the case? Only Mr. Cahill can answer that.After reading Mr. Cahill’s statement on Calvinism, I must say that it is nothing but a plagiarized version of comments made by George Bryson and Dave Hunt. In fact, I’ve heard Dave Hunt make similar comments about worshipping different “gods” in his debate with Dr. James White. The debate is here- http://www.aomin.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=43&products_id=168Let us begin with Mr. Cahill’s use of citations.
- Reformed Theology Explained And Exposed by Brenda Nickel, on page 1,2I have searched on-line for ANY reference to this book or author. There isn’t any, therefore, none of the references he cited using this book could be verified.
- Mr. Cahill cites http://anti-calvinism.blogspot.com/2008/05/quotes.html, citing; R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God, 32.) on page 2 of Cahill paper.He provides the quote ““It was certainly loving of God to predestine the salvation of His people, those the Bible calls the 'elect or chosen ones.' It is the non-elect that are the problem. If some people are not elected unto salvation then it would see that God is not all that loving toward them. For them it seems that it would have been more loving of God not to have allowed them to be born. That may indeed be the case.”The problem is, he doesn’t finish the sentence of RC Sproul. Rev. Sproul goes on to say “But we must ask the really tough question: Is there any reason that a righteous God ought to be loving toward a creature who hates Him and rebels constantly against His divine authority and holiness?” If grace is obligated it is no longer grace.Mr. Cahill says, in regards to Sproul, “His conscience is getting to him.”No Mr. Cahill, not when you let Rev. Sproul finish his quote.3. Mr. Cahill cites Brenda Nickel quoting Dr. John MacAthur- "A man is like a pillar of salt, he's like Lot's wife." "He's like a log, he's like a stone, he's like a lifeless statue which has neither eyes, nor ears, nor mouth, neither senses or heart unless he is enlightened, converted and regenerated by the Holy Spirit."Mr. Cahill goes on to say “That is quite obviously not Biblically correct. People can choose.”The problem is that Dr. MacArthur is quoting Martin Luther. The statement is attributed to Luther. Here is a link to the sermon in question.- http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-276_The-Doctrine-of-Absolute-Inability4. NONE of the links provided using Calvary chapel library work. There is no way to verify any of the cited material.5. Mr. Cahill, using the non-functioning Calvary chapel links, cites Rev. RC Sproul again twice, using Chosen by God page 72. Mr. Cahill then says “Even though these statements come from one of the great thinkers of our time, he is off base in histheology. Why? He can’t back up what he is saying with Scripture.”If Mr. Cahill had examined the book, he would find that Rev. Sproul uses a number of verses to do just that. Everything must be in context Mark.6. Mr. Cahill cites John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11Here is a link to the cited work for you to read for yourself, IN CONTEXT-7. Mr. Cahill cites Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1, John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6Here is a link to the cited work for you to read for yourself, IN CONTEXT-8. Mr. Cahill cites- "Christ died for all men, but His death benefits the non-elect only in a temporal sense. Because they aren't instantly destroyed. He did not really pay the penalty for their sins."(http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/4whom14.htm, Citing, Dr. John Macarthur, see Tape GC 56-19, "Saving Grace" - Part 2, Titus 2:11, distributed by GRACE TO YOU, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412)Then follows with this- “With this one statement, Mr. Macarthur goes completely against Scripture.”Quite a strong statement from Mr. Cahill.Unfortunately for Mr. Cahill, this also is wrongly cited.Here is a link to the sermon in question. NOWHERE is that quote found!9. Mr. Cahill cites John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 21, Paragraph 5Saying, “...salvation is freely offered to some while others are barred from access to it."Again for Mr. Cahill, the quotation is wrong, and out of context. Here is a link-http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxii.htmlThe rest of Mr. Cahill’s citations could not be verified. Any High School or College student that wrongly cited this many times in a paper would fail the course.Never believe anyone’s citations. Always be a good Berean, Acts 17:11, and check!Mark Cahill has set up his whole response to Calvinism by attempting to refute the doctrines known as TULIP. Unfortunately, in doing so, he has imposed his traditions on the texts through his eisegesis. The texts that he has “chosen” have nothing to do with any of the points that he is trying to make. In fact, as you will see later, some of his cited verses actually prove the point that he is arguing against!Mr. Cahill says,“When one talks about the ‘total depravity of man’, typically what that person means is that man is so dead in his sins that there is no way that he can believe what Jesus Christ has done for him without God first enabling him to do so. Some people refer to this concept as ‘total inability’.Man is separated from God by his sins, but that in no way means that he cannot repent and believe.”“Why would God ask us to reason with Him, if we were so dead in our sins that we couldn’t reason with Him?”Beginning with Total Depravity, Mr. Cahill makes some bold statements regarding sin. If Mark thinks that man is not dead in sin, then he must be denying the doctrine of Original Sin. If this be the case, then Mr. Cahill is guilty of the Pelagian heresy.No Mr. Cahill, we are not just separated, we are “dead in sin.”Col 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,Eph 2:1-2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.1 Cor 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.Eze 36:26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.John 8:34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.We are completely unable to come to Christ on our own, in our natural state. A dead man can in no way raise himself back to life. After 20 years in emergency medicine, I know this for certain. Outside of a divine action, we remain spiritually dead. A Biblical example is the account of Lazarus in the Gospel of John 11:1-46. Lazarus didn’t move that stone out of the way and rise to newness of life on his own. No! Jesus cried out "Lazarus, come forth." in verse 43. Then, and only then, did he live.Mr. Cahill, is our repenting and believing pleasing to God? If we are able to do this in our natural state, in the flesh, as you believe, then it would contradict Romans 8:5-8.“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
We are spiritually dead, and this involves inability.Jer 13:23 says,
Can the Ethiopian change his skin
Or the leopard his spots?
Then you also can do good
Who are accustomed to doing evil.
Mr. Cahill cites Psalm 14:1-3 as a proof text that we can “choose” God. This is an example of citing a verse that actually proves the point he is arguing against! Let’s look at it’s N.T. usage by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:10-18.10as it is written,
"(A)THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."
13"(B)THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,"
"(C)THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS";
14"(D)WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS";
15"(E)THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
16DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN."
18"(F)THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES."
- Romans 3:10 : Ps 14:1-3; 53:1-3
- Romans 3:13 : Ps 5:9
- Romans 3:13 : Ps 140:3
- Romans 3:14 : Ps 10:7
- Romans 3:15 : Is 59:7
- Romans 3:18 : Ps 36:1Can Paul be any clearer? There are NONE who seek after God, NO NOT ONE! Sorry to all my seeker sensitive synergist friends, but no, not one.Mr. Cahill says, “Men are required to make a choice for God in this lifetime. That is why we are here. Period.”I would answer that by quoting the Westminster Confession of Faith-Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?Answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
Not convinced yet?John 6:44 says “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”Let’s look at this verse in the original Greek.“οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν πρός με, ἐὰν μὴ ὁ πατὴρ ὁ πέμψας με ἑλκύσῃ αὐτόν, καὶ ἐγὼ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ.”““οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν” or “ oudeis dunatai elthein” translates “ THERE IS NOT ONE ABLE TO COME.” This is Jesus speaking to man’s inability to come to him, unless the Father draws him. Now, synergists reply “The Father draws all men.” But I ask, will all men then be raised up? If you answer yes, then you are not a synergist, you are a universalist. That is heresy.Next, Mr. Cahill cites Matthew 4:17 "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He then goes on to say, “Who was Jesus talking to here? He was talking to everyone in front of him. Not just the elect, buteverybody that was there. Why? Because everyone has the ability to repent: the only question is will they do it or not?We have addressed man’s ability. Why do we preach to everyone? Because we have been commanded to. Matthew 28:18-19 says
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”
Mark 16:15 says “And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
That’s why Mr. Cahill.Cahill continues, “Calvinism teaches that one must be regenerated first before he or she can believe. The only problem is that you will never find that in the Bible. The Bible teaches that you are regenerated when you believe and not before you believe.”Can you cite a Scripture verse for that Sir?I can. In rebuttal-1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.1 John 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.Eze 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
1 Cor 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
Mr. Cahill then cites Act 10:34-43 to deny the doctrine of election. But again, noting the context of the chapter, Luke is showing us the story of Peter telling those present that salvation is not just for the Jewish people. It is available to the Gentiles also. This corresponds to Revelation 5:9 which says “And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Jew and Gentile Mr. Cahill. This doesn’t deny election Sir.“The Bible teaches that election is conditional on one’s belief. When you believe, you are elect.” Says Mark Cahill.He cites 1 Peter: 1,2 as proof. Again, a verse he cites disproves his argument. The term “πρόγνωσις” prognosis “ Foreknowledge” A brief study on this use of foreknowledge, also seen in Acts 2:23. reveals a decision on God’s part. Nowhere can you find Scripture that asserts what Mr. Cahill says. He is guilty of eisegesis with the statement that he has made. He has allowed his “traditions” to interfere with his interpretation of God’s Word.Next, Mr. Cahill provides some Scripture, out of context, to attempt to disprove the doctrine of Limited Atonement. Much could be said of this. I’ll use John Owen’s argument.“The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:
In which case it may be said:
- All the sins of all men.
- All the sins of some men, or
- Some of the sins of all men.
You answer, "Because of unbelief."
- That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
- That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
- But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?
I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!"”
Mr. Cahill then cites 2 Timothy 2:4. Again in context, it means something different than Mark asserts. Let’s look at verses 1-5.“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”All types of men. If God, the Sovereign of the Universe, wanted all men to be saved, they would be. Synergists, in attempting to refute limited atonement, actually limit it themselves. Jesus accomplished ALL that the Father gave Him to do. Hebrews 10:14 says “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 7:24-25 “but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Mark Cahill quotes Dave Hunt’s DVD about changing Scripture to fit Calvinism. No change is need when you understand basic Greek.Mr. Cahill now cites Romans 10:9-13 ; John 11:25,26 ; & Romans 9:30-33. I’ll throw in John 3:16 also since it applies. Mark says “Whosoever means whosoever. It is really that simple.” I would have to differ with you Sir.The word “Whosoever” DOES NOT appear in the original Greek. The phrase is “πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων” pas ho pisteuwn and it translates “everyone believing.” Changes the meaning of the texts, eh? This is why knowledge of the Biblical languages are so important.Mr. Cahill then says “In the Reformed/Calvinistic teaching, when God’s irresistible grace comes upon you, there is nothing you can do about it. So before anyone can believe, God must first choose to send His irresistible grace upon that person, so they can believe. So again, you have no choice in the matter.”This again is a misrepresentation of Reformed doctrine. Dead men CAN’T resist the Sovereign God of Scripture. Remember Lazarus in John 11? To “force” someone implies the ability to resist. Dead men can’t. Those in their sins DO NOT desire God, remember Romans 3:10-18?Mark speaks of Acts 7:51. Examine the verse. The people were still unregenerate. “Uncircumcised” in hearts and ears. They had not been born again by God. He hadn’t given them a heart of flesh, Eze 36:26. They couldn’t hear, Isaiah 6:9 “He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’” Dead in sin!
Mr. Cahill now quotes the “Prince of Preachers.” “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.”(The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Curts & Jennings, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, 1898, Vol. IYes, Mark DID get this quote right. Sorry my synergist friends, Charles H. Spurgeon was a Calvinist. So, by Mark Cahill’s definition, a false teacher and anathema.Mr. Cahill now cites 1 John 4:7 saying “And also why would this all-loving God (1 John 4:7; John 3:16) hold back that grace from so many people? What kind of love is that?”First off, the verse “God is love” is 1 John 4:8, not 7. But since he cited wrong, let’s look at 1John 4:7.“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”We love the brethren because we have been born of God. The Greek word used here for “born” is “γεγέννηται” gegennētai which is a verb - perfect passive indicative - third person singular. What does that mean? Well, we had nothing to do with being born again by our own means. We were passive in the action. God regenerated us, gave us a new heart. God was active. It is all of Him. Friends, you have monergistic regeneration.Mr. Cahill then goes on to cite 2 Timothy 4:2-4 and Matthew 7:14-15. He implies that all Calvinists are false teachers.“There are fables being taught and false prophets everywhere in our world. Are you sure you haven’t been captured by one of them?”I should ask, are you sure Sir? Mark, I plead with you, examine the traditions that you have been taught in light of Scripture!”Mr. Cahill now cites a story about Mr. Tony Miano, of Living Waters Ministry. I have the utmost respect for this ministry and Mr. Miano. Here is a link to Tony’s response.Mr. Cahill says “If you believe in the god and jesus of Calvinism, you are either in Galatians 1 territory, or you are heading straight toward it.” (lower case his)It was because of this statement that I decided to respond to Mr. Cahill. He has pronounced an “Anathema” upon fellow Christians because of his poor exegesis of Scripture. I will stand not only for the God of the Bible, but also for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. If they are Calvinists or Arminians. If they are monergists or synergist. I will go to jail with you and die with you if the Lord wills it. I will not pronounce Anathema against you. Read what Arminian John Wesley had to say about Calvinist George Whitefield after he died. http://www.piney.com/WhitefSer54Funeral.htmlCan Mark Cahill say this? He has cried out “ANATHEMA!” That is what makes this different.Mr. Cahill, if you ever read this please respond. My hand is reached out to you in the love of Christ.Ralph Provance